TLDR: my adventures spending money I don't have on some nice and relatively inexpensive pieces of kit. If you're looking for a tablet, 4k tv or IPS monitor, these are the ones I chose.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned picking up a $150 tablet from Best Buy for displaying my photos. A few days later, they dropped the price to $100, now it's down to $90.

The good:
First of all, it's only $90, that's pretty much pizza and a movie for four people. At that price, it's pretty close to disposable, or at least expendable.

It has GPS, which is pretty rare in tablets, and this might be the only tablet under $400 with GPS.

32G internal storage and a micro SD slot good for another 126G.

Removable keyboard with real keys.

The 11.6" 1366x768 IPS display is really pretty nice. Even my photos look pretty good on it.

The app F-Stop Gallery Pro only costs a few bucks and pretty much does what I want in a photo display program.
I can set it up on slideshow with programmable intervals, I can also, set it to display the photos in the orientation that best fits on the screen, so when someone is holding the tablet, without keyboard, in their hand, the pictures are displayed however gives them the most screen real estate.

The bad:
There is no good way to display the images on an external screen. The webpage implies that you can use a usb-c to hdmi adapter, but that doesn't work.

Support said that the screen can be echoed to a chromecast, but that's really low resolution, at least with f-stop pro.

A bit more research and I found the app photocast, which will cast the screen to chromecast in good resolution, and will allow you to set the display interval. It doesn't, however, seem to let you display the photos in random order.

If you want to use this tablet as a portable computer, sometimes it is really slow, and sometimes the tablet based UI is a pain to use as a notebook, although sometimes the touch screen is nice. It's no macbook air, but it's a damn sight cheaper than an air, and if you take the screen off the air to hand to someone, it's not going to work very well.

I've mentioned chromecast a couple of times. This is where we charge full tilt down the "I can't afford to save that much money" rabbit hole.

The first thing I purchased was the $60 Chromecast ultra which will cast 4k video to a 4k monitor, and will also plug directly into ethernet.

I poked around my collection of monitors to find one that would work, and the only one that would conveniently put audio out was the 4K samsung U28E510 I picked up at Costco for $300. The images looked good, I could plug it into the stereo, life was skittles and beer, so I headed down to Costco to pick up a second one. One for my computer, one for watching TV and showing photos.

The bonus of this setup is that I would now have the ability to conveniently watch TV on a decent screen. When I got to Costco, I learned why I could never get it calibrated quite right. When I bought it, I mistakenly thought it was an IPS screen, it isn't it's TN. That explains why it seemed like such an awesome deal.

Rather than spending $300 on another 4k TN monitor I looked around for an IPS monitor. I ended up with a viewsonic 32" IPS monitor, also for $300.
ViewSonic VX3211-2K-MHD 32" IPS 1440p LED Monitor

With my aging eyes the 32" 2560x1440 display works better than the 27" 4k and the IPS works a lot better than the TN.

I was able to set up a nice shelf for the monitor in about an hour just using some scrap lumber lying around. Never mind that Onion article about the local man who finally uses the board he's been saving for 17 years, I'm often repurposing lumber from my woodpile. Had I looked a little more closely I could have even used some nicer redwood rather than a scrap of plywood, maybe I'll upgrade later.

So, my $150 tablet, in theory only cost me $100, but in practice cost me closer to $500 (with chromecast, monitor and various cables and doodads), but I can now comfortably watch TV from my sofa with the sound piped over my stereo, and can ditch my old airtunes for playing music. I also have a much better display for processing photos, so if you've noticed that the turds I've been posting lately are polished to a higher gloss, that's why.

Larry Colen (postbox on min4est)

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