back of Neosastak neos-frontInteresting new android tablet from a company we never heard of: Astak. It’s called a Neos, costs a bit under $500 and is permanently mounted on an inclined stand. The whole thing is much heavier than a tablet alone, and you wouldn’t want to hold it in your lap. In fact, our initial reaction was negative. Like: who needs this? Now we love it.

It’s like having a small TV in the kitchen. Listen to music, watch news and lectures, display recipes as you work, play games. It seems to be waterproof, though we don’t want to try dunking it in the sink. Many apps are available offline, others require the Internet, cabled or wireless. It also takes camera cards and has a USB port, which means you can plug in a thumb drive.

Neos uses the Android (Jelly Bean) operating system. You can use any Android apps and play any of the games. If the game allows it, two people can play and the tablet knows whose finger is whose. We tried “Glow Hockey 2, which reminds us of “Pong,” the first computer game. If you’re thinking of buying this to play two-person games, it’s not worth it. Board games are more fun.

Another downside is that the Neos has no battery and has to stay plugged in. Joy says that’s actually a good feature, because then you know where to find it.  Otherwise she frequently asks: “Have you seen my iPad?”

Neos’s sound quality is excellent. We found ourselves listening to online radio and TED talks far more often. Picture quality is so-so. We plugged in our camera card to watch a slideshow, but it was better on our computer. It’s hard to find Neos on the web, but you can find it on Amazon by searching on “Astak Neos tablet-top.”


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