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Rayman4449

MTH DCS Wifi & App - Tablet Recommendation list

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This topic is to create a feedback list of various Android tables, so please share your experiences here.

 

Notes:

  • Power save mode:  Make sure you deactivate power save features applied to the DCS app itself and turn-off power save mode on the tablet.  I generally recommend changing the screen time blank timeout to longer periods of time.
  • MTH Wifi/vs home network:  If you have issues with app and you are using your home wifi or Ethernet network, connect your tablet/phone directly to the MTH WIU Wifi network it creates.
  • Tablet lagging/Slow:  When tablets get to low battery levels it typically goes into power save mode and runs the processor at lower speed levels that can cause apps to lag and may cause issues.  If your tablet is running low and lagging, stop using and charge it back up.
  • App Auto-updates in Google Play store/Apple store:  If you are someone that can't update your TIU/Remote software yourself or don't stay up-to-date on when new DCS versions are released, you may want to turn off App Auto-updates.  Some App updates will need updated DCS version loaded to the TIU/Remote.
  • Tablet quality/Price:  Remember that you do get what you pay for.  If you are willing to spend $1000s on your train collection, be willing to spend a little bit on a good quality tablet to ensure you get good battery life, decent speed and avoid strange issues that can come up with some of the cheapest tablets out there.  The application itself may be a relatively simple and lnot very demanding on the tablet processor, but you still need reliability & stability!   I have personally used the inexpensive Amazon Kindles with good result but in general I recommend considering a good quality name brand tablet like Samsung to minimize the number of issues you might encounter and to get good battery life.  My personal preference has been the 7" tablets but 8" is likely close enough in size to feel the same.   I would expect all Apple tablets to be of high quality and not have issues noted here on very low end Android tablets.

 

 

Recommend:

  • Samsung Tablets - So far these are the best
  • Apple Tablets should all be good as well

 

Tablets with noted issues:

 

Not Recommended/Avoid:

  • Poloroid 7" (P7100) - Link to Menards - $39.99   
  • RCA Voyager 7" (8gb/16gb) - Link to Walmart.com -  $44.98
    • This tablet does NOT work well with DCS app and is basically unusable.   **DO NOT BUY**   Engines drop to inactive list due to strange issues with the tablet OS/Wifi connection/Power save features.

 

 

 

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I have an old Kindle Fire 7" HDX I use to run my trains with JMRI Engine Driver, but I wouldn't buy a Kindle again due to the difficulty in installing most apps (as Ray mentioned).

 

Another thing to look for is 5 GHz WiFi. Most inexpensive tablets still don't have 5 GHz support. My old Kindle Fire does, but I'm not sure the new ones do. I think they are continuing to cut costs, and my old one did cost a lot more (over $200). If you only use 2.4 GHz WiFi then obviously this won't be an issue, but 2.4 GHz is becoming increasingly congested, and for me 2.4 GHz isn't even usable at all anymore. It got to the point where I couldn't even print to a wireless printer in the same room as the router. 5 GHz doesn't penetrate walls nearly as well, so I now have three outdoor WiFi access points for running my trains, as my track wraps around the house so there's no line of sight to the whole railroad. Now I'm struggling with lag during handoff between access points, so it's not a perfect solution. But 5 GHz is still much more reliable for me than 2.4 GHz was, so keep this in mind when buying a tablet.

 

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