As we near worlds and have gone through multiple regionals, we are once again reevaluating what we use to scout. For the last several years, we’ve been utilizing Fire 7’s. They are incredibly durable and have done the job, but they have a number of issues. They play ads on boot-up, they are abysmally slow in touch response, they run FireOS (which can no longer be removed) requiring an emulator to run the Google Play Store to access our app, and the data export has become completely impossible without a wired connection. They also loose security updates by the end of the calendar year.
Many other teams have easily run scouting off of devices. Are there any tablet models that you have found to work? We are prepared to make an investment but are looking for something somewhat cheap that can last many years. They need to be able to run AndroidOS. Thanks!
We use Lenovo tablets. I believe they are the M8, but I would need to check. Pretty good size, run on modern Android, and are cheap for tablets. We got some rubbery cases for them and haven’t had one get damaged from a drop yet. Battery life is really good as well. We get the entire competition with battery left over after charging them before the first day.
We don’t use tablets at all, just cell phones. Since one of our programmers wrote us a scouting app that uses Firebase to do data in the cloud and has both iPhone and Android apps, it’s just easier to do it on the student’s own devices. They have good battery life, are properly responsive, and work over their native cell connections. It’s been highly successful and he’s released the code and the app for general use.
our team uses the same Fire 7’s and we’re looking to upgrade from them after this season for the same reasons you listed. the tablets that Lenovo offer seem like a good fit for us, you might find some success there.
Like @KingOfDemise we are using the Lenovo M8. This is our first year using the tablets and it is AMAZING!!! No longer killing 5000 trees to do stats on paper. The app we’re using generates a QR code when you hit submit. I have a barcode scanner that plugs into my Samsung S3 with a USB to C adapter. We have a Google sheet open on my phone and when I scan the QR code it auto-fills the rows on the Google sheet. We are using data so no issues with wifi/hotspot. The drive team and strategist can access the data live from the pits on their phones.
We use Lenovo 500e chromebooks, mostly because our district gave one to each student. They have enough battery life to last an entire day and we find using hotkeys to input scouting data much easier than tapping on a screen.
My team just this year bought new Amazon Fire 12 tablets. I know they don’t run stock android, but we were able to sideload Google Play onto all 9 of them within a few hours. We downloaded all of the apks on a computer and them moved them onto the tablets instead of downloading them individually on each tablet, but it wasn’t terribly hard.
2122 Team Tators just started using Galaxy Tabs ethernet tethered to a server. The data gets uploaded via tethered cell service to our one stop shop web page where all the scouts, mentors and drive team can access all of the data.
The cords are a bit of a pain to navigate, but it works quite well and the tablets seem to hold a charge all day if we turn of the wifi and bluetooth and lower screen brightness.
It certainly looks better than Roman Numerals we tried in the past. We were talking with a team from out of the country and they were using an interesting system with a symbol that represented nothing. They claimed it made calculations much easier. Anyone have much success with it? I doubt it will catch on.
Our web app for scouts doesn’t require an internet connection, we just have them download the apps beforehand at the hotel(Or at home if we don’t have any last minute bug fixes). We use QR code scanners to transfer data to our central computer(usually also a chromebook), which is tethered to an android phone to upload all the data to our database. We also use that computer to access our viewer app, so we only require 1 computer to have internet access to run our entire system.
We use Lenovo Tab M7 Gen3. Our team was able to purchase a set of 7 last year, and we used them extensively for Rapid React and Charged Up competition seasons. We write a custom Android App using Android Studio each year and download it on the tablets prior to a competition.
Our team uses 6/7 tablets for scouting each of the 6 teams playing on the field. The last tablet is our “Leader Tablet” which the scouting lead handles. We transfer data via QR codes in between our leader tablet and scouter tablets. The leader tablet uses a generic QR code to .txt file converter from Play Store, and we are able to use the text file generated by scanning all 6 QR codes and transfer it via Bluetooth to our computer.
This computer then compiles the various txt files from all our matches, put it into a Microsoft Access Database. This database is then further imported into Tableau, which allows us to visualize the various statistics we want to consider.
My team uses Fire HD 8. Unfortunately, I don’t know how we prevented playing ads on boot up. (Our previous scouting lead bought and set up the tablets) I haven’t noticed particularly slow touch responses, though there is some overall lag (e.g., slow transitions). Fortunately, we haven’t needed to use Google Play Store to access our app, since we made it in Android Studio and just built the APK and then installed it on the tablets. Our data export is also wired, though since the data is saved after every match to a file, it doesn’t need to be continuously connected, which helps somewhat.