Finally, after almost 2 weeks of using my new Asus EEE Pad Transformer, i have finished downloading the WordPress app from Android Market and now ready to add my thoughts on the matter.
After several trips to the electronics store and several hours of going back and forth, swiping screens, and taking sample pictures, i decided to finally buy the Asus EEE Pad Transformer. I can define 3 major reasons, namely: Honeycomb integration, functionality and battery life as the main deciding points. Let me elaborate more.
Honeycomb integration. I find Asus (and I have to add Xoom’s ) Honeycomb’s implementation much more smoother than the one made by Samsung. For some reasons, swiping across screens is much more instantaeous in Asus’ and Motorola’s tablets. Also the widget’s placement is not so overwhelming and remains true to stock. Even the application drawer feels much laggy in Samsung. After using Asus for several weeks aready, i also found out by a quick trip to the mall that the notifications bar of Asus is just on a comfortable size right down the corner, but the one from Samsung occupies already half the width of the screen. With bigger fonts also, i think it is overwhelming especially when more notification messages are placed in there after installing apps, receiving emails and sorts. Over all Asus has also less bloatware, aside from the cloud storage apps which can be useful for at least a year. It falls in the minimalist side rather than the overly done UI of Samsung which I think really slows down the interaction with Honeycomb alot.
Functionality. I have to admit that the keyboard is really a differentiating factor here. I mean, all Honeycomb tablets are looking the same, acting the same and supporting the same stock interfaces. With most of the tablets also having the same internal specs (Tegra 2, 1GB RAM, the same screen resolution), in theory they should then be able to run the same apps in almost the same performance. Some have higher megapixels camera, that is nice, if you want to really use it alot without looking funny holding a tablet while taking a photo or video. But altogether most tablets can take front and back photos/videos so aside from resolution, they are quiet the same in this category. So what makes Asus standout? It is the capability to use a keyboard when browsing, editing, searching, blogging, in short, when you need it the most. You now have in fact 3 levels of interaction with the device, the traditional keys, the traditional trackpad ( add to that multi-touch which allows you to swipe screens by using two fingers) and lastly by touching the screen. All together in one neat docking configuration, no need to buy extra bluetooth keyboards that needs to be recharged and worrying about that it should match the color of your tablet’s casing. It’s simplicity and functionality in one setting.
Battery Life. This is where the keyboard adds more value, by providing additional 6 hrs of charge instead of adding to the power drain. I have used the tablet already for 3 days (2 days without keyboard + 1 day docked) and that is really amazing. I would not mind the extra weight because to me power and uninterrupted usage when you are travelling, moving around, reading e-books while at the coffee table are the most important aspects of having a tablet.
And the quirks…
Like most things, it will not always be perfect. So here are the short list of issues I have with this tablet:
1. Average camera pictures, most often grainy and muddy with little detail (Ipad2 is not better here as well so it is just fair, only Tab10.1 does really good here).
2. HDMI to DVI does not work so I cannot mirror my tablet to my old computer monitor. But of course, no issues with mirroring to an LCD tv.
3. Right-Click = Back is an annoying change for the trackpad buttons and mind you, this is extended also to the bluetooth mouse or usb mouse. I really do not understand the logic here, so this can use some getting used to.
4. A bit on the heavy side. But otherwise translates to robust feel when holding.
So my next project is to use this for at least 6 months as a laptop replacement for media consumption, web browsing, e-book reading, travel companion. Of course I have my work laptop as my backup in case i need more intensive apps (e.g. programming, document processing, photo editing). On to the tablet bandwagon then…