I really love my technology, and recently my tech habit has kicked in and I’m always on the hunt for the latest (sometimes) hardware. Mind you, I’m not an early adopter – never have been, I prefer to work with proven technologies – but sometimes, I just can’t wait.
The Asus Eee Tab Transformer with Honeycomb Android 3.0 OS was released just a few months ago so it’s pretty new.
I went with this one as I’ve used Asus products in the past and lately have heard a lot of good things about Asus. As well several people highly recommended the Asus to me over another iPad.
It is a beautiful tablet.
It’s light – about half or less than what my iPad (original) weighs in at. It’s also fast, and it’s a 10.1″ tablet.
So what did my $399.00 + recycle fee + tax get me?
Specs on the Asus Eee Tablet
- 10.1″ WSVGA (1280×800) IPS Capacitive LED Touchscreen; Android 3.0 Operating System
- NVIDIA Tegra 2 CPU; 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM, 1 slot, 1GB Max; 16GB Internal Flash Memory; Wireless 802.11bgn; Bluetooth 2.1
- Mini HDMI Port; Micro SD Card Slot; 1.2MP (front) and 5.0MP (rear) Webcam
- GPS; Gravity Sensor; E-Compass; Light Sensor; Gyroscope; 24.4W/h Lithium Polymer Battery (Up to 9.5 Hours Battery Life)
- 40-Pin Docking Port for Optional Keyboard (Keyboard Not included)/Docking Station (Model Name: TF101 DOCKING)
- Operating System: Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) Platform
- Display: 10.1-inch WSVGA IPS capacitive multi touch display built with durable and scratch-resistant glass; 178° viewing angle(1280 x 800)
- Chipset: NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2 Mobile Processor
- Memory: 1GB DDR2
- Wireless: 802.11b/g/n
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR
- Storage: 16GB eMMC Flash (Memory expansion via microSD card slot with support for optional cards up to 32 GB (functionality requires future software upgrade)
- Camera: 1.2 megapixel (Front); 5.0 Megapixel (Rear)
- Speakers: SRS Sound
- Card Reader: Micro SD Card Reader
- Input / Output: 1 x Mini HDMI, 2-in-1 audio jack (head phone/mic-in jack), internal mic
- Battery Pack: 24.4 W/h Li-polymer battery (up to 9.5 hours)1
- Dimensions: 10.67″ x 6.89″ x 0.47″ –inches (W x D x H)
- Weight: 1.5lbs
- Color: Espresso
The touchscreen is very responsive, much better than I had expected. After having purchased an iPod Touch about a year or two ago, I had received a Blackberry Torch for work – and the screen sucked. I did not like it at all, so when I bought the Asus Eee Tablet I wasn’t sure what it would be like. I played with it in store for about 15-minutes, but that’s not enough time to get a good feel for the device. Got it home, unpacked it and played with it for the last two days and I really like it.
The touchscreen is as responsive as the iPad is. Sometimes however it feels like I have to tap icons a little harder.
The screen is bright and you have an auto-brightness feature on it as well which works very well, I have however turned this feature off and prefer the screen to be at its brightest during the day and if I’m using it in bed then I’ll dim it myself.
Applications start quickly, I’ve noticed though from time-to-time that Opera is a little slow to start — I don’t think it’s related to the CPU as most other applications start up very quickly. You’re also getting a tablet with 1gb of memory on it and you’re not running something that loads dozens of memory intensive background applications so many apps are very responsive.
I played around with the office applications on the tablet, mostly with the spreadsheet and word processor and liked them VERY much. I’ve only played with cloud spreadsheet and word processor on the iPad because if you want something good you have to pay for it — and I don’t use my iPad for work. These apps respond very well and have been designed nicely to work on a touch tablet.
The camera is a nice touch, something that the original iPad doesn’t have but if you want high-quality images you won’t get it. It’s only a 5mp camera on the back of the tablet and a measly 1.2mp front camera. When the iPad 2 came out I was a bit jealous of not having a camera as it would have been nice to video conference with my wife as she has an iPhone 4 — but having played with it on the Asus Eee Transformer, it’s definitely not a deal breaker.
You’ll also get a mini-SD port plus mini-HDMI port – two great features. My laptop has an HDMI port and I’ve used this quite a bit to hook-up to my big-screen TV to watch movies (before I bought my Patriot Box Office 1080p High-Definition Media Player).
There are many things that I absolutely love about my Asus Eee Transformer:
- Customizable home screens – I can create five home screens to access various parts of the system. Can’t do that on the iPad.
- Multitasking – yes, this is central to the Android 3.0 experience.
- Better keyboard – one thing I don’t like on the iPad is that I don’t get the numbers displayed on the keyboard, I can only get them when I click on the appropriate key. With the Transformer I not only get the standard keyboard but also get the 0-9 keys displayed at the same time. Very handy! The keys are just as responsive as the iPad on-screen keyboard is.
I also like the back of the tablet – yes, weird huh? It’s espresso in color and is a textured back. The shiny silver of the iPad is nice, but since my iPad sits in a case most of the time (well, all of the time) you don’t see it much but the Asus is espresso color all over — the sides, back and front with the exception of the screen area. Really nice looking!
The battery life is also great – I have not used this for hours and hours (yet) but so far battery life has lived up to expectations. I definitely DO NOT get 9+ hours on one charge on my iPad.
Sound is OK on the tablet, however it did not seem to be as good as the iPad – but nothing that would be significant enough to make it a deal-breaker.
As the Android tablets are more like PC’s – you will get some software on the tablet, but what you get isn’t a lot of bloatware it is stuff you can use. You will need to download some applications to make it more useful, such as Flash and a better browser. I was disappointed with the Opera browser, especially when using sites like Facebook and a few others — they did not seem to render very well.
The only other sticky point is no 3G – this is a WIFI only tablet, and if you’ve got a smartphone where you can tether then it’s probably fine – however I was hoping to take this with me to work but without 3G it’s going to stay at home and most likely my wife will use it as it will link up using Wireless N (though at only 2.4mhz) to my home router.
The other “cool factor” is the ability to turn your tablet into a pseudo netbook/laptop by purchasing the Eee Pad Transformer Docking Keyboard. Add a docking keyboard to your Transformer tablet and get up to an amazing 16 hours of battery life. With 2x USB ports, an 4-in-1 card reader, the expansion possibilities are almost limitless. Its full QWERTY keyboard and a row of shortcut keys means you can get what you want done, faster, more efficient.
You may also want to pick-up a 32gb microSDHC card as well – found one on Amazon for just under $50.00 and it’s by SanDisk.
Finally you will want to pick-up a ASUS Sleeve Case for the Eee Pad Transformer. It fits the Eee Pad perfectly and will protect your device. I’ve already ordered mine from Amazon. This isn’t an Asus case but one made by rooCASE. It was pretty inexpensive and had better reviews than the Asus case did.
Update July 10, 2011 – There are some things that I’ve not tried yet: Cloud using ASUS’ Waveshare Interface – MyNet, MyLibrary
and MyCloud. Downloaded SplashTopRemote to my laptop in about 1 minutes, installed in another 30 seconds and was able to connect from my Asus Eee Pad to my laptop in under 3 minutes. Tried that on my iPad and I had to spend almost $50.00 to get the software for my iPad (free for PC) but got it for FREE for the Asus Eee Pad and for my PC. Sweet!
If you want a WiFi only tablet and don’t want to spend close to $600.00 on an iPad 2 then you should seriously consider the Asus Eee Pad Transformer with Honeycomb Android 3.0 OS. For $399.00 the price is right and you get many of the features you would on an iPad including the extensive applications through the Android store.
Amazon Product Description
With a slim, lightweight design and a 10.1-inch WSVGA IPS capacitive display made from durable and scratch-resistant glass that is viewable at angles up to 178°, the versatile Eee Pad Transformer is the perfect tablet for anyone who want to enjoy multimedia on the move, but still wish to have easy access to the web, email, and other productivity applications. A custom user interface provides easy access to the many features of the Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) operating system, while the NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2 chipset provides full support for Adobe® Flash® 10.2,1 smooth HD video conferencing and playback, a lightning fast web experience, and incredible mobile gaming performance. Front and rear cameras make for easy video chat and digital photography, which can be played back in video on HDTVs via a mini HDMI output port, making it a true mobile entertainment device.
Next on my purchase list – wireless network all-in-one printer to upgrade from my HP PhotoSmart 7150 and Brother MFC 420CN.