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ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Restored My Faith in Honeycomb Tablets [Video]

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I returned my Acer Iconia Tab A500 and picked up an ASUS Eee Pad Transformer instead. This saved me $50 and resulted in a better experience. When I couldn’t get the Acer update to load and didn’t get a lot of support from Acer, I chose to go in a different direction.

I’m glad I did.

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer

On the ASUS, even though the OTA version of the Honeycomb 3.1 update wouldn’t download, I was able to manually load it thanks to a link at the ASUS website. After loading the update, the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer runs fast and stable. It performs fluidly and more responsively than my past experiences with Honeycomb tablets.

After only half a week of use, I’m pleased with this tablet. I often choose to take the ASUS instead of my iPad 2 when I’m leaving home. I did this with the Acer, but only because I was reviewing it. But I genuinely enjoy using the ASUS.

Video First Look

Below is a video first look at the device.

The Keyboard Dock

As you can see in the video, the keyboard dock sets this tablet apart. It adds $150 to the total cost, but also adds some useful functionality, listed below:

  • Hardware keyboard: easier to use for typing documents.
  • Extra battery life: ASUS promises double the  life of the tablet. From about 7-8 hours to around 15-16 hours, which I will put to the test.
  • Screen protection: when carrying the tablet around without a case, the keyboard covers the screen.
  • Full-sized SD card port: great for viewing pictures from my digital camera or just putting files on the device from my computer.
  • Two extra USB 2.0 ports: for adding a mouse or a flash drive, and maybe some other fun uses I will test out.

Sure the keyboard dock adds weight and thickness, but I like having the option of using the Transformer as either a netbook or a tablet, depending on the circumstances. I suspect that I won’t be using the keyboard dock all the time once I get a case. For now, though, I really like the combination.

DSC 0005

What do You Want To See?

I will be testing out this tablet, from the camera to the built-in software. I am looking for some cool uses for the USB ports on the keyboard dock aside from adding some peripherals like a mouse. I’m also going to see about rooting the Transformer. Look for a full review in a couple of weeks. If there is something you want to see covered let me know in a comment below.

Kevin loves notebooks, tablets, gadgets and photography. He grew up with computers starting out on a Vic 20 and Commodore 64. The first computer he owned himself was an 8086 Compaq Deskpro. His foray into tablet computing began when he bought a Samsung Q1 Ultra. The smartphone market opened up for him with his Palm Treo 600.

8 Comments

  1. Dale Strauss

    07/13/2011 at 4:14 pm

    If only it had a pen (oops, sorry for that lapse). One critical question is whether the tablet battery “recharges” from the keyboard dock. In other words, if I carry both, and slip it back in the dock between meetings or trips will it top off the tablet – that would be brilliant!

    • Randall Garrett

      07/13/2011 at 4:27 pm

      Yes, that is how it works :-)  I did not think “brilliant” – just merely “Finally!” (somebody got this right)  FWIW, I was pleasantly surprised by the fit and finish.  Not a fan of glossy screens (like to use mobile devices outdoors sometimes – what a concept!), but whatcha gonna do?  They are all that way at present :-(  Only gripe so far is not being able to find a good video player for Honeycomb, but that is more OS-related than actual device-specific.  Besides, watching videos is definitely NOT my highest priority with these devices…

  2. Anonymous

    07/13/2011 at 8:18 pm

    The thing is, to take the thinner ipad 2 (or others as well) out and about with you regularly you need a case to protect it.
    The case, as has always been the case with mobile, adds both thickness and weight.
    They keyboard cover here for the asus does too, but also adds actual functionality.
    That is a big win.

    Do you really think you need a case beyond the keyboard cover?
    How much weight and size do you think you’ll save with a cover vs the keyboard?

    • Kevin Purcell

      07/13/2011 at 8:22 pm

      I know that sometimes I am only going to want to carry the tablet when I know I won’t use the keyboard. Don’t want the keyboard all the time not because it adds weight but I have another thing to keep up with when I’m using the tablet only.

  3. David VanAmburg

    07/14/2011 at 5:05 pm

    I like Kevin Purcell’s title, ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Restored My Faith in Honeycomb Tablets. You have to be a believer with a maturing OS, because you are usually roadblocked from doing what you think should be simple.

    The Transformer is nice machine, and I too have faith in its potential. But it’s not quite ready to act as my full-time netbook. I’m exploring its functionality and currently trying to make it do the video and conferencing tricks I need. https://plus.google.com/104407211051969212178/posts/gYwAavzP3nP

    Kevin, your future thoughts on solving video and audio issues are most welcome.

  4. julu nair

    02/12/2012 at 11:26 am

    Asus Epad Transformer is avaialble here below $390

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004U78J1G?ie=UTF8&tag=notebookscom-20

  5. Rick Wade

    04/27/2012 at 8:18 am

    I’d like to replace my ASUS netbook with a tablet, but, since my primary use is writing, I need to find out if an Android tablet is comparable. One question that comes quickly to mind, after trying to do some editing on a Word doc with my smartphone, using OfficeSuite, is the functionality of a mouse with a tablet. Trying to copy and paste one line in the text on my phone was a tedious process. A Logitech mouse I saw which was made for tablets didn’t appear to have buttons. That leaves me wondering if a user can highlight and cut/copy/move text on a tablet using a mouse the way I can on my netbook. If not, it wouldn’t be worth my while to get a tablet.

    Would you mind giving me an idea of what the possibilities are of doing word processing on your Android tablet? Thanks.

  6. Pingback: Why I Pre-Ordered a Google Nexus 7 Tablet

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