I was one of the lucky view at the stroke of midnight on April 26th, was able to get my order in on Amazon. I just received my tablet tonight via Amazon Prime.
I've been on Android since the original T-Mobile G1 released, and have owned an iPad since September of last year, so quite awhile on both. This is my first ownership experience of a Honeycomb 3.0 tablet.
Software wise, there's not that much I can add in terms of what others haven't already said. It's VERY refreshing coming from iOS, to actually not be staring at pages and pages of useless icons. The notifications are ABSOLUTELY sweet (i.e. useful!). The app quick access with screenshots adds to a very desktop-esque experience, but with the navigability of a tablet UI.
Most things run very smooth, typical of all the standard Tegra 2 devices. Speakers are surprisingly loud, and there are actually 2 of them (stereo). Screen is absolutely gorgeous (IPS).
If you're deep in Google services, such as Gmail, Picasa, Youtube, Docs, etc. Honeycomb is a godsend. I have almost 20gb's of photos in Picasa, and after one account setup, EVERY SINGLE PICTURE synced. Pretty much all my cloud files and settings synced. From Chrome bookmarks to docs to pictures.... it seriously is a breath of fresh air to have things "just work", without the use of something like iTunes.
Granted, if you're not a Googler like me, it won't be AS beneficial, but that's not to say it's still not a great device.
It also charges FAST as hell. My iPad takes on average 6 hours to go from 0% to 100%. I haven't done a full discharge on the Asus, but it went from 7% to 100% in a little under 2 hrs. That's insane.
The not so great, both the front and rear camera seem slightly sub-par as far as clarity goes. Very usable, but not great. My only real complaint is the "tightness" of the construction. I absolutely don't mind the plastic. It's light, grippy, sturdy, and looks great. However, along the bezel where the plastic seems to meet the glass, the Transformer tends to creak. Nothing worth concern, but it would be nice for a device that's basically a slab of glass to "sound" solid in your hand.Then I think to myself, this thing cost 399... It's 100 bucks less then the cheapest iPad.
So, the question really isn't "Is this thing awesome" or "is it better then an iPad". I believe either of those answers are really up for interpretation. However, when you throw in the equation of PRICE..."Is this thing awesome for 399" , i have to give a resounding "YES!".
****** Edit : Usage Update *******
So I've been using this tablet in place of my iPad exclusively for about 4 days now, and have better insight to the Transformer.
The good is that my previous complaint about the build quality really has proven to be a really superficial concern. It does faintly creak in a couple spots, but I would have to classify the actual severity as minimal to non-existant.
Also, after reading the issues with the Asus update, I decided to proceed since it's only been documented that a handful (i.e. less then 5) people out of potential thousands have actually had issues. My update went without an issue.
I hear people complain about the lack of apps specifically for tablet. I can happily say that i haven't experience this limitation since even most non-tablet specific apps scale fine. "things look stretched out". Yes, that's actually an indication that Android was designed to scale properly (literally). Look at iOS, they literally blow up non iPad apps to the point of pixelation. Android's solution, while not ideal, is much better and most non-tablet specific apps actually work and look just fine. Having a FULL browser is incredibly helpful.
The notification system is awesome. Just this change makes this tablet twice as more productive then my iPad.
Now, admittedly, there have been more not-so-good issues that I've discovered. First off, the tablet is definitely prone to freezes and locks. On several occasions it would just freeze completely and would require a reboot. Also, there have been several times where, when going from portrait to landscape, the resolution of the screen stayed fixed. This would result in an odd partial-screen view. Usually fixed itself after a couple of seconds of rotating the tablet. Other times, presses are unresponsive, ex. opening an app. This is definitely a software issue however, not an issue with the capacitive hardware.
YouTube playback was surprisingly choppy, even in standard def. The recent update however, seemed to have improved that greatly.
Last thing, just like most Android devices, the user experience is proned to "slow-down" once you've been on it for any decent amount of time. Can't be a RAM issue as this has 1GB, and at any given time there's only 400mb or so in use.
All in all, most of these problems are directly related to Honeycomb, not Asus Transformer hardware.
In actual use case, I would say I experience one of the above problems about 1-5% of the time I'm actually using the tablet. It's not enough to make it unusable at all, it's actually been a pretty positive experience. However, I now completely understand the sentiments that Honeycomb is "half-baked". Generally speaking, people read blogs that are writing 3rd hand information to begin with, and make that comment without actually having owned a Honeycomb tablet. Well, I have, and I understand now. As a consumer device, I still think it's fine, but there's enough glaring early version issues that I probably wouldn't reccomend something like this in business or enterprise use.
Last thing, all you funny people in the comments trying to pigeon-hole me as a anti-Apple or pro-Apple, or whatever it may be... In all honesty, I'm one of the few people I've ever met that has one foot equally (and fully) planted in 3 completely separate platforms. I use iOS, OS X,Android, and Windows 7 in equal capacities at work and at home, and my mobile OS of choice (outside of tablets) has been Android for the last 3 years. I do this because I LOVE and HATE various things about ALL the OS's I use, which is why I use 4 of them to fill in each other gaps. Take that as you will.
UPDATE 6/1/2011: On 6/1 ASUS rolled out Android 3.1 to all US devices. This has made it so the Tegra2 processor can use much more of its power and now HD videos are running much smoother!!! They also updated a bunch of under the hood components that have made the tablet even snappier and increased the battery life. It also boots a bit faster than it did before. They also included the option of being able to use game pads now but I have not tested this out. I've been using my tablet for 3-4 hours today and have noticed that any random force closes are completely gone now.
UPDATE 5/15/2011: On 5/13 I received a firmware update that fixed most of the random force closes I had been having with certain apps, and the UI is a bit snappier now.
UPDATE 5/11/2011: Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow. I cannot put this down. My web surfing on my laptop has been completely replaced by this tablet. I have had NO random reboots, and only a few force closes of apps (Mainly the CNN app). Still going strong and the battery lasts all day long.
To start off, the build quality of this tablet is definitely fantastic. The textured backing is easy to grip and the textured outer metal frame is very sturdy and feels GREAT when being held. The volume rocker and power button are also metal and feel very sturdy when being pressed. The Transformer also comes with Corning Gorilla Glass, that is extremely scratch resistant, so it isn't entirely necessary to buy a screen protector! Some may not like that the backing is not metal, but I feel that the material ASUS used will stand up better to scratching.
5/5 for Build Quality
When turning on the tablet the first thing I noticed is how vibrant the colors are. This is because the Transformer comes with an IPS screen instead of a normal LCD screen, and the viewing angles are indeed better than a normal LCD. I compared the viewing angles to an Acer Iconia and iPad 2 and it beats the Acer and is on-par with the iPad 2. The capacitive screen is very very very responsive and accurate, so no complaints there. The only thing I have noticed is a slight light bleed that you can notice on some edges when on a pitch black background. In 90% of all situations, you wouldn't even know it was there so I am not to worried about it (I noticed this bleed on the iPad 2 as well, and it ONLY shows on black backgrounds). As stated before, the screen comes with Gorilla Glass so it is very scratch resistant.
4.5/5 for Screen Quality
The Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) OS is very fun and intuitive. There are tons of apps, widgets, customizations, etc.. that make using this tablet enjoyable. The only problem is that there is only small amount of Tablet optimized apps as of now, but it seems like most apps work with the Tablet anyway. The Android App Market is definitely expanding, so this won't be an issue for long. I have had a few force closes (expected to be fixed with updates), and everything is very quick even with multiple apps open. Flash works great in the pre-loaded browser, and works even better in Dolphin Browser HD. Asus also made some tweaks to the look of Android, and added a few Widgets.
4/5 for OS
The Transformer comes with a 5.0 Megapixel Camera on the back and a 1.3 Megapixel camera on the front. Both take pictures great, and the video recording is good, but could use some optimization (which should come in future updates). The Mini-HDMI out works great! and the MicroSD card slot also reads/writes to the card very quickly. The headphone jack is like any other headphone jack and works fine. The speakers are mounted on the sides of the tablet and produce stereo sound that sounds great, but can crackle if turned up too high with certain music (Bass Heavy). Some notable cons are the lack of an LED on the back (Like the Acer Iconia) and a 1.3 Megapixel compared to the 2.0 Megapixel camera on the front of the Acer Iconia. The Asus also lacks Haptic Feedback that the Acer Iconia has.
4/5 for the Extras
The price! $399 is a fantastic price for a tablet of this quality. I would definitely pick this up over the Iconia and iPad 2, even though it does lack some of the extras the Acer has it makes up for it with the IPS Screen and terrific build quality.
5/5 for the Price
I have no interest in the Dock, but from what I have seen/heard it is a great addition if you are looking for an ultraportable netbook/tablet combo. I would like to add that I also own an Acer Iconia (It is going back today) and that the Asus is slightly better in some ways compared to the Acer such as the screen and build quality. I am going to miss the Haptic Feedback and the LED however.
TL;DR: This is the best Tablet for the price, and is just as great, if not better, than the iPad 2.
Thanks for reading my review, and good luck.
In the way of 10" mobile tablets, the Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 dominate the market. While both are truly extraordinary devices capable of doing much more than anyone originally believed, they both cost over $600 for the tablet alone. Here is where Asus steps in to provide a device that offers the outstanding performance, battery life, aesthetics, and usability that both of the heavy-hitters offer, but without the price premium. Below, I'll address three of the things people look for in a device they're hoping to use all the time. After all, what good is a brand new tablet if it merely sits on the shelf?
For the purposes of this review, I will compare the Eee Slate with the iPad and Galaxy Tab 10.1, as they represent both the majority and the primary competitors for this device.
1) Size and weight
2) Usability and features
3) Accessories and expandability
1) The Samsung is currently the lightest and thinnest tablet on the market, and the iPad isn't far behind. Asus is slightly thicker than both of these, but makes up for it with an extremely solid brushed aluminum 'bumper' around the edge of the device. Whenever I hold the iPad or 10.1, I'm worried about dropping it or damaging the back finish. Not so with the Eee Slate, where the constuction is every bit as solid as the iPad, but offers a more rugged enclosure and secure grip. Instead of the iPad's slippery brushed aluminum back, Asus went with a slightly rubberized and textured back that makes the device easy to hold for long periods of time. The bumper around the sides both provides protection and houses the speakers (when holding the tablet in landscape mode, your hands will naturally direct and amplify the sound from the speakers!), and makes it feel more solid and secure to hold onto. Additionally, the Eee Slate has a coating of Gorilla Glass over the screen, which means you can do stuff like dropping it on concrete (I'm guilty of this) without scratching or damaging the screen in any way. Out of the three, the Eee slate isn't the slimmest or lightest, but I think it makes up for it through superior durability.
2) While Apple has made a huge deal out of the simplicity in using an iPad, the Android platform is nowhere as easy to jump into as a new user. That said, Android offers considerably more features than iOS. If you're a new person to computers, mobile devices, or technology in general, the iPad is a better product for you. If you like having more control over your device, and having things like weather widgets, email notifications, bluetooth file transfer, SD cards, HDMI-out, active wallpapers, third-party apps, and custom ROMs, then Android and the Eee Slate are a better option.
What is unique to the Eee Slate is the amount of ports and features that Asus crammed into the device, while sacrificing neither portability or aesthetics. On the slate itself, there is a headphone jack, mHDMI-out, and a SDXC card slot- along with a 5MP rear camera that supports video recording and decent front camera for video calling. In addition, the Eee slate has an ambient light sensor (so it automatically adjusts the screen brightness), accelerometer, gravity sensor, and GPS. Now, this is special in tablets because most mobile devices don't actually have what's called stand-alone GPS. Stand-alone GPS means that you can be in the middle of nowhere and have no internet connection of any kind, and the tablet can pinpoint your location. For people looking into a GPS unit, imagine getting something that NEVER needs map updates, has traffic info, has satellite images, and can locate anything in Google Maps. What's more, the Eee Slate has never given me a delay in pinpointing my location, while many GPS systems require up to a few minutes to establish a lock.
3) In terms of sheer number of accessories, the iPad dominates the entire market. You can find speakers, stands, docks, adapters, etc. for the iPad that simply aren't available for other devices. While this is certainly a benefit, consider this option:
The Eee Slate has a keyboard dock that not only provides a keyboard, but boosts battery life up to 16+ hours, provides two USB ports, has a full-size SD card slot, and a multitouch trackpad. For less than the price of the iPad or 10.1, you can buy the Eee Slate AND the keyboard dock. When using both the tablet and dock, the Eee Slate becomes one of the most capable netbooks available. If you are someone who needs to write emails and don't fancy an onscreen keyboard, this device is a dream. The keyboard is almost full-size and feels like a Sony or MacBook when typing. The keys feel incredibly solid and there is no flex in the keyboard. The trackpad supports multitouch gestures like scrolling, pinch-zoom, and swiping between home screens. Another nice touch is that Asus programmed the right button to serve as a back key, one of the most frequently used commands.
While all of this has been overwhelmingly positive, there are a few things that aren't perfect about this device. Here are the reasons I gave the device 4 stars instead of 5:
1) The camera, despite being 5MP, is pretty awful at still pictures. Images appear grainy and dark- and often out of focus or motion blurred. Interestingly video actually looks pretty good- even when recording in HD.
2) The power button and volume rocker are placed very close together. When turning up or down the volume, it's easy to put the tablet to sleep instead.
3) While the speakers are great for a mobile device and can get surprisingly loud, they are sorely lacking in lower frequency response. If you listen to classical music as I do, everything lower than an English horn or cello is all but inaudible.
4) Android is incredibly feature-rich and is developing at an incredibly fast rate. This means that app developers are often stuck trying to update their software as fast as Google. This game of catch-up means that Android tablets (particularly Honeycomb ones like the Eee slate and 10.1) often have apps that are either unstable (they randomly stop running) or require a force-close if they freeze. While most apps don't exhibit these issues, it still is aggrivating to have a dialogue box pop up and tell you that the app you were using just force closed.
Thanks for reading this! I hope you find a device that suits your mobile computing needs.
I have had the Asus Transformer 32GB tablet with keyboard for about 2 weeks. I do not have the battery drainage issue in the keyboard I have read about in some blogs. The battery lasts 9-10hrs without the dock 14-16hrs with the dock depending on what I am doing.
PROs- Viewing angles, Price, resolution, smooth response. Free online storage- plenty of power. Great for reading, web browsing, checking email, playing games- camera is better than the reviews indicate- not as good as my evo3d. Size is perfect- 7" is too small. The widescreen format is great for watching streaming video, or movies- sucks when typing in landscape without the dock. Flexibility is great- easily swap files over wifi (great connection), blue tooth is great.
CONs- NO USB without dock. Micro SD card is working- but you can not GMAIL attach a file on the removable Micro SD. Office documents can be viewed- some can be edited- but Powerpoint files loose some of the format options when you are in editing mode- I am a sales rep and planned to use the tablet for dealer presentations- maybe I need to find the correct app, but when you open the gallery- the tablet automatically searches for every photo file on the computer- Since I also put a folder in the Micro SD with all of my personal photos on it from my laptop, I have to be careful when opening the gallery near customers to show product photos or they will want to peruse my personal images.
I have several other petty gripes- like the color of the back is not my style, the build quality is maybe an 7or8 out of 10. the Bezel around the screen is WIDE. Honeycomb is still a work in progress.
Power cord is proprietary, and super short, and unavailable for order- don't loose it or break it...
Speakers are mounted on the sides, and suck. Invest in some nice earbuds if you have even slight background noise- say like a hotel a/c unit running on low. The speakers are also in places where you may hold the tablet rendering them useless. Also- the up volume and power buttons are very close togethet, you think you are turning up the volume and ooops, off goes the screen.
Overall it is a great tablet. I can't wait to see an HTC 10" tablet running Icecream sandwich this fall.If you are looking for something to replace your laptop hold on for a while. If you want something that has super battery life, allow you to browse the web and read email, and review office documents on the road get the Tablet.
I still have the tablet, and after an update to ICS (Android 4.0) it is greatly improved in performance and some of the apps have been updated and allow for more flexibility with powerpoint editing.. still no laptop replacement yet.
Battery is still holding on strong, the touchpad is a bit sensitive when typing sometimes clicking out of the typing area.
The slot that hold the tablet in place has a little play in it now.
For those of you who are trying to decide between this and the new PRIME, it is a no brainer. Pay the extra money. It is the same size screen, in a more compact and lighter package. The screen is sooo much better, and it is much more powerful.
I think I will wait for the 3gen devices to come out with android 5.0 before I jump into another tablet personally, but if you have to have one get the prime.
Alright, I've had my tablet for about five days and I've used it extensively in that time. With the recent demise of my laptop (primary computer) I've done all of my computer related tasks on the Transformer with the exception of my school work which is just too much for a small touch screen. With that said, let's jump into the review.
I ordered my tablet through Best Buy on a Saturday and they had it at my house on Wednesday. This is light years better than B&H who, after placing my order on the 2nd of may still hadn't received the tablet from the manufacturer on the 21st when I placed my order with Best Buy.
The first day I had it, I didn't get to play with it much between work and things that I needed to do around the house. I was able to power it on, update it, pull all of my apps (purchased for my Samsung Vibrant) from Google, and let it charge for a few hours before I had the opportunity to sit with it and play with it. Even that was short lived because I opted to install the Skinomi screen protector so I didn't play with it much after the install because I wanted it to set right. My first impressions were exactly as I had expected based off my hands on with the Motorola Xoom at my local Staples the month before. Now that I've had more time with it, here are my thoughts on the Asus Transformer:
Build: The build quality of the tablet is awesome. Though the back is plastic it doesn't feel cheap or fragile. I prefer the way it feels to the Motorola Xoom and the iPad. The tablet feels solid and I haven't had any issues with the creaking that a lot of people have reported. The weight seems pretty evenly distributed through the body of the tablet which makes handling it easier than if one side was heavier than the other. The weight is a good weight for the size of the product and I think this adds to the overall solid feel the tablet has. Any lighter and it might feel cheap. Any heavier however, and it would be near impossible to use for any extended amount of time.
Screen: The screen is superb! This should come as no surprise given the specs of the IPS screen. The screen is made of Gorilla Glass which is supposed to be scratch resistant but given that it is only scratch resistant and not scratch proof (my Samsung Vibrant's Gorilla Glass screen can testify to this) I installed a Skinomi screen protector. This was the first time I've installed a one and it came out looking good save a few pieces of dust that got trapped under the skin. It didn't really affect the quality of the screen any but when the screen is turned off you can tell it's there. Sure, it's not as pretty but it looks better than having a screen scratched to hell. I haven't tried any 1080p HD videos on the tablet yet but the few 720p videos I've watched on there seem great. I've not had any of the issues with choppy play back that some have reported with HD videos but that may be because I'm not watching 1080p videos. Either way, it doesn't bother me because the slight increase in quality from 720p to 1080p does not justify the large increase in file size for me so I will probably not ever watch a full HD video on my device (unless I can figure out how to copy Avatar from my Vibrant).
Apps: This is a well known issue to anyone in the Android world and Google and other developers are working on it. The application pool for tablets is small. However, most Android apps will run on Honeycomb with no real problems. Of all of the applications I had on my phone I think I've only found three or four that either won't work at all or will run but are not able to interact with the tablet hardware appropriately. For example one of the games, TurboFly 3D, will run with no problems but the controls are reversed (i.e. tilt the tablet right and the ship goes left) and there is no way to calibrate the controls. For me, the main uses for my tablet, aside from email and internet, are news and RSS feeds. News360 and Pulse respectively, these needs are met so the handful of quirky applications is not a big deal to me. The included office software does what it's designed to do and other productivity apps like Evernote work without issues. To top it off the Nook app for tablets includes magazine subscriptions so I have a few of my subscriptions (Maxim, Discover, and Guitar World. Waiting on Revolver, Draft, and Decible) coming straight to tablet and I can also shop the Nook store for books. For me, most of my needs are met so the lack of apps doesn't bother me too much but I also couldn't hurt to have more available.
Speakers/Sound: This is the only gripe I have with the Transformer to this point. For some reason the right speaker is significantly louder than the left. Using MoboPlayer which allows you to turn off left and right channels I was able to confirm that the left speaker works but it's just quiet compared to the right one. I've done some looking online and read that it's a software issue related to the SRS configuration, Asus is aware of it and working on a software fix for it. I don't know if this is true or not (internet gossip) but considering how often I actually use the speakers in favor of headphones or external speakers, how long it took me to get my hands on one, and the still limited supply, I'm going to hold off on returning the device to anyone for now. Like I said, if you connect external sound (headphones, etc) there is no sound issue so I'm not worried too terribly much. It's more of an "I didn't pay $400 for an imbalanced speaker setup" than anything else. If it is software, hopefully we'll see a fix soon.
Browser: The stock browser is, hands down, the best android browser. Better than Firefox, Opera, Skyfire, Dolphin... name it and this browser is better. In addition to flash capabilities, the browser can load full, desktop web pages instead of mobile ones. Yes it takes longer to load pages but I prefer full web pages, not pathetic, text only shells of web pages. I also like the ability to play Youtube videos in the browser. This is particularly useful if a website has embedded a Youtube video into an article... you can play the video without having to leave the browser and load another external application. The browser also has the ability to be loaded in full screen which give you a pop out selection of buttons when the edge of the screen is touched giving you access to your back and forward buttons, bookmarks, settings, and a few other buttons instead of taking up room across the top of the screen. It is difficult to explain how important screen space is when you're on a ten inch screen but I can assure you that removing the navigation bar at the top of the page makes a world of difference in the browsing experience.
Accessories: At the time of this writing, there are only two accessories on the market in North America for the Transformer: The very cool keyboard dock that effectively turns the Transformer into an Android powered netbook and the sleeve/portfolio that doubles as a stand. I don't have the keyboard and I don't know that I will buy it. It's a really neat concept and the novelty factor is definitely in play here but I just don't think it would get enough use aside from showing it off to my friends and co-workers to justify spending the extra $150. I may pick it up once Asus has released its latest and greatest in another year and it's on the discount rack for $80 but for now I'll pass.
At the risk of breaking into a full fledge review for the sleeve let me digress from the actual review because I think accessories can make or break a product. Look at the iPod despite the vastly superior Microsoft Zune for example. Anyway, as a case, the sleeve functions well enough. The Transformer fits snug. The cameras are unobstructed, as it the volume rocker, headphone jack, mini HDMI, and power button. For some reason, Asus decided to cover the MicroSD slot. This may not be an issue for some people because a lot of people will fill their card with whatever , slap it in the tablet, and forget it's there. People like me, who are constantly rotating what's on my card might get annoyed at having to remove the tablet to get at the MSD slot. There have also been a couple of times that I have accidentally stopped the card, had to remove the tablet, remove the card, put the card back in, and put the tablet back in the sleeve. It's just a hassle.
The other issue is the design of the case. If you're given the case and hold it with the Asus logo right side up and open it, your tablet is upside down. Again, not a big deal, but it is annoying as all hell. Once you secure the flap to use it as a stand the sleeve can be used to put the tablet in two positions: standing up at a slight angle like a computer monitor or laying down so that it is angled toward you for typing. The problem arises when using it in the laying down position which requires you to flip the tablet upside down which wouldn't be an issue except for the fact that now your volume buttons are upside down, the Asus logo on the tablet is upside down, and most importantly, not all applications support full rotation.
Additionally, the case is nothing more than a front and back piece that were glued together so the edge sticks out and can make holding the tablet in your hand a bit uncomfortable. Additionally, I don't know what material this is made out of but this thing attracts dirt, pet hair, and everything else making it more of a hassle to clean than the screen. Also, the flap that covers the screen is not padded so it provides almost no protection for the screen at all. In all, the sleeve was not thought out at all and seems to have been more of an afterthought than anything else. Asus is laughing at all of us who gave them $40 for it. I would like to see something more along the lines of Motorola Xoom's case.
All in all, the Transformer is a great device. I can't compare it to the iPad or the Xoom because I've not had any real hands on with either aside from messing with display models. I can say that it's cheaper than both and that the tablet has been worth $400. If mine broke right now, I would shell out another $400 for a new one without a moment's hesitation. It has met and exceeded all of my expectations. Now I'm just sitting here, waiting for the 3.1 update notification from Asus.
The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF101-A1 is a great new Android 3.0 tablet (3.1 update available) for the rest of us who aren't attracted to luxury brand names over capability and functionality. I now leave my laptop at home while on business travel, as I am able to handle my VPN accessed work email, administrative requirements, Word document view/editing (compatible), Excel spreadsheet view/editing (compatible), PowerPoint view/editing/presentation (compatible) via both HDMI and DAC VGA, video presentation via both HDMI and DAC VGA, right from the tablet and it has performed very well. It is light weight (compared to my netbooks or laptop), the battery has a long life (7+ hours for my general use), the IPS display is clear and crisp, and the build quality is solid (despite appearance, and some slight plastic-on-plastic creaking when squeezed in just the right way (or wrong way)).
The performance is 5 stars, but I am only giving it 4 stars as the full functionality isn't available without a few missing accessories (ASUS has a new case, mini HMDI, DAC VGA module, docking port USB cable coming... sometime in the future), and the failed supply/availability. If you don't want the extra battery life, and weight that goes with it, I recommend a bluetooth keyboard (there's a small folding qwerty keyboard here on Amazon for a reasonable price).
A word of caution - this table sells for $399 when sold by an authorized ASUS reseller, which is just about any major retailer. Do not support the vultures trying to capitalize on the shortage, as they are no better than gray marketers. They have purchased thier inventory from a major retailer only to resell them here on Amazon (or eBay) and reap large profits for doing nothing more than depleting and monopolizing the limited availability of the ASUS Transformer. More are on the way from ASUS, and they will sell for $399. I am going to buy another one, as my daughter wants to replace her netbook, but I will wait until the "real" $399 shipment comes in and not contribute to vulture piracy. Amazon should not support this type of 'dark market resale' and neither should we - don't feed the animals!
Update: ~2 weeks after my 2nd Transformer purchase.
I've been using the Bluetooth keyboard with the Transformer for a while now, and am quite pleased with the performance. I am also using an HDMI to mini-HDMI adapter with HP's HDMI-VGA adapter for display on monitors/projectors with VGA and no HDMI, and it works very well. I have been using the cheap Arkon tablet holder (while I wait for my leather portfolio made for the Transformer), and it works very well. Another benefit I have found with my current setup is that I can place the transformer next to the projector, with access to power and video hookup, and sit 10-15 feet away with my mini-bluetooth keyboard and control everything - obviates the whole issue of cord length and associated inconvenience.
The entire suite I bring with me on business travel takes 1/2 the room of my laptop, and less than 1/3 the weight. It is also much less hassle to setup, whether on a plane or in a conference room, and I appreciate the flexibility I have in choosing what options I will use. I see new or adapted Honeycomb apps every day, and have been very please overall with how well everything is functioning. The screen and system continues to be responsive, plenty of memory with no slowdown even after adding and changing dozens of apps. Still waiting for the ASUS docking port USB adapter to be released, but with a 32GB SD and WiFi, it's not a critical shortcoming.
I am very impressed with this device. This is my first tablet, but I already own an android phone so I am familiar with the platform. I have also used a Xoom and both Ipad's. This device is hands down better then the xoom and I believe as good if not better then both Ipad's.
- Great Screen
- good battery life
- Can use some of the apps I paid for on my phone.
- No lag. I used the xoom and it was very laggy, perhaps it was because it was the store model but I was not impressed. This thing has no lag at all and I have not even played with the settings yet.
-I have my computer set to stream content to my xbox and this tablet was able to find and access that content as well without any new setup on my part.
- Screen does smudge easily. I also have more oily hands then is most too which does not help
- No Netflix, this sucks but you can remote desktop very easily to your home pc and do this. This can even be setup to access when you're away from home.
Overall if you have been considering a Honeycomb tablet this is the tablet to get. It's the cheapest tablet out there and one of the best. I believe the Gtab is better, but costs almost 300 more. The only thing the ipad can do which this tablet cannot is Netflix, that's it. Any argument about apps is bogus because you still have access to the 40,000 android phone apps many of which are being updated for honeycomb.
So there are some build quality issues, the bezel around the edge pops out very easily. I am 6'4" so I have big hands and I pop it out just holding the things at times. During one of those pop outs I broke the power button somehow and have to send it back for repair, hopefully under warranty. Its a real shame too since it unit feels pretty solid otherwise. And ASUS customer support is a very bad experience.
ASUS replaced my unit under warranty and the whole process to get took 3 weeks door to door which is exactly as advertised in their warranty information. Also the people I talked to once my tablet was received were much more helpful and easy to understand so my initially bad experience may have been due to a specific employee rather than a system wide issue.
Over the last 3 weeks there has also been several firmwire updates which fix some of the issues I had.
However the unit still has two issues
1. Build quality is not at Ipad 2, Xoom, etc level. The back bezel still flexes somewhat, but its better then my first unit.
2. The unit randomly shuts down, not sure why it does this but it is annoying. A long press (10 seconds) of the power button restarts the unit in this case.
Overall final impressions
1. I bought this tablet because I wanted to use the keyboard dock accessory. If that interests you then this is without a doubt the tablet to get.
2. This is a nice tablet, but for $100 more you can get the Samsung 10.1 (not at the time I write this, but very soon at least) which from what I have read seems to be a much better tablet. I would still chose the ASUS, but only because of the keyboard accessory. If I just wanted a tablet it would have been a well spent $100 upgrade.
Overall, I'm quite satisfied with my ASUS Transformer. The size and weight, speed & system resources, price, screen, design - all great. But like other reviewers I have serious doubts in ASUS' quality control. I'm on my third Transformer (and this seems to be a keeper), the first one had HORRIBLE backlight bleed around 3 of the edges. The second one had reasonably bad backlight bleed on the "bottom" edge of the screen, the power button was half broken and would get stuck in the body and the screen had apparently not been properly fit in the body as there was a very small gap between it and the bezel and a piece of plastic protruding out. The third feels more solid, and so far I haven't noticed any issues with it.
They've got the makings of a great product, but with the serious quality issues coupled with the inability to meet demand, I fear they may falter.
As an owner of a 1st gen iPad, but a great fan of Android smartphones, I decided it was time for me to get an Android Tablet. I did some research into the Galaxy Tab, the ViewSonic gTablet, the Motorola Xoom, and the ASUS Transformer. After some analysis, I found that the Transformer boasted almost the same stats as the Galaxy Tab and the Xoom, seemed to have better build quality and stock software than the gTablet, and came in at a significantly lower price than both the Xoom and Galaxy Tab 10.1. I made the decision to get the Transformer.
I have not been disappointed. The tablet is very attractive looking. It is thin, the hardware buttons are silver and vibrant, the screen is a nice black and the back is embossed with a nice scaled honeycomb pattern. The software itself is responsive, Honeycomb 3.2 seems to run very well on the device. The screen is the same technology used by both iPad 1 & 2, so it has similar display quality at a higher resolution due to its slightly larger screen.
Sometimes I doubt the build quality despite its attractive appearance. Sometimes the chassis creaks when I hold it one-handed at one end, making me think it might fall apart. I think I am just being paranoid though.
I do have a bit of light bleed on one edge. I only notice it when in the Kindle app when it's set for white letters on black background. It's just a tiny smidgen of white at the top corner of the screen. Hardly worth complaining about.
As an iPad user, I'm accustomed to very long battery life. The Transformer performs as well as the iPad when in use. However, the iPad can survive a week or more on standby, the Transformer can only go a couple days before its battery is drained. I'm not sure how this stacks up to other Android tablets as I've never used them for an extended period of time.
I am willing to forgive these shortcomings due to its price. At only $400, the Transformer is far greater value than the Xoom and Galaxy Tab 10.1. It definitely beats out the Xoom, and the only edge the Galaxy Tab has is a slightly higher pixel density in its display. Additionally, the Transformer boasts an SD card slot and a mini HDMI port. I can't say the same for the Galaxy Tab.
All in all, if you're looking for an Android tablet, this is the one to get.
I don't typically do reviews on amazon but I will for this since it's such a large purchase.
I will start by saying that I purchased this product from newegg because they offered a combo package with keyboard and tab plus free asus cover/stand for a better price plus free shipping. I love amazon, but money talks, and when it was going to save me over $50 to buy from newegg, I decided to go that way.
First off, my wife received the tablet while I was on travel for work so she already had lots of stuff downloaded and ready to go. It was simply pick it up and go for me. That was nice.
I read that I would be able to skype on this. Not so, at least for me. I couldn't get skype to work even though it was in the app store. Skype would open up but it couldn't successfully find anybody else on skype (users that I know exist) and the user that was logged into skype on the tablet couldn't be found either. Big disappointment. I know it's not the fault of asus, but it was disappointing because that was the primary reason I bought the tablet. It is so my wife and I can "skype" when I leave for my deployment.
The cord is impossibly short. I realize this is a tablet and it's geared towards being used free-handed without being tied down, but at the same time, would it kill asus to make the cord 4 feet longer? It's the small things that make or break a product in my book and this is something that I just can't get past. I've resorted to attaching an extension cord to the outlet and dragging that around with me. It works, but it's inconvenient.
This thing is awesome, it is extremely fast, and responsive. The graphics are great and the USB, microSD, SD, miniHDMI ports are all very welcome features that will be well used, you can never have enough ports to plug things into.
When I couldn't get Skype to work I resorted to google talk as a close second. I was elated to find that setup was a breeze, there weren't any glitches, and it controls both the front-facing and rear-facing cameras and allows you to switch back and forth between the two while you're in the middle of a video chat. I'm glad that Google has taken this into account when developing the Honeycomb and Talk software. I think Google talk is far superior in my book (at least when it comes to hand-held communications devices).
I've had this for a couple weeks now and I have no doubt in my mind that I made the right choice. Everything is better when there is a certain element of modularity and diversity in the means that it can be used. Asus hit the nail square on the head by making a tablet that can be turned into a netbook with extended battery life and extended usability (added ports and memory).
The only problems that I have experienced are #1 after the most recent firmware update it has been having "screen flickering" issues. The screen will randomly flicker, and then stop again just as randomly as it started. It is annoying, but it is bearable enough that I plan to wait and see if it goes away on it's own. #2 For some reason, when my wife uses "Tapfish" the touch screen function stops working, even if it's in tablet mode. If you enter tapfish while it isn't connected to the dock, you must reconnect it to the dock to gain usability of the keyboard so continue with what you were doing. This glitch is likely a compatibility issue with Tapfish, but the glitch continues even after the app has been closed. The only way to restore functionality of the touch-screen is to put the tablet to sleep and wake it back up. When it wakes up touch-screen functions have returned. I'm not technically savvy enough to further diagnose the issue. My loves tapfish so I guess she will continue to live with the hassle.