2,241 of 2,270 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2011
I was lucky enough to wake up early today and go to Memory Express in Edmonton and they had one. Stores received a limited amount of tablets and they were all sold out within hours, including here on Amazon. I've been playing with this thing for hours now and so far I've only had great experiences with it.
The main feature for me is the remote desktop: you can access your PC, whether it's a Mac or a PC, if they're both connected to your home wi-fi connection. You can control your PC from anywhere and use all of its features. I watched a HD movie and worked on MS Word docs, everything went smoothly.
The tablet doesn't weigh much for its size and the IPS screen is amazing, it's the same screen used on the iPad 2. I'm not a person who needs to buy products made by just one brand. I like Apple and I own a iPhone 4, but when it came to deciding which tablet to buy, I went for the Transformer because it offers me a tablet/netbook function, the best of both worlds.
The tablet itself has a microSD card slot so I already have 32GB more to use it. The docking station (which can be purchased by 149.99) has 2 USB ports and 1 SD Card slot.
You can edit Microsoft Office docs on it using Polaris Office, it's great and this app comes pre-installed on it. Playing mp3s or acc files on it it's great too. You can use the app MyNet to play music from your own PC or Mac, via bluetooth.
I'm playing SNES games using SNESoid app and using a Wiimote/Classic Controller via Bluetooth and everything works great! It has native email (which Blackberry Playbook doesn't) and you can sync your calendar and contacts easily. It has full flash compatibility. For $399, there's nothing on the market with these specs. The Motorola Xoom has similar specs and it costs $200 more. It doesn't give you the option to attach a docking station with all those slots. When I buy computers, I want to be able to upload content to it easily, or transfer files from it easily as well. The Apple system is ok but needing iTunes for everything is kinda like a dictatorship. I had to jailbreak my iPhone to be able to play SNES games on it, or even listen to music on Grooveshark. That's where the Android Market comes in.
You can download any apps you want, any developer can create apps for it, it's a "free" system. It's not as wide as the App Store, but it's getting bigger and bigger by the minute. I downloaded the Kindle app and already transferred all my e-books to it (I also own a Kindle and I love it).
There are some quirks that have to be tweaked with Honeycomb 3.0 OS and that's something Google is working on. That's easy since updates will be released (an update is scheduled in 2 days). So that will improve the overall performance of the OS. But I honestly didn't have any issues with it, I really like Honeycomb 3.0 so far.
I definitely recommend this thing for people who want to use their tablets as an extension or even a replacement to their laptops. Asus has hit a home run with this one, since it costs much less than anybody else and its specs are great. It's hands down the best purchase I've had under 400 bucks.
The docking station is sold out anywhere else but I pre-ordered it on Amazon and I'm hoping to get it in a couple of weeks. I'll post a video with the combo once I get everything up and running. I'm a iOS person who's welcoming Android with open arms!
Review Update: Apr 29 2011 - Ok, so I've been using my Transformer for a few days so I'd like to add a few pros and cons to this review.
Pros: beside what's been mentioned above, I noticed that:
- multitasking is really easy on the Transformer. You can quickly jump from one app to the other, check e-mails, browse something on Wikipedia, listen to music and even have your Skype session open at the same time. I was chatting with my dad and multitasking and had no issues. The Skype app needs updates, but that's nothing to do with Asus.
- File Manager: this feature is great! You don't have to hook up your Transformer to your computer all the time to move, copy or paste files. You can create new folders and even transfer files from your microSD card straight to it. I transferred a movie from my microsd Card folder (path is root\removable to access microSD files) to my Movies folder and it was very quick. And I didn't need to plug it in in order to access or move the files.
- Widgets: Your Desktop Area (Or Asus Launcher) is very wide so you can add many widgets to it, and they're very handy. That's something that can't be done on the iPad 2. Mind you Widgets can affect the speed a bit, but nothing noticeable at all. Those people running speed tests between iPad 2 and the Transformer need to bear that in mind.
- Weight: believe it or not, it doesn't feel heavy at all for its size.
Cons: ok, so here it is:
-smudges on screen - it's a fingerprint magnet but all tablets are, so not a big deal. I'm cleaning it whenever needed using a nice cloth (the one that I use for lenses) with a bit of water/alcohol and it looks pristine after that. Let me know if you find a better way to clean fingerprints.
It doesn't need wiping on a daily basis. I looked it up and for IPS screens, the best way to clean it is to use a mix of distilled water and alcohol, but I'm using tap water. I like this thing so much that I would buy another one tomorrow if something happened to it! (wait, maybe not tomorrow, it's still sold out everywhere)
-HD video playback in Fullscreen mode using the YouTube App: ok, this might be Honeycomb-related and therefore something that can be dealt with via future updates. You might notice a bit of choppy frames here and there. I find the iOS more stable for this type of playback. But there's no problems playing HD video from your microSD card or even if you upload a HD video to the Transformer hard drive, you won't have problems watching it. There's more than enough RAM to support HD video streaming.
-charger: I'm planning on using it all the time, so the cord is not long enough. If I have it on a desk, I need a power bar or outlet really close by, to leave it plugged in if I wanna save some battery. Well, tablet + docking gives you 16 hrs of battery... so you really don't have to have it plugged in. But this suggestion could be emailed to Asus so they could release a charger with a longer cable, that would be sweet.
Other observations: Camera: not that great, it's an average camera. Am I gonna use it for super important pics? Definitely not, I got a nice camera for that. But for daily use, it's not too bad.
***UPDATE June 13*** - I've been using the TF for 6 weeks now, and I also have the keyboard dock, which I got 2 weeks ater getting the tab. I can safely say it has become my main "go to" device: web browsing, music, movies, games, word processing, reading books and comics, news, remote desktop, you name it. I still use my PC and my smartphone but not as much as I use the tablet.
- For people who wonder if light bleed gets worse as time goes by: I was lucky enough to get a unit with no light bleed other than a tiny spot (barely noticeable) on the left side of the tablet, and it's been the same since day 1. But compared to my friend's iPad, I can safely say mine has no light bleed whatsoever. Some of the newer batches got units with really bad lemons but I think this was due to ramping up the production like crazy. I heard they manufactured 300,000 units in June so I think they'll improve their quality control dept and make spanking sharp units now.
- Honeycomb 3.1: Asus was one of the first ones to release the 3.1 update and it fixed the YouTube app HD video issue (at least on mine). I think 1080p is overkill on a 10.1 inch screen so the 720p HD on the YouTube app works like a charm. Playing movies straight out of a SD card or USB drive is easy and there's no lag either, so feel free to pack lots of multimedia and play straight out of them without having to use your device's internal memory.
Touchscreen is much more responsive, browser is faster, animations flow more smoothly, full gamepad compatibility via USB, better "relationship" between dock and tablet. What really bugged me about 3.0 was that when I used the dock a lot of features seems to be toggled on/off. That has never happened after 3.1. So, overall, the update fixed a whole bunch of bugs and made the experience even better.
- Wrapping it up: battery life is great, using the keyboard to type long texts is handy... and I was able to tether the TF to my iPhone via w-fi, so now it works as a 3G-like tab. I've done both bluetooth and wi-fi tethering. Wi-fi is faster but bluetooth saves battery life. I basically do it to use Google Maps and GPS, and it's been great so far. I know they're releasing a 3G Transformer in the summer, but I don't need one since I don't wanna pay more fees to my carrier, and sign another 1 year contract just for more data plan. I can use this as a 3G alternative whenever I need a bigger screen. It works with the iPhone and I know it does work with Android devices, but I'm not sure if works with Blackberry phones. Let me know if you wanna know more about tethering and I'll be glad to help.
6 weeks after purchasing the TF, I'm still very pleased with my device.
UPDATE August 3rd 2011 - Honeycomb 3.2 main features - I got my 3.2 update a few days ago... there's just a few things that were updated, or changed. It wasn't as significant as 3.1, but here's what I noticed about 3.2: compatibility zoom for fixed size apps - it helps with apps that are not designed to run on larger screens like 10.1 inches. I tested it and it's actually a great improvement, compared to what it was in 3.1
Media sync from SD - I already did that before, but now you can load any media straight from the microSD card (this is more for Xoom owners)
I don't think there were any changes on high def videos, I think it still outputs in 720p, no true 1080p yet on youtube and stuff, but like I said before, 720p is more than enough on a 10 inch screen.
Better hardware acceleration, updates to widgets and Movie Studio app, now Honeycomb can also run on 7 inch tablets, and some other minor ones... I'm enjoying Honeycomb while it lasts, since it will phase out in a few months (Ice Cream Sandwich is coming). Overall, I'm still having loads of fun with the Transformer!
936 of 961 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2011
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.
600 of 631 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2011
I purchased the Transformer with the keyboard from Amazon recently. Before I bought it, I was on the fence between this tablet, Ipad2 and the yet to be released Toshiba Android tablet. I had a hard time deciding between getting the Ipad2 and this Transformer tablet since I already have some investment with Apple/Itunes because of my iphone4. But the ability to run flash programs, built in GPS in the base unit, with microSD external storage and a larger screen with more resolution was the swaying factor. I'm neither an Apple or Google fanboy. I just want stuff to work and make my life easier or fun.
First, the display unit is very nice and sharp. It is a bit glossy and it will reflect quite a bit and it's also a finger print magnet. It's also has a tackiness as you finger will not glide as easy as you might expect but these are minor quibbles. I don't mind the back shell of unit as well as some others have commented that it feels cheap. It feels fine to me.
It's major disadvantage seems to be weak wifi performance. I have a Dlink N router and none of my laptops or iphone have any performance issues around my house. The tablet frequently registers fair to poor signal strength with wifi dropping off sporadically. I've altered my router to use a different channel which seemed to help the reliability of the connection but data rate is poor overall. But with wifi being it's only lifeline, you'd expect it to perform better.
Video playback at 1080p is not great either. I've tried streaming from DLNA source and on the microSD of some 1080p movies and the frame rates are very choppy. You'll get one second of video and about 2 seconds of freezing. Playback on DVD definition video is adequate but not great. No freezing but doesn't seem very smooth. With the recent update to 3.1 Honeycomb did improve video playback, but it didn't fix the video playback problem. I will have to try some movies at 720p to see if that helps.
This is my first experience with Google Android. On some things like the browser or Google Earth the system works great with the touch interface and provides a near seamless experience. But it still needs a lot more polishing all around. When I pinch and zoom in Google Earth, it won't zoom in or out in the area I'm pinching in, just the center of the screen. You can't pinch and zoom in an email either. The browser has flash support, some sites won't recognize it as a full fledged browser and redirects you to the mobile version of their website so you can't access the flash version of their sites. When you do get a site with flash, it seems slow. The other thing that's a nuisance is that some apps prefer to run in either portrait or landscape mode and you can't switch seamlessly around from both for certain apps. It is a pain to switch to portrait mode with keyboard attached. I still have other glitches where my keyboard would disappear and become non functional until I take the tablet off and plug it back in and I've gotten a few lock ups with video playback. Switching the wifi off/on seems to put it in a quandary sometimes. Overall, 3.1 Android still feels unfinished.
It's a bit disappointing in the end, I took one star off for unfinished Android experience and another star off for awful wifi performance/range and 1080p playback which is important to me. The only glimmer of hope is that these issues may get resolved with a future update. Then again, maybe I got a bad unit or my expectations were too high.
6/5/2011 Update: You can pinch/zoom in the browser by turning off Auto-fit page option in the browser. 720P movies works but bogs down when there are heavy changes in the video. There's a rhythmic change in speed every second. It's very subtle but noticeable in slow smooth pans in video. 720 over DLNA works fine. Youtube video browser is pretty good. Network still drops out for no reason. I just realized there's no easy way to print from the tablet.
7/20/2011 Update: Just updated firmware which seem to address the problem of the wifi not picking up my wireless after coming out of sleep mode. Not sure what else the update addressed.
8/29/2011 Update: Applied the 3.2 update a few weeks ago and just updated with a new firmware. I'm happy to say the lumpiness in 720 playback speed has been fixed. The odd thing was some of the 1080 playback has gotten a bit worse. In the past, the files would at least load and playback with lots of choppiness. Now 1080 files will not load at all. A step backwards in a feature that wasn't working properly to begin with.
Also, the battery life with the docking station has improved dramatically. Before the update, the tablet would run out of juice 1.5 days when tablet + docking station was just sleeping. So far it's been about 3-4 days and it still has about 70% battery left.
I worked around my wifi problem by buying an access point and installing closer to where I normally would use it. I haven't investigated whether the wifi performance has improved with the new firmware and the with the original router. I know the performance was not improved by the 3.2 update.
Still no easy way to print webpages or emails. Not fond of Google cloud print.
277 of 291 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2011
I am a previous owner of the Archos 101, which was a decent tablet during its time, but as time goes by..it became sluggish and multitasking on it was a drag so I sold it on ebay and saved the money for my next tablet purchase. Then I heard about this tablet and I was anxiously anticipating its US release. I was one of the lucky ones who were able to grab one on Amazon on release day(April 26th). I received my package via OnTrac on the 27th. I opened my package and tried it out for about an hour before deciding to do the OTA update. A few people on the xda forum reported that they have bricked their Asus TFs because of the update so I was hesitant. However, everything went well for me and it was updated within five minutes.
-First thing first. Sorry, no iOS vs Android comparison here. If you are looking at this item, you SHOULD already know the advantages and disadvantages for both OS.
-The screen is AMAZING!! Viewing angle is superb. High resolution IPS LED LCD display with Corning Gorilla Glass for the win.
-Only $399. $200 less than the Xoom. $100 less than the iPad 2. $50 less than the Acer Iconia a500. With equal or better hardware/features. You make the decision.
-Android 3.0 is great. Very smooth usage. Very open-ended. Customizable to the max. True multitasking; with as many apps running in the background as the CPU can handle. Asus included some exclusive widgets and apps. Games run beautifully with no lag. I am new to Honeycomb, and I am enjoying it a lot.
-Asus included a roll of numbers on the android virtual keyboard. That is very handy as i dont have to click an extra button to access the numbers. Most of my passwords have numbers and that saves a lot of time.
-Flash 10.2. You can browse the internet without feeling left out. Yes, you get flashy ads also. I would say Flash works 95% because sometimes flash videos get laggy when maximized to full screen. Youtube app videos stutters when you play it fullscreen in HQ. However, there is supposedly a fix of that issue coming soon for Honeycomb. Other than that, every flash based websites load fine.
-Apps for Honeycomb is lacking right now but it should kick off soon. Some apps are not compatible with Honeycomb and will crash after installation. If you are a news junkie, Pulse is the app to get. Mobo player is the best video player to me. Many of the free games are very fun to play.
-MyCloud was not there when my tablet came. I needed to do the OTA update for MyCloud to appear in the apps folder.Since the remote desktop in MyCloud can only connect to the PCs in your LAN network, I was excited to find out about LogMeIn ignition on the Android Market. You can buy the app to remotely control any PCs anywhere.
-Plays back basic video formats like avi. Compared to my Archos 101 which is made by a French company, can play many video formats natively, even mkv. (I love European devices with their video playback capabilities)
-Has built in GPS with a free downloadable text-to-speech plug-in on the Android Market.
-Build quality is good for the price although not as good as iPad 2. The texture design on the back is nice and gives better grip.
-Big bezel. Initially, the big bezel turned me off, but now I understood why Asus made it bigger than other comparable tablets. My old Archos has a thin Bezel and because of that I would accidentally touch the screen with my thumbs, wrecking havoc. With this tablet, my thumbs rest on the bezel and that problem was solved, and also my thumbs get some rest.
-Two good cameras, on front and back. Picture quality is great, but video recording is average.
-MicroSD slot and miniHDMI. I also ordered the keyboard so that I will have two USB ports.
-Charging connecter is shorter than I expected. It can be a hassle if you want to use the tablet and charge it at the same time.
-Power button and speakers are on the side. Unlike the Archos 101 and Moto Xoom, having speakers on the side means that when you put it flat down, your sound does not deteriorate. The right speaker is louder than the left for some reason. Hopefuly an update will fix that.
-Battery life is good. Around 8-9 hours depending on your usage. Battery life can be extended with the keyboard dock, while transforming into a netbook.
The Asus TF is hot at $399, and I am enjoying it very much so far. This thing is in another league compared to my Archos 101. This product is rare right now and I hope Asus can ship more units(or maybe it's just a marketing strategy for more hype).
Anyhow, this tablet is great and I am looking forward to future Android updates to make it even better. Five stars for a good tablet.
Hope this helps and have fun with your tablet(s)!
*UPDATE 5/2/11* So, I have noticed that occasionally, apps force close in Android 3.0. I know this is a software issue with Asus and that there should be updates coming soom to address this. I have heard that the Acer a500 is more stable as of right now.
I was at a shopping mall and saw an Apple show store so I decided to come in and play around with the iPad 2. One thing I want to mention is that you will never see any checker-boarding when surfing the net with the Asus TF.
So the stuttering 720p video after recording has been solved after the OTA updates. It is much smoother now.
**For those in the dark or have finally came out under the rock: This tablet retails at $399, so do not be a victim and buy it at $500+ from sellers on Amazon Marketplace. Also, you should not rate this item down because of third party sellers jacking up the price.**
91 of 95 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2011
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.
83 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2011
I have the tablet for a week already. I have tried some apps and so far I am impressed.
1. The design is gorgeous. The metal frame is sturdy enough and the knobs are metal too. The plastic back is solid. The device overall looks and feels luxurious.
2. The screen is IPS, the viewing angels are perfect, i.e. 180 degree, colors are well saturated, etc etc. Screen response is fast.
3. I haven't tested the full battery depletion, I have always used it heavily for 6-8 hours straight with active GPS, WiFi,Skype, games and/or movies, live wallpaper and some other background applications running, and it has been down to around 30%. It can last a day of usage, apparently, and then it can be charged at night when not in use. It charges for around 2 hours from zero to full.
4. GPS works, it is as fast or faster as standalone GPS navigators /I have Magellan 3250/. I am using lucos free, and I haven't figure out yet how to properly download an US map, but eventually the offline GPS navigation shall work on this. Paid apps are less then $10 anyway.
5. WiFi worked straight, it is not even worth commenting here. I am on WPA2 wifi N. It is fast.
6. Installed flash 10.2 - I haven't bumped into anything that doesn't play yet. I browsed and read numerous web sites, most of them with heavy flash. I watch YouTube in the browser and within the app - both work, HD also works but it is limited by the WiFi throughput. That is not caused by the tablet. I am yet to see a device that passes smoothly HiDef video through WiFi.
Vevo works smoothly too. It has to be installed AFTER the flash 10.2 installation in order to work.
7. Played several movies with Mobo player. Avi, DivX worked perfect - nothing to comment. I tried h264 mkv 720p main - it played smoothly, but I have no sound - I think it is Dolby coded though. I haven't had time to try another file. Given the limited storage capacity though, I will most likely use DivX files or h264 mkv lesser than 1GB each, so I can store more when travel. The 1080p discussion in the forums is kind of irrelevant - I don't need the tablet to be capable of playing 1080p when the file size is at least 6GB anyway. I will need that HiDef when the storage of tablets achieves 1TB :) at the same or lower tablets price.
8. Kindle app works perfect and it is very easy. Amazon app store works perfect. Google Android Market - works perfect, easy to navigate and the icon was pre-installed anyway.
9. The sound is stereo, it makes difference in videos and movies, and it is pretty loud. My daughter can and she is watching movies on the road, and plays Angry Birds :).
10. Skype works - no video yet.
11. It is visible immediately as "Asus Transformer" external storage in Windows 7 upon USB connection. It is visible in the WiFi network. DLNA works as it should be. In Win 7 Home Premium you right click on a media file and chose PLayTo Asus Transformer. For comparison DLNA doesn't work on my SONY DLNA certified TV :):)
I haven't tried the remote terminal, i.e. the Splash application yet, since I haven't updated the tablet. It is stock 3.0.1.
I have used iPad, iPad2 and this Asus. For a GPS unit you need iPad with 3G. The iPad build quality perception is better, since it is solid aluminum unibody. Anything else is on par. iTunes is a joke, I would never install that malware on a Windows computer again, never. So, the preference is highly subjective, but in the Android field this is the best right now. If you like iTunes, i.e. you feel more comfortable and easier to use - you will be better off with Apple. To me Apple OS is too restrictive and useless. I personally have much more practical application for this device since my usage (connectivity, applications, etc) is pretty much unrestricted by the OS. I use the tablet as a standalone computer, I don't need to sync it or connect it to a desktop to be functional.
55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2011
Okay, so my biases up front: Compared to most people buying this tablet, I might as well be half-Amish. I've got a cheap ol' pay-as-you-go cell phone that takes pictures and, I assume, can text but I've never used it for that, an old desktop computer, a Kindle, and until a week ago when it died, a 3 year old first-gen eee netbook. I haven't played around with smartphones or ipads other than a couple of times playing a tower defense game on an itouch, so despite having a pretty good ability at sorting tech things out (I use Ubuntu and that sort of thing) I've been comfortably behind the times when it comes to what gadgets can really do these days. If you're used to tablets you might not be as blown away by the transformer as I was, but if you're even a little bit behind the technological times this little device will leave you with your mouth hanging open in stark disbelief that you live in "the future" and that you're lucky enough to be able to afford something so feature-rich for 400 dollars (if you're lucky enough to find it in stock somewhere at retail price!).
So. Lots of well-informed and clever people have typed a whole lot of words that you've probably already read about what makes this tablet different from other devices on the market. There are also many good video reviews that you should search for before committing yourself to tracking one down. What I can offer in my review that I haven't noticed mentioned much elsewhere is just how intuitive I found the Honeycomb experience. It took a little bit of playing around with it, almost as if I had to train my brain to do things *intuitively* and trust my instincts instead of looking for the "right" way to do things, which is not how we are really used to relating to technology.
I showed my 63-year old mother. Everyone has someone in their lives something like her. The type that is afraid to touch the keyboard for fear that it will break and she will end up with a virus that will delete the universe. The kind that calls you up saying "ADOBE WANTS TO INSTALL SOMETHING IS THIS OKAY WHAT SHOULD I CLICK HELP HELP HACKERS". and that sort of thing. She had it figured out in 5 minutes and was ooh-ing and ahhhh-ing over how simple and slick and user-friendly she found it. When I showed her that she could search the internet with her voice, I started to wonder if I would ever get to hold my precious new toy again. Even my just-turned-three "big boy" figured out how to get "his" game working on his own.
It's hard for me to imagine a better end-user experience, though I have yet to get my hands on the keyboard dock or try out any stylus program. As it stands now with my only uses being watching videos, listening to Pandora, playing some games, reading pdf papers, checking email/internet, and goofing around with some seriously fun applications, it already rates as my all-time favorite gadget. Once I've had a chance to use it with the dock and have the full experience of laptop plus tablet, I'll have to invent some new superlatives for my excitement. It feels a little weird to be living in the future, but I like it!
Edited to add: My one complaint, if you can really call a tiny quibble a complaint, is the much-commented on fact that the charging cord is hilariously short. This is stupid and ASUS should have some people give them dirty looks until they change this on the next-gen transformer. There are workarounds if it really is an issue for you, but it's an idiotic design decision that flies in the face of common sense, especially when they have such a nicely designed product.
Slightly later edit:
Writing notes with a stylus (I grabbed a Boxwave) is smooth as silk and the camera and video functions work like a dream. I've noticed a little bit of bugginess from time to time resulting in a couple applications crashing; I am not sure if that is the fact of the applications or an issue with Honeycomb. Regardless, it happens very infrequently and hasn't caused me any headaches so far.
Even later edit:
I've been using it with the keyboard for a couple of days now and have fallen even more in love with it. It's hard for me to imagine ever going back to a standard laptop (or, for that matter, settling for a pad device without a fully functional keyboard for when I want to write long emails or documents. I really could not be more impressed with the design of this product and I know a couple of my friends have seen this baby in action and immediately started trying to hunt down Transformers of their own. The only other disappointments I have found in the interim are that the Android app store as some catching up to do for people using this device (but that will come with time and with more people using Android machines as their primary computers for work _and_ play) and the fact that for the unfortunate people with hardware issues ASUS is making them pay for one-way shipping for a product that is damaged right off the bat. Boo to them for that appalling policy. For someone that gets a fully working unit as I did, there's really very little to be upset about as any apps you could possibly hope for will be developed with time.
Oh, and finally, I've also started using this as a comic book reader and it is a total delight. I looooooove this machine!
FINAL EDIT No really I mean it this time: We've been using our lovely little pad for a few months now and it's still the darling of our technology collection. We got Ubuntu up and dual-booting (don't try this if you don't know what you're doing) and I can safely say that it's the perfect machine for my family's needs. If you have the know-how I highly recommend rooting it and installing Ubuntu alongside Android so you can have a robust OS for times when you need to work and the fun tablet for when you just want something fun. If you are getting this as a second computer, you don't need to worry about rooting it but if you are really looking for something that can replace your desktop then you may want to think about dual booting.
55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2011
I do not generally write reviews but this tablet is worth it. I have owned(and returned) and Motorola Xoom and have tested the Ipad 2. BOTH are nice devices for sure but a tad bit overpriced and I am not a huge fan of the boring iOS customization options. For $399 (Asus Transformer 16gb version) you get the 10 inch tablet, you get the Tegra POWER, the nice sound and the latest Android tablet operating system (honeycomb) which is the perfect combination.
Device feels very solid in hand, not too light, not too heavy, all of the apps from my previous Mytouch 4g work on the tablet and it functions very well. Battery life is GREAT, I set it to leave wifi on permanently without disconnecting and took it off the charger at 9pm yesterday, used it to tweet, browse and type a paper while listening to non stop music until about 1-2am. Woke up today at 9am, my new emails were synced and gtalk was running.....STILL had 69% left. It is now going on 1pm, i haven't used it much besides for my alarm clock and listened to another 10 songs and tweeted while i got ready for class and its sitting at 63% now.
- Great Battery Life (Without the Keyboard dock's extra power source)
- Nice weight, does not feel cheap
- Android 3.0 for tablets is a great step forward to set it apart from everyone else just using the phone OS
- Can handle ALL tasks( Recreation, Games, Music, Work documents, homework, etc) My laptop has been put to rest since owning a table.... R.I.P.
- PLENTY of apps for everyone and everything you are interested in.
- Google talk video chat works like a charm
- Cameras take good quality pictures
- EASE OF USE
- Not a fan of the placement of the speakers since they put them towards the bottom. My hands sometimes blocks them while holding the device but i can still hear the music just fine(even though not as loud)
- The charger is kinda short, that is acceptable but it seems like when you plug the Tablet to the computer it stops charging when you have the screen on, i found that a little strange. Safety reasons? im not sure.
Final Verdict: If you want a GREAT tablet that is affordable, has video chat, music, games, apps, full internet browsing abilities and PLENTY of customization options then this is your device! Easily replaced my new laptop, much lighter, better battery life and can do the same things...literally.
*SideNote* Those 3g/4g radio tablets seem to have less battery life because of the data connection. this Wifi only tablet is the best solution and i can STILL have internet on the go by simply using the Wifi hotspot option on my t-mobile Android device. Tmobile offers the ability to legally use the wifi hotspot on your existing Android device for only 9.99 a month, thats MUCH better than paying an extra $40-$60 for a data plan on a tablet alongside with a 1-2 year contract. #ThinkAboutIt
73 of 77 people found the following review helpful
Finally, a non iPad tablet that's both technologically on par (and here and there superior) with the 'leader' AND reasonably priced AND doesn't force us, the paying customers, into some 'ecosystem' mandatory straightjacket.
While not perfect, the Transformer offers a great deal when it comes to features and expandability and it's the clear price leader at this time. And, of course, there's the open Honeycomb and the freedom that a reasonably open OS gives you without having to wait for jailer's okay - no need to jailbreak. You are free by default as you should be. I so wanted an open Wi-Fi tablet so maybe I am a little overenthusiastic but I totally jumped on this one when it became available because it's the first non-iTablet that actually makes sense IF you don't care about 3G/4G.
I've only been using the Transformer for a couple of days and I haven't reached the top of the learning curve so I'm not going to write a lot about the various apps but I've had enough time to get to know the hardware part and basic capabilities and, for someone quite skeptical when it came to 'tablets' all I can say is that I am impressed, especially when comparing it with the other tablets out there. And this is why (I rated each feature on a scale from 1 to 10 where 1 is bad and 10 is best):
-- PRICE (8) - the 16 GB model beats all the others at the time I'm writing this. This TF101-B1 comes with 32 GB and costs $100 more for an additional 16 GB - $499 list price - but it's still a good match for everything else that's out there. There is a separate listing for TF101-A1, the 16 GB version.
-- DISPLAY SIZE (10) - 10.1", 16x9 (wide screen). Can't really compare it with the iPad because iPad's 9.7" screen is in a 4x3 format - more square inches but movies show much better on a 16x9 screen.
-- RESOLUTION (10) - 1280x800 translates in 30% more pixels than iPad's and it's a beautiful, bright image. However, you can't really use it outside unless it's a cloudy day. For reading on the beach, there's the Kindle :)
-- INTERNAL MEMORY (8) - 1 GB is not overwhelming but it's twice as much as iPad's (better multi-tasking) and on par with the more expensive Xoom.
-- PROCESSOR (8) - 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 (2 x Cortex A9) is on par with Xoom, clock speed similar with iPad 2.
-- STORAGE (10) - 32 GB for this model, expandable through microSD to 64 GB. The 16 GB model may be the better value but you are limited to 48 GB.
-- WEIGHT (7) - about 1.5 lbs., comparable with iPad's and Xoom's. It doesn't feel heavy to me.
-- CAMERAS (7) - 5MP rear camera for picture or video-taking and a 1.2MP front facing for video chat. Quite happy so far but there is no flash.
-- SPEAKERS (8) - 2 SRS on the sides so they won't be muffled if you lay it flat. I believe the iPad has only one.
-- CHARGING (8) - via wall connector or USB but it took overnight to fully charge the tablet over USB - understandable because a tabled requires significantly more power than a phone. The dedicated port does it in a couple of hours.
-- BATTERY LIFE (8) - I was able to do 7-8 hours on a full charge, not as good as iPad but close.
-- PHYSICAL BUILT (7) - It's okay but the plastic on the back feels a little 'thin'.
Other features/capabilities include HDMI port, Bluetooth, GPS, Flash (haven't installed the upgrade yet), remote control of Windows and Macs (it works).
The Transformer is slightly heavier than the iPad but not significantly so. The 16x9 format is very good for movie viewing and, because it's wider, it makes for better integration with the dock expansion.
I like the mostly glass front with a little metal on the edges but the plastic back is so-so. It's solid but you can squeeze it if you really try - it gives to pressure.
The screen is responsive to touch. I haven't been a heavy 'touch' user until the Transformer so I am not going to make any comparisons but I am pleased. The fine resolution makes serious multitasking not only possible but also practical. The Transformer has more pixels than the iPad and it shows.
I must confess that even though I'm the current user, I bought the Transformer for one of my kids - because he did so well in school but he's getting it in a month or so on his birthday - and I decided to splurge a little, ordering the 'dock'. Hasn't arrived yet - back ordered - but someone I know has one and I was able to test-drive it for about one hour.
I haven't used it extensively but, anyone who's used netbooks will immediately recognize one as soon as the Transformer plugs into the keyboard-plus expansion. Besides the physical keyboard which integrates well with the OS and adds lots of dedicated buttons, the dock has a built-in battery, 2 extra USB ports and a SD card port. My impression is that, once plugged into the dock, it charges the tablet and all power comes from the dock's battery for as long as the battery has power. As for how it feels... let me say that I'm a lot more comfortable with a full size keyboard.
When docked you can actually fold the Transformer closed with the dock as the keyboard bottom and you end up with something that's hard to distinguish from a netbook, only it's running an Android OS.
I am still getting myself used to a touch-driven OS and the built in apps and I didn't get a lot of third-party apps but not everything ran - tech support told me that not everything 'Android' will automatically run on Honeycomb so... try before you buy :) . However, whatever ran it did so without major problems. Except... playback was sometimes choppy when on full-screen mode but maybe it was so because I was running half a dozen other things at the same time.
I should note that WiFi integration was flawless and, indeed, once on my local network, I was able not only to stream from media servers but to also open remote sessions on some of our Windows 7 and Windows Home Server machines.
After a few days of use I am very happy with my purchase and I am considering a second for my other teen kid - but I may wait for the next great tablet because I don't expect the Transformer to stay the top non-Apple tablet forever. I wrote 'top tablet' because this is the best WiFi tablet deal you can get today.
The Transformer has a few minor issues: USB charging, the not-so-hard back, a little on the heavy side but the pluses overwhelm the 'issues' and the dock expansion is extremely innovative and it can even be a good 'transition' prop for those familiar with netbooks - but it does come at a price.
I love my Transformer and Amazon's rating for 'I love it' is 5 stars.
>> Brush your teeth, it's the law! <<
58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2011
After playing around with my new Transformer for the last 48 hours, here is what I have come to find out about it...
+ The screen is gorgeous. Assuming you don't get a defective unit with dead pixels and a lot of light bleed, you will be very happy with the screen. Amazing viewing angles and rich colors are the two most notable characteristics. Hands down, the Transformer has the best screen on the market right now, and that includes the IPad2, with its inferior dimensions and resolution.
+ The battery life is pretty good. I can't compare it to anything else on the market because this is the only tablet I've used from a full charge to nearly empty, but I can't complain. I picked it last night at 9:30pm and played Super Nintendo roms on it until 4:30am without stop, until it flashed a 'low battery' warning on the screen telling me it was down to 4%. At that point I put it on the charger and called it a night. Running emulators is a significant drain on batteries that 7 hours didn't seem too short a time for me. Under normal usage I could easily see my Transformer hitting 9 hours or more.
+ The build quality, from what I am reading on two different and very dedicated Transformer forums, is decidedly hit or miss. The majority of people are having no problems, while a vocal minority is having issues with creakiness and rattling. As for me, I love my Transformer and am not having any build quality issues. It doesn't flex, creak, or rattle. While it does have a sort of hollow, plastic feel to it, the rigidity of the unit doesn't feel compromised. It feels solid and balanced in the hands, and the rough texture pattern they used on the back seems to prevent scratching just as well as it provides grip while in the hands.
+ Honeycomb operating system is quite nifty. Before using it, I read a lot about it being geared more toward tech savvy people who like to tinker with things, but that's not necessarily true. An idiot could use and customize Honeycomb. Seriously. Honeycomb is new and is going through some normal teething issues, so you will run into some force closes and other minor issues, but it's not that bad or disruptive. Every force close I've had so far has been quickly remedied by restarting the program, and that takes all of about five seconds.
+ Price. The bang for the buck with Transformer is off-the-charts. I bought the more expensive 32GB version and still feel like I stole it. It does so many things and is so much more convenient than my slow, annoying laptop. I honestly believe Asus could have priced each version a hundred dollars higher and still had a hit with the Transformer. It's that good.
+ Google Earth on the Transformer is.. simply... awesome. It's like digital crack. I can't stop playing with it once I start! If you love travel, geography, cartography, and just seeing the world from a bird's eye view, you have to download Google Earth to your Transformer. Even with 3D buildings turned on, it runs pretty smoothly and loads up entire cities in just seconds. Words don't do any justice to just how cool this app is.
+ Gaming on the Transformer is outstanding and is only going to get better. Some of the games this platform can run with the Tegra 2 processor are jaw-dropping. Downloading and using the classic system emulators (NES, SNES, Gameboy Advance, PS1) adds so much value to the Transformer. I've only had my unit for two days and I'm already up to my neck in great games, and most all of them were free.
- Sharp edges. Yes, sharp edges. Don't laugh. After holding this thing in your hands for a couple of hours, especially if you are playing games or texting frequently, you will definitely feel it. It's not a deal breaker or anything, it was just a poor design decision on the part of the product engineers at Asus. And when I say "sharp", I don't mean "knife-sharp", I mean "teaspoon-sharp", or "not conducive to holding tightly in your hands for prolonged periods of time-sharp".
- Relatively weak app store at the moment. Look, if you must have a bottomless well of apps to choose from RIGHT NOW, the Transformer isn't for you. Apps optimized for Honeycomb are in short supply. I have no doubt in my mind this will be rectified in the coming months, but right now the options are thin. On this point, the IPad2 throttles the Transformer.
- The included-in-the-box proprietary charging/USB cable. Really, Asus? I mean, really?!?! It's about three feet long, which makes it almost useless when you need to charge it! Whoever it was at Asus that made this decision (probably the same genius who insisted on hard, sharp edges) needs to be taken out and flogged. Asus, if you are reading this, give us a six-foot cable, not three.
- The speakers on the Transformer are underwhelming. While I appreciate the fact that they are front-firing speakers, they just don't sound very good at all. The sound they produce is a bit tinny. If you are planning on using the Transformer as a full-time multimedia device, I highly recommend some decent cans.
- The lack of Transformer-specific accessories on the market is surprising, and not in a good way. Good luck trying to find the Asus keyboard dock, working car chargers, extra cables, and cases. As of right now, late May, the options are Slim and none, and Slim has been sold out nearly everywhere I've checked.
I hope this helps you tablet shoppers out there.
Edit 1: I found out that the short charging cable problem can somewhat be solved by buying a separate USB 3.0 female to male extension cable. This will make the pathetically short Asus Transformer charging cable longer. Since I don't have one yet, I am instead currently using a basic electrical outlet extension cable. That way I can still use the Transformer from the comfort of my couch while it is charging.
Edit 2: I also found out about a free app in the Android market called "Quick Settings" that allows my Virgin Mobile LG Optimus V phone (unlimited $25 data plan) to act as a wifi hotspot for my Transformer. This is AWESOME and adds so much mobile functionality! I can now take my Transformer wherever I go and get internet access through my phone. So if you are in the market for a phone and a tablet, this is the undisputed, bang-for-the-buck pair to get.
Edit 3: Just found an available Transformer keyboard dock and ordered it along with a 32 GB microSDHC memory card. Will update this review when they arrive.
Edit 4: OK, I have the keyboard dock and have been playing around with it for a few days and my recommendation for the majority of prospective shoppers is to SKIP IT. Unless you absolutely need the USB ports, keyboard capability, or extra battery life, this thing isn't a must-have by any measure. I am going to guess that most people will use their Transformers for apps, games, casual web browsing, multimedia, and basic communication, none of which require the keyboard or extra battery juice. The regular battery in the Transformer will last a solid nine hours - and maybe even more - if you don't have the screen brightness jacked up all the way and aren't running graphics-intensive games all day.
Only buy the keyboard if you don't have access to another computer, need it for work/productivity purposes, need the USB ports, and will be more mobile with the Transformer than normal, and away from charging sources for long periods of time. The best bang-for-the-buck buy here is the 16GB Transformer without any overpriced Asus accessories.
Edit 5: If you are looking for a working, large-capacity microSDHC memory card, the 32GB Patriot Signature class 4 plays very nicely with the Transformer. It comes in retail packaging with a nice case and SD card adapter. It's a little more expensive than other 32GB options, but it's Patriot quality and speedy enough for large file transfers that it won't drive you nuts.
Edit 6: Because I've been on my Transformer for many hours per day since I purchased it, I've had a little bit of time to work my way through the app market. Here are some quality titles I recommend...
For music: PlayerPro is currently the best music app available. It puts the stock music player included with the Transformer to shame. If you are planning to put a lot of music on your Transformer, this is the player to use, organize, and interface with it.
For video: I'm not real ecstatic with any of the options available, but MoboPlayer seems to be the pick of the litter at the moment.
For games: There are so many more options than I was expecting. Here are a few that really shine on the Transformer or are just great time-wasters in general...
Battleheart - This is a total gem and plays like a champ.
Radiant HD - Beautiful neon graphics, 80s nostalgia, funny story.
Angry Birds Rio - A great all-around game.
AirAttack HD - Not a lot of depth but amazing visuals. Casual game.
GRave Defense HD - Challenging at higher levels. High-quality game.
Gem Miner - I sunk four hours into this without even realizing it.
Game Dev Story - Well worth the price of admission. Entertaining.
Super Dynamite Fishing - Hilarious game. Never knew blowing up seafood could be so fun.