Top positive review
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Best Honeycomb 3.2 tablet so far (updated August 3rd 2011)
on April 26, 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!