Recently I got myself the Asus EEE Pad Transformer and then brought it out all the way to Hong Kong for a trial run, in the harshest of environments; in fact I’m still in Hong Kong when writing this article using the transformer.
But why the transformer and not a normal laptop or an ipad…?
Normal laptop doesn’t last as long and during the last few days, I have been out of the hotel for an as long as 13 to 14 hours in a go… Thus having a laptop or a net book on standby is just a waste of power…
As for the ipad thing… Well I’m an android person and Ipad don’t have a full size keyboard+battery for me to play with… Not to mention flash…
First a little introduction to the Asus Transformer, it’s a tablet powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 2 duo core processor clocked at 1.0Ghz, being an ARM based it doesn’t consumer as much power but is as powerful as a Pentium 4.
What so special about this device is the ability to attach and remove the keyboard whenever needed, thus providing either a mobile (Tablet) or extended (Net book) form factor.
In the tablet form, the battery can last 8 hours on intensive use according to specifications, but in my situation, where I am constantly travelling, eating and shopping, and the battery last a lot longer.
Travelling and Navigation,
With a 10″ screen, going thou Google map is a lot easier too. But unfortunately, I only got the wifi version… and the internet can only last as long as my phone’s wifi tethering can……
For navigation, the transformer comes with a GPS and compass that can be used with Google map, it proves to be a great help during the moment of being lost…
Still one shouldn’t depend too much on it, for during travel in the Hong Kong city, the signal is frequently disturb and it took a long time to get a fix on where we are, so it’s not perfect.
But I must say the build is incredible, I didn’t get it a pouch or anything but I don’t see a scratch on the body yet, and to tell the truth, when travelling, I just throw the transformer into my backpack and that is it.
Well, I can watch flash videos when I’m bored, there is also that app that allows me to download chapters of mange in digital format. So I’m ready to go anytime, even on the plane (with flight mode on).
And not to mention youtube.
For anime, the speakers a good enough to provide wonderful sound and not some cheap stuff. It’s not Audiopedia but it’s good and loud enough to go around. The screen is an IPS screen meaning it has a viewing angle of almost 180 Degree.
Sometimes, I can even play games on it, the Tegra 2 optimised Dragon Dungun is really fun, thou I didn’t really played a lot during the trip, too thinking intensive…
The Transformer comes with a full productivity suite, named polar office, but till now I find it rather unpredictable and unreliable… I have had post going missing, even thou I’m sure I have saved it…… So that is not something you might want to use for important work, however if you need it to read an excel, words, presentation or PDF*, it works.
*For PDF I have tried a few readers, and the best is still adobe reader… especially for photo books and mange.
Other then that the transformer is good enough for me to write a post during my nights at the room and small enough to not disturb Ken0601 sleeping next to me (fan girls don’t think too much please). It even comes with 2 USB port and a SD card reader, so I’m multi medially ready.
But there is a few limitations, when I say writing a post, I mean typing it out on a note, since the word press is not really mobile browser friendly enough… and the WP app don’t really work well… But there are ways.
The transformer comes installed with a suite of communication suite like Google Talk, Gmail, Email, and the Browser. So basically all I needed is already here, setting up my Gmail accounts is also painlessly easy. I got it done within 15 minute of unboxing with wifi.
In additional to the above, I have installed on the transformer plume, ebuddy, facebook, end etc, so as to keep in touch on twitter, facebook, msn and etc. The above apps can be gotten from the Android Market Place for free, since I don’t really buy apps unless it’s really good.
The Transformer I have, had already been upgraded to the latest firmware but there are still some issues when using. Example the Browser and map would sometime just close itself.
And then there is the SOD, or Standby of Death, as call in the forum of transformer user I’m in. It sometime just hangs in standby and wouldn’t start unless holding the power button and doing a restart.
I understand that the issues might be a bit of a Toothing problem, since honeycomb is after quite new and only recently released to other companies other than Motorola… (XOOM)
However I believe that these issues can be overcome since it’s really software based. Perhaps the machine might even be enhanced since no one has really optimised Tegra 2’s power yet.
Also, I have just received an upgrade to version 3.1 of Honeycomb. Does it help? or will it give me more issues… That I dunno… Still it’s looking good for now~
The transformer is a very versatile device that allows for many different types of uses. Functioning very well in some and not so in a few, but ultimately, I think Asus have made a very reliable product for lite users not wanting to lug a laptop everywhere for business, for work, for fun or even for travels.