back to article Ten... high-end Android tablets

With Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich upon us, it's a good time to take stock of the impact - or lack of it - of Android 3 Honeycomb and Nvidia's Tegra 2, the chipset and release of Google’s mobile OS that were hoped would knock the iPad of its perch. They've done no such thing. At the most generous counting, Android tablets …

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  1. Robert E A Harvey

    connectivity?

    Is it the case, as was said last time we discussed this, that V3 has no bulk storage mode over USB? can one drag-n-drop files from Linux on these? or, come to that, from Windows?

    1. David Dawson

      eeepad transformer

      With my wifes eeepad transformer, that is the case, it doesn't seem to do that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Honeycomb uses MTP.

        In mass storage mode only the tablet *or* the connected PC can see the storage. Obviously this is a problem if the tablet's OS is running from that storage.

        So, honeycomb uses Microsoft's Media Transfer Protocol to allow the tablet and the connected machine to see the storage at the same time.

        The downside is that MTP is really quite shit. It is horribly slow, does not work very well on Linux (or older versions of windows), and only the gods know what sort of patent nastiness it is encumbered with.

        Penguintards should probably be looking for an SSH server for their Android devices. No wires, no mess, no problems.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    "An iPad is an iPad is an iPad"

    Really? Tell that to my mate who bought an iPad 1 six weeks before Apple launched the iPad 2. Maybe he can take it to his nearest Apple 'temple' to have them retrofit a front-facing camera and a dual-core processor?

    1. Richard 116
      Stop

      Not having a pop Mr Vomit but why do some people wail and gnash their teeth when Apple bring out an updated/new product? No one has a go at Ford for changing the shape of the Fiesta or when they add more features with a facelift. I don't moan about Sony bringinging out new TVs since I bought mine three years ago.

      It seems to me to be a ludicrous complaint made by the more irrational end of the Apple hating spectrum. But then the whole 'my phone/tablet/PC/whatever is better than yours' argument is childish beyond belief anyway.

      I should add that apart from a work issued 3GS I own no Apple products. Or ones of an Android flavour for that matter.

      1. Philip Lewis
        Coffee/keyboard

        There is a "rational" end of the spectrum?

        "It seems to me to be a ludicrous complaint made by the more irrational end of the Apple hating spectrum."

        1. Richard 116
          Happy

          @Philip Lewis

          Ha ha. Point taken.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      "An iPad is an iPad is an iPad"

      And yet your poor friend's iPad 1 can still use all the same software as an iPad 2 (except FaceTime), is still getting all software updates on day of release (if you're happy to trust Apple's QA), and is still one of the best tablets around even at 18 months old.

      How many Android tablets are going to get Android 4 - without having to hack them? Which, remember, is kit that's mostly less than 6 months old. HTC are still selling their Flyer with 2.3, which was out of date when they launched the product! They've not even upgraded it to Android 3 yet...

      Equally we can contrast my HTC Wildfire with an iPhone 3GS. Both phones are about the same age (admittedly the Wildfire was never top of the range). The iPhone 3GS is still getting updates and still on sale. HTC were still selling the Wildfire up to a couple of months ago, so they've no excuse for saying it's 'out of support'. The Wildfire got an update from 2.1 to 2.2 (about 6 months late), and that's it. The 3GS has been updated from iOS3, to iOS4 and now iOS5.

      And it's not as if I'm cherry picking. Android kit getting timely updates is very unusual. Even Google only seem to update their reference phones once, then dump them.

      This is the reason my next tablet will probably be Apple - well that and the Android tablet makers' obsession with widescreen. It's also why I recommend iPhone/iPad to non-geeks.

      It's a shame, I was looking forward to going Android. But my experience with the phone OS has been poor, and their first attempt at tablets has been a mess. My only hope to avoid the clutches of Apple seems to be Microsoft. Windows Phone is looking interesting, and Windows 8 on tablets could be quite nice too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        But I have had lots of updates

        From 3.0 to 3.1 to 3.2 on my tablet, and I am fully expecting 4.0 sometime early next year

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "And yet your poor friend's iPad 1 can still use all the same software as an iPad 2 (except FaceTime),..."

        Not true. There are plenty of Apps that are iPad 2 only, iMovie is one well-known example.

        Funny how this 'isn't that big of a deal' when it's Apple, but when it's Android the iTards are first to point fingers and mock the "Fragmentation".

        1. Richard 116
          FAIL

          Oh Mr Vomit. Is that really the best you can do?

    3. Anonymous John

      Six weeks before?

      Didn't he wonder what the queue of Apple fanbois outside the shop were waiting for?

    4. Adam T

      Research before buying

      Anyone with an internet connection knows when an Apple product transition is pending, months in advance. Given Apple's dominance of the media these days it's impossible *not* to see news/rumours on pending product launches.

      If only the weather was as predictable, eh.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    from my POV

    no-one is going to compete with the iPad until they make a 3G-capable tablet. I wish they would because then I'd buy one.

    1. dotdavid
      Thumb Up

      I'd prefer the ability to bluetooth (wifi drains power too quickly) tether to my phone.

      Fortunately Honeycomb supports it, although my Gingerbread-based Android phone doesn't.

      Still, you could always buy a 3G dumbphone with bluetooth and slot your SIM into it for bluetooth tethering if you like; it would cost a lot less than an additional data contract.

    2. Neill Mitchell

      Erm...

      "no-one is going to compete with the iPad until they make a 3G-capable tablet. I wish they would because then I'd buy one."

      The Asus Transformer TF101G?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Erm ...

        thanks for the info, RTFM I guess...

        1. Neill Mitchell

          @Erm

          "thanks for the info, RTFM I guess..."

          No probs. Happens to the best of us :)

  4. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

    The extra features of each tablet are not shown

    A number of tablets have special features (e.g. the Xoom has a barometer), these should be mentioned.

    1. dotdavid
      WTF?

      Barometer

      Surely not that much of a differentiator. On Android it's mainly used to get a quicker GPS fix, and face it how often do you use the GPS on your fondleslab anyway?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. JDX Gold badge

    Dear Reg...

    Please could you add price and ideally review score columns to the table on page 1?

    1. Thomas 4
      Trollface

      Dear Reg

      Can you please forgo writing reviews altogether and just publish a percentage based score for each new bit of kit that comes out?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Inadequate hardware

    Tegra2 looked good on paper prior to the launch. However, it was quickly revealed that it is woefully inadequate wrt decoding of many common video formats. It's inability to handle H.264-high-profile video is a pain. All tablets in this test are based on the same chipset and are thus IMHO equally useless. Androids main problem so far has been inadequate hardware.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not really experienced that...

      ... I have an Asus TF101 and not had any trouble playing any video from media NAS box over WiFi, from films to short episodes. Have even used apps like Skifta to push media through the TF101 to the TV (that was down to being lazy and just sheer convenience).

      Prehaps it's just Asus implementation of the Tegra2 that stops it from suffering from this issue.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      TF101- had problems with high-bitrate 720p content but over-clocking to 1.5GHz resolved that just fine. Battery life is barely dented and the extra GPU clock cycles make playback silky smooth.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Written by an iPad owner I think..

    I mean comments like"

    " At the most generous counting, Android tablets account for around a quarter of all tablets sold"

    when the reality is, it's actually much higher than this number, as Google only count market enabled Android tablets, and there are a vast number of cheap and cheerful non-approved Android tablets that never get counted).

    "No support for Micro SD expansion or USB peripherals"

    My Asus Transformer shipped with Honeycomb 3.0 and had both of these...

    May I sugggest the writer doesn't use the iPad forums as his source of (mis)information.

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Written by an iPad owner I think..

      The writer does not own an iPad, and as much as you might achingly hope that Android has a higher market share than it does, all market data - vendor shipments and sell-through - suggests it does not.

      Sorry to puncture your wee bubble, 'Barry'

      1. Arctic fox

        I agree with your point about *current* market share.

        It probably is no more than about a quarter at the moment. However I would point out that going from 2 - 3% of the market at around about this point in 2010 to somewhere about 25% now in 2011 is a fairly remarkable jump. How it is going to pan out in the next year or so and what effect Win8 may or may not have in tablet space is of course another matter - my crystal ball needs a firmware upgrade.

    2. Adam T

      "when the reality is"

      So good to have concise, dependable information, instead of this clap-trap "researched" bollocks.

      I'll be brief: something sitting on a shelf or in a warehouse, is not considered "sold".

    3. Silverburn

      @ Shitpeas

      Another downvote vest for you...never mind, one of these days, you'll twig to what you're doing wrong. But it would appear objectivity, research and critical thinking are foreign concepts to you for now.

  8. petur
    FAIL

    Bias alert

    "The problems have been many. Honeycomb 3.0 was frankly a bit half-baked at the time of release. Example? No support for Micro SD expansion or USB peripherals"

    And how exactly is that a problem compared to your ipad is an ipad is a walled garden with no expansion possibe and propietary connector?

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Bias alert

      Hackers care about Micro SD and full USB support, ordinary punters do not. Ditto the 'walled garden'. Honeycomb, primarily aimed at the techies, should have had this technology; the iPad, aimed at the latter group, does not. As we clearly state in the next line, Android 3.1 fixes those 3.0 failings.

      1. Jedit
        FAIL

        If by "hackers" you mean "anyone who wants to transfer photos from their real camera to their tablet and anybody who wants to expand storage capacity without having to replace their device", then you are absolutely correct. But as you don't, you're not.

        1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge
          FAIL

          Camera Connector kit

          For $30 Apple will sell you their Camera Connector kit, which adds a full-size USB and SD card slots to the iPad.

          Out of the box and with a virgin iPad, this will enable you to connect up your digital cameras, some USB sticks and even some hard disks for transfer of photos and videos.

          There are also countless apps on the App Store for transferring pics/vids/content via WiFi or Bluetooth. Most are free, and arguably far more convenient than carrying a cable around given that every laptop has Wifi these days.

          If you jailbreak your iPad, the options are even more numerous- the Camera Connector kit loses the restrictions on voltage and becomes able to support all portable hard drives, memory sticks and so on, together with being able to transfer all content over from your iPad.

          And don't complain that "Ah but you have to jailbreak it" because Android users consider this is par for the course. "All you have to do is run Cyanogen/reflash the firmware/sudo:root to $home and change permissions to +R+S+H and you too can change the screen resolution" etc.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            WTF?

            @ Lord Elpuss

            "There are also countless apps on the App Store for transferring pics/vids/content via WiFi or Bluetooth. Most are free, and arguably far more convenient than carrying a cable around given that every laptop has Wifi these days."

            So, if you *don't* want to stump-up $30 to Apple (on top of the $499+ you paid for the iPad), you have the alternative of lugging a laptop around just to transfer photos from a camera? Also, please explain to us exactly how carrying a laptop is more convenient than carrying a cable?

            1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

              @Stike Vomit

              "So, if you *don't* want to stump-up $30 to Apple (on top of the $499+ you paid for the iPad), you have the alternative of lugging a laptop around just to transfer photos from a camera? Also, please explain to us exactly how carrying a laptop is more convenient than carrying a cable?"

              Don't be so patronising.

              The complaint was that the iPad doesn't have full-size USB for connecting digital cameras or for transferring stuff. I was saying you can add USB (and SD) to iPad for $30 (or use WiFi/Bluetooth for free if your camera supports it). The programs for sending/receiving from a laptop are for sending your content back and forward between your iDevice(s) and your laptop.

              If you don't want to pay $30 for the connector, then don't; there are other options available. And complaining that Apple charge $30 for a USB connector is like complaining that you have to buy a 32GB MicroSD card to upgrade your Android tablet to iPad 64GB spec. If you don't need it, don't buy it. Some things will always be an optional purchase, because the company that makes it has done a careful calculation of the market return value attached to including/omitting a particular feature. On iPad, it may be the USB connector. On Android, it's maybe the 'missing' 32GB of storage space. All depends what floats your boat/fits your particular use case.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              WTF?

              @Stike Vomit - Come back to the future

              you seem to have a cable fetish. be honest with yourself and think - do you really want to have cables? Put a wifi enabled sd card in your camera and you can instantly see the pictures from the card on your ipad. Why should there be a laptop around? Gee think outside your square box.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Assumptions

                "you seem to have a cable fetish. be honest with yourself and think - do you really want to have cables? Put a wifi enabled sd card in your camera and you can instantly see the pictures from the card on your ipad."

                My camera doesnt have a SD card slot but it came with a USB cable included in the price.

                You appear to be suggesting here, that the iPad is so inherently wonderful that I only need to spend even more money to make it do the things a droid tablet can do out of the box.

                I am not sure how that makes sense.

          2. Shakje
            Thumb Up

            Not sure why this was downvoted

            Upvoted

            1. Shakje

              My reply above

              was aimed at Lord Elpuss, didn't notice it was a reply.

          3. Jedit
            Mushroom

            "Par for the course"

            I don't consider rooting, remodding and flashing to be "par for the course" when it comes to transferring files from an external source. So, it's just as well that Android devices generally don't need these things to be done to achieve that.

            However, Apple charging $30 to deliver basic functionality that every other manufacturer provides for free is most definitely par for the course.

    2. Anonymous John

      It's a problem because you expect software to support the hardware it's installed on.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The only 'bias' I see here is the ridiculous fandroid caterwauling! You lot really to make Apple fanbois look rational. All the historic slurs thrown at the Apple faithful are an order of magnitude worse for you lot. Woe betide anyone that dares question Android. Honestly, it's beyond pathetic.

  9. Alex Walsh

    Flex

    I've had a play with a few of the tested tablets on the high street and the one thing that astonished me about most of them (HTC Flyer and Asus Transformer aside) was the lack of rigidity in them, especially compared to an iPad. Hand on each side, there's a good deal of twist in most of them, which on a £300+ product doesn't inspire confidence at all.

  10. Peter 48
    Thumb Up

    Pretty good round up of the tablets on the market today even if, due to the brevity of the mini reviews, some features of the tablets are missed out, such as the industry leading screen on the galaxy or the inclusion of a battery, full SD port and full usb ports on the transformer keyboard to name two. The thing i miss most with tablet reviews is information about the individual power supplies. One of the main reasons I ended up choosing a transformer over the Toshiba was that it didn't require a charger brick. for a portable device that can be a real deal breaker.

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Eh...

      From the Transformer review:

      "£430 with the detachable keyboard and battery pack...."

      "There’s no full-size USB port unless you cough up for the very fine but not exactly cheap keyboard extra"

  11. 27escape
    Thumb Up

    Acer A500

    I got one of these and I am pretty happy with it, less than £350 for a 32GB model with 1GB RAM. They don't all come with this. Yes its not as sexy as a Galaxy but it does have the extra ports and micro SD card, certainly worth more than the 75% review score.

    One thing to notice is that its not a HDMI connector its a micro HDMI connector.

    Its a shame that google have not specified a common connector, that would be a big win, so I can buy a stand or whatever from anyone. Its also a shame that you cannot charge over the micro USB port as that would be one less cable to take on holiday.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ford Cortina...

    This whole comments thread reminds me on an advertising campaign for the Cortina back in the late 70's.

    The Cortina sure had Market share, number one seller year in year out and more or less every car ad in the press or on TV used the "More leg room than a Cortina", "Bigger boot than a Cortina" or similar lines.

    Ford just took a one page press ad with a photo of the car and the copy "They can all make comparisons, but they can't make Cortinas".

    :-)

    1. Neill Mitchell

      Bingo!

      The inevitable Apple car analogy in it's usual first page slot :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Sorry, but no cigar...

        There was no mention of BMW, Lexus or Mercedes, so it doesn't count! :-)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I bought a tablet for my wife for her birthday back in August. Toddled along to try them out, liked the iPad, also liked the Eee Pad Transformer - very little to separate them, a fractionally better touchscreen on the Apple, much better expansion options on the Asus. I decided that for me, I would buy the Asus, but would get the wife an iPad as it was a Cortina. HOWEVER, they were out of stock - so Asus won out. And she's been very happy with it; she likes a lot about it, including the keyboard if she wants to do anything serious. The quality of the whole package is great, and she also likes not having to fork out for apps that are chargeable on our son's iPod Touch, so I've got plenty of brownie points. Remember that however popular the Cortina was, it wasn't actually a very good car... ;)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well thats another good thing about the Transformer, she wont have to worry about getting charged for any apps designed for it.

    2. Philip Lewis

      220

      I had a 220 model - my first car - which cost a few hundred bucks (AUD) back then.

      It was old when I got it and older when i scrapped it. I have only good memories of the vehicle which on the whole did its job of transporting me to uni on a daily basis.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My point exactly...

      "Remember that however popular the Cortina was, it wasn't actually a very good car... ;)"

      I agree the Cortina wasn't a great car, but it ticked all the right boxes for the overwhelming majority of potential customers by including the essential and not getting bogged down in Petrol Head requirements.

      The iPad pulls of much the same trick and in the short term it's doing fine, but in the longer run perhaps the equivalent of Toyota will arrive? I just can't see where the opportunity to differentiate would come from as for the mass market the iPad doesn't really have an achilles heel.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Transformer USB

    One correction, you don't need the dock for USB host to work, just a cheap adapter from Asus. Last time I checked it was quite a bit below what you'd have to pay for the same from Apple/Samsung, too.

    But Asus don't really advertise this which is indicative of the approach to selling Android kit where I livqe. Go in a shop, the ipads are the first thing you'll see. They're on, they're accessable, and you can play to your hearts content. Since launch the high end Androids have been locked away in a small poorly lit glass cabinet. To sell in greater quantities people need to know they're there.

  15. Gordon861

    The Asus Transformer should be getting an updated version released in the next couple of months with the newer faster nvidia processors.

    I have one of these with the keyboard and I carry it around most of the time now, web access is done via teethering to my mobile when out, no need for built in 3G as you'd end up paying for two contracts with little gain.

  16. Ben Rosenthal

    "Hackers care about Micro SD and full USB support"

    you calling my old mum a hacker?!?

    If you say so guy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Your mum cares about those things? Is she a software developer?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yep, pretty much...

      If she looks like a hacker, walks like a hacker and wants Micro SD and full USB support, then she *is* a hacker... ;-)

      More seriously, at very least she's an unusual tablet customer/potential customer...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Hackers != users

        Expecting a computing device to be able to connect to existing equipment is neither unusual nor is it the hallmark of the hacker.

        Having to root a device so you can use your purchased at extra cost adaptor to attach things *is* however, unusual and symbolic of at least a bit of Haxx0r-ism.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Really? Tell that to my mate who bought an iPad 1 six weeks before Apple launched the iPad 2. Maybe he can take it to his nearest Apple 'temple' to have them retrofit a front-facing camera and a dual-core processor?"

    And your point is?? Yeah he bought the previous model just before the new one came out - so?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      My point?

      My point is that not all iPads are equal, and that iPOS devices are also subject to "Fragmentation".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Your point fails.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Stop

          Re: "Your point fails."

          On the contrary, the facts support it.

          1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

            To quote Top Gun: "[Stike] has no point; it's part of his charm."

      2. firstviceroy
        Mushroom

        YOU COULDN'T BE MORE WRONG STIKE VOMIT

        Stike Vomit "fragmentation" refers to the OS not individual apps. Android phones ship with many different versions of the OS. Shockingly, many to most do not ship with the current version creating havoc in the Android ecosystem. You hymn like a true "Hymn-droid fan" constantly attempting to cloud the truth.

        Hymn-droid = those who hymn the praise of android while admonishing other mobile operating systems. Hymn-droids sounds like Hemorrhoids don't you think?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "the Xoom has a barometer"

    Whoopidy bloody do - great so you know the pressure - why?? I mean I know what a barometer is used for but it's fairly useless on a tablet for 99.5% of people.

    1. gerryg
      Big Brother

      a Mercury columist writes...

      ...it's for when you're working under pressure

    2. Joe Earl

      Barometer can be used to speed up GPS lock

      Lots of high-end GPS devices actually include a barometer. Although GPS is very good at locating your position on the surface of the Earth (x, y), it is pretty bad at determining your altitude.

      A barometer can be used to get a quite accurate altitude reading which can then be used to speed up the GPS lock.

      At least that's one of the reasons the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Note have them; I'm not certain whether the Xoom and other tablets use it for the same thing but I would guess so.

      1. Robert E A Harvey

        True, height aiding can help. But so could assuming 50m above the spheroid. something like 90% of the world's population live around 50m above the spheriod. A vanishingly small number live >500m above it.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You may as well buy an iPad and the iPad keyboard dock.

  20. Dave 126 Silver badge
    Happy

    @ Mr Smith

    Keep up the good work.

    However, I was amused to read that 'only hackers care about MicroSD cards'. My old man has just bought himself a Galaxy Tab, for the sole reason of showing off photos in the pub. Taking a SD card out of his Lumix and sticking it in the Tab (alas, requiring an adaptor) seems the most straightforward and simple method of doing this.

    He isn't the techy type. Like a fair few people, he is slightly richer than he is inclined to spend time learning more about technology than he has too. Apple seem to have made a bob or two appealing to the market segment he belongs to.

    Showing off photos is one of the tasks a fondleslab is ideally suited to, over say a lap/net/ultrabook, a smartphone or net-connected TV. If he wants to watch a film, he has a TV- with the bonus that he won't drop it when he inevitably falls asleep.

    If you meant that 'hackers care about MicroSD [normal people want SD]' then I take your point- a full sized SD slot can allow the use of an adaptor for MicroSD if needs be- and I personally find MicroSD too easy to lose, anyhows. Seems manufactures are too concerned with competing on grams and millimetres, when once it was MBs and Mhz.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    flash

    not directly on the subject, but, hmmm, not yet shown in the register, but flash mobile is dead http://www.macrumors.com/2011/11/09/adobe-discontinues-development-on-mobile-flash/. keep a moment of silence.

  22. Kevin Bailey

    Apt-X

    Do any have apt-x?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'the Xoom has a barometer' - why not fit a voltmeter - guess someone would find that useful.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      I'd buy one with a voltmeter, especially if it could be used as a 'scope or chart recorder.

  24. Neil Alexander

    Moto XOOM has 5GHz WiFi also.

  25. Mark #255

    Archos 80 G9

    Any chance of a review of the Archos, 'cos its specs look rather attractive:

    size, pixels, connections, GPS, Market, for £200.

    Is there a catch?

  26. Mikel
    Happy

    Transformer Prime announced today

    It makes all these look like yesterday's breakfast.

  27. robin penny
    FAIL

    All use the failed widscreen tablet format so nothing of interest here.

    Not one 4:3 aspect ratio tablet amongst them! But thankfully we are starting to see a trickle of these in the pipeline as the manufactureres realise widescreen doesn't work in portrait and the iPad had the right format all along.

    We also need manufacturers to realise that some of us who own digital cameras want a full size SD slot. Sony is the only one to see this (although it's slot is really tight). Everybody used to have them on PDAs so why not on tablets?

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      What are you talking about? It works great in portrait!

  28. Chris Gray 1
    Meh

    Kobo Vox

    I'm not comparing my $199 Kobo Vox to these higher-end tablets, but I thought I would mention a couple of things. (Vox has no cameras, bluetooth or GPS)

    It's odd that Android 3.0 doesn't support the use of SD cards, or enable device use as USB mass storage, given that Android 2.3.3 (what the Vox has) does both. (Unfortunately my dang Ubuntu desktop won't recognized either the Vox or my cell phone as storage devices - it *does* recognize my Kindle (keyboard) and Sony PSP however).

    I'll wait to hear more about Flash support on portable devices being dropped - that seems like a very strange thing to do - it is a pretty big market, and growing fast.

    I haven't actually tried to change things on my Vox yet, but you can certainly poke around a lot wih the "Android Terminal" available for free. One thing I'd like to do is turn off a couple of apps that the Vox came pre-supplied with (Globe & Mail, and INQ) - I think they are eating my battery in idle mode. Running "ps" (process list) shows a *lot* of stuff running, including stub processes for apps that are not running.

    As for playing videos, well a friend brought some huge 1080i MP4 videos from a military helmet-cam. I put one on my micro SD card via my computer and the Vox plays it. It *does* hang on the video part way though, but so does my Linux desktop. It completes if I scroll past that point.

    So, what does Android 3.0 add? Seems like it was a step back from 2.3.3 .

    1. TheDude

      @Chris Gray 1

      Yes to both SD cards and Mass storage, both work fine in Honeycomb - I used them often.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Android Support

      "It's odd that Android 3.0 doesn't support the use of SD cards, or enable device use as USB mass storage, given that Android 2.3.3 (what the Vox has) does both. "

      Oddly, my android tablet supports both.

  29. JDX Gold badge

    re:Funny how this 'isn't that big of a deal' when it's Apple

    Um. Apple make basically 2 tablets. v1 & v2. Some things only run on v2. There are dozens of Android tablets with different hardware, and half a dozen different versions of Android, plus vendor-specific overlays.

    PLEASE tell me you don't genuinely think Apple tablets are as fragmented as Android?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Put up or shut up

      Name me an App that will not run on ALL of those Honeycomb tablets.

      1. BigG
        Joke

        @Stike Vomit

        Can it be an Apple App? (are we allowed to use App for anything else?)

      2. John Gamble

        Re: Put up or shut up

        As of this writing? Edwin, the Wofram-connected "Voice Assistant" will not install on my Samsung Galaxy 10.

        <http://www.reghardware.com/2011/11/01/app_of_the_week_special_android_voice_assistant_software/>

        I don't know whether it's a locality problem or an OS problem, and perhaps it will be resolved before the month is over, but currently it meets your "put up" challenge.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shame USB-on-the-go/USB Host is not standard for attaching mass storage (cloud still in infancy)

    It's a shame that, STILL, USB-on-the-go/USB Host is not standard for attaching mass storage devices such as external hard drives is not possible in a standard mode. I believe rooting of some of these products and a special lead will allow it but this ought not to be necessary to tinker like this.

    But store your data in the cloud I hear you say? Well, broadband speeds are still in the order of Mb/s, wireless internet (WiFi and mobile) is patchy and bandwidth allowances of fixed and mobile services are sometimes limited. Therefore access to the network storage (i.e. the cloud) for uploading large quantities of data such as photos perhaps isn't as convenient as storing it locally on an external hard disk for backup or even optical media (as well). Couple that with wariness as to the reliability and trust of cloud storage services, and indeed the ongoing space rental costs and it's less appealing.

    Until the manufacturers wakeup and add USB-On-the-go/USB hosting to allow the attachment of USB devices such as mass storage, tablet computers aren't going to displace Windows laptops for versatility.

  31. frontman
    Big Brother

    Transformer rocks!

    I have had a TF101 with the docking station for a few months now, and IMHO, it kicks iPad's butt in virtually every way. More storage options, more storage capacity, better battery life, lower price... I absolutely love it and use it all the time. The lack of 3G doesn't bother me at all, since practically everywhere I go has WiFi, and my phone is a 4G hotspot.

    I sing with a band...on stage I use it without the docking station for my set lists and lyrics. I travel a lot for my job and I read books and watch movies with no regard for battery life... it's just not an issue. At hotels I use it for email. I can monitor my home security cameras live over 4G (using my phone's hotspot). At night I read my books in bed without the dock. I use it all the time, for many different things, and it works great. In short, I consider it indispensable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      garage band replacement?

      hi, now this is the best advertisement for a non ipad tablet, thanks for sharing such a warm feeling. do you use a garage band replacement or what software do you use for your concerts and music?

  32. Steve Evans

    Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1... Recommended?

    So after mentioning the lack of removable storage, badly placed charge socket, no HDMI, proprietary connectors etc etc, it still gets a recommended?

    Weird. You can't really give them plus points for Swype when you can go and download it yourself, for free - 'tis good though, got I put it on my phone.

    Companies that insist of daft connectors when there are plenty of nice standard ones which are equally small and neat don't get much of a look-in with me... and no removable storage is just the nail in the coffin.

    As you say - copying all the wrong things about the ipad.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Asus Transformer USB Host from Pad

    Not quite as stated the Dock is not the only way to get full sized USB host. An adapter to allow USB Host without the Keyboard Dock is being manufactured its just slow to market...(that's pretty poor asus!)

    see here: http://liliputing.com/2011/08/asus-eee-pad-transformer-usb-adapter-other-accessories-coming-soon.html

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can the author clear up a confusion.

    Can you clarify the review/rating for the Asus Transformer TF101 Is That

    £330 Tablet only Rating 85%

    OR

    £430 Tablet-cum-netbook Rating 85%

    or are they both 85% where the additional battery and keyboard balance the value for money?

    Seems that the competition (two other 85% rated tablet only devices) are £400 so the Asus TF101 at £330 looks to be a bargain, and so the £430 combo is effectively £30 more for a keyboard which is acceptable. if however the £330 device only, is rated much less than the others (say 75% without dock), then I won't want to splash the extra on inferior..

  35. Peter Gordon
    Thumb Up

    Thumbs up...

    ..for using a TouchPad running webOS as the icon on the top stories on the homepage :-)

  36. mike_ul

    That's what i like about Android!

    Firstly. nice article. You mention that there is no such thing as an 'Android' system - they are all different. You are correct but I actually think this uniqueness is a nice feature. We don't really want all phones to work *exactly* the same do we in the same way we don't all want to drive the same car. And you also have to give us a little credit for some intelligence as even though I have changed from a HTC android to a SE android it was hardly a massive learning curve. Incidentally, one of my iPhone friends moans about the fact he can't have a nice HTC-type interface with stuff updating in real-time like the weather. At least, with Android, we have a certain amount of choice with different interfaces. It makes us individual.

    One final point. I *prefer* a smaller screen tablet and kind of fed up that somehow bigger is deemed to be 'better'. There is a welcome trend with phones now to get back to respectable sizes and there is a good choice for whatever size rocks your boat (another friend who has a Samsung Galaxy S2 also moans as he now regards the phone as too big!!!) .I don't see that tablets are any different I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab (7 inch) and this is great for carrying around in my suit pocket. You need that Tesco bag for your iPad. The display is sharper than an iPad due to higher DPI and I love it. I use it all the time and have never cursed the 'small' screen. Indeed, I am looking to get a Galaxy note. It's not just about size neccessarily - it's also about the number of pixels within that size. Anyway, enjoyed your article despite these minor niggles (sorry).

  37. IGnatius T Foobar
    Meh

    It's the price, stupid

    The problem with "premium Android fondleslabs" is that they cost the same as an iPad. Look at the way HP's slabs flew off the shelves once they were reduced to fire sale price. As soon as one or more manufacturers start releasing decent tablets at realistic price points, the effects of the commodity market will kick in.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      For the quality of the device and the use I get from it, my Transformer was at a realistic price point

      They did put the speakers in a crap place though, my hands mute them when holding it in landscape mode...

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iPad vs Others?

    I feel like I am swimming against the current here, I *was* an iPad owner but I moved to the Asus eee Transformer simply because it did the things I wanted it to do.

    It connects to the devices I need it to connect to (HDTV via Mini-HDMI, USB ports for other equipment) right out of the box and, importantly for my usage, it has the detachable keyboard so when I need to type things on it (comments on webpages for example), I dont spent ten minutes stubbing my fingers on the screen.

    What tipped me over the edge was the prospect of having to shell out for dozens of additional devices and go through complicated processes (such as rooting ...?) when all I wanted was a tool to simplify my activities.

    YMMV (and I would never claim to be the most technically savvy person on Earth) but I felt the iPad delivered more hype than substance and the Asus tablet reversed the situation.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You know, Asus and LG really should join forces...

    Then they could release the Transformer Optimus Prime.

    I'll get me coat. It's the one that looks like motorbike.

  40. Arctic fox
    Megaphone

    I am a member of the EULAs, who are they I hear you ask?

    The Extremely and Unbelievably Late Adopters, and it looks like that is not going to change any time soon. The following list is the reason why:

    1. USB (and chargeable through it, stuff proprietary chargers)

    2. HDMI out.

    3. micro-SD slot (no memory expansion, no sale).

    4. 3G option available as well as a Wifi only model.

    5. Customer changeable battery.

    6. Bluetooth.

    With the honourable exception of Asus' offering they all fall down on two or more of the above (as far as I can see). I have just taken a look at Samsung's new 7.7 inch offering (it is the 7 - 8 inch form factor I am most interested in) - no fucking HDMI. I have never yet owned a tab and it looks like I am never going to own one until the OEMs stop farting around. At least ensure that there is a dock available with the necessary connectivity even if you cannot squeeze it all into the table itself (that is what Asus have done - USBs on the dock). What the hell the Android OEMs are doing I do not know, I want them to sell me a tablet - with everything on that list. Until they make that tablet in that form factor my wallet (and I would be willing to part with some serious wonga) will continue to gather dust.

  41. Ian Johnston Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Galaxy Tab 10.1 - OK as a picture frame, Maybe.

    Work gave me a Galaxy Tab 10.1 yesterday, and I spend an interesting six hours on the train finding it increasingly hard not to swear at the damn thing.

    The first message on switching it on from the first time was to tell me that Social Widget had crashed. ItIt did this on every start until I dumped it. The browser doesn't synchronise with my other Chromes and has no way of navigating to a home page which you can only enter when a menu pops up at random. Gmail can't attach anything except pictures and the Samsung mail client has no way of emptying its trash folder, save by reselecting and redeleting the messages in it. Neither Swype (which I love on my Galaxy S) nor the normal keyboard is happy entering non-word: both insisted on changing my work username to firstname.surname@Something..Co..<carriage return>". Flash support is agonisingly slow and full of bugs. Locking orientation doesn't work - some apps still rotate gratuitously.

    Summary: the worst piece of electronic crap I have ever tried to use. I may stick it up on the wall as a photo frame, but for the moment it's stuffed in a cupboard along with the sandwich toaster.

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