'not a world away from the iPad display'
You'd think they'd match it wouldn't you?
When it comes to tablets, it seems Asus is on a bit of a roll. In my estimation, its Transformer Pad is the best value 10-incher on the market and, lest we forget the company makes the altogether excellent Nexus 7 for Google. There is no sign of Asus resting on its laurels either, if its latest Transformer device is anything to …
to all intents and purposes this thing *is* a laptop... it's like the fondleslab equivalent of a ThinkPad W520.
And AFAIK there's no way to get a laptop with that kind of resolution for less than £1000 (maybe £1200?).
600 squids is still a lot of money for a toy - although this one looks to be usable for work, too - hopefully in 3 years' time there'll be a decent supply of ex-corporate examples on the used market...
"to all intents and purposes this thing *is* a laptop... it's like the fondleslab equivalent of a ThinkPad W520."
Well, almost. I agree that the hardware looks like my dream laptop - superb battery life, superb resolution, strong build quality. I would buy one right now - in spite of the price. Except..., well, it's not a laptop. At least not a PC laptop. I can't just go and install easily the latest version of my favourite Linux distro. I can't install LibreOffice, I can't install Mozilla Thunderbird, a good VoIP client (I tried about 4 last time on an Android phone and they were full of bugs), VirtualBox, GnuCash, GanttProject, InkScape, Sane/XSane, Audacity and the list goes on. Yes - there are some cut down versions of similar software - but they have 10% of the functionality the above pieces of software have.
And there is the Google + manufacturer control thing. Good luck if you will be able to upgrade past 1-2 next versions of Android. In contrast - I have no problem upgrading my 5 year old laptop to latest version of <insert your favourite distro>.
This is a superb piece of hardware kit. But what people seem to be forgetting is that in the open source world (and proprietary, for that matter) - we benefit from software which has been developed and improved over many, many years. It will take a long time for the same level of functionality to be available on Android apps - if ever.
So no - a device which can accomplish about 20% of what I do on my 10 or 11 inch x86 laptop is *not* the same as a laptop. It's an appliance - an amazing bit of kit - but nevertheless - an appliance. Shame - but that's the way it is. I just wish they would sell something like this - at 10 inch and with this resolution and battery life on x86. But they don't.
I'm pretty sure it won't be long before someone puts a flavour of Ubuntu (or other Linux distro) on it and, as you are able to do with many unofficial Android ROMs now, dual boot into whichever OS suits your requirements. Then you'll have a full laptop experience with a HD screen and 14 hours of battery life (with the dock)
I'd keep an eye on XDA Developers.
Mostly agree with you, now that the hardware is great, software functionality becomes the issue. There are a few excellent apps, like Autodesk's sketch. But most of it is either buggy or simply lacks capability to match the things I already have.
No large open source teams that have worked on some package for years already. No utilities for any imaginable purpose. no MP4Box type things either.
Windows RT will be even worse. There won't be jack for apps till the first Windows RT hardware is already obsolete. I'm definitely holding out for something that can run Windoze 7 Pro 64Bit.
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1920x1200 is a nice, standard resolution that will work extremely well (natively) on existing external PC monitors, not some oddball resolution that will throw off every possible external display or projector.
What I'm wondering about is, how good the keyboard is for journalists who do a lot of typing.
Though I have an android phone, I never thought of looking for writing tools, since phones are awful to write on.
With this tablet, if you could find software like Notepad++ on the PC and a multi-language spell/grammar checker, and a search and replace program that can replace multiple words in text from custom lists, it could serve rather well for getting a lot more work done without needing an outlet than any ultrabook offers.
"the world's most popular mobile OS"
Which version of Android would that be, then? Most Android devices today are still running v2.x. ICS and Jelly Bean are both still very rare in the wild.
You're also using exactly the same "All those millions of people can't be wrong!" rhetoric that resulted in the PC's and Windows success too. After all, Windows is by far the most popular desktop OS out there, so, by your logic, it must be awesome, right?
Mere popularity implies nothing about quality. Just ask the inventors of Betamax.
I had one of the early transformers and I thought it was an excellent tablet, but I finally disposed of it for the simple reason it would not play mkv videos and I have a lot of material in that format which I have no intention of transoding to mp4 just to satisfy one device. Does this one play mkv?
Single speaker is also disappointing. My TF101 had stereo.
So far it has played back everything I've thrown at it, even with the stock video player. So yes, 1080p MKV is fine (at least when the video is in H.264). Regarding the original Transformer (I have one as well), it could in theory play back 720p video (if it didn't support some of the more advanced features of H.264), but I found the dealbreaker was multichannel audio, it would consistently choke on those files.
You probably need a mix of players at the moment. VLC can be a little flakey, screwing up aspect ratio. MX is more reliable but throws up ad banners occasionally.
I think VLC will get there eventually. I'm not sure how much it uses hardware acceleration yet but it seems to play HD content from what I've thrown at it on my TF300
The TF101 I've got here in Hong Kong has been "hobbled" to suit overbearing "Uncle Sam" domination - i.e. It goes no higher than Channel 11 Wi-Fi.
Not only that, but ASUS neither refuse to respond to my questions - nor offer to provide a "fix" for losing 2 otherwise useful channels!
Yet Japan uses UP TO Channel 13, so when I go to Japan - I have to seek out Wi-Fi services at Channel 11 or lower.
Ever tried listening - via browser - to Boomerradio.com??? After ~9 minutes I get the sounds of a Rattlesnake's rattle over-riding the music & have to stop the program and restart - it was still the same after my TF101 went away for "servicing" by the HK Asus official repair-shop.
My suggestion to all purchasers is to check whether later (per?)versions have these faults before you buy later models !!
The price is steep, but for me at least the increased resolution and brightness on the screen and the ability to use it in daylight is the most important thing. That said, I could probably live with a Nexus 7. I suspect that the price may move into line with the more or less equivalent IPad. So I'll wait and see...
Unfortunately I think ASUS has missed the boat on this one.. they demo'd it in January, so it has taken them 8 months to get to market. Instead of concentrating of the Prime, they should have brought this to market first..
I've been licking my lips waiting for this, but got so fed up of waiting I brought myself a Nexus 7 at 1/3 the cost..
The older Transformer reads SDXC cards, so no doubt this one will, too, which with currently available cards gives you scope for 192GB of extra storage, 128GB in the dock and 64GB in the tablet (assuming a full sized slot in the dock, as per the original Transformer?). No doubt we will soon see those sizes double again, which will be kinda insane.
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Thankyou! I have a couple installed, and they work fine for what I needed, but were not perfect - plugging a mouse into the Infinity I now have a 1920*1122 RDP machine that has pin sharp letters and works like a regular RDP machine - making it even better than I thought it was before. That good I may even put my credit card into the play store to buy the full version (something I thought I would never do!)
I have the "cheap" TF300 which is basically the same as the Prime except in a plastic shell and with a different screen. The battery lasts ages especially with the keyboard dock to act as a reserve, the screen is bright and the tablet itself feels really fast.
There are three issues with the transformer which I do not like however and they are all to do with input.
1) Sometimes when I'm typing focus jumps to another widget. This could be related to 2) which I'll describe in due course, but even when focus is maintained I get odd behaviours. Sometimes I can't ctrl+shift+cursor to select text by the word but shift+cursor to select by the character works. Sometimes a popup appears asking me which input device to use presenting me with two meaningless choices of Asus or Android keyboard. What the hell is going on and why are you even asking when I have a keyboard plugged in?
2) The trackpad is very responsive. As in TOO responsive and there is no way to adjust the sensitivity or track speed. Lightly brush on the trackpad, e.g. while typing and suddenly you've clicked away from a text field and lost focus. This is utterly unacceptable. ASUS need to provide a settings where I can adjust the pressure and duration that the pad is touched for it to respond. Just like any other laptop device. The only work around is to turn the thing off, fortunately there is a key for this.
3) Using the trackpad causes a cursor to show on the screen but unlike in desktop operating systems the cursor does not change shape according to what it is hovered over. This is most obvious when hovering over a text field, or a link in a browser. Google really need to plug this gap so that widgets can provide mouseover hints and get their emulator to support the feature for development testing.
I read somewhere that Google Chrome might be to blame for the lacklustre keyboard / mouse support in Android but I do not accept that as an excuse. ASUS can pack in any drivers and extra settings they want to improve the experience while putting pressure on Google to add native support. It really needs fixing.
While Windows RT is bound to suck for other reasons, I just know the keyboard / mouse support will be a hell of a lot better than in Android. Microsoft will get the experience right and that might just be the deal breaker for some people.
Oh please, enough of this Microsoft troll bullshit. How can you even begin to compare an OS you've never used with Android? It may well be better, but right now you have no bloody idea if it is or not. Get a life, get a girl, get a job, get something but please f**k off while you are doing it.
"You're using an OS designed for phones on a tablet machine."
No, I'm using an OS designed for tablets on a tablet machine. I expect the experience to address a common use pattern of people using keyboard / mouse peripherals and respond correctly. It's not an insurmountable problem but it is a problem.
As for Windows RT (I assume you're the troll talking it up), yes I think it will do keyboard / mouse input a lot better and said as much. It will suck balls in many other ways however given that it's not Windows and will therefore suffer from a lack of legacy support and a general dearth of apps.
I've a TF300 too and to be honest those niggles you mention are true. But they are just that, niggles. I use my Pad daily and very quickly quit noticing them. Is the TF300 dock as good as a good laptop when it comes to usability? No. Is it the best tablet/keyboard combo? In my opinion yes. The Infinity looks nice but I'd not have paid the extra for some more pixels.
"I've a TF300 too and to be honest those niggles you mention are true. But they are just that, niggles. "
I don't find them niggles. I encounter them virtually every time I type anything on the thing. I find it inexcusable that nearly into 4th iteration of tablet they still don't have the software nailed with proper settings to control the touchpad and these odd behaviours. They are fixable and they should be fixed.
If they are niggles, they are damned annoying niggles.
I have the TF300 and the wife has an ipad, I had to 'borrow' her ipad to buy a new goodybag on giffgaff as my tab couldn't handle it. The wife has never had to borrow my TF300.
I don't think I will purchasing another android device, I suspect I may become a fanboi unless windows manage to produce the goods and, unfortunately I don't hold out much help.
So do I. I've had it for a week now and I often say "WTF!" as I try to use it. I'd be here for a long time if I tell you all the things I've noticed that are just plain 'wrong' with it; so here's just one:
Take some pics with your Android phone (or any camera) on a day out.- Transfer them to the SD card in your Transformer Pad. - The Gallery app can't find them. - There is no way to tell the Gallery app to look for them (I've tried refresh, it doesn't work). [WTF!]- You have to put them in a particular directory, then turn off the device, turn it on again and wait for it to search memory to find pictures, [WTF!] which it does eventually. Then you can see the pictures you tranfered to the Transformer Pad. -You decide you want a slide show, so you press 'play'. It does a slide show, starting with the LAST picture you took and ending with the first one [WTF!].
Yes, that's because you are mounting a new storage device, which is then scanned to see if there are any image files on it. I use Wi-Fi to transfer files between devices (no messing about with pulling cards out, modern way of doing things, etc).
In this case the Gallery app doesn't know about it and there is no way to tell it, "look in here", unless you do a full restart. It's the same with my Wildfire and Desire phones and my old Advent tablet. It's an Android thing.
As for the Transformer Pad slide show, it takes a *special* kind of developer to show images in reverse alphanumerical order :)
Thank you Neill, but I've figured out a method. I transfer a folder of pics over WiFi to the SD card, then use the Settings menu to remove and then remount the SD card. This works well and it only has to rebuild the thumbnails that it doesn't already have, so it's not slow.
Interesting comments - thanks. But: "ASUS need to provide a settings where I can adjust the pressure and duration that the pad is touched for it to respond. Just like any other laptop device."
I'm sure they exist, but I've never knowingly used a laptop which allows you to set the pressure at which the touchpad responds, nor the duration (apart from double click speed).
"I'm sure they exist, but I've never knowingly used a laptop which allows you to set the pressure at which the touchpad responds, nor the duration (apart from double click speed)."
Actually it depends. If you use Linux on your laptop - pretty much any laptop will have those settings available. I had to play with those settings in Xorg.conf to get an overly sensitive touchpad to work properly. You could set the pressure threshold, and duration before a tap registered as a click. Really handy when you need them. Then again, on most laptops, the defaults seem to work just fine - so you don't normally have to fiddle with them.
On the other hand in Windows - yes, don't recall them being exposed by regular mouse or touchpad drivers. But there could be exceptions to this one.
I've been using one of these as a note taker for the last week - it's a fantastic peice of kit!
RDP to a windows machine and having a better resolution that the desktop it is connecting too, whilst still being readable, is really usefull!
Movies look just absolutely stunning
Working on documents and presentations, comfortably, whilst out and about is great (actually the reason I brought it).
And it fits in my handbag without being too heavy (which is just one reason why I would not a crappy notebook for the same price)
I have the same issues with as DrXym with my Prime. They are (for me) minor niggles as I mainly use the keyboard for its battery.
As for the ips+ function, I use it regularly on my commute to work. My Prime is used for watching movies or TV episodes on the train and the ips+ function is brilliant when its a really sunny day, I can watch my prime while ipad users are confronted with a washed out screen ;)
Yes the iPad screen is better quality in colour reproduction, but I wouldn't swap.
"The dock part of the Infinity partnership is very similar to those that ship with the lesser Transformers though they are not interchangeable."
Not even slightly true. Firstly, it's been made clear since well before release that the Infinity is compatible with the Prime dock (although not others). Secondly, the reason for this is now clear since there is, in fact, only one dock. The dock for the TF700 is exactly the same TF201 dock as for the previous models. They've changed the name on the box, but the model numbers are exactly the same and they didn't even update the manual, which only mentions the Transformer Prime, not the Infinity.
As for price, yes, it's seriously overpriced in the UK. Just order from amazon.com instead of .co.uk and you can get it for close to half the price (you need to make sure to order from a reseller though, since Amazon themselves refuse to ship to other countries. I've found EXcaliberPC very fast and reliable). Unfortunately you're forced to use the ASUS charger even though it's just a USB cable so you'll need a US to UK adaptor, but as long as you can manage to find one for less than around £200 (I think mine cost £2) you'll still come out ahead.
It's also worth bearing in mind that although the Prime is sold along with the dock, the Infinity requires you to buy them separately. So while the Prime costs £500 for tablet and dock, the Infinity is £600 for just the tablet. If you buy in the UK, that will probably mean an extra £150 for the dock (tablet is $599 in the US while dock is $150 at full price).
"Not even slightly true. Firstly, it's been made clear since well before release that the Infinity is compatible with the Prime dock"
Sin of omission. the Infinity dock will work with the Prime but the Prime dock wont work with the Infinity. The Pad (300) dock won't work with either the Infinity or the Prime. The important fact is that if you own a Prime you can't buy an Infinity tablet and dock it, ditto if you own a TF300.
OK, looking at EXcaliberPC as you suggest, they're selling it for $709 (64G model == UK spec) + $61.03 postage + $4 insurance: total $774.03, which is £493.51 according to random currency converter site. If you have a 0% foreign transaction loading credit card you'll pay something like this to the supplier. Fine if you're lucky, but you will most likely have to pay 20% VAT and handling charge on top of that, which brings it up to £600 again. Saving is more like £150 than £200 if your estimation of £750 here is correct, with a degree of uncertainty and hell to pay if you need to return it.
I agree with reader K (Too pricey and too late)
Basically, the iPad3 has raised the bar and pricing above it is a no-go now. Sure, it's got a keyboard with battery dock, but at around 100 Quid more, a bluetooth keyboard for the iPad is about half the price. Now one can debate about the extra features and so on, but at the end of the day, to compete, you need to be better and more cost effective than the incumbent.
There is another often overlooked aspect where, in my experience, the Transformer loses hands down. I own a Prime and recently, my son cracked the screen. Cost of repair? More than a new prime, if you can find someone to do it! Cost for iPad - about US$200, and plenty providers offering repair services. This is particularly worrying if you crawl the Transformer forums and see people complaining about screen cracks suspected to be the result of regular dock insertion.
My other son managed to insert the USB charger the wrong way round (WTF!). This melted off the USB connector. Try get a replacement cable, nope, no-one carries stock. Not even the local Asus distributor, who did not even bother to answer my emails. Had to import from Amazon Germany, the shipping being more than the cable!
In summary : I really like the Asus Transformer range, but they have to get the pricing better and beef up the after-sales support. The iPad simply represents the better buy at the moment : at purchase time, app-store time and repair time.
Just my 2c worth...
It's a shame about ASUS diabolical customer service though. I have a transformer TF101 and the screen got faint brighter screen blobs for NO REASON whatsoever. They had it back and refused to repair it, as they said it was CUD (Customer Induced Damage) and returned it, and they didn't charge me for the return carriage (Some guilt perhaps ?) as they normally would if it is the customer's fault.
Well I'd done *nothing* to cause this, and remember that the unit had crashed whilst on charge and had overheated. I told them this but it made no difference. PC world were no better after I complained and protested to them.
Futhermore my mother's ASUS laptop virtually fell to bits at 14 months old. One of our ASUS desktop machines here at work failed after a week, an ASUS laptop we have won't produce any sound after Windows is installed under the EFI BIOS rather than standard MBR. I have had nothing bit negative experience with ASUS and diabolical ineffective customer service. Buy their products at your peril in my opinion.
I wouldn't by a 13 amp mains piug made by ASUS now.
I have an ASUS Eee 701SD (remember those? the "original netbook"), and perhaps they're a different prospect to ASUS' usual laptops and tablets, as mine is still going strong - it must be pretty well five years old by now, though I bought it "refurbished" in 2009.
Just about the only problem I've had with the machine, was that the left button on the touchpad no longer works, but I've never bothered to try and get it fixed. (I imagine the repair would cost more than the Eee is now worth, and a tap on the touchpad works for most LMB actions (aside from drag'n'drop, then I plug in a mouse).)
And in case anyone wondered: I'm running Arch Linux on the Eee (with the Fluxbox window manager), and it flies like the proverbial off a clean shovel. Wonder how easy it would be to get Arch Linux ARM on the Infinity...
I bought an Acer Iconia a500 last year out of sheer geeky will to spend some cash and that was the only model I could pick up from the shop there and then. For months the tablet had very little proper reason for existence with only netflix being its saviour. Then I bought a Kensington case and bluetooth keyboard and brought it on my honeymoon to back up photos and provide some web access etc while we were away. Frankly now I think i can get rid of my old Linux laptop - the tablet now provides all the functionality i need - light web surfing, media management. So I'm thinking I'd like a maybe faster tablet with better battery life and screen and less portly. I'm a google slut so Gdrive and Gmail do the business. I have a 3 mi-fi so need only wi-fi only.
But, what a bloody minefield it is. Does anyone have any idea what is coming around the corner from the hardware manufacturers? If i were to pay the inflated cost of this ASUS, am i going to discover that just around the corner, better again chip and screen designs are going to make this look old? I am very aware that tech keeps developing and if you wait for the next big thing, you'll be waiting forever. However, the tablet market is still young and volatile and can change beyond recognition very quickly. Is Android 5 and Windows RT going to move the boundaries so much that my ACER is going to become a digital picture frame?? I don't know.
Theres a reason why Apple still own this market - they have kept their wares simple. Android has simply confused it and constantly muddies the water. And frankly that perfect for Microsoft to wade in and absorb the Android market.
So, I need a very portable machine to be able to work away from home for a little over a month (PHP web app dev / support, including offline, so need Apache or similar & MySQL. AAMP stack??). I've been on the verge of getting an 11" Macbook Air (currently use Netbeans on a 15" Macbook Pro) but 1366x768 mkes me want to cry. I also can't find any Windows laptops below 12" which have better than 1366x768.
So, does anyone use Android for dev work? I've looked around a bit for solutions and the only suggestions I find are to VNC or whatever to another machine, or use an online IDE. I don't really want to do either of those (would rather cope with 1366x768). Anyone actually do this in reality? I wonder if Linux can be installed on this machine in any useful way. I expect I'll get the Apple mahcine but thought I'd check with all you experts first :) Sorry if I'm an idiot!
As fate would have it, it got here a couple of hours after I posted ;)
Didn't put it to any serious use though. Looks gorgeous, IMHO. The screen is excellent.
The problems are what I knew beforehand: small ssd disk (128G), small memory (4G), no VGA connector, colleagues get really jealous, etc.
Had my prime since Feb and use it day in day out servicing infrastructure clients and their kit (via rdp) at their various sites whilst keeping on top of email etc. I needed about ten quids worth of apps to complete the picture (decent VMware/RDP client and touchdown for mail) but otherwise the cost of the prime has been entirely justified by usage and convenience. You simply cannot buy a tiny 100% solid state win/nix laptop with three days battery life for 500 notes otherwise I might have done.
The USB hub was very useful on holiday. Dumping my camera onto the thing each night was a breeze. Trains are now a multimedia pleasure (headphones make the single speaker a non issue). micro HDMI is occasionally a decent crowd pleaser.
Very disappointed that there's no 3g again though otherwise I'd have upgraded and ebayed the prime in a heartbeat.
They sell these beauties for 669 CHF here in Switzerland.. that works out at about £438 for the "Asus Transformer Pad Infinity, 64 GB - WiFi" version. Now that's a bargain. And they're in stock. But they don't deliver to the UK.
(Digitec is a well-known chain of retail stores, like Currys, about 10 minutes from Zurich station)
Have they fixed the battery charging fiasco from the original?
I'd hope that powering the keyboard (now) will:
a) charge the keyboard while the tablet is unplugged
b) charge BOTH tablet and keyboard at once
I've been out the loop a while, so maybe this is fixed now.
I don't know why people are whinging about the price in the UK. Here in France Amazon have it on sale at €59,079.10. It's those last 10 centimes that tip it just outside my price range...
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