For the past eleven days, I’ve been the proud owner of an Asus Eee Pad Transformer. Now that I’ve used it a bit and gotten the hang of things with it, it’s a good time to provide my thoughts.
GO BUY ONE!
This device normally retails at $399. Right now Staples has a coupon for $100 off tablets (through July 30th). Office Depot should match that deal, and they have the Transformer in stock. For $299, this device is a steal.
Here are my more detailed thoughts, in no particular order.
The Transformer is slim and light. It’s much more comfortable to hold and used for extended periods than my Asus netbook (which is tiny and light compared to my Dell laptop).
The build quality seems very solid. I carry this thing with me to court, to the office, around the house, etc. I hope I don’t drop it, but I think it would survive a reasonable tumble.
The battery boggles my mind. The device is always on, ready to go. I charge it at night, and it lasts all day. That’s using it heavily for a couple hours at court, then several more hours in the afternoon and evening at home.
I’m sure it would need a boost if you watch videos on it, but it’s amazing for my level of use.
The Transformer has easily ran any app I threw at it. Everything runs smoothly and quickly.
Honeycomb itself takes some getting used to, and I’m a devoted Android fan. But that’s just due to different placement of some buttons and menus. After a couple days those tweaks sink in, and everything feels second nature.
It may be sacrilege, but I didn’t buy the keyboard dock. I wanted to see how I could operate with just the virtual keyboard, since once you add the dock, you’ve lost that light tablet form factor.
I’m pleased to report that a virtual keyboard is sufficient for my needs. Yes, I could type a bit faster on a physical keyboard, but using SwiftKey X, I’m able to type quite proficiently. In fact, I’m typing this entire review using SwiftKey.
Let’s face it: any computer is only as a powerful as the software that you can run on it. Android tablets get a bad wrap for not having as many apps as the iPad. But is Android truly lacking in that department? Nope. Here are some apps I’m finding super helpful.
Gmail – Google did an amazing job with the Honeycomb Gmail app. It’s a treat to use.
Dolphin HD – The default browser is a bit lacking. Dolphin adds some extra bells and whistles that I dig, such as add-ons. One beef I have with it is that entering much text in a text area gets cumbersome. Sometimes the cursor gets misaligned, and it can be difficult to select text. But if overall, it works.
Evernote – I’m a long-time Evernote fan. They just rolled out a tablet-optimized version of their app, and it’s made of cool!
Dropbox – Yep, I’ve gone back to the service that just gets file sync right (that’s the subject of another blog post). The Android app works awesomely on Honeycomb, and it integrates seamlessly with DocsToGo (for spreadsheets and word processing) and ezPDFReader (for PDFs).
ezPDFReader – DocsToGo is great, but it’s not very powerful for PDFs. That’s where this little app shines. You can fully annotate and mark up PDFs with ease. If you open a PDF from your Dropbox, each time you make a change, Dropbox uploads the new file automagically.
If you’ve been on the fence about getting a tablet, grab the Staples coupon and go get one. You won’t be disappointed with the Transformer. If you are, you must be Johnny Raincloud.
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