Billed as the year of the fondleslab, 2011 has so far failed to deliver on the hype. With sales of Motorola's Xoom sluggish at best, the BlackBerry Playbook too idiosyncratic for most and the Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tantalisingly conspicuous by its absence, Asus looks to steal a march on the competition with its Eee Pad Transformer …
Now *that* is priceless!
".......Of course, capturing pictures and video on a 10.1in tablet makes as much sense as trimming your toenails with garden shears, ..........."
I also agree with the sound common sense informing your remark!
Whilst I feel that it is difficult to say whether this type of "bespoke" docking station solution with *built in* keyboard will be a really big seller I certainly feel that the docking/charging station (with extra ports) solution with your tab giving you the opportunity to connect keyboard and mouse if you want to will be a form-factor that a lot of people will appreciate. Kudos to Asus here, I am impressed. I am not ready to take the plunge yet - the next generations hardware (in the next eighteen months or so) will be even more convincing, and *then* yours truly will blow the dust of his wallet.
People would rather appreciate a kickstand and a few USB ports to connect their own choice of mouse and keyboard, rather than being railroaded into buying the official accessory (or even a third Party plugin adaptor).
I look forward to
cheaper docking stations from others sources PDQ.
3rd party docking stations are unlikely...
Given that the keyboard connects via a proprietary plug.
S'just the price you pay for Android's hardware agnosticism...
@Tom 7 Re "I look forward to"
To be honest if this basic idea looks to be a winner in the market place I am sure that "generic docks" will be produced. In fact I would be surprised if Asus themselves did not start to produce a range of such stations both with and without keyboards. It is such an obvious peripheral for a tab-pc that it is likely that there will be quite a market in them.
Might behard to beat on price
Given it's £50 (when bundled) and includes battery, ports and keyboard. Laptop batteries usually cost around that on their own.
@juice (3rd party docking stations are unlikely...)
Right, I forgot that the ipod/pad use standard connectors....NOT
@petur - you're right, of course...
you don't get 3rd party docks, sound systems etc for iPads/iPhones etc
"at 675g it's far from the one-handed holy grail that is the iPad 2"
IPad2: 601, 607, or 613 grams depending on the model
iPad1: 680 or 730 grams
I'd say it's pretty NEAR to the one-handed Grail myself.
Re: Weighty issues
Of course, "one-handed holy grail" sounds like some kind of auto-erotic state of perfection. Something to bear in mind as a retort next time the iBrigade pipe up about something or other.
Looks are in the eye of the...
I, and my other half, both think that the Asus is a very nice looking bit of kit. the metal bezel around just the outside is what adds that extra touch.
I love the way it looks, and the build quality is also absolutely superb - odd that this only ever gets a mention in Apple reviews, not those of other manufacturers' kit.
One little trick that wasn't mentioned in the review, which is worth the entire purchase price on its own. Use the tablet until the battery goes flat, then plug it into the keyboard unit and leave it for a few hours, and the table recharges fully and is ready for another 8 hours of use. Very nice indeed.
Another thing not mentioned in the review, is that the SD card slot in the keyboard unit is SDXC, and so supports cards up to 2TB, although only 64GB and 128GB cards are currently available.
I've started using this as a replacement for my laptop when travelling, and it fills the role very well indeed. Not so good for heavyweight document creation, of course, but I rarely do more than take notes and do minor edits to existing documents when I'm on the road, which this does perfectly well.
Overall, 10/10, I'm very impressed.
Re: Absolutely agree
"I love the way it looks, and the build quality is also absolutely superb - odd that this only ever gets a mention in Apple reviews, not those of other manufacturers' kit."
Note also that Apple now claim to own "shiny" and "round". Hence any tendency by other manufacturers to avoid such difficult-to-come-up-with "design" features on their own products.
I've seen it in action and talked to somebody who bought it and used it every day, and this really is a nice piece of hardware. Want to buy, but still looking for the use-case :)
Trolling aside, I'm with you. I expect my use-case to be "broken netbook" and not before.
mmm... It sounds a very impressive machine, but there is definitely something retro about it´s look. Casio sums it up. Guess I´m shallow like that...
Whilst I really like the idea of large form slabs, the convergence with keyboard and mouse isn´t quite there yet and begs the question, why not just get a wee lappy/tabby instead. I use a Galaxy S and a HP Tablet and think there is merit in both, but neither device has enough of the magic stuff that makes me want to completely ditch one of the other. Tis a reet bugger sometimes.
I really want this sort of tech to work and get a foothold, but with manufacturers vomitting products at us with alarming speed, it´s all feels like landgrab/goldrush and needs to settle down.
Nice review, BTW...
Mines the coat, overly stuffed and bulging with doubled up tech...
Now all we need...
...is a proper linux for it. Or rather, the drivers etc to use a proper distro on it.
Won't buy one just yet till I know it can be (relatively) painlessly done. Has it yet?
it would be great, if asus would support meego as well (on transformer -> arm tablet).
after all, they plan to sell atom netbooks with meego)
something's gone wrong!
.. what's with the acceptable 1280x800 screen res?
not sure what is unacceptable with it?
the right way forward
This is the future of the tablet for me, the current crop of purely handheld designs restricts their usefulness in my eyes. Having said that, it would be nice to see some standardisation emerge for the keyboard connection so that tablets and keyboards become interchangeable (yes, I know I'm probably dreaming). I can see a setup like this replacing my current laptop when the time comes.
As an aside, does anyone know if this tablet includes GPS?
Yes, GPS and compass are built in.
I got one of these a couple of weeks ago. As soon as it powered up and I'd connected to my WiFi it told me there was an update available. It's been running 3.1 happily ever since. And yes, a standard USB mouse works, and no apps have crashed yet, (unless I wrote them).
This is getting a bit daft now.
Some consistency between reviews is seriously needed.
Asus is better and cheaper than Xoom, but because you
don't like the design, you mark it down 5%.
Been waiting for this review
And it is very interesting. But I don't trust the scores at all now, and I would like to be able to.
perhaps reg central could add a voting system? Buy/don't choices from commmentards?
It would be a nice idea but........
.......there would unfortunately be a *very* high risk that such a reader-voting system to grade products would be thoroughly abused by fanbois/shills of all persuasions in an attempt to boost their "gang" or flame the company they hate the most. I regret that such a system would likely end up completely suborned by the aforementioned.
"Buy/don't choices from commmentards?"
What, you don't mistrust the existing reviews *enough*?
I got to play with one for a week or so...
As a friend in China had just bought one. Unfortunately, this meant that it had a Chinese Android build on it; while the UI was fully available in English, several of the standard "google" features (e.g. the App Market, etc) weren't available; instead, apps had to be downloaded and installed via a Chinese app store.
General impressions were good: physically it's nice and sturdy - and when docked with the keyboard, the colour and "diamond" texturing almost make it look and feel like some sort of high-fashion handbag - there's definite D&G echoes there. Oh, and the hinge is incredibly stiff.
Beyond that, it worked pretty much as you'd expect an Android tablet to; other than some tweaks to the desktop layout, I didn't really notice that much difference from the various other Android devices I've tinkered with. The keyboard felt nice and solid too - though I think there's still some work to be done around "mouse pointer" functionality in Android. That said, it's nice being able to type on the keyboard and then tap the screen directly to access links et al.
Battery life seems good as well - Plants vs Zombies is still huge in China (everything from stuffed dolls to playing cards and t-shirts are sold virtually everywhere) and my friend's wife spent a good amount of time tapping away at the screen to send the zombies on their way...
Try updating the firmware!
I've had a 16Gb Transformer from mid-May and when I received the unit there was already a firmware update waiting for me, closely followed by another one a couple of days later and then the big update to Honeycombe 3.1 at the start of June. Asus if nothing else can't be moaned at for not fixing issues. Firmware updates have fixed camera and performance issues as well sorting out issues with the keyboard that people have been experiencing - most of which seem to have been pretty much iradicated now.
My only real disappointment with the Transformer is the lack of apps available for Honeycomb - which can't really be blamed on Asus. I have noticed over the last week or so there have been a trickle (def. not a glut) of Honeycomb compatible apps and games being released which can only be a good thing. Overal I'm pretty happy with mine (as long as the apps keep coming)
Considering how long it has taken El Reg to get this review out, i thought it might be because they were waiting on a review with 3.1 included. Obviously not....maybe it was left in the draft folder for a month or so?
I am looking for Debian on this puppy
If it runs Debian, I will buy it straight away :)
It does now...
Secure boot key leaked, you can flashwhatever you want to it, Linux (non-Android variant) on the way. But why? Android is already very Linux, with a very lightweight UI, why bog it down with anything more?
Probably not yet
Nvidia haven't released open source graphics drivers for these for Tegra2 yet, there's no free alternative as far as I know, and I'm pretty sure there's no closed source driver for generic, non-android linux either.
Good plan, but not quite available yet.
I really can't think of a use for a tablet that I can't run my most used (open source, multi-platform) packages on, other than as a gimmick.
A phone is a different matter by dint of its portability and expected connectivity. I'm happy for my phone to be task-focused. But I can't think of any situation where I'd want to use a tablet computer and not want to be able to do what I could on a laptop.
Re: It does now...
Question: Android is already very Linux, with a very lightweight UI, why bog it down with anything more?
Answer: Because I still write code. In more than one language. Yes I know, it is a sackable offense nowdays prohibited by corporate governance (at least where I work). All code should be written in a warmer climate. Viva la 9:1 ratio where 9 is where an MD has a vested interest and 1 is on-site.
Got one of these
Preordered it for the missus as her dell netbook was looking long in the tooth. She's loving the whole thing, using it to read kindle books at night and type up reports in the day. The dell has been sold to a relative for a pittance.
3.1 is already here! Got it more than a week ago. Mouse support is flawless. I put in a a logitech m305, so the nano reciever is always in and ready.
I think the eeepad make the tablet into a creators device as well as a consuming one, which is good. Only for certain things, certainly, reasonably simple documents at the moment. Just needs better app support though for more complex ones, graphics media etc.
The extra element of the keyboard, mouse and touch on the screen make for an interesting way of working, all quite complimentary I think.
Now if I could run intellij/ eclipse on there, I'd be as happy as the wife is and get one for me.
Give it time.
Either eclipse will turn up on it, or some enterprising user will manage to hack debian onto it, at which point you'll be able to run it anyway.
Incidentally mine is working out quite nicely too. Already replaced my aged laptop, as you may have guessed. The only downside is the limited codec support, which means that I can't stream my enormous 1080p movies on it (having said that, it might also be the fact that I'm trying to stream . But that's ok, I can just use it as a gigantic upnp remote for xbmc.
ps. we meet at last!
Boot loader locked?
Or is it possible to install a proper Linux on that thingie?
Sure looks like a nice piece of kit.
Won't be long
The "linux on a toaster" crowd do excellent work. I doubt you'll be waiting long...
Awesome tablet but..... Asus suck at post sales
I have an Eee Pad Transformer and it really is a lovely piece of kit. Didn't get the keyboard version as already use a laptop all the time and really wanted something super slim and ultra-portable; which this is.
The only couple of niggles lay firstly with the tablet using a proprietary charge/sync connector (a bit like the iPad) rather than a standard USB. Whilst the article correctly states you can charge from USB the caveats are that you still have to use the supplied cable and the charging only happens whilst the pad is in standby.
The cable is also woefully short meaning it will just about reach a desktop from a low down power socket and worse still there are NO replacement cables available from Asus or indeed OEM.
The official response from Asus I received when asking about spare cables was that they don't have any and won't supply them, best to return whole unit to retailer for a swapout. Hardly a viable option for a cable.
The other niggle lays with the lack of other accessories. The official Asus case has only just been released and as yet there is no sign of the desktop dock stand (not the keyboard dock) nor the USB adapter.
With vast quantities of this tablet now shipping it is only time but for now if you get one guard that cable.
Re- Awesome tablet but...
Have a look at the forums on this. Someone reported a USB cable that would extend the supplied unit, and supply the required power
Must be a USB 3 cable
A few quid from Amazon :) Works a treat.
works a treat? really?
That extension cable, does it actually still charge at the higher rate though? Plug it in and see if the charging symbol comes up, it certainly doesn't on mine.
Still trickle charges but not really a viable solution.
Can't wait for third parties to start knocking out car chargers and decent cables
Awesome tablet but..... charging cables
I've been following the charging cable issues over on XDA-Forums for a while and have tried USB 2 & 3 cables.
The stock cable isn't a true USB cable so extensions force the tablet back into the "slow charge" mode which is fine overnight I guess but annoying as hell every other time.
Amazon cable linked above works fine
Charges at full speed.
Eee Pad Slider
Roll on the rather damned good looking Eee Pad Slider, though latest word is that the price-point speculation reported here a few months back was rather on the optimistic side. Anyway, just bought a new SSD and stick of RAM for my Aspire One, so committed for a little while longer.
Easilly a 95%
I have one, and it's fantastic. The 3.1 update is out and seems to address the keyboard lag, and I am getting 20 hours use between charges in netbook configuration.
The only minor niggle is that the touchpad can be tapped accidentaly when typing, fortunately there is a easy t button along the top row of the keyboard to toggle the touchpad on and off.
This truely is an iPad2 killer, not just on price, but on performance and features too. I would never have splashed £400+ on a tablet, but when it's a notebook too, it's suddenly viable.
Owning one, I was very puzzled by the 80% rating, and more so after reading the almost exclusively positive review.
I guessed they'd give 80% before opening the review, but was still kind of shocked.
Apart from the lack of Honeycomb-specific apps, I think it's the perfect media-consumption device for me.
Actually, one niggle I have is that having two separate accounts running on it is tricky. While the OS lets us both be logged in for calendars and market (assuming you trust the person), other apps (facebook, twitter, etc.) just don't support it.
Easily 90%+, in my eyes
Just read this on fhe train using my Transformer
I have to say that personally the unit is great. The author of the article must have written it a while qgo as the 3.1 update was pushed out on the 2nd of June and was a massive improvement. It would be interesting to know if they would rate it any higher.
The best thing about it is that you can use usb controllers from the ps3 and xbox to control the interface and best of all any games / emulators.ou do need the keyboard dock for that though.