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back to article Asus Transformer Pad TF300

It’s no secret that I like the Asus Transformer Prime a lot. Still, £500 is a lot for a tablet even if it does go like the clappers, is made of aluminium and has a cracking keyboard dock with a built-in extra battery. Asus Transformer Pad Can you tell Pad from Prime at a glance? No Asus has now addressed that issue by …

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Anonymous Coward

Might as well buy a laptop, rather than a hybrid?

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What part of hybrid don't you get ?

See title

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What part of hybrid don't you get ?

I love my TF101... the fact when I want to write something I'm not stuck with an on screen keyboard, and when I want just a tablet, I have it. The extra battery, and expandability are just bonuses...

For me it makes a tablet more usable, but it's not a laptop... though that's more software. It's just a decent tablet, with a very well thought out extension to make it more usable for tasks tablets struggle with, and frankly I love it for that. Also the keyboard makes a fairly nice stand.

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Devil

I still do development so Android and Shiny Shiny does not do the job for me.

If it runs ubuntu or debian it will make my monthly gadget shopping list. I would love to drop my "airplane backpack weight" by 1kg and leave the (rather svelte) Lenovo I use today at home.

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Already done - http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1603921

It does require root access which currently means calling up Asus to get it unlocked and thereby officially invalidating the warranty (unlike the original Transformer).

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"Already done", but only if you don't mind minor issues like "Touchscreen (it works but every few touches are off target by 1/2 the screen)"

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Which is why you have a keyboard dock with a trackpad on it.

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Develop for Android on Android

see AIDE

Works well, even on an HTC Sensation plugged into an HDMI monitor + Bluetooth keyboard and mouse (ICS gives you a mouse pointer if yo connect a BT mouse).

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re: invalidating warranty

That would be an interesting one to see play out in the UK (and probably EU) courts.

There are statutory rights which you have, no matter what you sign or agree to. If you root it, and the case bio-degrades within 6 months because it's made of the incorrect plastic (for example), you would still be able to throw the sales of goods act at them. (Unfit for purpose).

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Potentially an Android tablet could run Ubuntu or similar at the SAME time. There are some interesting demos of just that on YouTube where a Motorola Atrix was running a modified kernel that displayed Android when mobile and Ubuntu when plugged into a dock. It was actually Ubuntu engineers who put it together too which would make me hopeful it may eventually see the light of day.

While I love Android and AIDE etc look interesting, Android is still not what I would call "self-hosting". You need a computer running Windows, OS X or Linux to properly develop for it and I don't foresee that changing any time soon. This is actually one way that Windows could potentially steal a march on Android since a Windows tablet, providing it has a desktop *could* be used to develop apps for itself which would be a boon for developers.

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Trollface

Re: re: invalidating warranty

In the UK/EU it should make zero difference as a manufacturers warranty is a freebie that may or may not influence your purchasing decision between brands. Your legal protection is through the original retailer and being statutory rights they cannot be withdrawn simply by the manufacturers say-so. On the other hand if you try to use your shiny TF201 as a hammer for nailing up a picture, for example, then it's your problem as you cannot reasonably expect it to function as originally sold and so the retailer has little liability. Unless of course advertising, promotional materials or the product documentation (including the packing) gave you an expectation of it being part of the legitimate functions of the device. Like "GPS" being written on the box :)

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No need to contact asus to unlock the tablet to get root access!

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ASUS Transformer Charger

Is the charger for the new Transformer a USB 2 charger? The charger on the Transformer Prime is a USB 3 type charger: 15v 1.2A, so ordinary USB chargers (5v) won't work as I found out during an overseas trip with the Prime. As of a few weeks ago, the only USB 3 charger I can find was the ASUS, maybe things will improve with this model.

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Re: ASUS Transformer Charger

The original Transformer charger was USB 3 too, doubt they'd change it on this one.

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Headmaster

Re: ASUS Transformer Charger

The USB 3 spec does not specify a 15V@1.2A power, it specifies 5V@0.9A.

If you have a charger kicking out 15V@1.2A, that ain't USB 3.

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Nev
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Re: ASUS Transformer Charger

Nothing to do with USB 2.0/3.0

The Transformers draw too much current for standard USB chargers.

Same for most PC USB ports too.

Some can manage to charge the Transformer if it's off, but not when it's on.

You need one rated at ~2A for it to work 100%

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Re: ASUS Transformer Charger

I think gigabyte kick out triple power when required via USB ports. Worth checking.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ASUS Transformer Charger

It will charge from a normal 5v usb port, but you have to switch it completly off.

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Happy

TF101 charger

Just wanted to mention that the TF101 charger tops up my cellphone in record time. An unexpected benefit.

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Anonymous Coward

Have one...

and (1) - it's just as excellent as this review makes out and (2) yes, it uses the same charging rig as the T. Prime.

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Nice price point

I have the Prime (love it) and might easily have gone for this instead if it were out in time.

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Original

I have the original TF101 and have not yet found it lacking in the performance stakes. I have rooted it and installed a custom ICS build. Id been keen to understand how the build quality compares - the 101 was great until I dropped it and now one side of it flexes slightly, but otherwise its still going great guns.

My only complaint with the 101 is the 2ft usb/charge lead. Useless when you want to use the plug socket that's close to the ground, but store it on a desk. Maybe their accommodation layouts are different in the land of ASUS, but I'd be surprised if this wasn't fed back to the development team when (if) it was tested in Europe/US.

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Re: Original

I'm having plenty of performance issues with my TF300 (and a few functionality ones on top). Maybe I'm just unlucky.

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Re: Original

Grab a TF201 lead, it's thankfully longer than the TF101's lead - I remember having the same problem with it.

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Extension

A USB 1 extension lead from one of the £1 shops should fix the cable length for you. HTH

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Anonymous Coward

"Cracking good keyboard"?

When you say 'cracking', do you mean they've made it so thin that it will crack in normal use? Or just flex a lot?

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Unhappy

Not again!

When will they learn? If people want a laptop, they'll get a laptop. If people want a tablet, they'll get a tablet. Hybrids have no use if they dont use a specially crafted OS. Android just doesn't fit the bill at all.

Next please.

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FAIL

Re: Not again!

I got it because I want a hybrid. When will you learn?

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Unhappy

Prime is good, but.....

I got one, and like it it, but.....

1. GPS sucks. The free dongle isn't exactly small.

2. 3G Dongles can only be used if you screw around in root and then that breaks warranty....AND they can't be used in Tablet, only with the USB on the Dock.

I'm really not happy. I hope they fix those in TF300 and subsequent

Streaker

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Just OOI, is it possible to swap the tablet and keyboard sections between the Pad and Prime if they're that similar?

And I've just started using a rather ancient 7" EEE PC at work as my "I need to programme something in a field and don't want to take my 15" lump with me" computer. It works pretty nicely.

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Sounds like an interesting device to me

I like the hybrid concept much more than a pure tablet, and yes, I do see uses next to my laptop.

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Anonymous Coward

Love my Prime

Nuff said.

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UK Reamed once again.

Shame it's about £100 more expensive than it is in the US, even with 20% VAT added on.

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IT Angle

How do you use the trackpad on a device like this?

Is there an actual pointer that you can use to select text and click controls ? Touch-only tablets have no pointer and I haven't played with a hybrid yet ...

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howto: trackpad and task switching ?

Having never used and ICS hybrid tablet:

1) With ICS, do you get a pointer which you can use to click on controls and select text

when using the trackpad ?

2) to switch say from web browsing to email

do you do something like alt-tab ?

if he two task above are not awkward,

then I'm tempted to get one !!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: howto: trackpad and task switching ?

so you really can't be bothered to just pop into currys/pcworld next time you are in town and see for yourself? also, you will find numerous resources on the internet about Ice Cream Sandwich, and its fantastic multi-tasking (it has a multitasking on screen button, which is also emulated on the keyboard dock of the transformer), as well as its native support for mouse and keyboard control.

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Re: howto: trackpad and task switching ?

1) Yes, you get a mouse pointer when using the trackpad.

2) Keyboard commands don't generally work. There's a row of buttons similar to Fn commands on a laptop that can be used, but shortcuts such as Alt-Tab or Ctrl+C/V won't work.

If you're switching between tasks, you can go into the 'menu' icon that persistently stays on screen and select an app that's already open from there (or go to the home screen and reopen it, if it's already open, it just switches to it).

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Re: howto: trackpad and task switching ?

thanks Dotter - I am trying to understand if you can avoid using the touch screen for those basic tasks

...

and to Anon Coward ... I will once day try a hands-on on one of these ... but I'd like to understand sooner.

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Re: howto: trackpad and task switching ?

To an extent you can, though you might have to click something onscreen in place of using a keyboard shortcut (or touch it, a lot faster). The Ctrl C/Ctrl V is the only bit that irritates me, really.

Going hands-on with a tablet is the best way you'll find out what you can/can't live with, though.

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Re: howto: trackpad and task switching ?

On the original Transformer Alt-Tab works if you use the right hand Alt key.

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I've just exchanged my 3rd unit at Curry's due to horrendously patchy light bleed on the screens.

I think that they either had a poor batch or that Asus's QC needs improving...or both. Although the light bleed isn't a big issue (even bad examples) in everyday use, I found it to be very distracting when watching films or with apps with a black background.

Curry's were great though, i'll give them their due. The took one look at each, agreed on the spot and replaced it. No hassle.

I was updating from a TouchPad, and actually found the TF300 very thin to hold comfortably in large hangs! The screen was bright enough (just) and colours were not overly saturated, for better or worse. Overall the unit was adequately robust. But i prefer a more substantially constructed tablet: ie TouchPad, Prime, iPad, Acer 510 etc...

I found that the battery life of the tablet alone, was less that my HP TouchPad but the combined Tab & Dock was a couple of hours more. The connectivity of this tablet is killer. Fantastic. Full SD and full USB support on the dock and MSD support on the tab means that you can have a 96GB Tablet with a 64GB MicroSD card and 32 on board, and have 128GB SD card in the dock with USB support for HDD's, DVD players, USB->Ethernet adapters etc...

Ultimately though, I have now decided that Android is a perfect phone OS and not so great tablet OS. I've been running an SGS2 for ages and love it. Sadly the Android experience on this tablet just didn't do it for me. I think it's more to do with the way I expect to use a tablet versus a phone and also the hardware implementation. I've decided to run the Android phone along side a jailbroken iPad.

Anyway, it's a fantastic little tablet that really is a jack of all trades.

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Unhappy

hardware is fine...

I bought a Prime a couple of weeks ago and i love it. Had a look at the 300 on thursday at Dixons at Gatwick and it was impressive. My problem is with the software - Google Play doesnt recognise any of the offshore islands (Guernsey, Jersey or IOM) so i have no access to paid apps or content. Not all of the free apps seem to be there either. Grabbed a few apps while in London last week but its a real nuisance. They have been aware of the issue for ages. Maybe el Reg could ask them for an update as i am getting nowhere....

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