Tuesday, 21 June 2011

I Love My Transformer

Quite simply, after spending a few more days with the ASUS Transformer, I'm loving it. The keyboard is the key. I can go off piste with the pad but to be able to dock it and type at near full speed is glorious. Total tops.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Couldn't Hold Off Honeycomb Any Longer

For the most part I've been happy with my Archos 101. I knew it was never going to be the ultimate tablet - you don't expect that for the price I paid - and after the initial couple of firmware upgrades the responsiveness and usability of the device was sufficient for simple browsing from the sofa. There were always a few instances, when I wanted something done where I knew the Archos just wouldn't cut it and I'd fire up the netbook to get the job done. Primarily this related to areas involving typing - or rather the requirements for lots of it. The other area where I found myself reaching for the netbook was major browsing sessions. Sometimes when I needed to fire up lots of pages and multiple searches I just found it plain quicker - and therefore easier - to get the job done on the netbook. Now I like my gadgets but I just didn't feel I could justify an upgrade to one of the new bread of Honeycomb tablets. I didn't feel they offered enough advances over what I could do with my current Archos to warrant spending so much. Then one day all that changed. The Transformer had caught my eye and I couldn't resist its charm...

Now this isn't going to be a big review. Barely a review at all really. More a statement that the usability of the ASUS Transformer - packaged with the keyboard dock - is a logarithmical improvement over my 101. For the last two days I've not needed to reach for the netbook. Ive not even been close to needing to. The usability in its pure tablet form is great. I don't think Honeycomb has huge changes as compared to Froyo but the sum of all the little things add to give a massive improvement in usability - and it all works silky smooth. Yes, there's the odd force close and there aren't a huge number of Honeycombed apps just yet but that will no doubt improve rapidly. Video performance is cracking - and I'm not comparing this to other Honeycomb tabs just my old 101. Just to say Youtube stuff plays jerk free.

Then, of course, we come to the keyboard dock and this is where things step up a notch. Attaching the tablet into the dock is painless and then cue netbook style typing. It's not a full size keyboard but you can get a decent enough type rate going. Once docked, the browsing experience is truly laptop like and there in lies the reason why I've not needed to reach for the netbook. A word on the stock browser, it's good. The ASUS mod to allow setting the user string thing to 'Desktop' without requiring the about:debug effort is a real boon. I almost can't tell the difference between browsing on the Transformer and using Chrome Browser on my netbook. (Although to be fair I have installed Dolphin HD for the tabbed interface - my mistake, the stock browser does indeed have tabbed browsing - but not when you turn on the 'quick control' options from the labs menu - but I still somehow prefer Dolphin).

All in all I give it 10 out of 10 and flushes away all my guilt from spending the money when I already had a Android tablet. The Transformer is light years ahead of the Froyo experience. It'll get an 11 once there are a few more Honeycomb purposed apps out there in the market...