"A perfect bridge between a laptop and a tablet."4.5 starson by gfinnh
Pros: 1. Quality build
2. Battery life
4. Intuitive design/Ease of use
5. The optional keyboard
Cons: 1. Only available in Espresso finish
Summary: I have wanted to get a tablet for a while and spent some time researching devices. I considered the iPad, the Xoom, Acer's device, the Asus Transformer and specifically waited for the Samsung Galaxy 10 and Toshiba's device (with the removable battery) before making any decisions. I also made sure I tested Blackberry's Playbook and the HP device as well as any tablet that was on display in electronics stores. In short, I think I have played with every one of them. The Asus Transformer soon became the "no-brainer" choice for me. Before I go into the details, a little about me so that this review can be useful to you. I have had the Transformer for about 3 1/2 weeks, so take the review for what's it worth.
1. I was looking for something that could replace many of the functions of my laptop, which includes business use. This includes document work and spreadsheets.
2. I don't care about games very much. I'm a guy in my early 40's with minimal free time.
3. I did want something that would be a good substitute for a Kindle/Nook and also be good for magazines.
4. I have a decent-sized music collection, so I wanted something that was expandable and easy to synch with my libraries. I also wanted some decent speakers built in.
What sold me on the Transformer was the optional keyboard. Asus made sure that the keyboard had a track pad, and also that the tablet worked with a mouse, if you wanted to plug one in. Steve Jobs may want the world to move away from the mouse, but I still need one for working with documents and spreadsheets. There are certain things that finger gestures don't work well with, so I needed something that worked with me instead of requiring me to work with it.
No other tablet, including the iPad, has this level of mouse capability out of the box. I am sure there are apps and attachments out there, but why spend the extra time searching, and then carrying adapters and devices. The added bonus here is the second battery built into the keyboard. So, between the tablet and the keyboard, I can get about 15 hours of working time before I need to charge them. Between the tablet and the keyboard there are two places for SD cards and also USB ports. This allows me to quickly move music on or off the device, as well as documents or whatever I want. I do make use of Google docs as well, but I want the flexibility to do things multiple ways.The native e-mail app works well with my personal e-mail and the device plays nicely with TouchDown, which is what I use for work. I have many different news apps, e-readers, etc. I use the GPS on it, and other integrated apps for finding restaurants, look up their reviews, etc. I have also used it as a family as well on a couple of road trips for various things you could imagine you might want on a road trip with a carload of kids. In many ways, it has taken the place of my phone due to the larger screen and keyboard.
In general, the Transformer has been smooth, responsive and stable. Since this model is wi-fi only, I use my phone as a WiFi hot spot, which has worked well for being on the road. I don't download movies or other massive files, so I never have a problem with excess data usage. Even streaming Bugs Bunny for the kids on YouTube hasn't used a lot of data. ;)
As an aside, I am on Verizon for my phone.
Now for the caveats: I have no issues with the tablet. It's well built and really just a nice piece of technology that suits my needs perfectly. The question you need to ask yourself is what you want a tablet for. Much like 30 laptops all running Windows, no matter how well built they are, if the operating system doesn't have what you need, you might want to buy a Mac.
1. Honeycomb 3.1 is good still a work in progress. The OS is fine, and works well. However, the Android App store in Honeycomb needs some work. Searching for apps that I know I can get on my phone (Samsung Fascinate) is a hit or miss in Honeycomb. Some explanations I have heard are that the store won't show apps that don't work in Honeycomb. If that's true (which I am not sure is) that's fine, but I think it would be better to categorize apps in some fashion so that users could see the Android apps they might have on their phone and check to see whether or not they could be on Honeycomb.
2. I don't need 100,000 apps available to me, let alone 500,000, etc. How many fitness, finance, facebook or f*rt apps does a person need to evaluate to find the best one? However, many apps that are working fine on Froyo don't seem to exist for Honeycomb. Developers have prioritized developing for the iPad over the Android tablets due to iPad's market share. It's a smart move, I would do it too. But that leaves the user with a decision to make about what it is they really want out of a tablet. I would advise that you figure out what you want your tablet to do, figure out what apps you might need to do that, and then figure out where you can get those apps. Then compare that to your budget. The choices will get clear quickly. A guy at a well known office supply store said they get a lot of tablets back because people bought them not knowing what a tablet did or didn't do. When they discovered the tablet didn't do everything their laptop did, or that it was a very different experience, they returned the tablet and bought another laptop. Again, why are you buying a tablet?
If you need a solid laptop replacement, the Transformer is your best bet. It beats the iPad hands down for flexibility and price. You get a great tablet that also has all the best features of a laptop in a solid, portable device.