An update on the ASUS Transformer in action

June 2nd, 2011 in .Blogs .Transformer Summer Blogs
Clip to Evernote

An update on the ASUS Transformer in action

Robert –

I’ve had the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer for a little longer now, and it was time for an update on what I’ve been enjoying as I have had lots of conversations in the wine business with people who have been interested in its potential. I also see that Simon Woods is doing the same.

Vrazon on stage at LIWF with ASUS Transformer

Overall, I’d say I am enjoying using the Eee Pad (calling it the Transformer seems wrong, my daughter is more into Ben 10 anyway). The Android device and apps act like gawky teenagers full of promise; new, fresh, attractive but a little ungainly, awkward, still feeling their way and lacking confidence.

On the other hand, Apple devices are like young geniuses, preciociously jumping straight from obscurity to stardom. They just work, … but I am beginning to feel like we’ve seen what they can do. Their promise is less exciting, especially if Apple continues to limit and control developments.

[Aside: How did Apple go from being the coolest kid on the block to the "establishment" that we all want to knock?]

First, the things that are not so great about the Eee Pad, Android and the Apps:

  • Text input it nowhere near as easy, on the screen, as it is on my iPhone (I have not tried an iPad for very long). Swipe is OK, but fails to recognise MANY words I use for the wine business. It certainly does not come pre-loaded with wine tasting vocabulary!
  • The auto-correct features are again not as intuitive or intelligent as on the Apple, and I’m realising how lazy I have become, with apostrophes, capitals and other input being done for me.
  • Apps do not load particularly quickly. I’m not sure if this is a result of the processing on the Eee Pad, the apps themselves, or that this is Android 3.0 (and 3.1 has not yet arrived, but is due I believe)
  • Many apps, particularly Facebook, are really not designed for the larger tablet interface and either look bad, lack features or simply do not work. This is not ASUS’ issue, but it is hard to make this my main tool if the apps are not keeping pace
  • On that note, I’ve had issues with lots of apps crashing. It looks like a memory issue, but probably related to how compatible these apps are with this version of Android. Hopefully this will improve soon
  • It is surprisingly difficult to manage multiple gmail accounts on this machine. To be fair it is difficult even on a laptop, but this IS GOOGLE. C’mon guys, wake up to the fact that we have multiple addresses and accounts (you force us to in many cases) so Android should be able to handle this. I have a personal gmail account, one each for my businesses using google apps and even some other ‘ancillary’ accounts. I can access them all on my iPhone …..
  • The video quality (as proven lasttime) is not that great to use as a single device. In particular, the audio pick up is awful. A last-resort tool for now. However, I gather that firmware updates are due that will improve these
  • I had a strange bug trying to update mt wordpress blog via the browser. I could see the dashboard, access posts and delete letters/words, but not add or insert any new ones. Makes it VERY difficult to blog, but I have not yet tried the wordpress apps
  • I tried updating the firmware on the keyboard unit (strange to do this separately). On one machine it worked fine, on another it failed and the keyboard died. It is having to be replaced. Shame. I gather I was not alone in this, but this stuff happens – however, I will worry every time I have to repeat the process in future

Now, despite that long list of issues, I had better remind you that I started out saying that I AM enjoying using it.

  • The large screen is very useful. At the recent London Wine Trade Fair I carried it around the fair and the ability to see my Google Calendars (all combined in one view) on the screen at once was wonderful. A bit like carrying around the world’s most useful clipboard.
  • I am enjoying having a full browser that allows me to watch the films on the sites I visit most, such as the BBC News site, and to watch YouTube videos in great detail
  • The combined list of updates that appear in the bottom of the screen, for facebook ,twitter, gmail, etc. is very useful for at-a-glance catch ups
  • the battery life seems pretty decent and have had no issues with it so far, though I have not really put that to the test
  • And when I suffered the issues with the firmware failure (mentioned above) it was great to have all my settings and apps backed up on the cloud on my Google account to quickly restore it.
  • From a work perspective, it is a tool that has been useful at wine tastings, particularly with the help of the Evernote app to capture and store images, tasting notes, recordings, web pages and more. I see this as a very powerful combination of capabilities (see this post on Tio Pepe En Rama for example)

Overall I am still enjoying using the Eee Pad transformer. Many of the issues I’ve listed above are niggles of a new operating system and apps that have yet to be fully adapted to it. I expect (or at least hope) they will be resolved very quickly. In retrospect, trying to test it during the madness of the London Wine Trade Fair was also a bit much. However, now that this is over, I look forward to finding more fun ways to use it (assuming my new keyboard arrives soon).

Related Articles

Share |
  • Alex Pontet

    I’ve been lucky enough to give this baby a road test for about minute. Loved it. Shame I’ll never be able to afford one!

  • Jacqueline Williams

    useful to read the comments about how it handles multiple google mail accounts.

  • Ian McIntosh

    Like the idea of the Keyboard docking station. Would like to know more about how useful/practical this is in use.

  • chris mckendrick

    I’m very intrigued by this device, although, as with all tablets, I fear about the processing and memory capacity!

    That said, I’d still love a tablet so I can stop using my antique (and half smashed up – damned winter ice!) laptop for everything!

  • Johnnie Giffin

    The transformer looks excellent. I’d love to get my hands on one! Thanks for a balanced review. I’m certain that as Android becomes more prevalent in the market, there will be very little these pads cannot do. I hope they come with a SIM slot for mobile data on the move.

  • Dave Edge

    Nice review. Quite fancy getting a Transformer.

  • Janice Taylor

    Usual review – eldest grandchildren would love one of these so that the grown-ups can then use the laptops lol.

  • Sarah Tulley

    I think these are improving things for a lot of people it’s much easier than a laptop, I wish i had chance to test one but haven;t yet!

  • girlybags

    I love the idea of these tablet computers but think they are way too expensive for me to ever be able to buy one and try it for myself. I wouldn’t waste my money on one of the cheaper ones, either. My overall impression is that it’s a good gadget for those who can afford it and who want to take it out and about with them but I’ll stick to the laptop for now unless I win or am bought a tablet by a very generous friend/relative!!

  • Tim Watts

    The problem with the apps (screen size) is a fair one but they’ll hopefully come, as more and more Android tablets are released the apps will be rewritten.  The main issue I see with this is that certain fruit based tablets only need apps designed for one size of screen, whilst Android apps will need designing for every current (and possible future) resolution.

  • Tom Hayhurst

    I’m thrilled someone (ASUS in this case) are finally getting their act together and challenging Apple in the tablet market. Apple stole a march on everyone else massively, and competitiors are being slow to respond. Whilst i love the iPad, I can’t help but feel healthy competition would benefit everyone.

  • Graeme Murray

    Sounds great, I want one

  • Paul Wilson

    I expect it will be some time before the majority of Android  apps are updated to cope with Honeycomb and the larger screen size – especially as most phones aren’t upgraded that far yet.

  • Viktor Szikora

    sounds very good. It´s definetly the best choice for studiing @ university

  • Clara Doherty

    I would like a transformer I think they sound really interesting. Thanks for the helpful review. 

  • Anonymous

    I would love the idea of having a Transformer but a bit out of my price range at present.  They sound great though.

  • Anonymous

    I would love the idea of having a Transformer but a bit out of my price range at present.  They sound great though.

  • Anonymous

    Transformer has mini sd card support up to 32gb in the tablet part. And coupled with the keyboard dock there are 2 flash drive ports for flashdrive or usb portable hard drives and also a full SD Card slot. Unlike the fruity pad, expandable memory is no issue here even if you choose the 16gb model!

  • Anonymous

    It must be a dream not having to use iTunes.

    Is there any kind of Outlook Sync on Android?

  • Ian Gentry

    aaah, this or the ipad….

  • Doug Wiser

    This is looking more and more like the hottest tablet on the market. Can’t wait to get my hands on one.

  • Anonymous

    Drop us your thoughts when you do :D

  • Anonymous

    MS Exchange sync?

  • M Carlson

    Shift away from MS and App, can’t wait to try it!

  • Colman Carpenter

    I just bought a transformer for a mixture of work and home use, and I have to say that managing multiple google apps accounts isn’t hard at all. Everyone in the family has a google apps account, plus I use them for a couple of business domains too. I’m intrigued as to what you found difficult?

    BTW, my thoughts on the transformer (to date) are here:

  • Wa’ad M Masoud

    Best tablet 2011

  • Fraser Clark

    Used my Transformer to take notes at a meeting today for the first time and found it to be brilliant  compared to my HP laptop: small, compact, quiet (the keyboard). Office to Go was able to open all wWord and Excel documents. The only drawback is the mouse pointer…please can we have it bigger? Pretty please?


    Oh dear, reading the above should I wait for new 3G version or buy an alternative such as Zoom or Acer or even the much heralded Galaxy tab when it arrives on the market? I do need one of these like yesterday and what appeals to me is the keyboard function because I do a lot of typing and typing on a screen is quite slow I find. I have also got lazy as Robert has checking my grammer etc as most of it is done automatically these days so that could be a bad point.  Anyway depending on when the 3G version is available i might not have time to wait and be forced to go with an alternative, certainly won’t be an iPad though, 2 3 or 4 whatever model they are at now.