Asus Eee Pad Transformer – The Story Continues

June 21st, 2011 in .Blogs .Transformer Summer Blogs
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Simon Woods –

The second in a series detailing my experiences with the new Asus Eee Pad Transformer – the first instalment is here.

It’s been a few weeks now since the Eee Pad arrived – has it changed my life? Can’t say it has in a major way, although it’s the first bit of cutting edge technology I’ve had for years that has had people looking on enviously…

I’ve been using it with and without the keyboard in roughly equal measure. The program I wanted to work more than any other was Polaris Office, since I deal with documents, spreadsheets and presentations in my work. Have to say that the results here have not been great, although I realise that this could be as much to do with the program as the Eee Pad. There doesn’t seem to be a way of jumping around within documents from word to word and paragraph to paragraph as you can in Word using the Shift and Arrow keys. That’s a program thing, but with regard to the Eee Pad, I’ve also had problems with the sensitivity of the track pad. If, like me, you’re one of those crap typists who looks at the keyboard rather than the screen, it can be a little disconcerting to find that because your fat thumb nudged the track pad in the middle of a long word, half of your sentence appears in the previous paragraph rather than where you intended it, which is a pain.

Just as much of a pain is using it instead of a regular A4 pamphlet at a wine tasting. Was at the Berry Bros & Rudd tasting last week – some very good 2000 Bordeaux, with the three Léovilles and the underpriced Batailley all showing well, but the Langhe Nebbiolos and the superb Gramona Cava being just as impressive – and tried to do my notes on the Eee Pad using the Polaris word processor. I tried it with a number of different versions of the onscreen keyboard and with Graffiti, both with and without the Asus keyboard. Beware – if you’re in the middle of editing something, and decide to disconnect the keyboard and revert to tablet mode, you lose everything you’ve typed since your last save. After half an hour, I went back to pen and paper, after which I sped up considerably.

Outside Polaris Office, Some Android programs only work in portrait mode – Virgin Trains for example – so while if it’s still connected, you can still use the keyboard, you have to twist your head through 90 degrees to see what you’re typing. Then there’s the lack of connectivity. If there’s a WiFi connection, it’s fine, but if there isn’t, you’re stuffed unless you have a MiFi dongle. If anyone knows how to use a regular broadband dongle on the Eee Pad, let me know.

So what are the plus sides? Well for one, it’s made me lose a bit of weight. I spend a fair bit of the year travelling, both to wine regions and to UK-based tastings, most of which are in London, but we’re now approaching the quiet bit of the wine year, so I’m at home most of the time. Over the last month, I’ve settled into a routine each morning whereby I grab my love handles, think, ‘Hmm, still too big,’ – love handles can be both too big and too small – and jump on the exercise bike armed only with a towel to blot away excess perspiration and the Eee Pad. Sure, it takes a little longer to get through the morning’s email/Facebook/Twitter trawl and to check for any Tweet-worthy wine news stories than on a PC, but when my trousers are looser and the chicks are checking me out (I made that last bit up), then I’m not going to complain.

Nor am I going to complain about the quality of the screen – watching videos on some smaller screens can be a bit iffy, but I’ve no complaints here. And hooking it up through an HDMI lead (mini-HDMI output) to the TV works fine for both audio and video, although for some reason the outer edges of the Eee Pad screen don’t make it onto the TV.

But can will it ever replace my laptop? Yes and no. I’m not the best person in the world at meeting editors’ deadlines, so I often find myself writing articles while travelling. If I had to do this, I wouldn’t want to just have the Eee Pad. However, if I was just responding to emails, then I’d be fine.

And what about updating a web site while travelling? So far, my reservation about this has been the lack of video editing capability. The version of Android that shipped with the Eee Pad didn’t have the Movie Studio program included with it, but Android 3.1 which I downloaded today does. So for the next post, I’m going to have a go at editing a video then uploading it to this site – wish me luck, and as I said before, any questions, do stick them in the comments below. And once again, if you’ve arrived here for techie rather than wine reasons, Hi there, don’t go without reading this post.

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  • clara

    Wow, I didn’t know abou this comment, until I came across your FB fan page, but I am really impressed, and loving the idea and desing!!! good job! ;)

  • Andrew Godfrey

    Do you have the keyboard as well? If so what makes your laptop superior over the eee pad for typing? 

  • Kristen

    Excellent review!  I am loving the Transformer Summer Blogs series – these real “in the trenches” reviews are helpful.  I have been hoping for a good review covering using the Transformer for productivity purposes because it looks like a serious contender to my trusty little netbook.  I use my netbook mostly for web surfing/research and email/social media – but generally it gets used for article and blog writing a couple of times a week and sometimes used for more serious work out and about if the need arises. 

    Your review gives me a lot to think about with the drawbacks of the built in office suite.  I wonder if there are other suites in the marketplace that may be more robust?  A pain to have to buy a new suite, but one wonders if the limitations are the software or the hardware.  And the mention about losing all of your work if you unplug it from the keyboard dock – yikes!  Definitely a good, honest review.  Thanks!

  • Ian J. Cutress

    I’ve been looking for something like this, but money is always an issue…

  • youlittletwit

    Easily the best pad out there, reminds me of Transformers the movie, epic epic epic! Transformers, robots in disguise :p By the way, I came from the FB page!

  • Robbie Irvine

    Is there any notification when more stock will be available – almost everywhere has a 16Gb in stock without a keyboard. Why no 32Gb with a keyboard?

  • Mark Pomeroy

    can’t wait to get my hands on one of these… shame I’m absolutely broke. looks like an amazing piece of kit. 

  • Diane Ayres

    Would love to try one of these

  • Anonymous

     A very good tablet but still the android user experience is far behind that of iOS for us non techie’s.  Apple seem to understand best that the public on the whole dont care so much about having the best hardware i.e tegra 2 this, dual core that and even the best software (lack of flash on iOS) – and just want simplicity.  By the way im an android fan.

  • michael cowley

    i love mine and also my 7 month old son loves the fact he can watch his fav film finding nemo on it in the car, without a doubt the best tab on the market at the minute

  • gavin munday

    Wow, how i would love one of these, even better, if asus could donate one to the charity pc builds were doing for Action Duchenne charity, that would be even better and would help people who suffer from muscular dystrophy. One of these tablets could change lives !

  • Alex Victoratos

    as soon as the 3g version and the vga adaptors are available I’m going to roll these out to our sales guys. Does the stuff they need to do better than a laptop does (email, basic documents, presentations, web – with instant on, unparalleled battery life and a host of other portability type benefits). Looks awesome too,

  • Chris Burns

    I purchased an Asus Transformer TF101 on Friday 17th June 2011. I plugged the Asus USB cable into an Apple USB extender cable on Sunday the 19th June 2011, to transfer data from my mac to the tablet. Because of the design of the Asus USB cable having extra pins in compared to a standard USB cable, the cables locked together, and I cannot separate them. This is the only way to charge the Asus TF101 Transformer. Therefore, I cannot charge the Asus TF101 Transformer – and Asus customer “support” have been useless. Actually, “useless” would be an improvement on my experience.

    You cannot purchase the USB cables anywhere, as Asus have not released them yet, and they cannot give a date for when the cables will be released.

    So I have a £430 tablet, which has died due to the lack of a cable. 

    I am commenting on this blog in the hope that I will win an Asus TF101 Transformer, as this appears to be the only way I will get a replacement cable without purchasing a whole new machine.

    Thanks Asus.


    Are we sure the 3G transformer is coming in August, I need a tablet now but like the look of the transformer and as I do a lot of typing the keyboard will be very handy, Asus can you confirm anything yet for the latest tablet with 3G and the keyboard, I need to buy ASAP and although there are others out there the Transformer look the best in my view if I can just get a 3G one.  Wireless only is no good to me sorry.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the honest review.  I would also love to get one of these.  The Transformer appears to offer the best of both worlds, as a tablet and as a notebook.  And it is so verwey verwey pretty!  I already have an Asus N53S that I am very happy with but I had hoped to use this as a ebook reader and to write my damn and blasted phd thesis while travelling later this summer.  I may have to reconsider I guess.  If, however, I were to win one…

  • Mark Hudson

    Have had mine for about two weeks now and love the concept and the unit.

    I have a few issues though, left speaker not as loud as the right, typing lag on the dock, Battery discharging if the dock is connected to the tablet even when turned fully off and airplane mode sellected. Biggest issue cannot charge when in a car, cable is Not able to be used via any adaptor, Its also Far to short. Having to charge on the floor as my table is to high. All issues you can see on various forums.

    Apart from that still think that its better than the ipad2 lol.. 

  • Trudi Walsh

    The pad looks great, and I have enjoyed reading the reviews & comments, may consider purchasing!

  • John

    I appreciate articles like these that provide scenarios of real life usages of a device and where it works well or more importantly in my opinion doesn’t work so well. My concerns about adopting a new technology that seems to be similar to an existing one is whether it actually will let you do the same kind of things.
    Could I link my 2tb NTFS external hard drive consisting of various types of files to any tablet? Would each type of file be natively supported or would I have to convert each one in the process?
    I will be holding back my impulses to get one at bay til then.

  • John

    I appreciate articles like these that provide scenarios of real life usages of a device and where it works well or more importantly in my opinion doesn’t work so well. My concerns about adopting a new technology that seems to be similar to an existing one is whether it actually will let you do the same kind of things.
    Could I link my 2tb NTFS external hard drive consisting of various types of files to any tablet? Would each type of file be natively supported or would I have to convert each one in the process?
    I will be holding back my impulses to get one at bay til then.

  • Matthew Gibbons

    Judging by the competition out there, I don’t thing there is any competition. This tablet is unique and I think other tablet manufacturer are going to have to go some way to beat it. I just wish I had the money to buy one right now. 

  • susan willshee

    I’ve been looking longingly at tablets such as this for a while but was a bit wary of the fact that there is no keyboard. I use a touchscreen on my e-reader and sometimes find it difficult to register what I want to do – particularly if my fingers are covered in something like suncream (or more likely just cream cake :-) This review has made me consider getting a pad but with a separate keyboard too so I can be mobile and keyboard-less when necessary and use the separate keyboard when I’m at home.


    That may be true but if they can’t deliver no matter how good it is whats the point, people cannot wait forever and Asus are coy about launch date for the 3g version which to me is THE only version to have………


    Got a reply from Asus does not sound like the 3g version is coming anytime soon so thats not good news
    ASUS United Kingdom.
    ASUS United Kingdom wrote “Hi – no confirmed launch date for 3G model yet. We need time for operators to test to ensure no issues with signal strength etc. Demand for WiFi version is still so high that we are focusing on producing these to catch up with the demand.”

  • Ellen Stafford

    I would so love to try one of these….just looks fab! 


    Yes look fab but cannot get our hands on one Ellen………

  • n6u2k0e

    I’ve been after a tablet for a while, and the EEE Pad has most caught my eye (don’t like the iPad). 

    However, I will be using it most on the move, and for that it really needs 3G. ASUS have given a date of “August” for the release of the 3G version over here in the UK, so I’m really conflicted if I should get it now, or if I should wait.

    I wonder if it is possible to tether it to my (also android) phone, and use that, like I have done with my fiancées laptop in the past. That way I’d save on the cost of the 3G tablet.

  • Dave Rimmer

    Like the Transformer does just what the name implies, really great vision by Asus this will really catch on. 

  • Philip St

    Great hands-on road test. Shame our author wasn’t a prototype tester for Asus, or the howlers might have been avoided.

    BTW  If he used an Apple device, it would probably throw error messages, criticising his choice of wines…