ASUS EEE Pad Transformer full review

    The tablet computer, without bringing anything radically new to our life, managed to make a revolution of a different type - not technological, but mental. How many devices in life have so desperately demanded to buy themselves, while being so modestly silent about their capabilities? But how many devices did we like so much in absentia, although not everyone could find an excuse for suddenly awakened feelings. It seems that at first popularity arose, and only then people began to share the discovered chips with each other, and only then learned that surfing on the Internet, playing time killers, chatting with friends or watching videos, putting their feet on the back of the sofa, is really convenient.



    But for the thousandth time sending an angry bird to a wooden wall, you deprive the device of a halo of attractiveness. Okay, you already have a tablet computer, but can a second, third, ... fifth generation of devices return lost interest? Rectangle, square, aluminum, plastic, glass - in fact, devices from different manufacturers are all alike (to the delight of patent trolls). Over time, they become more productive, thinner, more capacious, but ... that's all. The marketing magic that endows computers with new covers and ultra-protective superglasses no longer works - the device no longer satisfies the user's needs.
    Strange as it may sound, ASUS has never sought to compete directly with other manufacturers. Create a new market, identify an unoccupied niche, determine what else people may need in everyday life - these are the basic principles for the development of company products. Therefore, introducing its tablet computers to the market, ASUS did not follow the fashion trends and announced four radically different devices: the most powerful tablet, a “transformer” tablet, a slider tablet and a notepad tablet (and now with 3D). Today on a review from Trendclub lab, ASUS tablet computer, which in appearance is indistinguishable from a serial netbook. Caution! Lots of traffic.

    Transformer must not be considered separately from its components. These are two devices in one, and they need to be considered in a complex. However, if a keyboard without a screen is just a keyboard, then the screen itself is a functional tablet, and we will begin our acquaintance with ASUS Eee Pad Transformer from it.

    Specifications
    Tablet
    OS: Android Honeycomb
    Processor: NVIDIA Tegra 2 (1 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex A9)
    Memory: 16/32 / GB
    Display: 10.1 ”HD (1280 x 800), IPS
    Wireless: Wi-Fi - 802.11 b / g / n, Bluetooth 2.1
    Connectors: 40pin, 3.5 mm, mini HDMI, microSD
    Camera: 1.2 MP front, 5 MP rear, video recording 720p MPEG-4 / H.264
    Operating time: battery 24.4 Wh, 8- 10 hours
    Размеры: 271 x 171 x 12.98 мм
    Вес: 680 г.
    Док-станция
    Разъемы: 40pin, 2 x USB 2.0, картиридер MMC/SD/SDHC
    Время работы: батарея 24.4 Вт-ч, увеличивает время автономной работы планшета до 16 часов
    Размеры: 271.8 x 175.3 x 15.24 мм
    Вес: 621.5 г.

    Комплектация










    Коробка вскрывается легко, извлечь Трансформер не затруднит даже ребёнка. В одном комплекте идёт планшет и док-станция клавиатура. Производитель не забыл положить руководство пользователя, зарядное устройство и кабель для соединения с компьютером.

    Внешний вид




    With a 10.1 ”screen diagonal, the case is only 13 mm thick.



    A good IPS matrix, which I will discuss in more detail later, is covered with a protective glass.



    The basis of the tablet is the screen, in the sense that you have to work most of the time with the front side, but miscalculations in the design of the back cover can lead to significant annoying disadvantages. Transformer cover is made of dark brown matte plastic, fingerprints on which are not visible.



    The wavy pattern on the case cover is a corrugated surface, according to the developers, it is resistant to scratches. I did not dare to check this statement with a nail, but I found that the surface prevents slipping - it is convenient to hold the tablet in your hands.



    The side faces are edged with monolithic bronze metal. Its purpose is largely aesthetic; the tablet visually narrows to the edges and looks from the side even thinner than it is.



    The speakers are located at the ends and are almost invisible. By the way, the sound through them is good, but the low frequencies are not pronounced, which is typical for almost all mobile devices.
    Screen

    IPS-matrix, unfortunately, is not yet the de facto standard for tablets. Therefore, its use in Transformer pleased. The matrix is ​​covered with a protective glass that collects prints well, you can not do without a cleaning cloth. Perhaps prints - this is the "de facto standard" for modern tablet screens :)



    A screen resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels improves the quality of the picture, and a good supply of brightness allows you to use the screen on the street on a sunny day. An interesting point is that a glossy finish can turn the screen into a “mirror”, but the screen at maximum brightness displays an image that can be read without effort.







    The matrix has good viewing angles, and although the gloss remains glossy, the display turned out to be much better than in most modern netbooks and many laptops.

    Camera




    There are two cameras in the tablet and they are located in the most convenient way, so as not to accidentally fall under the fingers. A 1.2 megapixel front camera provides an acceptable level of picture for video calls.





    The rear camera of 5 megapixels is at the level of cameras of mid-budget phones. Shooting indoors shows all the capabilities of the camera, on the street the situation is slightly better. Through the camera, you can record video in 720p resolution, using the H.264 codec.

    Case and Ports








    If you hold the tablet with the front side toward you, then the on / off button will be located on its left hand. and volume rocker, and on the right - microSD, miniHDMI, headphone jack.



    There are no connectors and buttons at the top, and at the bottom there is a Dock Connector (40pin), through which the tablet is connected to the dock / other computer / charger via the cable that comes with the kit.



    Slots for snap locks are located on both sides of the Dock Connector.
    The ports are located successfully, turning on and off, as well as changing the volume level with one finger, without any difficulty.

    The familiar and not rich set will expand significantly if you connect a docking station that performs basic communication functions.

    Dock station




    A keyboard with a touchpad that carries an additional battery is made in the same colors as the tablet case. Thus, in appearance the device looks like a full-fledged and stylish dark brown netbook.



    The difference from the netbook is the presence of a metal cradle - a connector for installing the tablet. It is mobile and allows you to choose a convenient angle for the eyes to tilt the screen. At the same time, it provides a good balance: the screen does not outweigh, the “netbook” does not tip over “on the back”.
    The cradle is reliable, breaking it by accident (and intentionally) is very difficult. To turn it, you need to make an effort, rigidity eliminates the appearance of looseness with numerous tilts / turns of the screen.

    The automatic latch is triggered when the tablet is installed. When you need to get the tablet, you need to move the latch lever to the left. The latch reliably prevents the accidental separation of the tablet and the docking station - the Transformer can be turned upside down and shook without fear of turning the display into crispy fragments.



    In the commercial, the tablet is connected to the dock with one simple movement of the hand. In reality, you can repeat such a trick with latches, if desired, only after numerous trainings - the installation requires a certain concentration and at least two hands.



    The back cover of the dock is made of matte plastic, while the surface on the keyboard side is metal.



    Back to the connectors. There are two usb ports on the docking station, one on the left and right side. Ports are covered with protective caps.





    On the left side is the Dock Connector, similar to the connector on the tablet. It is used in exactly the same way: for recharging and connecting to a computer.



    On the right side, in addition to usb, there is an SD card slot that significantly extends the tablet's capacity - a 32 GB card for a card reader will be indispensable in the field, where it is not always convenient to use a portable usb hard drive.

    Keyboard layout



    A regular laptop keyboard is not suitable for a device running Android OS. Therefore, the keyboard layout has undergone changes, adapting to new software conditions.



    Android keys on the keyboard are located in the lower and upper rows.



    The Windows button has been replaced by the Home button; the Search button has appeared.



    On the right side of the row there was a place for the “Menu”.



    In the top row, the set of F-keys disappeared. They were replaced by:
    - “Back”
    - “Turn on / off Wi-Fi”
    - “Turn on / off Bluetooth”
    - “Turn on / off the touchpad”



    - “Decrease the brightness”
    - “Increase the brightness”
    - “Auto brightness”
    - “Take a screenshot "
    -" Call the browser "
    -" Settings "



    On the right side of the top row are the multimedia control keys (play, ± and on / off sounds) and the standby button.

    The keyboard does not bring additional surprises, in accordance with the standard used in many netbooks. The small size of the keys does not interfere with the convenience of typing; they are arranged at intervals virtually eliminating accidental erroneous presses.

    I do not want to get into a debate about whether typing on the screen can replace conventional printing. Personally, it’s inconvenient for me to use the soft keyboard to cover the floor of the screen, and I’m not sure that there are many masochists in the world who are ready to type text slightly exceeding a notebook note, not on a hardware keyboard.



    I will say only one thing about the touchpad - it is. The presence of a rather large touchpad on a device with a multi-touch screen and a usb port free for a computer mouse looks like an anachronism.

    Android and performance




    To date, Transformer is running Android 3.2. Google is constantly updating the system and what I want to call an innovation now, after a short time will be taken for granted - this has become the case with support for multitasking, external drives, improved browser performance, etc.

    This statement applies to system glitches, noticed, for example, on firmware 3.1. In newer versions, most of the problems noted have been fixed. Google is not going to slow down the release of new versions, so that in the future only growth in system stability is expected.



    Subjectively, the system works quickly, without freezes. The NVIDIA Tegra 2 platform, which includes a dual-core processor with a frequency of 1 GHz and 1 GB of RAM, is responsible for the performance, which means that all existing applications in the Android Market will start and work on the tablet without difficulty.
    Synthetic tests showed the following results: The



    popular Quadrant Standart testing application is not optimized for the new version of Android and shows an implausible result, so I would recommend comparing tablets using the SunSpider and Antutu Benchmark tests. I can’t say for all the tablets, but where you can compare, Transformer shows the overwhelming, worthy of Megatron :), superiority in parrots.

    (If you are curious, I compare it with HTC Flyer and Motorola XOOM, for which AnTutu Benchmark data is available on the network, although it is impossible to evaluate the comparative performance of devices based on these numbers.)





    Additional software




    Update 3.2 brought to Transformer TegraZone, an Nvidia store resembling the Android Market, but exclusively for games optimized for Tegra 2.



    In ASUS, according to the good old tradition of filling laptops with a lot of pre-installed software, we installed several interesting applications in Transformer, some of which you could meet in netbooks and laptops of the company:



    - MyNet DLNA - for working with multimedia content (music, photos, videos) within the local network;







    - MyCloud - an application for accessing the network storage Webstorage, where perfect for free you will be given a place to store and the ability to access from anywhere in the world for a period of 1 year; You can extend the use for a small fee;



    - MyDesktop will open access to the remote desktop, and the @Vibe service will allow you to go even further - to multimedia of the entire Internet.





    - MyLibrary is intended for reading electronic books.









    - Polaris Office 3.0 is a basic text editor that allows you to create notes, spreadsheets and even presentations at an elementary level, as well as a skill in the form of the ability to view and edit Microsoft Office documents.



    Of the pleasant surprises, I note good work with GPS - it determines the coordinates quickly, even indoors.

    Watch video


    NVIDIA Tegra 2 supports H264 1080p format with basic profile specifications. The system plays video up to 1080p (H.264, MP4 container).
    A set of codecs for ASUS Eee PAD Transformer:
    - H.264 / VC-1 / MPEG-4 Video Decoding
    - H.264 Video Encoding
    - AAC, AMR, WMA and MP3

    In practice, this means that some video may have problems and will have to use software that adapts (transcodes) for the device.
    The tablet’s HDMI port displays a 1280x720 pixel image on a third-party screen.
    Wireless communication

    A standard set: Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, WiFi (802.11 b / g / n) and ... one important nuance.
    There was no 3G modem in the sample presented for review, and I wanted to write it down - a device positioned as supermobile and without 3G? As it turned out, half of the TF101s come with third-generation communication modules. So when you get acquainted with the device, pay attention to whether the seller indicates ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF101 + 3G or No 3G.

    Battery life






    A 3260 mAh battery is installed in the tablet (a battery of the same capacity is located in the docking station). The charge lasts for 8-10 hours of work (watching videos, toys, surfing). Not bad, but not surprising for the tablet world.

    An additional battery of the docking station brings the Transformer to a level unattainable for other tablets - the battery life almost doubles to 16 hours.

    Even with a minimum of charge in the dock, it’s enough to attach the tablet, and it will begin to charge, and then it can be used separately. The dock absorbs energy like a vampire and charges quickly from the mains.

    Why Transformer


    In the model presented for review, there were no problems with the build quality, the software was not buggy and the firmware worked stably. Is the Transformer worthy of “excellent” and “perfect”? Of course, the mistakes in the new field were not without problems, and the main difficulties, in my opinion, are hidden in the original dampness of Android itself. From which he goes further and further with each new release.

    Dissatisfaction with the Transformer in most cases can be expressed with a simple and paradoxical thought: holding, in essence, a modern netbook, you expect all the possibilities from the device .... Windows or Linux operating system. And you come across the limitations of a system that has recently sprouted on phones. Cognitive dissonance does not occur when the dock is turned off and only the tablet itself is left in the hands.

    Despite the excellent design, you need to understand before buying - this is not a netbook with a nice bonus in the form of a tablet screen. The device is primarily a tablet, grown from kindergarten, matured and ready to work with a much more demanding user.

    A tablet separately from the docking station is a matter of taste, preferences and requirements only. But the presence of the keyboard, in addition to the obvious advantages, allows you to fully reveal the capabilities of new versions of Android, which, with future releases, will undoubtedly be more and more focused on netbooks.

    Direct or indirect comparisons can be avoided for a long time, but sooner or later the last crazy thought will appear: so why can I (or you) choose Transformer? The main difference is not in price or IPS (however, and this is not enough), but in the keyboard. And if ASUS this functional accessory greatly simplifies work with office applications, provides additional battery life, extends the communication capabilities of the device, provides a convenient screen layout at an eye-friendly level, then competitors ...



    Pluses
    + You can use an SD card, external HDD or mouse
    + Performance (speed)
    + Pre-installed ASUS software
    + Bright high-quality screen
    + Battery life
    + Hardware keyboard
    + Adequate price

    Cons
    - No support for .mkv and a number of other formats
    - Unique connector for the charger

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