My family and friends will know that I’ve been drooling over the range of android 3.0 tablets that have been coming out the past few months, especially the Asus Transformer, which has a neat party trick of turning from a slick tablet device into a netbook by docking directly into a keyboard base unit, which folds shut like a netbook. Suffice to say that I’ve acted on the 3 month long impulse and gone out and bought it, with the help of my wife’s debit card. Now, like any other tech-head, I’ve got to convince myself and everyone else around me that it was a neccesary purhase. That’s why I’m typing this blog on the Asus, using the nicely spaced keys to type directly through the WordPress app to share this blog with you.
Obviously, its got to provide office functionaity, otherwise its going to be a flop. Luckily, the Asus comes with the standard google calendar widget, which immediately synched with my gmail account and retrieved my diary appointments from my phone, along with my contacts and emails. The home screen features an embedded email widget that lets you know as soon as you recieve an email. I’ve downloaded some of the other productivity apps, but the key app came preloaded, Polaris Office, which not only allows me to read office documents, but also allows me to edit and create word, spreadsheets and presentations. Two handy usb ports and an universal memory card reader built into the keyboard means I can access files off my usb drive and transfer photos easily. The keyboard, incidently, features a range of android shortcut keys and an additional 6 hour battery that starts charging the tablet when you plug it in, giving me a total of 16 hours of charge.
The annoying thing about the keyboard is the glidepad is hyper-sensitive. The slightest brush causes it to move the cursor up the page, which is mildly frustrating, but this is resolved with a shortcut butto tha disables the glidepad. There still isn’t enough 3.0 only apps out there yet, but the android market has enough to keep me happy. Reading on the tablet, in portrait, is fantastic. If anything, its convinced me to buy more ebooks. Comic books on Comix are also wicked, with sharp colours and guided panel transitions. Google Earth, Body and Sky trully come into their own on the device and You Tube works beautifully with the 16:9 aspect 1080 resolution screen.
So far, I’m very pleased. I’ll let you know how it gets along after I’ve lived with it for awhile as a writer on the go.