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Tablets – Revisited – My Purchase

Okay, so here is the follow-up of my purchase and a general review of the tablet I chose after my previous post.

As you may have seen, I was undecided on which tablet to purchase but was leaning towards getting the Asus Transformer TF101 tablet.

Well, a month or so ago, I went and made my purchase.  I purchased the Asus Transformer.

Wow, it is impressive.  I purchased the version with the keyboard dock, as this was one of the main reasons for me to purchase the tablet in the first place.  The tablet on its own is a very good Honeycomb tablet, the touch screen is very responsive and the whole feel of the OS is like Google started listening to its customers.

When the keyboard dock is attached to the tablet then the tablet takes on a whole new form.  Suddenly the Android Tablet becomes a true Android Laptop!!  The keyboard is responsive and doesn’t take long to get used to, for example I have gone through and posted quite a few of my posts on my blog from my tablet.  The touchpad on the keyboard dock moves a mouse pointer on the screen of the tablet as if it was a windows machine.  There are a few interesting buttons on the keyboard dock, for example, instead of an escape key, there is a ‘Back’ button.  Instead of a row of function keys at the top of the keyboard, these are replaced with useful keys often found on laptops when used with Fn key, like a Bluetooth key, a Wireless Key, Sound controls etc.  Next to the space key, there is a search and a home key.  My only critism of the keyboard dock is that the touchpad is sometimes a little too sensitive and can sense my finger close to it whilst I am typing, sometimes this means that my text suddenly gets type elsewhere in the document… I’m sure that there is a setting to be changed for this but I haven’t found it yet.

So, moving on.  I have found the battery life of the tablet and keyboard dock to be extremely good… probably hitting that 16 hours that is specified.  I have gone through and played High Definition videos from the tablet to my TV using a Mini HDMI to HDMI cable.  These perform suprisingly well, although you may notice a slight stutter when there is a lot of movement in a scene, but this is acceptable.

One of the reasons for me purchasing the tablet was to give me access to my work environment without the need to switch on my laptop, connect up to the VPN and then connect to the applications that I require.  Well, natively out of the box, there is no VPN software that will work well on the tablet, the tablet needs to be rooted to allow the use of the Cisco AnyConnect VPN software.  This works really well and when I linked it up with the Tech-Preview of the VMware View client, I was able to log onto my work VPN and then a Windows desktop with all of my apps installed and perform the work I needed to do.

Obviously, I have installed the WordPress app onto the tablet to be able to upload blog posts.  Other applications that I have found useful are:  Polaris Office (free with tablet), File Manager HD, Cut the Rope, Apparatus, Contract Killer, Google Talk (free with Tablet).

My most recent thing to configure was the Google Talk, I have now configured this to allow me to perform a video call across to my wife and kids whilst travelling… the kids are currently very excited about using this technology rather than just having a simple phone call.

Overall, I am very impressed with the tablet.  The downside is the charging cable cost and the USB plug.  To purchase a replacement or additional USB cable and plug, will cost around £30 plus postage from Asus… at the moment there doesn’t seem to be many places that are selling equivalent versions cheaper.  The big issue I have is with the mains USB plug, for some unknown reason the Asus Transformer requires a USB mains plug that has a higher ampage rating than even an iPad 2 meaning that a normal USB mains adapter does not appear to charge the tablet, even an iPad 2 charger will not charge the tablet.  There are several forums on the subject and I believe that people are finding alternative solutions and therefore I may go ahead and try one of these at some point.

On the whole I’m happy with the tablet, I just wish that some of the accessories were cheaper and more readily available.

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