Thursday, 12 May 2011

But I Digress | The Transformer and I

So last week.

You might recall - I did go on about it a bit on Twitter - my internet died. It died at the very moment I needed it most... though if it'd died on another occasion, that would have been the worst possible time for it to go down too, sure enough. I brook no illusions otherwise.

But let's not get distracted. My tubes are in full working order again, and that's grand - thank you internet fairies! -  but my connection has never been the most reliable thing, and given how inextricable the work I do each day is from the internet, I decided - hell, I didn't need much of a push, if I'm honest - that it was time to sacrifice a few hundred first-born squids for a shiny new tablet.

Not an iPad. A tablet.

Because I'd thought about this. At length. I hate iTunes with a fiery, filthy passion - we'll not get into that today - and besides which, I don't believe the ability to make use of removable storage in addition to whatever mounted memory this or that model of iPad has should be in any sense a question. And yet.

So the part of me that's argued against every Apple product I've considered buying in the past - which is to say most of them - won out once again. And thank the lord for that. I've had almost a whole week now with my eee Pad Transformer, and if it's not quite the device that the new iPad is, nor was it anything like the price of that extortion-mongering machine - and as aforementioned, an iPad wasn't what I wanted anyway.

I wanted a tablet primarily so I'd have a practical way of staying connected when all else fails, as so often all else is wont to do. I wanted an Android tablet because the notion of slapping in a USB key or a Micro SD card stuffed full of books and movies and comics and music rather than having to filter everything through iTunes - and be forced perhaps to re-buy certain things, otherwise acquired - meant an iPad was quite out of the question, and would remain so (given Apple's well-documented aversion to surrendering control) however long I opted to wait.

Which I wasn't much for doing anyway. I'd been waiting for the right tablet for more than a year as was - since the iPad was first announced, I'd had the hankering. And before that, I'd waited an age for the right e-book reader; one with colour, so I could read all my old scanned comics on it too, and maybe - who knows? - a few new releases, too. So it was long past time to take the plunge. And then there was a sweet time-limited deal for the tablet sans dock . And now I'm rather poorer, but that's alright: whether I end up on the mean streets or not, I have my eee Pad Transformer now.

I'll always have my Transformer. :)


Now then. The scene's set. I've had my tablet for a week, and here are a few of the things I've accomplished with it in that time:
  • I read two books from start to finish, which you'll be seeing full reviews of shortly
  • I devoured maybe twenty comics, including some Conan and the first collected volume of Locke and Key, which may just have reignited an old (and expensive) passion in me
  • I watched a film - Harry Potter, you so small! - and several episodes of South Park - when will it end?
  • I managed to set up internet streaming for my entire mp3 library, for free, through the AudioGalaxy app
  • and I've written an entire blog post. Well, I will have done once I've finished this!

And what I want to know is this: what do you want to know?

If any of you are on the fence about buying a tablet, wondering how viable these things are as e-book readers, or comic book viewers, or portable video players, or netbooks, or oversized iPods, well. I hereby invite you to ask me anything you please.

(And don't think I've forgotten the last time I did that - it's still coming. It is!)

So to what extent would you all be interested in hearing about the various e-book apps, their relative strengths and weaknesses? Does a blow-by-blow of the reading experience on a 10.1" IPS screen appeal? Would anyone care to read about the comic book viewers on offer in the app marketplace, for instance?

Because I'll gladly take the time to write up my impressions... if, that is, there are enough of you out there that give a monkey's. No sense in wasting your time or mine, after all.

Thus, I ask of you, fair readers: who has an ape to spare?


  1. Do you think you'll get the keyboard?

  2. I'm going to say probably not. Not anytime soon, at the least, if indeed I give in to temptation.

    I appreciate what the Transformer is trying to do in that regard, what with the dock, but I have a laptop already: the tablet's onscreen keypad suits me just fine, I already have an extra 16GB of storage via the Micro SD slot, and I can just plug the thing in to the computer any time I fancy transferring a video or an e-book - or else there's dropbox.

    So I don't know that I see the point of the keyboard dock, speaking personally. Certainly I don't at £100...

    Are you a card-carrying tablet owner then, Afront?

  3. Hey, Niall.

    How functional is the tablet for editing/revising documents (presumably fair, since you posted your blog through it), and internet browsing, on the go?

    I've been wanting a laptop for those two specific purposes (writing/revising, and web browsing), and just wanting some feedback on the pros/cons of an expensive tablet which still might be cheaper than a new laptop.

    Kudos to you for not buying Apple, by the way. One of the most expensive companies for technology in this country, and most of the jobs they create are overseas, even with the knowledge of the country's current economic climate.

  4. Hello Bill. I really rather enjoyed reading your impressions of The Borgias earlier in the week; it's been a strong show overall, hasn't it? With its issues - I'm still not convinced by Cesare, above all else - but a beautiful romp, with I think more to it than most folks have credited it with. Odd how little attention it's gotten in the place I look to for such exposure...

    Anyway, to your questions! Let's take them one at a time. For internet browsing, then, the Transformer boasts the single smoothest surfing experience I've had outside of the iPad. The hardware ships with Honeycomb, which comes with a fully-featured iteration of Google Chrome - my browser of choice anyway, which perhaps factors into my appreciation of this tablet edition some. But I can synch my bookmarks, import all my favourites, open additional tabs and switch between them in an instant... the Transformer is at its best when web browsing. You might notice a touch of checkerboarding, but really, just a touch. Flash integrates very well with the browser, and I've had little to no trouble with the vast majority of sites I've thrown at my Transformer. And I've thrown a lot of sites at in, this past week!

    As to your other question, Bill - the Transformer as a means of creating and editing documents on the go - I don't know that even Apple have this little tablet beat. It comes equipped with free Polaris Office for all your editing needs; there's dropbox for file synch; the on-screen keyboard is perfectly adequate, and there are apps in the Marketplace which improve it still further; and if you plunk the money down for the keyboard dock too, well. You'll be grand, I would wager. From everything I've heard - though I've no first hand experience, alas - the keyboard dock is great, though as I was saying to Afront, it's not for me, I don't think.

    Hope that's of some help to you, Bill. This is the non-Apple tablet to beat, in my opinion. And we anti-Apple sorts have to stick together! :)

  5. I'd love to hear your impressions!
    I'm mainly interested in knowing how easy is the transfer of media to the transformer- ebooks, movies, tv shows- Can you just plug a USB key and that's it? (I hear Android doesn't support this natively).
    Also, do you have an app that streams Hd files? (MKV mainly).
    Finally, re-reading your post I noticed you never actually say whether you recommend it or not (based on all the various activities you've done with it).
    Is it worh our money, or should we perhaps wait for Hp's offerings (TouchPad in june), or perhaps Samsung's new Galaxy 10.1 tab?