The Android thread

Jens

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To Jake and other people who might own an Eee Pad Transformer:

I'm in the market for a tablet, since I've built my gaming computer I no longer use my Xbox 360 or PSP (couldn't care less for exclusives) and thus I would sell them and put the money towards a tablet.
I've been very attracted to the Eee Pad, mainly because of the IPS display, keyboard dock and ofcourse Honeycomb. And while all the reviews on youtube are nice, I'd love to hear some opinions from people who own one and use it on a day to day basis before I commit to buying one.
 

Shawn

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To Jake and other people who might own an Eee Pad Transformer:

I'm in the market for a tablet, since I've built my gaming computer I no longer use my Xbox 360 or PSP (couldn't care less for exclusives) and thus I would sell them and put the money towards a tablet.
I've been very attracted to the Eee Pad, mainly because of the IPS display, keyboard dock and ofcourse Honeycomb. And while all the reviews on youtube are nice, I'd love to hear some opinions from people who own one and use it on a day to day basis before I commit to buying one.
Even though you failed to summon me by name, I'll bite:

The Transformer itself is fine, but according to many XDA posts it suffers from really bad quality control. I'm not sure I believe this because my own seems perfectly built and considering my shit luck this seems unlikely for a product that is apparently so hit or miss. Still, there are too many reports to completely ignore them.

I think most of the reviews for the Asus are mostly accurate, the only thing is nobody mentioned in their reviews that Asus have cut a few corners to achieve this pricepoint. My assumption was the low price was purely because Asus does not enjoy the same reputation as Motorola or Samsung or Apple in the west.

The Transformer doesn't scream cheap crap like, say, the Viewsonic Gtablet. But the Transformer is still entirely plastic, the bezel is kind of thick in this day and age, and there definitely have been some hardware omissions to save costs - no LED to indicate charging or notifications, 1.2MP front camera as opposed to more usual 2MP and no flash on rear camera, extremely short USB cable (can't even imagine this was a cost cutting measure).

The stores here got the Xoom on display a few days after I got my Transformer and I have to say I like the Motorola in hand better. It's only slightly heavier but same thickness almost, but it feels much sturdier and has a metal backing. It also has more pleasingly rounded corners as isn't as long as the Transformer, and screen seems less hollow when tapped which is nice on a touchscreen device. The Xoom still seems like a much worse purchase though, especially given the price.

But Asus have done some things well. The Transformer has a nice design and finish that sets it apart from all other standard tablets; it has smartly positioned buttons and hardware orientation, makes more sense than tablets with buttons that work best in portrait mode; the keyboard dock transforms it into a real netbook unlike some other designs (*cough* Acer) where docking and undocking is a hassle.



Still though, if you want a finished product I can't recommend Honeycomb tablets right now. It's not like I'm getting force closes all the time or have horrid battery life, but there are enough bugs on Honeycomb to make it seem unfinished.

For instance, there is already a serious lack of tablet-specific apps in the Market - yet Google doesn't even offer the tablet tab in the Market if you aren't in the US. This is totally stupid, Honeycomb is officially on sale outside the US now and the tablet apps section is absolutely necessary considering the lack of tablet apps.

Then there's the browser. In so many ways amazing with tabs, with the way and speed at which it renders pages, with full Flash support. But I fucking hate it, because it lags like crazy when I'm typing in text boxes. Massive lag, as in you can type in a sentence and then watch it being typed out. I can't even post on forums through the stock browser.

So we're not talking about huge bugs, but little things that make the user experience less than it could be. I definitely don't think it's wise use of your money if you're spending more than the Transformer on a Honeycomb tablet.
 
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Jens

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Thanks Shawn, didn't realise you had one :D

I'm a bit sad to hear about the lack of quality control and the laggy browser experience, I was really hoping that the device would be excellent at that. How does it handle YouTube content though?

A deal breaker for me would be battery life, while I'm away from home I don't have a chance to charge it before I get back home in the evening, so does it reach the advertised 16 hours with the dock? Also, on a tablet I don't care about the cameras because I don't think I'd actually use them and since I will be carrying it around a lot the plastic back cover would be excellent, I used to have an iPod touch and after a couple of months the metal back had scratches all over te place. I'm also quite confident that Honeycomb will still improve, both the OS itself and the market, since Honeycomb has only been out for about a month. I don't want to be restricted by my OS, which is why I try to stay away from the iPad 2. Another feature I'd likely use a lot is the office suite that comes with the Eee Pad, is the keyboard any good to type on?
 
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Shawn

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YouTube content is okay with 3.1... still leaves a lot to be desired though, the Tegra 2 should handle videos much better than it does on Honeycomb right now.

I don't have the dock, but battery seems reasonable and good. The tablet itself is giving me 56 hours of battery life - of course this is combined standby and usage time based on how I use the device. I'd say it gets quite close to the 10 hours advertised for the tablet itself. This is with WiFi turned on but screen not turned to full (the Transformer has a light sensor but I've just realized it's probably broken on mine...).

I don't care about the cameras either, not even the front-facing camera. I just brought it up as an example of how Asus have cut a few corners, none of the reviews I read said anything about that other than it has a plastic case which is obvious.

You're right that there is hope for Honeycomb, but it's been out for much longer than a month. The Transformer itself has been out over a month, and it wasn't even the first Honeycomb tablet. But the thing is some of these bugs are huge and actually get in the way of productivity, but at the same time you can't expect Asus or Google to push out updates for every little bug they fix. I trust they will fix most of these which is why I haven't sold off the Transformer yet... that, and the fact that other than the iPad there are no other viable tablet options.

I've read good reviews of the keyboard dock, and when I paired my Bluetooth keyboard (with built-in touchpad) it worked like a charm and like a laptop would. Asus have also included Polaris Office which seems an exclusive for them and also looks quite nice, though I haven't used it. If you envision using your tablet as a netbook with some kind of regularity, the Transformer is a pretty good deal - not only is it the only Honeycomb tablet that offers that functionality right now, but it actually does it rather well and isn't a huge gimmick.

If you want more info, just head over to the XDA subsection for the Transformer and look at the general section. You will see all the various issues listed, though as I said before you need to take everything there with a spoonful of salt.
 
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thevictor390

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Though I agree with the above, I went with a windows tablet for my netbookish needs. The UI isn't very slick but software isn't an issue no matter what you need :)

But I'm a geek and consider even Android to be too closed a system for a computer-like device.
 

Shawn

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Though I agree with the above, I went with a windows tablet for my netbookish needs. The UI isn't very slick but software isn't an issue no matter what you need :)

But I'm a geek and consider even Android to be too closed a system for a computer-like device.
Now that you've had the thing a while, how often do you use it strictly as a tablet?

I kind of want the dock for the Transformer, but I'm afraid if I get it I'll just always leave it docked and also probably just use the keyboard over the touchscreen for navigation (would be even more likely if the UI wasn't so touch-friendly, as Windows).
 

thevictor390

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I use it about half and half with/without the dock. But even when docked, I generally use the touch screen over a mouse. This is partially because it works well enough and partially because the built-in nub controls suck ass. To be fair, all mouse-nubs are terrible but this one is particularly bad due to the placement of the buttons.

Sometimes when watching video I use the dock just as a stand though. It can get tiring to hold the thing in your arms all the time. But it's no fun to show off that way :D

And I cannot stress enough how awesome the thing is for video. A bit fiddly to get it going due to Windows and drivers and DXVA (can't always do 720p without hardware acceleration), but the screen is beautiful and the sound is surprisingly decent. I'm sure an Android device would do just as well in that regard if you can get the codecs for it.
 

Jens

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Alright :) everything I wanted to know is clarified now, I'm going to give it some more thought before buying. After all it's not like I need one, I just want one, badly :p (I'm a sucker for new tech). Good thing with the Transformer is that I can't go and buy one in an impulse because no shop has it in stock and delivery times range from 2-4 weeks :p
 
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unbreakable

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dammit! i really wanted a transformer! now im considering an ipad2,...would a custom rom fix all these aforementioned problems?
 

Shawn

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dammit! i really wanted a transformer! now im considering an ipad2,...would a custom rom fix all these aforementioned problems?
Nope.

If you are fine with Apple products and everything that entails, I can't really see any reason against going for iPad 2 right now. Honeycomb is pretty much for Android diehards as it is.
 

rickhamilton620

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Nope.

If you are fine with Apple products and everything that entails, I can't really see any reason against going for iPad 2 right now. Honeycomb is pretty much for Android diehards as it is.
I've noticed that in reviews, people cite the "featured tablet apps" section of the honeycomb market as proof that honeycomb is super deficient in terms of apps.

How does one know that the apps in that section are the only tablet apps for the platform though? After all, it is "featured" for a reason. :p

If there's more tablet apps than in that section, there should be a general "tablet apps" category, not just one for featured apps.

/pedantic rant

http://www.androidcentral.com/htc-merge-review


I want this phone still....but I can't help but think I'd be forcing myself to make compromises. I usually say "buy the best you can afford" but I'm willing to make a crazy, irrational decision against my own advice. Anyone else think that's weird?
 
B

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I was hoping to try Honeycomb/3.1 thru the Android emulator, but my god is it slow as hell. Quad-core, 4 GB RAM, and Honeycomb is basically unusable, while Gingerbread/Froyo are only tolerable if I halve the resolution when I start the emulator.

Time to check out that android-x86 project.
 

unbreakable

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Nope.

If you are fine with Apple products and everything that entails, I can't really see any reason against going for iPad 2 right now. Honeycomb is pretty much for Android diehards as it is.
Im more of an android guy, but not really a die hard. I appreciate the strengths of the IOS, i just don't have any use for an iphone compared to what my galaxy S can do. However, in the tablet arena, im willing to sacrifice a little bit of freedom for usability. Web browsing is particularly big for me. Been looking around

ipad2 16gb wifi + apple smart cover $538
Galaxy Tab 10.1 w/ keyboard dock + cover $619
Asus Transformer w/ keyboard dock $548

damn this is hard... im even thinking of forgoing the keyboard docks first and see if i could live with the onscreen keyboard. How are your experiences/typing speeds with the OSC?
 

unbreakable

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I was hoping to try Honeycomb/3.1 thru the Android emulator, but my god is it slow as hell. Quad-core, 4 GB RAM, and Honeycomb is basically unusable, while Gingerbread/Froyo are only tolerable if I halve the resolution when I start the emulator.

Time to check out that android-x86 project.
Using an emulator is not representative of how android really moves or feels. There's nothing better than actually going to a store and trying out the devices yourself. Emulators are basically for devs to test their applications for bugs.

My galaxy S on gingerbread (see my sig below) runs buttery smooth with no lag whatsoever. (it doesn't matter whether the phone is OC'd or not. I only OC during benchmark tests. everyday i stick to 1ghz stock)
 

laxmax613

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I switched off of swype today so i could get hebrew on my phone. it's weird but it'll help my hebrew and my typing i guess.
 

Shawn

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I've noticed that in reviews, people cite the "featured tablet apps" section of the honeycomb market as proof that honeycomb is super deficient in terms of apps.

How does one know that the apps in that section are the only tablet apps for the platform though? After all, it is "featured" for a reason. :p

If there's more tablet apps than in that section, there should be a general "tablet apps" category, not just one for featured apps.

/pedantic rant
You've got a point, that subsection only shows you a partial list of the apps that have tablet support.

But even that is not available outside the US, and it would be immensly helpful I think. The thing that's annoying is that it should be a simple flip of the switch for Google... I'm not in Burkina Faso, the Market is available in my region so I don't see any reason why Google is hiding the featured tablet apps outside the US.

The Market app on HC also doesn't support portrait mode at all, and it doesn't allow you to rate or leave comments for apps. I just don't see why Google is being like this with HC, this is Google for crying out loud - they couldn't enable this stuff by now?


Im more of an android guy, but not really a die hard. I appreciate the strengths of the IOS, i just don't have any use for an iphone compared to what my galaxy S can do. However, in the tablet arena, im willing to sacrifice a little bit of freedom for usability. Web browsing is particularly big for me. Been looking around

ipad2 16gb wifi + apple smart cover $538
Galaxy Tab 10.1 w/ keyboard dock + cover $619
Asus Transformer w/ keyboard dock $548

damn this is hard... im even thinking of forgoing the keyboard docks first and see if i could live with the onscreen keyboard. How are your experiences/typing speeds with the OSC?
I can't really make your decision for you obviously, but it's a hard one I agree. The browser on Honeycomb is so nice but what's the point if you can't type into text boxes? Other than that it's brilliant though, basically a desktop-class browser.

If it didn't lag so much with the stock browser, the on-screen keyboard would be fine. Asus has put their own keyboard on there which kind of acts like Swype, but doesn't work half as well. I don't use that though, it has ugly white buttons and includes a number row which is a waste of space.

Up until literally ten minutes ago I was using the stock Honeycomb keyboard which works fine, my only complaint is I'd like more long-press capability for things like numbers. But just now I signed up for and installed the new Swype 3.0 beta that finally adds HC support so I'm going to be testing that.

Everyone was saying Swype would be useless on a 10" device since you'd have to be moving your fingers around like crazy, but it seems like Swype have found a clever workaround to that - you tap a button and the keyboard shrinks and becomes detached from the bottom, allowing you to pin it anywhere on the screen. Not sure how well this will work in practice, but it's awesome in theory.
 
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nsx_23

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Im more of an android guy, but not really a die hard. I appreciate the strengths of the IOS, i just don't have any use for an iphone compared to what my galaxy S can do. However, in the tablet arena, im willing to sacrifice a little bit of freedom for usability. Web browsing is particularly big for me. Been looking around

ipad2 16gb wifi + apple smart cover $538
Galaxy Tab 10.1 w/ keyboard dock + cover $619
Asus Transformer w/ keyboard dock $548

damn this is hard... im even thinking of forgoing the keyboard docks first and see if i could live with the onscreen keyboard. How are your experiences/typing speeds with the OSC?
I'm pretty much in the same boat as you - I don't have a huge need for a tablet, and as much as I dislike iTunes the pricing at the moment + apps selection favors the iPad 2 if you can find one in stores.

If my sister's original iPad is anything to go by, typing on the keyboard is a pretty average experience but its tolerable.
 

Timbits93

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Bah, seems like the HTC Sensation is heading over to Bell. Like ***, first the Incredible S (which i bought from someone to use on Rogers), now the Sensation.

Screw a dual-core HTC device for me till one lands on Rogers (rumors say HTC and Rogers have a plan to release a dual-core phone with a "special display", can only mean EVO 3D) so i don't have to pay outright and try to sell my damn phone all the time (giving the Incredible S to my sis, who has a Desire atm since the Desire runs out of internal memory quickly, when i get a new phone).

BTW, seems like i might also look into getting the tablet, probably a Transformer with keyboard dock sometime in the near future. Just want a portable productive solution (netbook/notebook) that doubles as portable entertainment (tablet :D).
 
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