Not my ideal writing machine: Asus Eee Pad Transformer


I’ve been playing around for a few days with a new gadget – the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. It sounded like a great idea – an Android tablet with a touchscreen, that docks onto a keyboard to form a machine with an ultrathin, ultralight netbook form factor. I thought it would be great for writing, revising, working with simple spreadsheets, and as a multimedia machine to watch videos and listen to music on.

It’s not a bad machine. It can handle all of that stuff – sort of. But I’ve found that the available Android office and productivity software is awkward and doesn’t exactly play nice with the keyboard interface. The pre-installed suite, Polaris Office, won’t open Rich Text Format files, doesn’t offer a word count function or show comments, and it’s awkward about text entry and navigation in spreadsheets. I downloaded a trial for another office package, OfficeSuite pro, and that was a little better, but I still found some issues – like no spell checker or ability to actually see the contents of comments.

More than just the office software, there’s all kinds of things about Android that I don’t like in the netbook keyboard experience – the complete absence of scrollbars in scrollable lists, for instance, since Android things that being able to push the list up or down on the touchscreen is so completely intuitive. The movie player doesn’t show titles, just sample frames; the music player is locked into a kind of a circle flow interface, and the Market application (to find and install new apps) seems very buggy, often getting stuck at the point between downloading and installing my app.

And wait, there’s more issues! The mouse touchpad is incredibly sensitive while typing, although to their credit, Asus had foresight enough to include a dedicated button to turn the touchpad on and off. And the browser doesn’t seem to want to let me scroll up and down inside a text area as opposed to scrolling the page up and down – which is incredibly frustrating when I want to compose a blog post. (And the WordPress android app is still stuck and won’t install.)

I know that I could probably sort out some of these annoyances by experimenting with other Android apps, but at the moment, I don’t have the patience for it. The entire package is going back to Futureshop, probably tomorrow. Thanks for the test drive, Asus, but this latest product wasn’t worth it – nearly $800 canadian, with the 2 year warranty plan and taxes. No thank you.

PS: And the web browser won’t even let me paste in text from OfficeSuite, so I won’t be able to post this to the blog until I get home. Grr all over again.

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5 Responses to Not my ideal writing machine: Asus Eee Pad Transformer

  1. Barbara says:

    Good to know. Thanks for test driving and sharing.

    Like

  2. Richard says:

    All of the described “faults” are not really faults as you can simply install other apps from Android Market, which works perfectly by the way. You were simply not patient enough to learn how to use the Transformer properly. I am copying, pasting, writing, browsing with no problem whatsoever and it is much better in every way than any notebook or netbook out there.

    Like

    • I’m glad that you’re getting good mileage out of the machine. I’m willing to concede that I might have learned to use it acceptably, but have learned to trust my gut when taking new devices out for a test drive, and my gut was saying that this operating system would not be doing what I, personally, needed it to anytime soon.

      I also think it’s a little arrogant of you to tell me that the Android Market works perfectly. Maybe it does for 99% of users and I was just unlucky enough to get something that corrupted the cache or some other issue that I couldn’t quickly resolve. But I wasn’t imagining the issues I had with Market, or the ways that Android simply wasn’t interacting with the mouse trackpad the way that I expected it to.

      Enjoy your Android transformer – I’ll wait for the Windows 8 model, thankyouverymuch.

      Like

    • Odogg32f says:

      Richard,

      I’m not able to open my files on my school’s blackboard. Any ideas? App?

      Is there a internet browser that works than the one that come with the machine?

      Thanks.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Yes, there are plenty of browsers available – my favourites are Opera Mini, also Maxton, Dolphin HD and others, but you need to experiment with what works for you best.

        Like

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