More than meets the eye

The iPad. The device that changed everything if you believe the hype, and it is a nicely engineered piece of kit. But iOS is still limited in my view. I’ve always said that I would love to own a Mac alongside my PC’s but the cost is currently somewhat prohibitive. An iOS device doesn’t appeal though. The devices themselves are gorgeous but the operating system leaves me cold. I love the Widgets and flexibility of Android, and admire elements of the ‘metro’ design language used in Windows Phone 7 and in the forthcoming Windows 8. iOS’ use of a purely iconised display just doesn’t work for me (before Apple lovers start pulling out the voodoo dolls, please note that I am purely expressing my personal preference :-D)

Despite the OS, I love the idea of tablet computing – and have been for a long time now. Android phones have been my joy for a couple of years now and despite some mixed press, the tablet offerings using Android 3.0 (honeycomb) impressed me. There’s since been 2 more updates so we’re now on 3.2 and that has resolved many issues and added loads of new bits. In the coming months we’ll see Android 4.0 (ice-cream sandwich) launched, and that will answer a lot of the critics hopefully.

The thing about tablets is that they suit the majority of my computing needs, and also various other requirements I have – such as easily carrying around my song and music books when I go playing my guitar. I still need a pooter for my major graphical and video work but a tablet does fit the bill in probably 90% of situations.

So I’ve fallen for an OS – it’s time to decide on a device. Some are really cheap and tacky, whilst others are overpriced and a mixed bag of features. But wait, what’s this. Appealing directly to the kid in me suddenly appears the Asus eeePad tf101 – or better known as the Transformer 😀

That’s right… The Transformer!

Of course, kiddies of today will think Shia, Megan and Michael Bay but to those of us from a certain decade it’s the sound effect, the theme tune, the amazingly cool toys and the wishes that our walkman would turn into a robot. Such a class name for a computer, and it really suits the name.

It’s a 10.1″ tablet with loads of feature. It has a great battery life, a gorgeous screen, microSD slot, mini-HDMI port and front and rear cameras. Then there is the cherry on the cake, the thing that makes it worthy of its name, it comes with a keyboard dock that turns it into a netbook format machine, with an additional SD card slot, 2 USB ports, great keyboard  and an additional battery taking the average runtime to 16 hours without charge.

I’ve been lusting after this device since it was announced, and keeping a close eye out on updates, prices and more. I’ve regularly said that this would be my next gadget buy and have often eyed application availability (which is something that is admittedly taking time to grow on honeycomb)

Well, I have finally got my hands on one. Its taken a little while to get setup how I want it, and there are still some apps that aren’t fully optimised for tablets, and so are simply enlarged versions of the phone app. However, I am now using it more than my laptop or PC.

It’s portable, light, powerful, fast and does what I need. It’s my music library, my media player (HD screen!), social media platform, email and calendar and its even become my games console with loads of HD quality games that have stunning graphics, gameplay and longevity – and talking about more than some frustrated avians (although I do still play the odd game :-P)

I can manage my home network, connect to all my PCs and devices, print from anywhere, watch videos wherever (and on a decent sized screen – a phone, or the little Archos 605 media player, is a great thing but a 10.1” widescreen 720p HD screen is very nice to have)

For the non-geeks out there I guess it’s a case of “Wuh?!?” but I’ve got to say that the Transformer is a cracking bit of kit that has genuinely changed the way I operate at home. I still need a PC/Laptop for my main image work and video editing but as that equates to less than 10% of the time, my poor laptop sits and gathers dust whilst I wander around the house.

Now all I need is a supreme-makeover to give it a glowing logo on the back 😉

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