My journey into the world of Android tablets

Posted on Wednesday, January 11th 2012 at 2:09 a.m.

For the past two years I’ve been lucky enough to earn a year-end bonus, a portion of which has been spent on technology purchases.  Last year I put together a PC which has served me very nicely.  This year I decided I was going to purchase an Android tablet.  While I originally was thinking of getting a Samsung Galaxy Tab, I decided to go with the ASUS Transformer Prime, mainly due to it having the fastest current tablet CPU and a working keyboard dock.  I had originally hoped to get the Transformer Prime before Christmas, but due to ASUS production issues I wasn’t able to get my hands on one until last Wednesday.  Here are my unstructured thoughts about the Transformer Prime and the world of tablets.

The first thing that struck me when I unpacked the Prime was that it is surprisingly light and solid for its size.  The build quality appears to be very good.  I love the brushed metal back and the screen seems solid without being bulky.  Like any touch device the screen is a fingerprint magnet, and Asus provides a small cleaning cloth which seems to be very effective in cleaning fingerprints.

After powering on the tablet, I quickly connected to my home wifi, authorized my Google account, and received an over the air firmware update.  After the update all my Google apps got pulled down, and I was quickly ready to go.

I decided to start with the Amazon Kindle application as one of the main things I was planning to use my tablet for was as a device to read books anywhere as well as to not have to constantly juggle physical books.  Most of my life I’ve read either paperback or hardback books, and never thought I’d read an e-book, but ever since I got my HTC Thunderbolt I’ve been reading books via the Amazon Kindle app, even though the screen on the smartphone meant lots of page-turning.  The screen area in the Prime is slightly larger than the area you would experience in a large hardback book, and I quickly settled into one of the books I’ve purchased via Amazon.  Since getting the Prime I’ve done a fair amount of book-reading via the Kindle app and it’s been very enjoyable.

The display on the Prime is gorgeous, with great sharpness and vibrant color.  I haven’t had the opportunity to take advantage of the Super-AMOLED screen in direct sunlight yet, but everything I’ve seen so far has been crisp and easy to read.  The Prime’s Tegra-3 processor makes all operations very quick - not exactly at PC-level, but faster than any other mobile device I’ve ever used.  I’ve never experienced any lag or display issues.

This past Thursday I had to sit on three conference calls from a remote location.  Armed with my Thunderbolt for the calls and my Prime for data entry and web browsing, I was able to power through all three calls without missing a beat, even when I used WYSE’s PocketCloud application to remote back to my home PC to retrieve some information.

Since the iPad was first announced, there has been a great deal of talk about the “death of the PC.”  I think we are a long way off from a time when people will be using tablets as their primary computing devices, and I think there are people such as myself who will always want a large, poweful, immoble computing device.  However, after using my Prime for a while, I can begin to see that for a portion of the population a tablet PC is all the computer they would ever need.

The Prime is a well-put together tablet and I’d put its speed and display up against the iPad any time.  Android OS 4.0 (a.k.a. “Ice Cream Sandwich”) just arrived on the Prime today, so I may have even more interesting things to report soon.

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