Tag Archive | "eee"

ASUS EeeBook X205. Sub 1KG Windows laptop for €199. Hands-on.

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ASUS has just launched the EeeBook X205, a n 11.6-inch Windows laptop featuring ‘long’ battery life and a full-size keyboard for just €199. It weighs just 980 grams.

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Running the Baytrail platform (Z3000-series as seen in the cheap tablets) it’s undercutting even ASUS’ own cheap Chromebook, the C200. In the model I got hands-on with there was only 1GB of RAM. ASUS specifications show 2GB RAM. I hope it’s the latter because 1GB RAM is not enough (as I found out in my review of the Toshiba Encore 2 WT8 at Notebookcheck

The keyboard isn’t the best quality but it’s big and was stress-free in my 5-line test. There’s no touch and of course it’s a sealed unit. Note that you’re likely to find soldered RAM and eMMC storage inside so don’t expect to be able to do any DIY upgrades.

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This isn’t the first ASUS laptop that’s retailed for this price but it’s the first that isn’t constrained by a 10-inch screen. Multiple colour options could turn this into a big seller in the next quarter.

ASUS Eeebook X205 (4)ASUS Eeebook X205 (6)

ASUS Eeebook X205 (10)

In my hands-on I saw an 18Wh battery which is really small for an 11.6-inch laptop and won’t give 12 hours battery life for the average user. It’s possible I was handling a non-final build though so let’s hope for a bigger battery in the final version.

More images from the session in this gallery.

More Asus Transformer Prime Videos and Details

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The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is shaping up to be a hot seller with its quad-core Tegra 3 CPU/GPU combo and its attachable keyboard. Just a few days ago, our pal Ritchie got his hands on the Transformer Prime and produced a great overview video of the device. Now he’s drilling down the specifics.

Ritchie has fielded a number of questions from folks interested in the Transformer Prime, and prepared a whopping 5 new videos for your viewing pleasure. We’ll drop one here, but if you’d like more, certainly go visit the post over at Ritchie’s Room.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34REyjGuIis

Transformer Prime Official Page Leaks Early. Manual, Details, Source Code Revealed

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The Transformer Prime is still not featured on the front page of Asus.com, and a support page hasn’t gone live yet, but if you’re sneaky, you can find the Transformer Prime’s official product page on Asus’ website.

It would appear as though the product page has gone live earlier than intended as Asus is still advertising for the original Eee Pad Transformer on the front page of their site. Additionally, the Transformer Prime micro-site still shows the “Prime is Coming” teaser text. Though we already know most of what there is to know about the Transformer Prime, the official product page gives us the first official list of specs as well a the user manual of the upcoming Tegra 3 tablet.

The launch of the official page may indicate that a Transformer Prime release date is not far off.

Don’t miss the Prime first look hands-on video from Ritchie’s Room.

Colors

We can also finally see the two colors (Champagne Gold, and Amethyst Grey) that the Transformer Prime will be available in, thanks to some new photos:

Manual

Though most of us glaze over gadget manuals, I’ve come to find that there are occasionally great tidbits to be found within. Thus, I’ve done you the courtesy of pulling out some of the good nuggets from the Transformer Prime manual so that you don’t have to.

From the manual we can see that you won’t get anything too exciting out of the box, which comes with nothing but the Transformer Prime itself, a USB charger, regional wall adapter, docking-to-USB connector, manual, and warranty card. And yes, you read that correctly — the keyboard is not included standard, it’s an accessory that will cost you $149.

The manual also tells us that the trackpad on the keyboard dock has two defined areas that will function as left and right mouse clicks. This will surely be handy for VPN applications (like the built-in ‘My Desktop’) and make the Transformer Prime even more capable of functioning like a full-blown computer:

Among other keyboard shortcuts, pressing the Fn-key along with the Up or Down arrow keys will jump to the top or bottom of a given page respectively.

We can also peek at some of the customizations that Asus has made to Honeycomb which runs on the Transformer Prime. Most interesting among the adjustments to the quick-settings panel. There is a special screen-brightness button that you can press to boost the screen-brightness for better outdoor readability. There’s also a performance toggle which can switch between Power Saving, Balanced, and Normal modes. It’s unclear whether or not these settings will impact the clock speed of the Tegra 3 hardware or simply adjust some of the system settings such as screen timeout and background app updates:

For the original Asus Eee Pad Transformer, one of the popular tweaks was to download a widget that would independently display the battery life of the tablet and the keyboard; by default the system only specified the overall battery levels. This time around, Asus is adding that funtionality out of the box. Thanks to the Asus Battery Level widget, you’ll be able to see the charge of the keyboard and the tablet without having to download any third-party applications or widgets. In addition to the widget, you’ll be able to see the battery levels on the notification bar and in the quick-settings panel.

 

If you’re curious about the supported media formats for encoding and decoding on the Transformer Prime and Tegra 3, the manual gives us full details:

  • Decoding (audio)
    • AAC LC/LTP
    • HE-AACv1 (AAC+)
    • HE-AACv2 (Enhanced AAC+)
    • AMR-NB
    • AMR-WB
    • MP3
    • FLAC
    • MIDI
    • PCM/WAVE
    • Vorbis
    • WAV a-law/mu-law
    • WAV linear PCM
    • WMA 10
    • WMA Lossless
    • WMA Pro LBR
  • Decoding (video)
    • H.263
    • H.264
    • MPEG-4
    • VC-1/WMV
    • VP8
  • Encoding (audio)
    • AAC LC/LPT
    • AMR-NB
    • AMR-WB
  • Encoding (video)
    • H.263
    • H.264
    • MPEG-4
The Transformer Prime comes with the MyLibrary app which seeks to compile all of your eBook into one place (something you’ve probably been longing for if you’re like me and have eBooks across Amazon, Google, and more). MyLibary supports ePub, PDF, and TXT and has your typical page-turning interface on a sepia background.
If you are thinking about using your Transformer Prime for enterprise work, Polaris Office is another included app which will be handy for your document editing needs. You can hook up your Google Docs or Box.net account to the app for some cloud storage action. It supports the following:

Asus is including the SuperNote app which will let you take hand-written and typed notes, completed with photos, audio recordings, and more. Without an active digitizer and stylus this seems somewhat out of place, but I suppose this will be enjoyed by those who can get along with capacitive styli.

Source Code

In the download section of the official Transformer Prime product page is a section called ‘Source Code’. This 89.9MB file is presumably the Transformer Prime’s software image, and might be useful for those hacksters over at the XDA Developer Forums.

Pricing for the Transformer Prime starts at $499 (+$149 if you want the dock) but the release date has not yet been announced.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime Hands-on First Look [video]

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The Transformer Prime is the first tablet to be announced with the Nvidia Tegra 3 platform, and while the price and release date have yet to be officially announced, it is likely going to be in even higher demand than it’s predecessor, the Eee Pad Transformer.

Our pal Ritchie has a detailed writeup of his hands-on experience with the Transformer Prime along with some great photos to whet your appetite of this thin and powerful device. If you’re the visual type, he’s also prepared a video summary of the Transformer Prime for your enjoyment:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0D-mXIzlKc

Ritchie says that the Super IPS+ display looks great, and this will be an upgrade over the original Transformer’s regular IPS display, while retaining the durable Gorilla Glass. Asus added a display brightness boosting function to the Transformer Prime which is intended for better viewing during outside use.

Tegra 3’s performance is also in full force; it appears as though it can handle 720p and 1080p video with no problems. That could make the Transformer Prime a great portable home-theater (thanks to the micro-HDMI port), with the only problem being the relatively weak Android codec support. I’m curious to know how well the Transformer Prime can handle software video decoding that comes along with some third-party applications.

The unit itself is slimmer and lighter than the iPad 2, and attached with the keyboard, the Transformer Prime is rated to run for 18 hours which is pretty awesome.

For more detail about the Transformer Prime, don’t miss Ritchie’s write-up.

Unless there are any unforseen issues leading up to it’s launch, the Transformer Prime is certainly setting the new bar for Android tablets, and I would go as far to say that Apple better pay attention as well. The Transformer Prime has nearly everything one could want in a tablet today except for a little Ice Cream Sandwich action.

 

Transformer Prime Shows Us What Tegra 3’s 12-core GPU Can Do [video]

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Tegra 3 is the world’s first quad-core mobile platform, Nvidia assures us, and along with those 4 CPU cores come the Tegra 3 GPU which has 12 additional cores of its own. Nvidia is happy to show off the graphical capabilities of the Tegra 3 GPU, which they claim to be up to 3x faster than the Tegra 2 GPU. A few months back (when Tegra 3 was still being called Kal-El) Nvidia demoed a game called Glowball on pre-production hardware. Now, Nvidia is showing off a new level of the game, running on a production version of the Transformer Prime:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C30ShWQm5pI

If you were already anticipating the Transformer Prime, I can only imagine you are now that much more excited; you’d be hard pressed to call that demo anything but impressive. I’ll be curious to see some benchmarks, but I’d say Tegra 3’s graphical capabilities are right up there with Apple’s A5 CPU/GPU found in the iPhone 4S and iPad 2.

I think it’s great to see that competition has created extremely high performance mobile computing platforms, but when it comes to gaming on tablets, casual play is still where the segment thrives. As soon as you push touchscreen gaming beyond casual, you absolutely need a controller to achieve a reasonable experience. Even though we should be able to connect Bluetooth peripherals (or even USB), it seems that there is not yet a defacto controller to suit the needs of beyond-casual gaming on mobile devices.

What say you? Do you find beyond-casual gaming on tablets impractical with only a touchscreen to control them?

Transformer Prime with Tegra 3 Quad-core CPU Now Official

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The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime (aka Transformer 2) leaked last month but now it’s all been made official. Tegra 3 has been confirmed, and although the Transformer Prime will ship with Android 3.2, they are confirming that it can be upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich.

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Of course, it wouldn’t be a Transformer without the signature attachable keyboard, and Asus is claiming that the Transformer Prime will get a whopping 18 hours of battery life from a full charge using both the tablet and the dock.

With the Tegra 3 quad-core processor (once codenamed Kal-El), Nvidia says that you can see improvements in speed up to 3x over Tegra 2, with up to 61% less power consumption. The lower power consumption is thanks to a fifth “companion cube” “companion core” that is designed to do the easy lifting, completely shutting down the quad-core CPU when it isn’t needed. Once you start doing tasks that require significant power, everything is shifted from the companion core to the quad-cores and the companion core is shut down. Nvidia calls this process Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing or vSMP.

The GPU included in Tegra 3 utilizes 12 processing cores and can automatically convert OpenGL applications and games into stereo 3D, allowing you to hook up your tablet to a 3D HDTV or 3D head mounted display (like Sony’s upcoming HMZ-T1).

The Transformer Prime itself is an impressive 8.3mm thick, which will make it the thinnest 10″ tablet available on the market (that is, until Toshiba releases their 7.7 mm thick AT200). It is also one of the lightest 10″ tablets at 586 grams, though still behind the Galaxy Tab 10.1. This is all without the keyboard of course.

The Transformer Prime screen retains the 1280 x 800 resolution and IPS technology used on the original Transformer. 1GB of RAM accompanies the Tegra 3 processor. Unfortunately, Asus has not moved the USB port onto the tablet itself, as per Damian’s hopes; you’ll still need transform into the keyboard mode to access the USB port. Unfortunately they’ve actually reduced the count from two USB ports to one, which seems like a step backward considering the good USB peripheral support of Android Honeycomb and beyond. The Transformer Prime alone has micro-HDMI, 3.5mm headphone/mic input, a built in mic, micro-SD card reader, and stereo speakers.

The Transformer Prime is Priced at $499 for a 32GB model or $599 for a 64GB model. There are two colors available: Amethyst Grey and Champagne Gold. The keyboard dock, which includes one USB port and a full-sized SD card reader and battery (and will add 537 grams to the Transformer Prime), is optional and will run you an additional $149.

Looking Forward to the Transformer Prime as an Original Transformer Owner

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Engadget has a story about the new Transformer 2 or Eee Pad Transformer Prime as it’s now been announced. Asus CEO Jonney Shih has shown off the tablet to Walt Mossberg at the All Things Digital AsiaD show.

Ben posted some info yesterday after we started to see teaser advertising.  We now know that it’ll ship with a quad-core NVIDIA chip (Kal-El), 10-inch display, mini-HDMI port, a claimed 14.5-hour battery (which I assume is measured attached to the dock), and an SD card slot (although this may be on the dock too). I’m also assuming that they won’t be stepping backwards and removing features form the original Transformer so it will have to have a USB slot and a micro SD card slot as well (on the dock).

The back of the tablet looks sleek in a brushed style aluminium that looks like the lids of the new Asus Zenbook line of laptops. It’s 8.3mm thin and lighter than the current transformer which sounds very good to me.

I use my Transformer (the original) all day everyday, but find that I don’t use the dock as much as I thought I would. I now have a stylus — with Evernote, the onscreen keyboard, and the stylus, I get by in 90% of cases. The Transformer itself lacks a USB port, and I do find that pretty constraining. That means I have to connect to the dock to get USB capability and that means adding weight and size.

Since I’m yet to run into a scenario where I need the extra (massive!) battery life that the dock gives me, I do get annoyed at having to add the dock to the device to get a USB port. Sure, an adapter for the Transformer would solve that issue, but it costs a whopping $70 by the time it’s shipped, and I can’t pay that much for a tiny bit of plastic.

What I’m really looking forward to, as I read about the Prime, is the reduction in weight with the dock, or a dream come true: the addition of a full sized USB port on the Transformer itself. I’m not going to kid myself that we’ll get a USB port, but if the unit is slimmer and lighter as expected, then I may not mind leaving the dock attached, and that would mean that the USB port on the dock would suffice.

Yesterday I played with the Eee Pad Slider, and while a bit heavier than the Transformer, it’s lighter than the Transformer with dock, and I was seriously considering purchasing the slider until the announcement of the Transformer Prime. I think I’ll wait until final figures around weight and size come in before making a decision.

Jonney Shih also said to Walt that he expects Ice Cream Sandwich to hit tablets by the end of the year and it’ll be interesting to see what OEM’s push it out first (if at all). Keep an eye out for Transformer Prime publicity on November 9th which is the official launch date.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer 2 Leaks, Tegra 3 and Ice Cream Sandwich Inside [video]

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The Asus Eee Pad Transformer 2 has leaked and Android Authority is showing off the goods. I must say I’m rather impressed with what I’m seeing from Asus here. It appears as though they’ve made the Transformer 2 to look just like one of their recently unveiled Zenbook Ultrabooks, meaning it’s thin and lean.

Not only does the Transformer 2 looks extremely svelte, while still retaining it’s signature keyboard-connecting feature, but it is packed with Nvidia’s latest and great quad-core CPU, codenamed Kal-El.

Kal-El is the world’s first quad-core mobile CPU, according to Nvidia. Though the processor is still currently codenamed Kal-El, it’s been colloquially dubbed “Tegra 3”, as that’s the name it is likely to launch under.

Then there’s that whole Ice Cream Sandwich thing which is also said to be included with the Transformer 2, according to Android Authority, which also has some additional leaked specs which you can find here. [Google and Samsung just blew the doors off of Android 3.0 Ice Cream Sandwhich last night at a join event, we’ll have more on this soon.]

Here’s Asus’ just released teaser for the Transformer 2:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp6MZupUq78

The original Asus Eee Pad Transformer was a runaway success for Asus, who struggled initially to keep them in stock against demand. Android Authority says a source is claiming a November launch for the Transformer 2, in time for the holidays.

Our own Damian and James co-reviewed the original Transformer and were rather impressed with the unit. They lauded the full USB port functionality (and compatibility with a wide range of USB peripherals).

You can see both parts of their dual-review here:

Hopefully we’ll see full USB ports return to the Transformer 2, and maybe we’ll even get full HDMI and a full SD slot — now that would be cool. I’m also hoping that Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich will provide functionality to make the hybrid nature of the dockable device even more useful when it’s in notebook-mode.

Eee Pad Transformer in the Workplace, Tackling Printing and Connectivity — End of Week One

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As you may be aware Jerry and I are trying to get by in the Enterprise space with only our tablets and no Windows based laptops. Jerry’s using the Acer Iconia Tab and I am using my Asus Eeepad transformer with keyboard dock. Jerry has a few posts up on his experience so far. Week one using the Eeepad transformer as my only business “personal computer” was pretty successful. I had a pretty varied week which included working from home, working on the road at a conference and during site visits and of course in the office. My home setup includes a Logitech DiNovo keyboard and a Logitech traveller mouse, both bluetooth devices. I have wireless internet at home for connectivity and use a mix of apps for productivity. image My first near-stumbling block was when I had to print something. I can’t use a solution such as Google Cloud Print as it requires a PC to be turned on, connected to both the net and the printer. Since I’m trying at all costs to avoid even so much as starting up a PC, that wont work. I did a bit of searching and found the best solution to be a paid app called PrinterShare [free version here]. As it often goes, a lot of the best apps are paid ones, and while I try to get by with free apps as much as possible, sometimes there’s no choice. Something I liked about PrinterShare is that you can download the free version and run a test print to make sure it works with your setup before you part with the cash for the fully enabled version. This saves buying something, downloading it only to find it doesn’t work with your particular setup. PrinterShare installed without a hitch and is a very functional app. It printed without issue to my Epson MFD and could even print good quality photos on the various papers that my Epson can handle. image On the road I used a Mifi style portable wireless broadband device for connectivity. While I like the Mifi for being able to connect multiple devices at once, I did look on with a little envy at my iPad toting companions, who simply fired them up and got on the net (they had 3G models). I think once the Eee Pad Transformer is released with 3G I might upgrade. I did the find the extra weight of the keyboard dock a bit annoying, as most of the day I didn’t need the keyboard, and when I did at night I could have just as easily used my foldable keyboard. I did take along my bluetooth mouse as I find it easier to use than the touchpad when I’m using the tablet like a laptop. image As you can see in this photo the tablets outnumbered the laptops at this meeting. I used Evernote and my calendar for this particular presentation while the iPad user stayed in his notes application. Again I found the keyboard handy but not essential, and something like the Eee Pad Slider would be a better device for me in this situation. One failing of the Transformer is that it can only output to HDMI and when I needed to show something on the projector I couldn’t just plug in. Only one of the work projectors has HDMI so 9 times out of 10 I won’t be able to project from the tablet. I got around it on this occasion by emailing the slides to the laptop on the projector but it wasn’t pretty. The iPad had a cable which allowed it to hook up via VGA so it scored points on the Transformer this time. Jerry has shown us that it’s possible to get from HDMI to VGA-out with adapters, so that’s one possible solution to this issue. Stay tuned for more updates next week.

Official Asus Eee Pad Slider Page is up, Launch Imminent

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asus eee pad sliderAsus has finally gone and officially put the Eee Pad Slider up on their site.

The Slider may as well have been official for a long time as it’s seen more hands-on time than some devices that are actually available!

In addition to a few bits that are confirmed on the official page — the device shipping with Honeycomb 3.1 and Polaris Office for productivity work, weighs a hefty 960 grams! — there are a few strange bits as well.

For instance, Asus is either missing the point of social networking completely, or perhaps they prophetically understand it all too well. One of the sections that talks about the keyboard begins like this:

You can easily record and share every moment of your life, anytime and anywhere.

Does this strike anyone else as a bit creepy? I’m sorry Asus, but that’s not exactly what I’m looking to accomplish with the Slider.

Then there’s a set of visual instructions that I uncovered in the manual of the device that show a rather hilarious way to open the device (I can only hope this isn’t how you actually have to open it):

slider instructions

Anyway, it would be nice if Asus would just slap a price on this thing and let people start buying it! We’ve been waiting since it was introduced at CES 8 months ago!

via NetbookNews

Eee Pad Transformer used as Productivity Tool

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The Asus Eee Pad Transformer is a very popular device and I’ve seen a number of reports of it being used in productivity scenarios. The gaps between devices like this and traditional laptops are closing and so it’s no surprise that people are testing the limits.

Find out where these gaps are with the start of another good series over at Carrypad. The question is, is Android good enough to allow all the gaps to be closed through 3rd party software or are there jobs that will always need doing on a PC?

http://www.carrypad.com/2011/08/14/using-the-eee-pad-transformer-as-an-enterprise-productivity-device/

Using the Eee Pad Transformer as an Enterprise Productivity Device

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I’ve been inspired by Jerry to make the move to using only the Asus Eeepad transformer at work. I’ll be using only my Atrix and Eee Pad Transformer for all business related activities, no PC at all. I am passing my Vaio down to my wife to replace an old netbook and the budget doesn’t stretch to a new laptop. Actually it’s pretty slim pickings trying to find a true replacement to the Vaio TT anyway at the moment.

My needs are similar to Jerry’s actually in that I have a new baby on the way, a new house, a netbook past its expiry date and recent purchases of both the Eee Pad Transformer and the Atrix + lapdock.

As I mentioned before I considered a MacBook Air, another Vaio, or perhaps a Windows tablet; cost, portability and battery life are all competing priorities for me. So following Jerry’s lead I thought: why not see if either (or better yet, both!) of us can do it.

This has partly been facilitated by work putting in some software that will allow me to access email and my work calendar on my Android devices, natively rather than having to use webmail or some remote access solution. In the wider enterprise world it’s proving hard for IT to resist the demands of business bringing in iPhones and various tablets. My workplace is no exception so we kicked off a project to put in a solution to meet the mobile needs of our workforce. One of the key requirements was to work across all platforms which was great because even though iOS products outnumber others 5 to 1, those of us with Android devices can now connect to business systems including email.

Today was day one and it was fairly successful. Polaris Office worked well for Word documents and the PowerPoint I needed to edit. Evernote is my business app of choice for meeting notes, tasking and brain dumps and I used Thinking Space and sent the mindmap to Evernote as a picture so that I can keep evrything organised and in the one place. I occassionally felt a pang for a laptop but I think this was separation anxiety as there was no actually need for it in al the work I did today. Let’s see how it goes tomorrow.