Tablet Wars: iPad vs. Transformer

Happy Friday from the University of Nevada,

The mobile device war is raging, and with choices ranging from iPads to Galaxys to Transformers to who knows what, there are a plethora of choices for all of you gadget geeks out there. So in this crazy, chaotic world of choice, how do you even begin to choose a tablet? Fortunately, my department has recently purchased both iPad 2s and a set of ASUS Transformers, and I come to you today with a brief overview of both.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

This review is not meant to be all encompassing, but simply sharing my initial thoughts on the fleet of mobile devices that we have recently acquired. As with any product, the best way to choose is to read as much as possible to determine which will meet your needs best.

iPad

It’s hard to compete with a product as solid and well put together as the iPad. It also doesn’t hurt that Apple essentially was “the” tablet market for a while there, very similar to how they have absolutely dominated the music industry with their little invention known as the iPod.

The software runs super quick and all of the menu options are relatively intuitive and respond at lightning speeds. It’s very simple in design (almost too much so) and you can’t really break anything or get lost. My biggest complaint is that you have to physically plug your iPad into a computer for activation, firmware updates, and syncing. This won’t be an issue for the average consumer, but when you have to deal with a dozen or more iPads, this gets very old very quickly. I believe that iOS 5 should fix the need for a physical connection issue, but until then the Transformer definitely gets my vote for ease of use when updating the software.

The iPad provides a buttery smooth user experience and is powered by everyone’s favorite music engine, iTunes, which now supports syncing to the cloud. The battery life is also ridiculously long, although the recharge times can feel slow. Apple will be hard pressed to be displaced for #1 in the tablet world. Here’s a more official review from CNET.

Transformer

The ASUS Transformer has been a sleeper hit since it was first introduced into the tablet market. Honestly, I didn’t even know it existed until my Webmaster uncovered what I would describe as a diamond in the rough. The Transformer runs the Android Honeycomb operating system, so the look and feel will be similar to those of you who have Android powered phones (i.e. Droid X, etc). The area in which the Transformer absolutely kills the iPad is in pricing. You can scoop up a new one for a very reasonable $400 and not get conned out of features. We poured through magazine articles reviewing other Android tablets, such as the Galaxy and Xoom, only to be frustrated by atrocious pricing!

The Transformer offers a great variety of features, although I found the OS to be a little slower and less snappy when compared to the iOS on the iPad. However, you do get a larger screen, and the Transformer feels just as light as the iPad. The power button is located in a very awkward position but will not cause any significant issue. My other favorite feature is the ability to install apps remotely from the Google marketplace. Just select which device you want the app to go to, hit install, and you’re off and running. It saved us a ton of time getting these things setup.

The Transformer also lacks a 3G connection, but that had zero impact on us because we are on the campus WiFi and they are not being incorporated into our department to be used off campus. It also has the ability to upgrade it with a keyboard dock to make it more like a laptop experience ($150 is wayyy too expensive though!). Here’s a link to the more detailed review.

Overall, the iPad strikes me as the Cadillac of tablets, but I am perfectly satisfied with the Transformer, especially since it would save me $200!

Have you jumped into the tablet market yet? Seems like gadgets aren’t going away…ever.

Picture credit 1. Tablet photo credit Apple and ASUS.

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6 Comments

  1. I don’t have a tablet becuase I don’t NEEDone. I have co-workers that grab up any new gadget on the market just for fun and grins, I guess. But since I’m down to spending money on needs, I’ll pass up the tablets. My phone does everything and more than what I need, so I’ll just live with IT for a while.

  2. Definitely a great thought, although sometimes it’s fun to hop on the technology bandwagon just to try something new. Instead of replacing my 6 year old laptop (ancient!) I’ll probably get a tablet sometime in the next year or 2. For the moment, I’d settle with a new tri bike :-)

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