- Features No ports. Proprietary plug. Expensive accessories. No memory expansion. No haptic feedback.
- Display Samsung really made a great screen for Apple. It's just a shame the iPad3 doesn't seem to be powerful enough to take advantage of it.
- Battery life Really good battery! It get a LOT better if you turn off 4G.
- Ease of use To someone new to apple ios, it's a nitemare to learn. Nothing is intuitive. You have to learn a morse code tapping system with the button. It's laggy as hell.
- Storage capacity The storage capacity is ok, but there's no expansion. You can fill up even 32G pretty fast. Wouldn't be hard to include a microSD slot...
- Design and form factor The single button design is silly. They should have onscreen buttons like better designs. The edge hurts. Too angular Too wide to type comfortably. 4x3? Really?
- Portability (size / weight) There are a lot of lighter and thinner tablets out there. I read this is the thickest and heaviest ipad yet. Still, after extended use, it's not so bad
- Durability Metal that dents, and glass that shatters. You MUST get a case for this.. Bumped it into a door jam. Sure enough, it has a little dent now.
So I got my Asus Transformer TF201 in Champagne Gold with 64GB of internal memory. I also got the keyboard/battery dock and a 64GB Sandisk class 10 card. I spent about what was spent on the entire 32G 4G New iPad plus the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard.
Some key differences:
1) VPN doesn't drop every 30 minutes like it did on the iPad. Whether it was Cisco Anyconnect or a traditional PPTP VPN, The iPad dropped the connection at least once an hour. At the time I blamed everything but the iPad. Had to be the VPN. Had to be the crappy beta quality Cisco software. Had to be my cheap netgear router. Nope. It was the iPad.
2) It's amazing how you miss little things like having an alarm clock, or weather app, or widgets. It's so nice just having the weather on my screen in the corner. It's nice having a second alarm clock.
3) Android 4.0 is SO much nicer than iOS on a tablet. Google really did the work porting a phone OS to tablet. Apple just left things out that didn't work right. Keep in mind, they are a hardware company first. It shows in the lack of effort they put into iOS stability and function. That's why screens have to double in size, and they have to make entirely different apps for tablet. They weren't bright enough to make their OS scale apps. So you get to pay for the same things twice.
4) There is absolutely no contest between networking apps for iPad and Android. The combination of Connectbot plus Xtralogic Remote Desktop on the Transformer Prime are an order of magnitude better than Jump plus iSSH on iPad. Plus, with the handy trackpad on the Transformer keyboard dock, Remote sessions to windows machines are a godsend. At one point I actually forgot I was on a remote session to a machine and started hunting for Chrome thinking I was on my ultrabook lol. That's how good it is.
At this point, I see exactly zero reasons that someone that wants to get actual work done would pay the Apple tax. The iPad is a toy. As long as you understand you are getting a toy, and set your expectations accordingly, you may like one a lot more than I did. I already gave mine to my girlfriend. She loves it. She loves toys.
UPDATE June 14 2012:
So Safari crashed and I lost 50 work bookmarks. I actually lost all my bookmarks. I had been using this with a logitech ultrathin keyboard as a laptop replacement. I'm used to Safari crashing, especially if you try to resize a web page. 4G started getting flaky on me. A quick reboot fixed that but the problem came back after a few hours. I noticed if I turn off 4G the device is less flaky, so I cancelled my Verizon 4G and turned off cellular. I've noticed the facebook app will give me notifications, but they won't show up in the app. I pull down to refresh, and they still aren't there. But if I go to my phone, or check them there first, they are there. I thought facebook was supposed to be better on IOS? I've also noticed heavy typing lag on heavy graphical pages. Like right now, on this page, There's a half second lag from when I type to when the letters start appearing. Thankfully this isn't a huge deal because I'm a veteran of typing into laggy ssh sessions. You just get used to lag. Now, I really got some flack from some of my more zealous apple friends (the thing that really sucks about apple. the fans). So in the spirit of understanding, and for the benefit of perspective, I tried two other devices, the new Asus TF300 and the iPad 2. Here is what I found:
1) Almost all the issues I have with the ipad3 are gone in the ipad2. Safari is still unstable, but it's not nearly as bad. This leads me to believe that Apple rushed the iPad3 to market without properly preparing for this larger display. The iPad3 is noticably slower at everything than the iPad2 with it's half as good display. There simply isn't enough horsepower in this thing to support the display. Scrolling on pages is torture. Scrolling in facebook has locked it up solid twice.
2) The TF300 is absolutely amazing. Perhaps I'm biased because I love Android 4.x, but everything on it "just works". Not to mention that other than the screen, all the rest of the hardware is better. Because of my experience with the TF300, I've decided to get the better TF201. I'm convinced the higher resolution (while stunningly beautiful) isn't worth it to wait for the TF700. Not if I can expect similar performance to what I'm experiencing on this slow piece of crap. The TF201 has a proven track record. I'm settling on the prime because I don't need GPS, and I'm always near good wifi. Worst case, I've got 10G of 4G I can tether to on my Galaxy Nexus. It will fit my workflow perfectly.
Simply put, I'm not going to wait until fall to see if iOS6 fixes Apple's broken tablet. 1280x800 is more than good enough for my needs. I need the speed and stability and options of ICS, and they'll be on the way soon. If functionality and stability are more important to you than fashion, I highly recommend the TF300 if you need the GPS, and the Transformer Prime if you want the best.
I'm giving this Apple attempt to my girlfriend. Wish I had better news. Maybe I got a bad one? That's not very comforting either. I miss the apple of yore before they moved all production to china. Back when photoshop and protools were king, before the deal with the devil they made with Intel. When they were a boutique operation, and you actually felt you were getting the best. This thing is not the best. Not when a 400 dollar Asus mid-level tablet runs circles around it.
Review from an iOS newbie. (my first Apple portable device)
The 4G reception is outstanding! The wireless hotspot is awesome! I used it to do a remote software release over a 3 day weekend.
The screen is OUTSTANDING! Samsung really outdid themselves, and I'm glad Apple could get these in time from them for the iPad3.
The battery life is also good, but not best. When I'm running home to get a charger, my buddy with an Asus Transformer is laughing at me.
You can tell if you drop it it's done for. Like a champagne glass. The aluminum they use is soft. You could almost scratch it with a fingernail. The back of my iPad is already scratched from normal use. I expect more for this kind of money.
iOS is a friggin nightmare! You can't download anything unless you spend a small fortune on apps to get around it. iOS is very unstable. I had to type this review up in a notepad first because Safari crashed twice while typing this. I hate that I have to use three browsers. One for flash pages (work utlities) which is called Puffin. One for rallydev (agile development management) which is called Atomic, and Safari when I'm not trying to use one of the 175 million web pages that require flash. I really wish they'd done the work and not put a phone OS on this thing. Google had the right idea splitting off tablet into it's own thing. I get amazing slowness on web pages. Certain pages will crash Safari (like this one for example). I get serious page stutter trying to scroll on image heavy pages. LOTS of apps just crash. Plants Vs Zombies will just crash. Bloons TD4 will lock up it up solid. iSSH will crash WHILE I'M USING IT which is incredibly frustrating for a UNIX Sysadmin. Cut and Paste will randomly stop working in any application. iOS feels unfinished. It reminds me a lot of Windows 95, or Mac OS9 with ram doubler instead of more ram. Very unstable.
The Appstore is a joke. I heard all these raves about how there were so many more tablet apps. Sure, but 8 out of 10 are scams. The appstore is biased towards the seller, so you don't get to see the negative reviews. Unless you scroll to the end of 100-200 reviews you won't get the truth about an app unless a friend tells you about it first. Want four square? Google Plus? Talkatone? No native tablet versions! and Apple's forced portrait mode x2 crap to zoom up crappy phone apps is some of the laziest coding I've seen in my life. How is it that Android can at least scale apps and widgets properly on a bigger screen? It may not look nice, but good lord. It looks better than a zoomed up phone app. I can use it in landscape mode. Apple really dropped the ball here. Out of all my apps, about 10 haven't crashed at least once. That, and I can't believe I had to spend about 100 dollars for simple things like a file manager, an ssh client, and multiple browsers for what you'd have just gotten on an android tablet for free. They don't even work better. Free versions of android apps shouldn't be better than 20 dollar iOS apps. Good luck getting a refund also. With the android app store you have a short time where you get a refund. Apple is way behind in this area.
The charger can't keep up with the screen. If you have it plugged in and are using it at the same time, it will slowly keep discharging. That's a huge minus.
How is this thing a media device? Why can't I play hulu or youtube or any other streaming videos properly? It will start to download then pause. This happens over wifi or 4g. I will say I don't use iTunes because it slows down my computer too much, but I doubt that works much better. I can't even download a video from the net to watch later. I can't stream video over a windows share (I don't own a mac). It tried using File Explorer and a few others (that cost money).
Honestly? I have no idea how any reviewer in good conscience could review this product so highly. The only thing I can think of is there are probably about 200,000 people that REALLY love bands like Nickleback or Creed that would always give their new releases a top review. I shouldn't have to constantly reach for my phone (Galaxy Nexus) to do things because my tablet can't do them.
The hardware is pretty. I'm sure with a more advanced operating system like Android 4.0 this would be an amazing tablet. As it stands, I'm going to wait for the TF700T to come out and play with one, and probably give this thing to my girlfriend if that doesn't suck.
I tried to drink the koolaid VERY hard. You don't spend what I did on this thing and not. I feel lied too and manipulated by the reviews on this thing.
2 people find this review helpful
Updated detailed review
Edited comment on Design and form factor
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Design and form factor rating changed from 4 to 3
Edited comment on Portability (size / weight)
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Portability (size / weight) rating changed from 3 to 4
Ease of use rating changed from 3 to 2
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Battery life rating changed from 4 to 5
Edited comment on Ease of use
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Edited comment on Display
Features rating changed from 3 to 2
Updated detailed review
Updated detailed review
Updated detailed review
Updated detailed review