- Features This has every feature you need, and some you'll probably never use. The most feature rich tablet on the market.
- Display This is hands down the absolute best display being made for any device at the moment. It's flawless. I wish I had this display on everything I own this size.
- Battery life The amount of battery life this thing has will spoil you IF you have the keyboard dock. It's great without it, but not "best".
- Ease of use While not having Jellybean (few more weeks), the ICS experience is essentially stock, so still amazingly easy to use while being stupidly powerful.
- Storage capacity You have a true microSD slot for more expansion on the tablet itself, and a full size USB port, and a full SDcard slot on the dock. Nothing more need be said.
- Design and form factor This is an amazing design factoring both looks and usability. Nothing else in the 10" range comes close at the moment.
- Portability (size / weight) Lightest, Thinnest, most Powerful and Beautiful HD tablet made at the moment. The redesigned shape is actually more comfortable than the Prime to hold.
- Durability I WANT to give this a worse score but I dropped it on concrete and it didn't have a scratch. This is a higher quality aluminum and anodizing than other tablets.
Starting off, I WANT to compare this to the iPad. But simply put, I can't. These two devices aren't even in the same category. I can however compare it to the Prime, which was also better than the iPad in most ways. Now, I'll explaiin why:
Apple is great at marketing. They've convinced people they "own" the tablet experience, and they are an authority. Try asking on a forum why you can't use a mouse with an iPad, and you'll get shouted down. The answer will be "Why would you want to do that?". Nevermind that other companies had been making tablets for years. I had personally owned a Fujitsu tablet, and an HP TX2 long before Apple made their interesting toy. So when I'm using a tablet and I'm rating a tablet, I'm basing it on what a tablet should be able to do. Not the narrowly crafted definition of "tablet" that Apple invented to cover the shortcomings of their toy. I hope that helps.
Also, this will be my last review here. There's a strong slanting of numbers towards a particular manufacturer (one only has to look at the ios5 review numbers), and quite frankly this site does not deserve reviews of my caliber. This is also a little early. I was going to wait about four more days, but I did a marathon (no sleep) thorough checking out of the tablet instead.
TF700T = Tablet.
iPad = Toyblet. (and there's nothing wrong with that)
As usual, I like to go through each category above and expand on my answers. I finish up with a strongly written explanation of the perceived negatives. I'm going to do things in reverse this time and do the negatives first. It made more sense to do things that way this time because of the utter lack of them.
1) I'm falling out of love with Chrome. And before Android fanboys come at me with pitchforks, the reason is the ONLY slowness I experienced doing normal tasks on this otherwise amazing tablet was related to Chrome's predictive guessing on search items and URL's. At one point It lagged for a full five seconds trying to figure out "Dark Knight" for me. Thankfully you can turn this feature off. Now, in the defense of Asus here, they do not ship it with Chrome installed.
2) When really pushing the tablet like a sadist would, it can get slow. This is a byproduct of true multitasking. While maintaining 4 active RDC connections, 4 ssh sessions, a file copy from a windows share, and Chrome open with ten tabs, I tried to launch Demolition Inc HD (very fun game btw). I ended up having to fire up ES Task Manager and kill off a bunch of tasks. It almost locked up solid. Now, while this is great in what is supposed to be a poweruser device, this could be perceived as a negative by those used to less advanced operating systems that kill off processes for you without asking.
3) I'm reaching here, but I don't like that they call their gunmetal treatment "Amethyst Gray". They missed out. They could have called it Gunmetal. That's what I call it (damnit).
Now for the categories from above:
Name one. This has it. From the best screen made to the best expansion options available, to even rethinking the button positions from the already great Prime. You can tell a ton of thought went into this device. Best in class bluetooth/wifi/gps. Bettter than any other device I own. Best accessory on the face of the earth in the form of the Keyboard Dock I'm using to write this review. Even better, this is the same dock I used with my TF201. I didn't have to buy a new one. Simply put, there isn't another tablet made right now with this amazing feature set. The real issue might be if you need all of them rather than anything being missing. Yet it still has best in class weight and size and thickness for an HD tablet.
Simply an amazing screen. Now, I'm firmly of the opinion that once you are about 16" away from a screen, the pixel density does not matter. That being said, as long as you don't compromise color, contrast, and brightness to acheive your meteoric pixel number, I don't care. This is the first high pixel densitiy screen that isn't a compromise. Everything is crisp and perfect. The colors are amazing and saturated rather than being washed out. The brightness is astounding rather than being an afterthought. This is the best screen being used on any device right now.
The Prime has more battery life by about 10 percent. My test was to loop Dark Knight in 1080p with the brightness at half (regular IPS mode) and it pumping the audio through HBS700 bluetooth headphones. I'd call this a likely usage scenario. For player I used MX Player Pro. I got just under 8 hours (without the dock). That's astounding for a device actually using the entire screen to show a movie in its native display format (the screen is true 1080P)
Ease of Use:
Android is easy. Things are easy to find. You have a proper back button. Settings are always in the same place. Multitasking is a touch away making task switching easy. ICS (Android 4.0) is great. It's nice knowing you'll get a seamless upgrade to JellyBean though. Jellybean is astoundingly good compared to the just amazingly good that ICS is. Sure, there are minor quibbles like with any device. It's a new display, so some things start out smaller than they should until you resize them. But you can resize them. Anybody that has bought a new monitor knows what I'm talking about. There is nothing that comes close to a showstopper or dealkiller with this device. I could hand this to my mom. She'd love the thing. If you are a windows user (93 percent of us) this device will feel like a familiar friend pretty quickly. It's nice having a true touchpad that works brilliantly on the Keyboard Dock. It's also nice that you can disable it when you don't need it with a button press. So much thought went into this design to make it more than just livable.
There's a little to say here. My 64GB Sandisk Class 10 microsd card would not work in the tablet. However, once I reformatted it and let Windows 7 decide what to do (exFat, 128k block size) it worked perfectly. Later I found out that this was the shipped configuration for the sdcard. Go figure. So if your high capacity sdcard does not work, you probably made it NTFS, or did something else to it. Try setting it up like the factory sent it. That being said, with the 32G on board, and the 64G in the tablet sdcard slot, and a convenient and cheap 16G class 6 Transcend card in the keyboard dock (so awesome for quickly moving files around). I have 110G onboard in a very portable device. Want to carry lots of stuff around with you? This is your device.
GDGT gave this device a score of 82. You can tell they didn't actually use one. Especially considering they gave the Nexus 7 an 88, despite the fact that this has more of everything that tablet has, plus storage, plus a 1080P screen, and both are made by Asus. Think of this as a bigger better Nexus 7. Think of this as the current best tablet made, no question. I gave the Prime a very low score in this category because of the metal construction. Metal is not the ideal material to use for consumer electronics. Where high impact ABS resin will flex when dropped, metal will dent, and transfer shock directly into press-fit glass. This is why the iphone is so fragile. This is why the iPad is so fragile. This is why the Transformer Prime is so fragile. However, I dropped this thing hard walking out of work on M Street right onto the concrete. It hit the sidewalk, and skidded off into the grass. I took a few seconds pause, absolutely convinced I had destroyed it. Maybe I was just lucky, because I could not find a single scratch. GTasks was still open when I picked up the tablet. Granted, this is a proper aluminum and not cheap utensil grade aluminum used on the most popular tablet. This is properly anodized and not just a cheap aluminum oxide coating.
So while possessing a best in industry construction technique and materials, it's still the thinnest and lightest HD tablet made right now. It's VERY slightly (few grams) heavier than the Prime (the prior best). It's also .1mm thicker than the Prime. But the unexpected thing was the reshaping of the tablet to shoehorn in the upgraded components and best-in-class screen made the edges more rounded and comfortable. Where some tablets are very angular and poorly designed at the edges and bite into you after 10-20 minutes, this feels good for hours of use.
Some devices are made for play. Some devices are made for power users. There are a LOT of power users. Don't think you are one? Well, do you own a desktop? Is it because your tablet can't do what your desktop can do? This device is a desktop replacement while being a tablet. It's also extremely easy to use. It's also extremely pretty. Buy this tablet. No question. On a fence? Buy this one. You won't regret it. Everything most people need to do, this simply does better. Desktop replacement duty? Covered. This is a college student's dream device. This is the tablet for everyone.
Please ask any questions below and I'll stop back every once in a while to answer them. I'm off to revive my own review site.
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