Top positive review
58 people found this helpful
Better than I thought
on 13 October 2012
I bought this to drag myself kicking and screaming into the 2010's - I haven't owned a tablet previously, and although I work in computing I've never managed to get to grips properly with mobile phones, so my Android phone hadn't led to a whole lot of experience with Android. I was therefore pleasantly surprised with almost everything about this tablet. It was far easier to get it up and running than any PC I've ever owned, and it's generally been pretty easy to work it out myself without having to resort to something terrible like actually reading an instruction manual. The main thing I love about it is that HOW you use it is extremely flexible and pretty optional. There's cloud storage, which you can use, or not - being from a computing background, I'm naturally paranoid, so all my data is on SD cards or memory sticks, which is fine too as there's a card slot on the docking keyboard, as well as a full sized USB port, and a micro-SD slot on the tablet. It comes with a fair few apps installed, but, since it's an Android tablet, if you'd prefer different apps then there are a world of them available. The pre-installed proprietary app for note-taking is so, so impressive, combining the extremely responsive touch-screen with the functionality of a word processing app and even allowing you to pop pictures taken with the pretty decent onboard camera into it. I wish I'd had something like that when I was a student! I've had it a month now and am still learning (a process slowed by the fact that I spent the first fortnight of ownership playing Angry Birds almost exclusively!) but I absolutely love it.
So, the answer to the big question - how does it compare to the iPad? Like most people, I was torn when trying to decide what to get. To i or not to i, that is the question. My sister went the i-route, and there's no doubt that an i-pad is a beautiful thing. When you look at just the tablet portion of the TF700, they are visually very similar. They weigh similar amounts (the Asus is actually marginally lighter) and are similar sizes. I think that this particular Asus tablet is equally user-friendly to an iPad - I gather that not all Android tablets have been able to compete with Apple in that respect. The battery life for the iPad seems to be a bit longer than for the TF700 tablet only, but with the keyboard dock providing extra battery, the Asus package goes for longer overall without charging. The only slight reservation I have is the weight. It fits in my shoulder bag nicely, but with the weight of all the other stuff I carry around as well, if I'm carrying the tablet AND keyboard then after a while it's still too darn heavy. The tablet on its own is no problem as it's pretty light, so I'd like to see Asus find a way to reduce the weight of the keyboard portion (without losing the very handy extra battery life that it provides) by the next version. An ipad with a lightweight wireless keyboard would weigh less but not provide the battery or (famously) any way of connecting USB devices to it. Overall, though, the argument was always between having Apple's beautiful hardware and fluid use but having to put up with only using Apple apps, versus other manufacturer's less beautiful construction and user interface but having access to any app that has ever been conceived of, including thousands of free ones. I chose this tablet because I thought it sounded like I could have the best of both worlds, and I'm not disappointed.