Transformer: Judgement Day

This post is Part 5 of a small series of five articles covering what movie fans might or might not get out of the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. Part 1Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 can be found here.

Transformer: Rise Of The Machine?

I've had the Asus-supplied Transformer for a month now and the time has come to form a final judgement. Are tablets the future, a vital tool for the moviegoer, a must-have gadget for the twenty-first century? Or are they merely another fad generated by the fear of Apple's latest bought of trend-setting?

The Good

The availability of apps, the slickness of the design and the fact that it can come supplied with a full Qwerty keyboard are all major positives in the Transformer's favour. Once you've got over the 'ooh, shiny' feeling and shown it around to a few of your friends, it can become a very useful device, benefiting significantly from the 'always on' convenience of a tablet.

I've checked cinema times on it, queried IMDb quickly and read the plot of numerous a film on good old Mr Reliable: Wikipedia. Its helped me to keep the Film Intel twitter account running, check the numerous sites I have on my Google Reader and stay on top of e-mails and other social media forms when I, frankly, can't be bothered to turn on my laptop.

The Transformer is intuitive and quick and most problems can be rectified easily although, as it's new, the absence of an active online community can currently be noticeable. The plan for Android moving forwards is exciting and varied and on many occasion I've been heard to mutter a 'whoa' when finding some new bit of functionality. Ultimately, it's a gadget but one that I've found several uses for, all of which have helped me no end.

The Bad

The lack of movie support for Android and the Transformer in particular is a big omission and I've not really found a solution since my first post about the device. There's obviously no iTunes so you can't rent through there. Neither LoveFilm nor Netflix have an official app so you can't use their Watch Online services. The YouTube app doesn't support rentals and Asus are yet to launch their very own service.

The keyboard is a welcome addition but the design is clunky and a better docking mechanism would have improved it no end. Android Marketplace is stocked with apps but you need other apps to discover the really tasty ones - there's a lot of chaff to sort through and the process of highlighting the best ones in Android's own app isn't updated often enough.

The tablet can become slow or unresponsive on occasion (when loading a large amount of tweets into TweetDeck for example) and the lack of a 3G option will doubtless put some people off, although, personally, I'm happy enough finding a WiFi hotspot when I want to be online.

The Verdict

The market for tablets is really still in its infancy although you could say that the Asus Eee Pad Transformer and its brethren are part of the second wave. Like any fairly early adopters of new kit there will be teething problems for people who choose to purchase now but if you're of relatively sound technical mind then the Transformer is an easy device to recommend. It handles fantastically, the level of customisation is impressive and the Android Marketplace, for all its problems, is a worthy opponent for the App store. The keyboard, despite its clunkiness, means that, for a decent price, you basically get both a tablet and a small non-Windows based laptop, which I imagine will see many people sold on the idea. I certainly am. Having overcome some early problems and fully expecting that the problem with film availability will be sorted out sooner rather than later, the tablet has become a fixture which does pretty much everything it says on the tin. I'm impressed. And it's not often I'll say that about a new piece of 'must have' technology.


  1. One of the popular, but few negatives of the Transformer is the lack of apps on Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) and specifically lack of tablet apps. However this is something that will not been around for long and is simple a case of Honeycomb coming out before the development of android tablet apps has really hit off. Something that will definitely change in the near future.

  2. Hope so! There's some good apps on Android but I'd definitely like to see plenty more. They need to sort out their searching as well. It can be really difficult to discover stuff in the Android Marketplace.

  3. Yeah and the best thing is that the tablet will take updates and Android improves itself, so therefore the tablet will not become outdated as quickly.
    By the way great finishing post, rounds everything up really well.