The Dock Experience

A few minutes after you update the Eee Pad to Android 3.1 you'll get a popup notification telling you that there's a new update available for the transformer dock. Version 209 brings some additional bug fixes to the dock as well as a new power saving mode.

In our launch review I complained that the dock would sometimes forget it was connected and sometimes result in an unexpected reboot. I'm still using the Eee Pad but thus far I haven't run into any of these issues on the new OS/dock firmware combination. In fact, the platform as a whole seems a lot more stable than it was at launch. It's too early to say whether or not it's perfect, but it's at least much improved.

ASUS enhanced the mouse tracking as well. I'm not sure if the mouse just tracks faster or smoother or both but it's a lot more natural now than it was when I first reviewed the tablet.

The keyboard experience is mostly unchanged but it was pretty good to begin with. Hitting Ctrl + L now properly shifts focus to the URL bar in the browser window without typing the letter L. After opening a new tab the focus is already set at the URL/search bar so you can just begin typing to navigate.

Android 3.1 adds support for more USB devices. The dock has two USB ports both of which worked perfectly with external USB keyboards and mice that I plugged in. Google even claims support for gamepads over Bluetooth but I didn't have a chance to try that on the Eee Pad yet.

The dock now properly idles when it's not in use and shuts off completely when the tablet isn't attached. I didn't notice any perceivable wake up time when I started typing. I'll be running the combination through our battery life tests when I return from Computex next week to see if you get better battery life as a result of the new sleep states.

The Web Browser More Enhancements & Final Words
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  • uncola - Sunday, May 29, 2011 - link

    3.1 running great on my asus transformer. youtube app plays 720p smooth as heck now. also it's just generally faster and the scroll bar in the browser is awesome, no lag at all scrolling top to bottom on engadget.com is worth the tearing to me Reply
  • Zingam - Monday, May 30, 2011 - link

    How about scrolling complex PDF documents. Zooming-in and out.
    And how about PDF documents of scanned pages as large images (non OCRed)?
    Reply
  • jalexoid - Monday, May 30, 2011 - link

    "THEY REFUSED TO PAY FOR SHIPPING"
    What company pays for shipping of items under warranty?
    Reply
  • khimera2000 - Monday, May 30, 2011 - link

    Dont know... but dell makes free house calls on my warrenty, and didnt do a shaby job to :) plus i got to see the inside of my notebook without voiding the warenty this time around :D Reply
  • robinthakur - Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - link

    The Acer is built even worse than the Asus! I think you were just unlucky unfortunately, but Asus quality control has annoyed me too in the past with DOA motherboards and graphic cards and naturally, the support is about as useful as a chocolate teapot. Reply
  • softdrinkviking - Sunday, May 29, 2011 - link

    Anand, I am seriously hoping that there is some details on the upcoming Asus Slider at computex. I read some rumours about Asus changing the Tegra 2 for the new Atom, which would make sense, especially if they put a Win 7 device out.
    I wonder 1. how that will effect battery life VS the transformer device, and 2. how the GPU will work out in an atom based slider VS the Tegra 2 in the transformer.
    Reply
  • Mishera - Sunday, May 29, 2011 - link

    I'm looking forward to the Slider too. I cant help but to wonder if this form factor is what intel needs to jump into the tablet market, but It doesn't seem like android is the os solution. Maybe we'll see some iteration of mameo on these devices in the future. Reply
  • unidentifiedbones - Sunday, May 29, 2011 - link



    I think this says it all

    '....but it's amazingly competent for an OS with its roots in smartphones'

    Still an overgrown smartphone with very limited capabilities.

    Still waiting for a tablet that doesn't break the bank, with good battery life that can run a real operating system at acceptable speeds.

    Until that day all tablets remain very limited media consumption devices with little more than toy value.

    Until that day, my wallet stays closed.
    Reply
  • ishbuggy - Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - link

    Exactly what I've been thinking. I need more than a device built for consumption. Reply
  • Skott - Sunday, May 29, 2011 - link

    I been wanting a tablet for a year now but so far haven't bothered. I don't want an Apple product. The iPad2 is nice but I'm so tired of Apple this and Apple that. I want something different. The Xoom was the first thing that had me tempted to buy but I have held off to see what else was out there. I'm glad now I did.

    The ASUS Transformer has me very tempted. The new enhancements makes it even more enticing. Debating to whether hold off more and see what the Summer/Fall brings. I'm hoping by late Fall there will be better Android tablets. The ASUS Transformer is very tempting though.
    Reply

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