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


View All Comments

  • Lasallian - Sunday, May 29, 2011 - link

    ProDigit: that's just the price gougers ... got none for $399 usd. Reply
  • joe_dude - Saturday, May 28, 2011 - link

    Anand, which device(s) are you bringing with you to Computex? What is your "go-to" device on a long-haul trip? Reply
  • Sagath - Saturday, May 28, 2011 - link

    I believe he has said its a SB based MacBook Pro 15" in other articles. Reply
  • jjj - Saturday, May 28, 2011 - link

    I wonder if we'll see a Kal-El netbook from Asus at Computex or just Tegra 2 and if it will run Android or Chrome OS. Reply
  • Rayb - Sunday, May 29, 2011 - link

    I believe that there are a few manufacturers that have sampled Tegra 3 since the end of february and in line to deliver new products this year with the new chip. Tegra 2 is already outdated since it took so long for manufacturers to adopt it, with Kal-El bringing 5x the performance I don't doubt we'll see it at Computex in different configurations. Reply
  • Blaster1618 - Sunday, May 29, 2011 - link

    I still confused why these things are rolling out with Android OS and not Chrome OS. It just doesn't make any marketing sense. At some point either Chrome OS is going to evaporate (which its such a big hit now I wouldn't be surprised) or the two are going to collide.

    The majority of the john and Joan Public don't even know that Chrome OS exists or/and are just confused because it has the same name as the browser.

    They should have called it "Chrome Extreme", "CS-winning" or "Co za asy".
  • dagamer34 - Sunday, May 29, 2011 - link

    Just like Android 1.0, I'd say the tablet version needs a few revisions before I'd bother recommending it to someone else. And the tearing in that scrolling performance is horrendous.

    Honestly, if Google just spent one major revision only improving performance of the current system (scrolling, graphical animations, fixing bugs, streamlining UI), i think that'd be perfect. It's the persistent problems that I just know Google engineers must be aware of that need to be fixed sooner rather than later.
  • bplewis24 - Sunday, May 29, 2011 - link

    You say they need a few revisions, but iOS has had a couple revisions and it still does the same type of thing... it just manifests itself differently (as Anand points out). So it's disingenuous to act like Google engineers are just incompetent or rushing the product. Reply
  • robinthakur - Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - link

    No iOS is generally smooth as. All google Android handsets and Tablets i've used have suffered from the weird scrolling since I started using them. This lack of smoothness is jarring coming from an iOS device and is the most prominent reason why I would never switch until it's fixed - It just feels like they don't care about detail or user experience as it stands or they are trying to cater to types that don't notice the difference. Reply
  • S4ndy - Sunday, May 29, 2011 - link

    You will be even more surprise if you have to send your tablet back to Asus for repair. I did. The second day the sound was gone on the brand new tablet. Called the customer service and they identified the problem with a faulty sound card. Brand new under warranty, but THEY REFUSED TO PAY FOR SHIPPING. I had to shell out $30 just to ship it to them when it is all their fault.

    I should have bought an Acer A500 instead. If you consider attaching a USB keyboard instead of the Asus dock, and the hidden cost of repair shipping, I'd save myself almost $200.

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