Adjusting to the ASUS tablet

After much debate as to the best tablet to get I finally settled on the ASUS transformer.

Why that one? Well, my first criteria was that I wanted a bigger ebook reader which eliminated all the 7″ tablets. In practice it seemed to leave the Motorola Xoom and the ASUS transformer. Ignoring the price difference (quite substantial) the Motorola has a non functional microSD slot which doesn’t strike me with confidence for the rest of it.

Anyway, the move to the ASUS went really smoothly. First up was a PDF reader which would normally be the Adobe one but it’s not really a runner if you’re reading more than the odd brochure so I’ve opted for Repligo ($5) which has all the facilities that the Adobe one should have had. In many ways, it’s the equivalent of the Sony reader software but for Android ie you can do the essentials like jumping to a page number and enlarge the font which are features generally absent from PDF readers on tablets.

Also essential is the Screen Filter (free) application which turns down the brightness to a more appropriate level. You might think that you’d want something that sets the screen brightness directly but leaving it on automatic with the filter means that it adjusts automatically for changing light conditions but with a dimmer backlight than the standard setting gives you. Not only does this bump up the battery life somewhat but it saves on eyestrain.

The ASUS comes with Polaris office which, in theory, is handy if you feel the urge to run up a document with the onscreen keyboard but would probably be a lot more useful with the optional keyboard attachment. It includes word processing, spreadsheet and presentation packages, all of which seem fairly basic.

Sketchbook Express (free) combined with a capacitative pen (£5 from Maplin) is proving to be very handy in running up illustrations for the assignments. Whilst the capacitative screen is very nice when doing the finger swiping, it would be a lot more convenient to be able to use a normal stylus and certainly more accurate when drawing.

Playing videos isn’t as easy as it should be as the supplied player doesn’t currently support a whole lot. Adding Moboplayer (free) sorted out the majority of those with the rather flaky VPlayer (free) adding the final piece. Moai FLV (free) handles FLV files. Incidently, although the BBC iPlayer won’t run, you can just go to the iPlayer site and play the videos from there.

Overall, it’s a very nice tablet that does all that I was wanting it to do plus a lot more besides.

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