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All posts tagged "asus"

Monday, July 23, 2012

Notes from an iOS User: My Week with a Google Nexus 7

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Android Slates/Tablets & Accessories" @ 01:30 PM

"My first Android experience has been very, very positive, thanks to Google's Nexus 7 and Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). I received my tablet a week ago, and also received a $25 Google Play credit as an early purchaser. My initial thoughts were that I'd use the tablet primarily as a reader - but it's much more than a Kindle (Fire) replacement."

As a longtime iOS device user, and like most modern device users, I have my biases, and have kept them firmly in mind when using an Android device for the first time. But, maintaining objectivity has been easy with this tablet. I'm guessing that skipping the earlier Android releases have saved me from some amount of frustration, just as skipping earlier iOS versions would have in the iDevice world. The bottom line is that so far I'm not finding much missing from Android.

I have several "must haves," including Banking, Browsing, Calendaring, Contacts, Dropbox, Email, Facebook, Foursquare, Kindle reader, LinkedIn, MS Office-type apps, PDF reader, Search, Skype, Text editing, and Travel apps. All present, and arguably equal to the iOS versions. Not as many app choices from Google Play, but all I need is one of each.

Things that I like so far, in no particular order: Android 4.1.1 - already one patch automatically downloaded to Jelly Bean; Battery life is very good; Customization is as simple as the iPad - the home screen is easy to configure; the display is very, very good - not quite up to the new iPad, but excellent for much less money; Sound quality is good; Security is good - face recognition login authentication can be configured to require a blink, making security stronger; Performance is excellent - I haven't noticed anything crapping out or any lags in performance, at the app or UI level; Shutting down running apps is a breeze, much simpler than iOS; Removing apps is easy; Reading is a breeze on this form factor - no more carpal tunnel holding and reading an iPad. Comfortable to hold and use. Many pros to this device!

Things that are less than stellar (and I admit freely that maybe I just don't know enough about Android yet): Apps on the home screen cannot be ordered or arranged for a whole screen - must be dragged and bumped individually; Setup options are not as rich as iOS; iCloud mail is handled a bit better in iOS, as one would expect; Google Play Store doesn't seem to have an easy way of selecting "tablet-only apps," aside from Staff Picks for Tablets. A pretty short list of cons.

Overall, a very positive experience so far, and, while I'm not dumping my iPad, my Nexus 7 is already getting more use than my earlier small tablets, a Nook tablet and a Kindle Fire, both of which were too restrictive for me, and were sold pretty quickly. For the money (I got the 16GB model), this is a superb tablet, and the Android experience is a pleasure. I like the fact that it is not "carrier specific," so it has none of the bloatware associated with subsidized devices. The Nexus 7 is a keeper!

Friday, July 6, 2012

The ASUS Google Nexus 7: A Performance Beast

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 09:00 AM

"Note to all tablet makers not named Asus: This is how you make a 7-inch tablet.

The Nexus 7, the first tablet to wear Google's Nexus brand, sets a new standard for smaller slates, proving that just because it isn't as big as Apple's iPad doesn't mean it can't be just as useful, as fast, or as fun. If you've been on the fence about Android, or tablets in general, this is the tablet you've been waiting for."

Most of the initial hands-on reviews for the wifi-only Nexus 7 are positive, and this one is no exception. The biggest complaint so far has been the lack of tablet applications for Android, so, for example, the user can be "stuck" with up-sized phone apps for popular apps like Facebook and Twitter. The near-IPS quality 1280x800 screen, at about 216ppi, is superb, and the quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 coupled with 1GB of RAM and either 8GB or 16GB of storage, is, as the author puts it, a beast. The first Android 4.1 Jelly Bean tablet screams, with none of the earlier OS hiccups, and the price is right, at $199 for 8GB, and $249 for 16GB. Out of the box, the tablet is obviously Google-centric, but can be tweaked, and the full Google Play store is available. Early purchasers (I was one) receive a $25 credit for the store, so I'll be able to add my obligatory "MS Office" equivalent. Shipping is scheduled for mid-July 2012 (I hope) so check back here as we review more real world experiences with the Google Nexus 7 from ASUS.

Monday, June 4, 2012

ASUS Taichi: Windows 8 Ultrabook -and- Tablet

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Asus Laptops & Netbooks" @ 11:30 PM

"Every once in a while a product comes along which gracefully solves a social problem through technical innovation. Often, you want to show a piece of content — a presentation, a website or maybe even a video — to just one or two people, but you don’t want them starting over your shoulder to look at your laptop screen and you don’t want them to see the IM that popped up from your wife while you were shooting through that PowerPoint deck."

Interesting concept that ASUS is previewing, a Windows 8 Ultrabook that is also a Windows 8 touchscreen tablet. Two screens, each with 1920x1080 resolution. The Ultrabooks will be offered in two sizes: 11.6-inches and 13-inches, both with aluminum chassis. The screens can be mirrored, or run separately, and the "inside" screen apparently has a small window showing what the exterior screen shows. So you can be showing someone a PowerPoint presentation or a video on the outside, while checking email on the inside.

Very little else is known today, other than thin and solid appearance, Intel Ivy Bridge Core processors, and SSD, as journalists were allowed to look but not touch. Looks like "the best of both worlds" may be an option combining keyboard and touch on two screens in an Ultrabook. Metro on the outside touch screen, and desktop on the inside? I haven't been able to garner much enthusiasm for Windows 8 on a "regular" laptop, but this form factor may be a game changer.

A closer look (from

Friday, June 1, 2012

ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A: Better and Better

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Asus Laptops & Netbooks" @ 08:00 PM

"ASUS's original Ultrabook was the first ultraportable laptop to give the MacBook Air a run for its money, but it ultimately fell short. The new ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A (starting at $1,099, $1,499 as configured) is a sequel to truly get excited about."

A quick model upgrade brings the Zenbook Prime UX31A to market, replacing the UX31, fixing many (but not quite all) of the reported faults with generation one. Let's start with things improved: an available matte 1080p (1920x1080, and bright, at 423 lux) screen; newest third generation Intel Core processors; improved and backlit, less-mushy keyboard; faster boot and "awaken" times; better battery life (6:28 hh:mm); and better graphics. One item to note, however, is that this high resolution can make for some pretty small text on its 13-inch screen.

Areas where there was not much change: design; touchpad slighty better with some configuration tweaking, but still somewhat inconsistent behavior; B&O audio still good; ports; webcam very average despite being 720p; and a somewhat slow SSD. Need more ports and less cost? Check out the UX32A, coming soon, and starting at $799.

At prices starting from $1099 with a Core i5 processor an 128GB SSD, to $1499 with a Core i7 processor and a 256GB SSD, the UX31A gets you MacBook Air looks and battery life, better (vs. Bootcamp) performance, an arguably better screen at 1080p, better sound, and costs $100 less, in the high-end configuration. Your move Apple!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

ASUS Zenbook Prime UX21A: A Stunning Ultrabook

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Asus Laptops & Netbooks" @ 11:00 PM

"It was only a matter of time before ASUS refreshed its line of Ultrabooks with Intel's new Ivy Bridge chips, but the truth is, the company needed to improve a little more than just the CPU model number. If you recall, the Zenbook UX31 ushered in a modern metal design and unbeatable speed, but our enthusiasm waned after spending a week with the flat keyboard and temperamental touchpad."

The frustrating keyboard and the maddening trackpad are gone, thankfully. With new Intel Ivy Bridge processors, improved backlit keyboards, excellent sound featuring Bang & Olufsen speakers, improved graphics, and 1080p (1920x1080) IPS displays, new Zenbook Primes should be arriving soon on our shores. With a fast SSD, a test unit booted Windows in 18 seconds, and resumed from sleep in less than two seconds.

Details on processor options are not yet available, but performance on a test system was very, very good, far better than most other Ultrabooks tested, only trailing ASUS' UX31 in PCMark Vantage, and leading the pack in the 3DMark06 benchmark. The UX21A beat a 2011 MacBook Air in both tests.

The 2.4-pound, 11.6-inch UX21 has a smallish 35Wh (4800 mAh) battery, so battery life is shorter than its competitors, topping out during testing at four hours 19 minutes. ASUS claims an additional hour in more normal usage, and an additional two hours using power-saving mode. ASUS also claims that the system will last two weeks in standby with one charge cycle.

It looks like ASUS really does listen to customer feedback!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

ASUS Transformer Prime: Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) Improvements

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 11:30 PM

"I've been hanging on to the Asus Transformer Prime for the last month for a reason.

Even though the tablet launched a few weeks ago, the real news was that Asus was going to push out a major update to the new version of Google's Android called Ice Cream Sandwich."

Looks like a very good Android tablet has gotten better with Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) - better performance, better multitasking, and the hardware just feels faster. In fact, the author states that swiping between screens is now faster than on the iPad2. Improved browser performance is another advantage, and there is now a control panel "for controlling stuff." Unfortunately, quality tablet apps are still lacking, according to the author, and there appear to be bugs in the ICS update process, and with the tablet's GPS. Despite these improvements, again according to the author, the iPad2 still is ahead in the overall user experience, but this is the best Android tablet to date.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

ASUS Announces New High-End Tablets

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 11:30 AM

"Flustered with the original Transformer Prime you just purchased? We'd advise you to have a seat. ASUS just took the wraps off an all new Transformer Prime (the TF700T) here at CES, which is presumably designed to rival Acer's newly-announced Iconia Tab A700."

There are tons of new devices being announced at CES right now! How about a new ASUS Transformer Prime TF700T. It's a 10.1" quad-core tablet but with a 1.3GHz Tegra 3 CPU/GPU and a 1920x1200 Super IPS+ display!!! It also just weighs over a pound and will come with Ice Cream Sandwich! It will be compatible with the current tPrime keyboard/battery dock and is due to hit North America next quarter.

If you've been eyeing up the Kindle Fire you may want to consider the ASUS Eee Pad MeMO (ME171). It has a 7" 1280x800 IPS display and a 1.2GHz Qualcomm CPU/GPU along with 1GB of RAM and 16 or 32GB of built in storage. The Eee Pad MeMO will also ship with Ice Cream Sandwich.

Make sure you check the article for all the details on both of these tablets. Does either of these look like what you've been waiting for?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

ASUS Announces Bootloader Unlocking Tool and ICS for Transformer Prime

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 02:00 PM

"ASUS has announced that due to the response they’ve had on the subject, they’ll be releasing a bootloader unlock tool for the device as well! Developers and hackers alike will be able to work with their NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core toting Transformer Prime on an intimate level, and will be able to do it with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich as well, starting on January 12th, 2012!"

In case you missed it there was a public outcry due to the locked bootloader on the Transformer Prime over the weekend. Because of that ASUS said it will release a bootloader unlocking tool on January 12 and also start pushing out Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) to the Transformer Prime at the same time!!! This should make everyone happy! I'm impressed that they'll have ICS ready for the Transformer Prime so soon. Hopefully this will push other manufactures to get on the ball and release ICS for their devices sooner rather than later.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ultrabook Battle: Acer Aspire S3 vs. ASUS UX31E

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 12:00 PM

"When Intel initially put out the idea of the ultrabook as a new type of laptop, I admit harboring plenty of skepticism—isn’t the ultrabook just a gussied up rebranding of an ultraportable? Unfortunately, being a skeptic/cynic has served me well over the years, and so now here I sit in front of two ultrabooks trying to determine a couple of things: which ultrabook is the “best” right now, and are any of them actually worth buying."

A well-done review, that hints that buying a first-generation ultrabook means that some compromises are necessary. For example, both the S3 and the UX31E have decidedly mediocre LCDs, with the ASUS system being brighter, and with better contrast. The SSDs differ greatly in performance. Both have keyboards that are okay, but are not backlit. Performance is best with the ASUS, and it also has better battery life (but also a larger battery). The bottom line is that both of these system are trying to unseat the MacBook Air from the top of the heap, and while neither one really succeeds, the ASUS UX31E comes close. Samsung's S9 also is getting some good reviews, so if it has to be Windows, you'll probably want to look at (and try in-person) all three of these ultrabooks.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Transforming into a Better Tablet

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 05:00 PM

"It’s thinner, smaller and lighter then its predecessor and its made out of superior materials. The aluminum body has an improved look and feel and the higher integrity of the materials has allowed for an even more sturdy hinge for the keyboard docking station."

The ASUS Transformer got attention for being a tablet with a dockable keyboard. It apparently was an enough of a success to have a sequel which puts the Transformer Prime on par with more recent if not cutting edge hardware. Part tablet, part laptop, I do think that this is largely where mobile computing is headed, and what could ultimately put an end to netbooks, if it were not for the cost. An 18 hour battery life is most impressive, and likely will not be seen by laptops for a very long time. If only productivity apps were more caught up with their "desktop" counterparts it would be a real killer.

Monday, October 31, 2011

New ASUS Tablets (Android and Windows 8) Coming in 2012

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Asus Eee PC Transformer" @ 05:30 PM

"The Transformer Prime, with its quad-core silicon and tasty OS, has rightfully garnered much attention lately. A PowerPoint deck detailing ASUS' Q3 earnings now gives us a peek at its Eee Pad strategy -- confirming the aforementioned Prime's November 9th release date, while also promising two more bot-powered slates in the first quarter of 2012."

Looking at the accompanying information from ASUS, translated into English (somewhere), and then extracted from a German-language site, the news is about an ASUS Transformer Prime, followed by an ASUS PadFone and a variant on the Eee Pad Slider. Two (2) Windows 8 tablets (Eee Slate E121 and the Eee Slate Business B121) are scheduled to be available in the autumn of 2012, giving ASUS two tablet technologies (consumer *and* business) in the marketplace.

The Transformer Prime looks to have NVIDIA's new Tegra 3 quad-core processor, a 10-inch display, 14.5-hour battery run time, and should run Android's newest OS. The current Transformer is a very solid tablet, and these updates should be welcomed by its fans.

ASUS estimates that it will sell roughly 1.8-million tablets in 2011, with an additional estimate of 600K still to be sold/delivered in Q4 2011 in addition to the 1.2-million sold to date. While the news is (and dates are) a bit contradictory in translation, we can expect some new competitors to the iPad from ASUS.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

ASUS Zenbook UX31: Better Than the MacBook Air? No.

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Asus Laptops & Netbooks" @ 06:30 PM

"Windows users don't need to hide in shame whenever they see someone whip out a MacBook Air at the local Starbucks. The ASUS Zenbook UX31 is a slim, stylish Ultrabook that not only packs a robust Core i5 processor and 128GB SSD into its 3-pound unibody aluminum chassis, but a high-res 1600 x 900 display and excellent audio."

Finally, an ultrabook that challenges the MacBook Air (MBA). Higher (1600x900) resolution, but not quite as good with viewing angles. Keyboard is flat, effective, but required harder touches to get keys to register. The large touchpad needs work. Cooling is excellent. Better audio, but the bass vibrates the deck of the UX31. Boot and wake slower than the MBA, but better than other Windows systems. More ports, but some compromises. Processor robust, but topped in the reported benchmarks by the MBA. Graphics performance slightly less than reported by the MBA. Battery life good, but, again, not as good as the MBA. But, starting at $200 less than the MBA, and with a larger screen, my impression is that the hardware is excellent, but that the software (mostly drivers) still needs some work. The MacBook Air still leads, but the competition is narrowing the gap. If I need a Windows laptop, this one definitely goes on my short list.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Asus ZENBOOK UX21 and UX31 Ultrabook Pricing and Release Date Confirmed

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Asus Laptops & Netbooks" @ 02:05 PM

Now dubbed the "ZENBOOK", the much-anticipated UX21 and UX31 ultrabooks are coming very soon - as in, available for order tomorrow. Woot! I'm really excited about this personally, because I've been looking for a new laptop for quite a long time now. The UX31 looks like it's exactly what I'm looking for, though I'm reluctant to drop $1500 on one until I read a review or two. Asus has a good track record with recent laptops, so I'm cautiously optimistic this will be a solid product. What about you? Are you getting an ultrabook?

Full press release after the break.

Friday, September 23, 2011

ASUS Eee Pad Slider Review

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 05:30 PM

"While most Android tablets make due with a touch keyboard, for many typists a set of virtual keys just doesn't cut it. It's for these users that ASUS has designed the Eee Pad Slider SL101, the first 10-inch Android tablet with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The $479 Eee Pad Slider also features a bright IPS screen, a full-size USB port (for attaching a storage drive or mouse), and a sleek soft-touch chassis. But do these goodies justify the 2.1-pound weight? And just how good is the typing experience?"

For those that prefer physical keyboards, ASUS has heard you! The Eee Pad Slider is larger and heavier than both the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer (without the keyboard), but add a keyboard and the Slider is lighter. The wide bezel around the glossy IPS screen allows for a larger (but still smaller than a netbook) keyboard, and includes dedicated numeric keys. It is also possible to attach a mouse to better approximate a laptop. One point to note is that there is no palmrest, so support for the wrists is lacking, and no built-in pointing device.

If you do a lot of text entry, this is a good tablet choice, but if not, there are better (lighter, and less expensive) options.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

ASUS Eee Pad Slider SL101 Hands-on Video Review

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Asus Eee PC Transformer" @ 08:36 PM

This is the first video I've seen of the shipping version of the Asus Eee Pad Slider - if you're looking for an Android tablet that has a keyboard but don't want the added weight or cost of the detachable keyboard a la Transformer, this is worth considering. Although checking the prices, I see that the Transformer with the dock is only $20 more than the Slider. Hmm. Given the huge benefit to battery life that the Transformer offers with the keyboard dock, I'm not sure why I'd go for the

Friday, September 16, 2011

Asus UX31 Ultrabook: This Could Be My Next Laptop

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Asus Laptops & Netbooks" @ 10:00 AM

"We've heard the stories, but we've yet to appreciate it in the flesh until now. That's right, Pocket-lint was present and correct at the first UK showing of the Asus UX31, the company's new Ultrabook. Shown at an Intel Tweet Up in London to an unsuspecting audience, the new flagship Asus device and MacBook Air destroyer, according to some, settled in for a quiet 20 minutes with Pocket-lint."

I'm smitten...this may very well be my next laptop. The design is fantastic, the specs are right in line with what I'm looking for (256 MB SSD, Core i7 CPU) and, best of all, the 13.3" screen will come with a 1600 x 900 option. FINALLY someone doing something other than 1366 x 768! Assuming the price point is around $1500 (give or take) and the reviews are good, this is the laptop I'll be buying this fall. More photos here as well.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Still Waiting for the ASUS Eee PC X101

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 01:30 PM

"ASUS has gone and made its super svelte Eee PC X101 official with a dedicated product page live on its site. We'd already gotten our hands-on with the crimson-colored ultraportable, but now there's a whole list of specs to flesh out this 920g wonder."

The specifications for the X101 do not look that impressive. In fact, it looks a lot like many of the netbooks of years gone by. Probably the biggest part of interest is the $199 price tag, which is finally starting to get the price of the netbook down to where it was originally supposed to be. I do not see the X101 saving the netbook industry, however. Netbooks will still play a wonderful role in our mobile computing, but tablets are the hot item, and what everyone is talking about. You will definitely not impress anyone at Starbucks with one of these.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The ASUS K53SV-B1: Gaming for a Grand

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Asus Laptops & Netbooks" @ 09:00 PM

"The ASUS K53SV-B1 is a handsome machine well suited for mainstream users. It offers plenty of power for day-to-day use, and when put to the test with video and games, its Intel Core i7 and Nvidia GT 540M graphics processor ensure that this system can handle itself. But at $969, is the K53SV a stud or a dud?"

At 6-pounds, with a crazy name, but with prices starting at $799 with an i5 processor, 6GB of memory, a 640GB drive, and a robust NVIDIA graphics card, this appears to be a great multimedia and gaming system. An extra $170 kicks up the processor to an i7, but the rest of the configuration is the same. The system is cool running, with a very good keyboard and touchpad, very good 1366x768 display, pretty good Altec Lansing speakers, a full complement of ports (but no USB 3.0), a webcam that was somewhat grainy, great graphics, a battery lasting about 4-hours (a bit below the average for this laptop class), but with relatively weak wifi performance. Another huge plus is ASUS' 2-year warranty, with 1-year of accidental damage protection. Not the lightest laptop in its class, but if you're looking for a multimedia / gaming laptop, this may be well worth a look.

Android Tablets Face Off against the Asus Transformer

Posted by John London in "Laptop Thoughts Articles & Resources" @ 02:30 PM

"Two of the latest low-cost Honeycomb tablets to hit the shelves are the Acer Iconia Tab A500 and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. The only trouble is, it's almost impossible to tell the two apart (beyond the $50 price difference). At first glance they are pretty similar. Both have a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 capacitive touchscreen, run NVIDIA's 1GHz dual-core Tegra 2 processor and 1GB of RAM. Each has 16GB or 32GB of internal storage along with a microSD card slot that can handle an additional 32GB. Connectivity includes WiFi b/g/n on both (the A500 adds in 802.11a support) and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, together with a mini-HDMI port for outputting up to 1080p HD video. 3G versions of each tablet will follow later in the year."

The improvements keep coming in the tablet market. The Asus Transformer looks very impressive. Both the tablets have about the same specifications. The Asus has the biggest glaring standout about 16 hours of battery life with its docking station. To me that is just amazing, as the Asus tablet will last for a business day and still have battery life to spare. The question that comes to mind are both the tablets better than an Apple iPad. From the hardware, I would say yes. When it comes to the software, Android market is just starting for the tablets. Keep in mind this is new technology and it is not cheap. However, if you are looking for that extra battery life (Asus), ports, portability (1.5lbs), and Android O/S these tablets might fit the bill. One other thing is the new laptop are cheaper than these tablets. It is something to keep in mind.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

ASUS' Padfone Brings A Cool Summery Treat Just In Time For the Holidays

Posted by Karey Westfall in "Android Slates/Tablets & Accessories" @ 10:30 AM

"We just got to spend some quality time with ASUS' newly unveiled Padfone and you can see the smartphone that doubles up as a tablet on video after the break."

Is it too early to start thinking about the holidays again? ASUS doesn't think so! They are working on the Padfone, a smartphone/tablet combo, and hope it will be released later this year. It isn't official, but they have hinted that it may ship with Ice Cream Sandwich. If we find out more details we will let you know!

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