Posts Tagged ‘Android’
Can we get a show of hands as to who’s interested in the upcoming budget-friendly ASUS MeMO Pad? Great. This post is for you
Asus has launched a new Android tablet: the 7-inch MeMo Pad. The Asus MeMo Pad was unveiled back in January, but until now we weren’t sure whether it would ever become available in SA. Thankfully, we’ve now learnt that both WiFi and 3G 7-inch versions of the MeMo Pad will be available to buy in South Africa from the end of March 2013 and we’ve given you some info on the WiFi version that we got to play with.
Despite being the manufacturer behind the remarkably successful Google Nexus 7, Asus has decided to go it alone with a new 7-inch tablet. The Asus MeMo Pad predictably runs Google’s Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS but rather than give the likes of the Apple iPad Mini or the Kindle Fire HD a run for its money, Asus has decided to go down the budget route.
Asus made it clear that the ME172V will not be a gaming or graphics powerhouse, stating “Our focus for this device is on delivering excellent performance per watt and a smooth and fluid user experience at an extremely affordable price, NOT on winning benchmarks.”
Naturally, ASUS is quick to point out how the MeMo Pad’s relatively small chassis “fits perfect in your palm,” as well as showing off how effortless it is to stay in the social loop with video calling capabilities.
The tablet is listed at R2,199.99 Incl VAT and, as you would expect, the on-board specs won’t have the other 7-inch models running for the hills just yet. There’s MicroSD storage (expandable by up to 32GB), but Asus has also thrown in 5GB of Life Time Webstorage Space - along with a barrage of pre-installed apps. The likes of Asus Studio photo editing, SuperNote Lite and BudyBuzz may note be the elite of Android tablets, but confirms this tablet’s place as a second or third string device.
The 7-inch screen has a 1,024 x 600 pixel resolution with 10-finger mult-touch and a 140-degree viewing angle. That’s an angle not up to IPS standards, so expect a less capable panel. Maxing out at about 350 candelas per square meters, the ME172V’s brightness does however get fairly high.
A few more details
The tablet includes a 1-megapixel camera on the front with a f/2.0 aperture and is capable of 720p HD video capture at 30fps. Other features include 1GB of RAM, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, a headphone jack, microphone, a Micro-USB port, and a gyroscope. Asus puts battery life at 7 hours, and at 358 grams, the tablet should feel pretty light in your hands.
There will be no shortage of budget tablets in 2013 and it’s nice to see that one of the most capable Android tablet manufacturers won’t be left in the cold. At R2,199.99 Incl VAT for the WiFi model and R3,090.99 Incl VAT for the 3G model, the ME172V makes for a compelling alternative to the Nexus 7 as long as resolution and gaming aren’t high on your priority list. The MeMo Pad comes in a choice of white, grey or pink but for the time being, South Africa will only be getting the grey model.
The conclusion? It’s still pretty meh. But you know, it’s meant to be a budget device, and will compete wonderfully against poorer Chinese “No name” proposals.
The Google Nexus 7 tablet, made by Asus, sports a 7-inch screen and a bargain price tag that looks set to worry the Amazon Kindle Fire. It is also the world’s first 7-inch quadcore tablet to run on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Unveiled at the Google I/O developer conference, the search engine giants worked with Asus to build a device that packs premium specs, but a not so premium price tag. When you take the Nexus 7 out of the box, it looks and feels like a tablet you would not be ashamed to take out in public. The black bezel display seems to be the standard for Android tablets these days, but Asus has given its surroundings a more aesthetically pleasing feel particularly the textured dimple-like back that sits snug in two hands making it ideal for prolonged use.
Weighing in at 340g, the Nexus 7 is lighter than the Amazon Kindle Fire (413g) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 (345g). At 10.5mm thick it’s not the most slender, but this is barely noticeable in the grand scheme of the overall design of the Nexus 7.
If you’re expecting a new iPad 3-style Retina display quality in the screen department, then you’re going to be mildly disappointed. While the 1280 x 800 HD display with 216 ppi might not put it in the same category as the new iPad 3-style Retina display, in terms of clarity and vibrancy, it easily surpasses the 1024 x 600 resolutions sported by its closest 7-inch tablet rivals and proves excellent for watching movies and browsing.
The Nexus 7 sticks to a 1.2- Megapixel front-facing camera which offers decent enough clarity and quality for video calling over Skype or Google+ Hangouts.
If you’re hoping to browse the web or check emails on the Nexus 7 on the way to work, the Nexus 7 is Wi-Fi only which is immediately is going to put some off from buying one, but in a day and age where you can use your smartphone as Wi-Fi hotspot, there’s always a way around this.
The Nexus 7 is the first Android device to run on Jelly Bean, the latest version of Google’s mobile OS. The very fact this is named Android 4.1 suggests the changes are more evolutionary than revolutionary, but the additions do make for a far more sophisticated user experience. Some of the nicest new features include the improved voice search and commands which is essentially a rival for Apple’s Siri.
Then, and probably most importantly, performance. The Nexus 7 has serious power under the hood and unlike its 7-inch competitors, it packs a Tegra 3 quadcore processor that, combined with Android 4.1’s Project Butter, makes for slick navigation, an improved touch response particularly with the smarter virtual keyboard and has enough power to tackle multitasking and deliver smooth streaming video.
It’s when we get to content where we encounter the real issue with the Nexus 7. Google Play is essentially your number one source for apps, movies and books and the number of Google Play widgets on the homescreen makes this apparent almost immediately. Google announced that it would add magazine content and the ability to now purchase movies but only for US customers.
That means that South African Nexus 7 owners miss out and add in the fact that Google Music has yet to launch as well, and for a device that relies so heavily on buying content from its own store, this is clearly something that needs to be improved. This is further compounded by the fact that a tablet which is made for media consumption does not boast SD card, HDMI or USB support for either 16GB or 32GB models. That means you are going to have to rely heavily on the cloud if you are planning to pack your Nexus 7 with movies, videos, and music.
Asus claims you should get around 9 hours of tablet time which is about the same as what you can expect from the new iPad. Thankfully, the fifth battery-saving core takes care of everyday tasks like emails, updating Twitter and Facebook feeds and watching videos to help preserve battery life, which means it will comfortably get you through the day.
Putting pricing aside for one moment and the Google Nexus 7 is truly a fantastic tablet that might not be considered an iPad rival in terms of the content available and the Apple tablet’s more work-friendly credentials, but Google and Asus have thought carefully about how to make the 7-inch tablet experience the best one possible. This is evident from even the smallest things like tweaks in the Google Chrome browser to making it ideal for reading e-books. It’s not perfect just like other tablets on the market, but it’s the significantly lower cost compared to the iPad plus the power and capabilities on offer that make it perfect for someone who wants to buy a tablet but can’t justify paying over R5,000.00 for one. It’s a 7-inch haven for watching movies, browsing the web and playing games, and could be the first Android device to truly challenge Apple in terms of sales.
I suppose it’s not a little ironic that what is easily the best Android tablet yet does not look a little bit like an iPad, but a lot like an iPad, and is being sued for trademark infringement – though not by Apple. If you want to be generous, you could say that Asus’s Transformer Prime stands on the shoulders of giants. With spiked cleats.
Why It Matters
In a word: speed. This tablet has not a dual, not a triple, but a quad-core 1.3Ghz processor, plus an integrated GPU. It is the first device to run Nvidia’s Tegra 3 processor—the first quad-core Android tablet—and it simply blows the doors off of everything else. In terms of speed, anyway. Just imagine when it’s not hobbled by the crippling inefficiencies of Honeycomb. Of course, it won’t be the only quad-core tablet by this time next week.
At just 8.3mm, it’s thinner than the iPad 2 (8.8mm) and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 (8.6mm). There’s no cheap plastic on this thing. The back is a solid panel of brushed aluminum—the texture feels slightly off though, to some of us. The result is a very low-profile device that feels incredibly strong (unlike the Galaxy Tabs). It’s not quite as comfortable to hold as Motorola’s rubberized Xyboard tablets, but the lightness makes up for it.
Right now, the Prime is running Honeycomb (Android 3.2.1). All Honeycomb tablets have had problems with consistency. They’re fast one minute, and then slow as hell the next. Not with the Prime. Even when I had ten programs running simultaneously (most of which were HD games) there was virtually no stutter or lag on the homescreen or anywhere else. Nvidia delivered a package of sample HD games that use all four cores and the GPU, and they are absolutely gorgeous. Asus has done some light, (mostly) inoffensive tweaking to the stock Android experience. It adds some extra controls, which are nice, and some software which ranges from useful (Polaris Office) to useless (@vibe Music, a Pandora clone). When it get its Ice Cream Sandwich update, you’ll be able to remove anything you don’t want, and considering we’ve already seen ICS running on the Prime, that should be very soon.
NOTE: The reason it’s called a Transformer is because it has a spiffy keyboard dock that basically transforms it into a laptop. It has a full keyboard, touchpad, USB and SD card ports, and it adds an extra 50-60% to the battery life, theoretically bringing it up to 15 or 16 hours.
The Transformer Prime shows how Android tablets could and should be built. And this tablet actually lives up to the hype as far as speed and performance goes. It’s easily the fastest Android tablet out there, and may well be faster than the iPad 2—though Android has a knack for feelingslower, because of the way, for instance, that it animates transitions. The Super IPS+ screen is incredibly bright, and I had no problem seeing the screen in sunlight. Colors were nice and vivid, too. Battery life is terrific. With fairly conservative use and Wi-Fi only on half of the time, I got ten hours of use. When I pushed it way harder, I still got close to eight.
The big ding is that it’s still running Honeycomb. While the Tegra 3 over-powers Honeycomb’s speed problems with obscene processing power, it’s still not a very intuitive UI.
The most glaring design flaw is the speaker. Yes, speaker. Singular. If you hold the tablet in landscape (as you will for most games and for all movies) the speaker is on the far right side of the tablet, under your hand. Because the tablet is so thin your hand doesn’t really block the speaker, but you can absolutely tell that it’s only coming out of one side.
Asus has provided their own sliding keyboard (similar to Swype) which is awful. Not only does swiping not make much sense on a giant screen, but the predictions were very bad indeed (fortunately you can easily switch out the keyboard, because it’s Android.). No 3G/4G radio on board (just Wi-Fi), which may be a deal-breaker for some.
Should I Buy It?
Yes. If you know you don’t want an iPad 3. That is, if you know you want an Android tablet. This is the one to buy. It’s the best constructed, fastest Android tablet out there. The only people who should hesitate are those who don’t want to be confined to Wi-Fi. That said, this is my new favorite tablet. Maybe it’ll be yours too
Article courtesy of Brent Rose - http://gizmodo.com/
The Asus Transformer Prime (TF201) is now available from WebAntics Online in a 32GB (R5,999.00 incl VAT) and a 64GB version (R6,999.00 incl VAT). The optional Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime Keyboard/Mobile Docking Station is also available at R1,699.99 incl VAT.
Asus South Africa has made its Eee Pad Transformer official. Never heard of the device? To quickly describe it, it’s part tablet, part netbook. Looks like Asus couldn’t decide whether it wanted to make a tablet or a netbook, so it made both. The Eee Pad Transformer is a tablet which docks itself to an optional hinged keyboard and offers a long, long battery life of 16 hours
The Eee Pad Transformer’s biggest thing is that you can use it as a standard, Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) tablet. Surf the Web, fiddle about with apps, that kind of thing. But Asus decided that wasn’t good enough. So in addition to being a fully featured, as-you-like, tablet you can also use it as a netbook.
By setting the tablet in a small dock, you can then use the attached keyboard to use the device more like you’d use a netbook. Perhaps you find it’s easier to type when at as desk using a normal keyboard? The point is, it does both. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m pumped to finally get a chance to blog about the Dell Streak tablet device. The 5-inch tablet launched first to customers in the United Kingdom in early June 2010 but South African consumers will now be able to purchase it.
We’ve been selling Dell for 6 years, and I don’t think there’s ever been more buzz around a single product than this. Hardware and design-wise, this thing impresses. Add the ever-increasing capability that Android brings to the equation, and you’ve got a mobile device that offers a ton of flexibility while looking cool in the process. The Dell Streak brings together a great web browsing experience, multi-tasking capability, slick turn by turn navigation and a great way to enjoy your photos, movies and music into a sleek device that’s built for mobility.