Real World Reviews: The ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity

One thing I’d like to feature going forward with My Brain On Android is what I’m calling “Real World Reviews”.  If you want to see every little tech spec and performance benchmark you can check out any one of the many professional Android or Tech blogs out there and I’m pretty sure they do a much better job of it than I can do.  If you’re reading this blog my guess is that you value my opinion and so I think that is all I’m probably qualified to offer.  These real world reviews will be much shorter and straight to the point, what’s good, what’s not as good, and what the companies can do now to improve on the released device.  So without further ado let’s get to the first of what I hope to be many Real World Reviews!

The Good

  • The Infinity has the best design of any tablet out right now!  The aluminum body gives it a look of sophistication while also giving it a very premium feeling.  The body doesn’t have any flex to it and it is probably only second to the Nexus 7 in how good it feels in your hand.
  • Despite the premium materials ASUS managed to keep the Infinity light and thin enough for more comfortable one handed use than I’ve experienced with other 10” tablets.
  • The signature Transformer Keyboard Dock is just as awesome as ever, the newer model seems to have more key travel than previous models.  It is also slimmer and lighter.
  • The keyboard dock feels a lot more stable and solid than the original transformer.
  • The new 1920×1200 display is gorgeous! It is second only to the 3rd generation iPad in raw amount of pixels. Combine this with the Super IPS+ for outdoor viewing and you have what I consider to be the best and most versatile display available on a tablet right now.
  • Battery life is great!  I was originally worried that the higher performance necessary to push the higher number of pixels on the display would result in lower battery life but battery has been just about on par with the Transformer Prime.
  • Standby is great, I’ve left the tablet sitting for a week or so in standby and still had plenty of juice left to use it when I needed to.
  • The plastic strip on the rear means Wi-Fi and GPS signals come through without a hiccup!
  • The moved audio jack is much less awkward when using the keyboard dock.
  • Micro-HDMI is a great improvement over the Mini-HDMI found in the original Transformer.

The Not So Good

  • Despite higher processing power from the Tegra 3 T33 chip clocked in at 1.6GHz (1.7GHz in single core mode) and Tri-Channel RAM it doesn’t feel as fast as the Nexus 7 which is more than likely a software issue.
  • There are still software hiccups and instances of perceptible lag when launching applications.  Once applications are loaded up they are extremely smooth but initial reaction to launching apps seems slightly delayed.
  • When using the Super IPS+ mode at full brightness some darker colors can become a little washed out but that is a trade-off for the 600 nits of brightness.
  • Some 3D games do not render properly as they have not yet been updated by the developer for the higher res display.
  • The $150 price point for the dock will still be hard for some to stomach.
  • The $500 asking price for the Infinity may be difficult to justify for some with the release of the $200 Nexus 7.  The two are very different devices with the Nexus 7 targeted more at media consumption and the Infinity for productivity.

What Can ASUS Do Now?

  • The biggest thing with the Infinity is how fast can ASUS push out an update to Android 4.1 Jellybean?  The device launched with Ice Cream Sandwich but ASUS has had a great record in the past with providing updates launching the ICS update on the Transformer Prime less than two months from the ICS announcement.  With ASUS working closely with Google on the Nexus program we would be led to expect that would translate to faster updates for the entire portfolio of devices.  I am fully confident that with the Jellybean update combined with the power of the Infinity’s hardware it will remain a force to be reckoned with even as newer tablets come around.

Overall I am very impressed with the Infinity and I’ve actually chosen it over the Nexus 7.  I foresee using it everyday in my classes and at work because of its versatility and portability.  It’s understandable that some may be concerned about the price when comparing it to a tablet like the Nexus 7 but for those people who think they can achieve their desired level of productivity on a 7” tab then a Nexus 7 may be great, otherwise I think the Infinity will be much better.  It is by far the best 10” right now and rest assured when Jellybean is released there isn’t a doubt in my mind that it will smoke everything else in its path and with ASUS’s proven track record it’s only a matter of time!

ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity Photos

The functionality of the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity is pretty awesome on it’s own but it’s not all function and no form.  It’s also one of the best looking tablets out there.  I grabbed a couple shots of the device and it’s keyboard dock to give you a better look at it.

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These photos work to promote the blog because they supplement the video blog posts that I did last week on the Transformer Pad Infinity.  My videos last week covered a lot of my opinion and general skimming over the whole tablet, while my lighting and video was decent it didn’t give an intimate look at the hardware.  These photos are the kind of coverage that my audience wants.

Google Delaying and Revamping The Nexus Q, What Should It Become?

News came in tonight that Google has suspended the launch of the Nexus Q amid almost universal criticism on the limited functionality and high price of the device.  The Nexus Q was available for pre-order until just earlier today but Google has now taken down the pre-order links along with pricing for the Q and it’s accessories.  However as a thank you for the would-be early adopters who already pre-ordered the device Google has offered a free Q which is pretty awesome, below is the email that Google sent out:

We have an important update about your Nexus Q pre-order.

When we announced Nexus Q at Google I/O, we gave away devices to attendees for an early preview. The industrial design and hardware were met with great enthusiasm. We also heard initial feedback from users that they want Nexus Q to do even more than it does today. In response, we have decided to postpone the consumer launch of Nexus Q while we work on making it even better.

To thank you for your early interest, we’d like to extend the Nexus Q preview to our pre-order customers and send you a free device. If you had other items in your order, your credit card will be charged for those items only.

Your Nexus Q will be on its way soon and you will receive a notification and tracking number from Google Play when it ships.

The Nexus Q Team

Nexus Q

Image Courtesy of Google Play

There has been a lot of criticism of the limited functionality of the Q, but the core idea is a good one, it could just be so much more.  For those unfamiliar the Q is basically a network streaming device with hardware similar to a Galaxy Nexus but rather than stream from the local network it streams content directly from Google’s cloud services, that means it accesses your Google Play Music, Movies, and TV libraries to pull all your content down even if your phone doesn’t have it stored.  It has one of the coolest industrial designs I’ve seen in a long time but at a price of $300 it was difficult to justify.

What Should The Q Do?

As Google made the Q an open device for developers there was a lot of speculation on what it could be pushed to do.  The first and most obvious thing that I believe it should have done right out of the box was local network streaming.  I have two reasons for this: Not all content is available on Google Play.  This one’s a no brainer, sure you can upload your whole music library but what about all your family photos?  Home videos?  TV shows from other content providers?  None of that can be played without local network streaming.  The second reason is the transition of more ISP’s to using data caps.  With the Q streaming everything from the internet people with slower internet connections or limited connections will have to keep an eye on their data usage to avoid overages or cancellations of service.  Local streaming can stream your content from your laptop to your other devices with no internet involved.

Google TV

Image Courtesy of Technorati

The whole time during the announcement of the Nexus Q in the Google I/O keynote I kept thinking “This is the logical evolution of Google TV” so why not roll the features of Google TV into a device like the Q?  Both devices are vying for living room supremacy and both were met with mixed response for their limited functionality but the two together could form a full product.

The Nexus Q is running a full version of Android as shown by developers who were able to add a launcher and apps to it, I think that apps should take the stage.  Similar to how Google TV embraces apps the Q should be no different, it should take the same 10 ft UI that Google pushed with Google TV and run with it.  Dedicated developers looking for ways to push the platform is one of Android’s greatest strengths, take advantage of it!

Taking inspiration from a few posts I’ve seen on Reddit it would be interesting to see Google integrate Wireless Display technology in to the Q and future versions of Android for wireless gaming.  Devices are already paired to the Nexus Q with NFC and content is then beamed over in an Apple Airplay-like setup but taking that further to expand to wireless display for gaming could greatly expand on Android as a platform for gaming and draw in more developers for premium games.  Admittedly this one is pushing the bounds a little bit and is more wishful thinking than anything else.

Bring back Android@Home.  This one is again more wishful thinking, but it’s been a while since we saw anything about Android@Home.  When I was at Google I/O last year and they demoed Android@Home automation with the full auditorium being controlled wirelessly from an Android device I was completely blown away, especially with the gaming demo.  How awesome would it be if you were playing some music/having a party and you had lighting set up with Android@Home and it became responsive to the music?  This is the kind of cool factor that I could only ever see Google delivering.

These are just a handful of my ideas of what the Nexus Q could become, what do you want to see?  What would it take to get you to buy a Nexus Q?

Original Story via Android Police

CyanogenMod 9 RC2 Rolling Out

While many of our minds are on Jellybean nowadays, CyanogenMod the premier aftermarket Android ROM has released their second release candidate for their customized Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich builds.  For those unaware CyanogenMod started back in the early days of Android and quickly turned in to the Android power users’ go to for speed, stability, and features for many devices.  It takes the existing Android Open Source Project and creates their own software with added features, in many cases they beat the manufacturers to releasing fully functional updates for devices and continue to support devices long after the manufacturers have deemed them “End of Life”.

Cid

The CyanogenMod team’s lovable new mascot Cid

CyanogenMod is officially available for over 100 devices in some shape or form with many unofficial builds for other devices because of the complete open source nature of the project.  The latest release adds support for a handful of new Samsung devices including Galaxy S II variants and the international version of the Galaxy S III.  The team has said that this build is stable enough to be “product that you’d let your mom use”.  I personally put CyanogenMod on my mom’s smartphone before I even let her see it so I’m excited to see how CM9 is on some legacy devices.  What do you think, has the long wait for CM9 been worth it?  Hit the source link for all the details.

 

Source: CyanogenMod 9 RC2