So in the previous ITLT post: “Ultrabook & the latest Intel HD Graphics“, I realised how horrendous laptop product pages can be: hard to find the latest models and sometimes even harder to find their specifications at a glance.
In the order of best to worst that I saw are
- Apple: basically 2 different skews of notebooks each has 1 page for all specs and extra text with configuration options. Shows full specs and starting prices (MBAs /MBPs)
- Sony: 1 page showing the 4 different types/segments of notebooks showing screen sizes and start prices. No filtering but the 4 different segments are unique enough that they don’t really need filtering. Each segment shows different models in that segment with processor, screen size & resolution, price. Comparison between models available non obvious page.
- Lenovo: results show main specifications (CPU, Graphics, RAM, storage, screen size & resolution, OS, price) items list shows main specifications and has nice sidebar filtering but no filtering on screen resolution. Does not show possible upgrades. No comparison
- Dell: 86 results in total but good filtering: checkboxes that work and filterable by 4th gen processor. Results list show OS, Storage, RAM, price.
- HP: the main page separates devices into “Home” and “Work” which I don’t really like. Results show (screen size and possibly price). Filtering by size shows a checkbox list but it works like an option dropdown – you can select only one. There is no filtering based on processor, so results could be showing you old laptops. Comparison of up to 3 devices to see further specs. 40 devices in total.
- Asus: Nice sidebar filtering options but dismal details of results listing: only shows screen size. Processor filtering does not show 4th gen processors (only 3rd gen and below). UX 301 LA is named as “Ultrabook” but filtering by “Ultrabook” thinness hides it. Can compare models (max 5) to see more specs. 51 results in the “thin and light” category (176 in all categories) – lots of older models.
- Samsung: Results show only screen size. No filtering and shows a lot of older models. Same model of different colour listed as a separate item – meaning there are duplicates. Viewing all shows all 187 results (lots of old models).
It’s sad to see how manufacturers are giving consumers a hard time just looking to find a laptop. It’s even sadder to see some manufacturers showing old models in their listings (Asus and Samsung). Kudos to Sony for simplifying their range to 4 distinct types of laptops but Apple takes the cake due to their minimal yet sufficient product line up and having information rich specification pages.
I came to know of the EeePad Transformer’s existence in Brunei via Goh De No’s article in the Brunei Times last week. The Transformer is an Android tablet but also a ‘laptop/notebook’ with the keyboard dock that adds functionality to make this an interesting device.
- Android 3.1 (according to Goh De No in the Brunei Times article)
- 10.1" IPS screen at resolution of 1280×800
- NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2
- 1GB RAM
- microSD card slot
- Keyboard Dock provides
- keyboard + trackpad
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x full size card Reader (MMC/SD/SDHC)
- added battery to charge the slate
More specification details at: ASUS’s Transformer page
Price: B$899 for the 16GB version with the keyboard dock at C.F. King in Kiulap (no non-bundled price available)
Android 3.2 is available to this device via the Transformer’s download page and thus adds better functionality and compatibility with applications developed for phones with the new ‘zoom’ mode. This should scale applications up just like the iPad does for iPhone apps. While phone apps should install and run on Honeycomb tablets, the layout may look weird or even broken and this feature should resolve it.
While I’m saddened that CF King did not offer a price without the keyboard dock, the Transformer is a device that can have some productivity uses with the keyboard dock which allows the device to be used for up to 16 hours (the other 8 hours in the day can be used for sleep!). Damien from Carrypad is actually trying to use the Transformer as an enterprise productivity device and I’m curious to see the outcome of his experiment. Coincidentally he has just posted an article about week 1 of the Transformer usage.
Another thing interesting about the Transformer is that it will have a dongle to convert the HDMI to VGA output: a great tool if you wish to use it for presentations on the move, as VGA is still much more compatible and widely available on projectors. I believe this is the only other tablet besides the iPad that has VGA output and is something I would recommend for teachers or anybody else who gives presentations and wants to have a minimal yet functional setup with them.
Read full reviews of the Transformer at LaptopMag, AnandTech, Carrypad (Part 2 here) and Engadget. If you’re interested in the device I suggest heading down to CF King and have a go at the device. One of their staff, Poh, is a nice and friendly guy there, I’m sure he could help you out.
For other innovating / whacky tablets from ASUS keep a look out for the 10" Eee Pad Slider, 7" Eee Pad MeMO 3D or the 10" pad and 4.3 phone that make up the Padfone. One thing is for sure, none of ASUS Android tablets are typical. As the fore father of the netbook with the Eee PC I salute you!