OK, let’s get this straight from the start. THIS IS A SPONSORED POST, woe betides me to fall foul of any moral guidelines or obligations.
Those crazy folk at ASUS emailed me and asked if I would to try out their new Eee Pad Transformer and then write about it, good or bad. I will admit to weighing up the pros and cons of accepting such a task, and 3 nanoseconds later decided I would.
I will also admit that I thought nothing would come of it, and put the proposal to the back of my mind. I mean who in their right mind would give little old me a brand new Tablet and docking station? In fact when I told my Mum I was about to be given a free Tablet, she presumed I had joined another Hay fever clinical trial. To my shame I agreed I had rather than try to explain what a tablet was.
Anyway, this afternoon I returned from a shopping trip, via the pub, all ready to do some gardening, some BBQing, and maybe even playing with the kids if I got bored. All plans were put on hold when I saw the package my eldest had signed for, could it be, surely not. It was. THE Tablet had arrived.
I will freely admit that I am a big kid at heart, and I was more than excited as I tried not to rip the package apart like Henry VIII on his wedding night. Showing a sense of patience I didn’t know I possessed, I carefully removed my new toy and turned it on.
I know I'm in danger of sounding quite fawning now, but I was truly impressed with my initial viewing. The 10" screen was bright and sharp, it sounded good, and I even managed to sync it with my broadband within a couple of minutes, a miracle within itself.
I started to explore the apps when a rather unsubtle nudge in the ribs reminded me that I had a BBQ to sort out. Feeling like a kid who had to write a thank you card before his Christmas pressie was out of the box, I reluctantly retreated to the garden and fired up the…well the fire. Eventually food was cooked, dropped, brushed off and distributed - leaving me to make my excuses and pick up where I had left off.
Having had no real experience with Tablets, I was quite surprised about how light and thin it was. Although the kids were surprised at how big my new 'phone' was and were wondering how I was going to fit it in my pocket. I did feel a little bit like Gulliver in the land of Brobdingnag, so I added a miniature bottle of Jack Daniels to the table just to really mess with their minds.
Once I had finished messing around and exploring I decided to attach the tablet to its docking station and keypad. I do love touch screens, but I am still enough of a PC boy to want to write anything substantial on a keyboard. This seemed like the best of both worlds to me, and I happily sat in the garden and wrote the words you've just read (or pretended to if you're family and just humouring me.)
I could see this was going to change my summer. Normally I am chained to the PC, due to work demands, but as long as I remembered to wash the suntan lotion of my hands first, I can see this becoming my work place of choice. Tea breaks are about to be changed, Pimms o'clock anyone?
Just to make sure, I synced the tablet to my home PC, and like witchcraft, my PC's homepage appeared on the screen. I neglected to mention this to my Wife, and later on when she had logged onto Facebook, I had plenty of fun updating her status in front of her eyes. According to her status, I am now absolved of any future housework and indeed, men are fully deserving of being waited on hand and foot.
All shenanigans aside, I have been impressed by everything I have seen so far, so I decided that I would put it to the travel test the next day.
The Next Day
It's the day of the London Marathon and we've decided to take the kids up to Tower Bridge to watch it. As an ex Marathonian, the Mrs always makes us go and watch, and to be fair, it's always a good day out. The trick is to keep the kids occupied though, so I downloaded some free games from the app store (which incidentally downloaded a lot faster than they do on my PC.) I removed the tablet from the docking keyboard, another idiot proof process, and put it in its handy travel case.
The tube was quite busy, and the games kept the kids amused for the journey, so far so good.
Tower Bridge was mobbed, the sun was out, and there was a carnival atmosphere in the air. Well there was on our side of the barriers anyway, the runners were at the half way stage and had long since lost their smiles. The wife looks back on her marathon with a fondness that belies the obvious pain she went through at the time. Maybe it's like childbirth, really painful at the time but a pain quickly forgotten? Either or, it's not something I see myself doing anytime soon. I won't even run for a bus, I just calmly pull out my phone and call for a cab. The looks I get from people when I get picked up from a Bus Stop by a mini-cab are priceless. I took a few pics using the tablet, but I think it captured the pain on their faces too well, so I stopped.
We watched until the throng of runners started to thin out and then went in search of a pub. Watching people run is thirsty work you know. From our pleasant seat outside the pub, we basked in the sun and watched the last of the runners (well walkers really) pass. The kids had moved on from Angry Birds to Bubble Pop, and I thanked the lord for a long battery time - heaven help any device that runs out of juice before my kids get bored with it.
The clear up crews started to arrive and were making so much racket we decided to make our exit. The barriers had started to come down and the streets were deserted, despite it being central London and only 4pm. Obviously everyone had moved onto to another spot further down the route, all the better to really witness the agonies of those final few miles. It did mean though that we got to walk across Tower Bridge in the middle of the road, in the middle of the day. It was quite an eerie experience, I felt like on was on the set of 28 Days later.
I whipped the tablet out and started to take some pics for posterity (and accidentally one of a Policewoman’s posterior which she made me delete) and Kaede, happy at being allowed to play in the road for a change, duly obliged in posing for some pictures. All in all it was a good day out and one certainly enhanced (made easier) by the new tablet.
This is the first of a few articles I'll be writing about the new ASUS Eee Pad, and I promise that by the time I write the next one I will be a bit more tech savvy and have some spec details that will make sense to someone other than this technology caveman.