The other week I asked for some volunteers from my Year 8 group to come and have a look at the new ASUS Eee-Pad Transformer and tell me what they thought of it. Thrilled with the idea of offering their expert opinions, they turned up at lunchtime full of enthusiasm and curiousity.
Firstly I showed them the tablet and they quickly worked out how the dock works. Initial Ooohs and Aaaahs about the coolness of having something that was both tabletty and netbooky led on to concern about the robustness of the hinge mechanism in a classroom environment.
They then looked at the interface, speed and resposiveness. They liked the feel of the tablet and thought it was pretty quick until we got the iPad out and put them side by side. Then, it looked remarkably sluggish by comparison. We played Angry Birds side by side with the iPad to see how the same game felt on the two tablets and whilst the boys liked the wide-screen feel, it was difficult for them with child-sized hands to manage the tablet without a cover or stand. They were forced to hold it in portrait mode rather than landscape, therefore losing all the widescreen benefits.
Interestingly they felt that overall, the ASUS had a lot going for it. The students could see themselves using a device like it in lessons as having the dock made it seem more like a workhorse than its more playful rival from Apple.
Like me, they were worried about battery life and speed: two areas where I worry that the ASUS doesn’t deliver. It’s such a shame, as I said to a colleague on Twitter: I really wanted this tablet to be a real contender for the education market. I’m not yet convinced it is!
PS. If you want to win an ASUS Transformer for yourself, all you have to do to enter the competition is go over to http://techinstyle.tv/ and comment on one of the blog posts reviewing them!