We’ve heard rumours that ASUS is preparing a smartwatch for announcement at IFA 2014, but now it has been all but confirmed. The teaser seen above shows the very shadowy outline of what can only be the ASUS smartwatch as well as telling us to save the date, September 3rd. The teaser is rounded out by a quote from Lebanese poet, Khalil Gibran, who says “Time has been transformed, and we have changed,” presumably referring to ASUS’ new direction with wearables as well as the time keeping properties of a smartwatch.
— ASUS (@ASUS) August 19, 2014
Running Android Wear, the only additional information we can glean from the teaser is that the ASUS smartwatch will be a slightly form factor to the other Android Wear wearables launched this year. Not quite square, but not quite round, it looks like it will be of plastic construction. Despite this, ASUS has done amazing things with ‘cheap’ materials in the past, so we can’t wait to see the device when September 3rd rolls by.
Are you interested in what the ASUS smartwatch has to offer? Let us know your thoughts on it in the comments below.
The post ASUS smartwatch teased in invite to IFA 2014 announcement event appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
Today, we go hands-on with HTC’s One M8 for Windows, shop for 4K TVs, ponder an ASUS-made smartwatch, and more! Read on for Engadget’s news highlights from the last 24 hours.
Filed under: Misc
If we’re honest, it’s reasonable to assume that ASUS will announce a smartwatch on September 3rd. After all, if the rumors saying that the company’s working on an Android Wear device aren’t enough, then the pretty obvious teaser image should be. According to those pesky rumor-mongers, the unit will be priced between $99 and $149, making it the cheapest Google-approved wearable on the market. We’ve also heard, thanks to our own sources on the grapevine, that despite the lower price, the watch will use similar hardware to both the Gear Live and G Watch. The only concession apparently being in the battery life department, which will linger somewhere between the 300mAh on the Gear Live and the 400mAh found on the G Watch. Still, whatever the truth, there’s only a fortnight to go before we’ll find out for ourselves.
Source: ASUS (Twitter)
Asus will introduce its first Android Wear-powered smartwatch at IFA in early September, reports Focus Taiwan. According to their sources, the device is “well-received” by Google and looks better than those currently offered by LG and Samsung. What’s more, the Asus product will allegedly come in with a lower price point, which means less than $199……. Read more »
The post Asus to debut first Android Wear watch in early September, report claims appeared first on AndroidGuys.
We have previously heard that Taiwanese manufacturer, ASUS, is working on an ASUS Android Wear smartwatch, and it appears likely that the device could be announced at IFA 2014 in Berlin next month. Whereas the offerings from Samsung, LG, and probably Motorola too, have costed about $199 USD, it has been hinted that the ASUS smartwatch will undercut them all, priced at around $99-149; not too shabby. Furthermore, ASUS CEO, Jerry Chen, says he prefers the appearance of the ASUS offering over wearables from the other manufacturers (but of course he would!); frankly, it would be hard to out do the Moto 360 on style, but we’ll hold our reservations.
Chen also commented about the future of wearables at ASUS, saying:
“We’re dreaming big about the future of wearable devices, but the dream will not come true this year or in the first half of next year, because the market demand has not picked up”
And that’s probably true; despite the fact that we in the Android community have pored over the new and future Android Wear devices, they have yet to become truly mainstream in the same way that smartphones have become part of our lives. Still, it’s an exciting time, and we can’t wait to see what ASUS brings to the table, particularly at such an attractive price point.
What do you think about the ASUS Android Wear smartwatch? Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments.
The post The ASUS Android Wear smartwatch may be announced at IFA 2014 appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
Sorry, naysayers: You’re going to see a fair number of Chromebook reviews from us over the next few months. That’s mostly because sales of these inexpensive laptops have shot up — which means everyone and their mother is now making one, even companies that had previously shied away. The latest brand to join the fray is ASUS, which already has loads of experience building small, cheap notebooks. Indeed, ASUS’ 11-inch C200 Chromebook ($250) looks like a 2009-era EeePC brought back to life: The spacious keyboard feels eerily familiar, as does the long, 11-hour battery life. Even so, it’s not a perfect machine by any means — in fact, it has a pretty serious flaw — but if you’re in the market for a Chromebook, it couldn’t hurt to consider a company that seems to know what it’s doing.
I know you’re tired of hearing Chromebooks compared to netbooks and, look, so am I. But hear me out: The reason some of you have even heard of ASUS in the first place is because it pioneered the mini-PC fad. By now, it probably knows a thing or two about making super-small, super-low-priced machines, right? Right. Mostly. The C200 is made of plastic, as you’d expect on a sub-$300 system, and indeed, it’s pretty unremarkable-looking. But, to ASUS’ credit, the build generally feels more solid than, say, Acer’s C720, which flexed when you grabbed it by the palm rest. There’s less bend here, though the screen wobbles when you set the laptop down on a table. It’s also fairly compact: At 0.8 inch thick, it has similar dimensions as the Acer C720, except it weighs just 2.5 pounds, versus 2.76 for the C720. Although both are perfectly easy to tote around, the C200 is noticeably lighter.
It’s on the keyboard that ASUS’ netbook expertise really shines through. The buttons here manage to be cushier than on most other Chromebooks, though the Dell Chromebook 11 and Toshiba Chromebook both rank pretty highly in that regard. Not only that, but also the keys are well-spaced, and none of the major buttons (Enter, Shift, etc.) have been shrunken down to fit the 12-inch-wide frame. The trackpad, meanwhile, is spacious compared to the one on the Acer C720, and does a precise job with single-finger tracking. No complaints there.
I wish I could say such nice things about the display, but this is one of the main areas where Chromebook makers cut corners. As on rival systems, the C200 rocks an 11.6-inch, 1,366 x 768 panel (non-touch), and as usual, the viewing angles are awful. Dip the lid forward even slightly and the screen washes out to the point of being unreadable. Unfortunately, even if you were to invest in a more expensive machine, the display quality would still be fairly crappy. Take the Samsung Chromebook 2, for instance: Even with a sharper, full HD screen, it still suffers from narrow viewing angles.
The C200 also offers the same exact port selection as other Chromebooks. This includes two USB connections (one of them 3.0), a full-sized HDMI socket, an SD card reader, a headphone jack and a lock slot.
Performance and battery life
|SunSpider v1.0.2||Google Octane||Mozilla Kraken|
|ASUS C200 (Celeron N2830, 2GB RAM)||482.8ms||
|Acer C720 (Core i3-4005U, 4GB RAM)||289.4ms||
|Acer C720 (Celeron 2955U, 2GB RAM)||342.2ms||
|Dell Chromebook 11 (Celeron 2955U, 4GB RAM)||339.8ms||
|Toshiba Chromebook (Celeron 2955U, 2GB RAM)||323.6ms||
*SunSpider and Kraken: Lower scores are better.
**We regrettably didn’t run enough of these tests on the Samsung Chromebook 2 when we had a unit in our possession; otherwise, we would have included it in this table.
What a difference a processor makes. The C200 is one of the few Chromebooks that doesn’t use a dual-core Intel Celeron 2955U chip — instead, it packs the dual-core Celeron N2830. Given the common “Celeron” brand and the fact that the C200 is in the same price range as its competitors, I assumed the performance would be similar. In fact, though, the C200 is quite a bit slower than other models I’ve tested. The machine takes 12 seconds to cold-boot, for instance, compared with six or seven seconds for every other Celeron-based machine. And whereas most Chromebooks sign out in four seconds (this is a necessary step for switching to Guest Mode), the C200 takes six. That sluggishness is borne out in the benchmarks as well, with the C200 coming in dead last in every test, sometimes by a wide margin.
In everyday use, too, the C200 feels a bit poky, though that didn’t stop me from using it as my main machine, juggling email, HipChat, Facebook, Twitter and various blogs that I read. In the end, there wasn’t one big issue dragging down the performance — I never saw websites or games slow to a crawl, and I thankfully never suffered an outright crash. No, it was the little things. Deleting emails in Gmail sometimes took longer than it should have. Ditto for loading webpages, or comments at the bottom of news articles. I even noticed a slight delay whenever I hit the “View new Tweets” button on Twitter’s website. Sometimes, I would click a link to open something in a new tab, and then when I moved over to that tab, the machine would pause briefly. Most telling of all, I didn’t have any of these issues when I switched to a more powerful laptop connected to the same WiFi network.
|Dell Chromebook 11||8:37|
|Samsung Chromebook 2 (13-inch)||8:22|
|Acer C720 Chromebook (Intel Core i3)||7:53|
|Acer C720 Chromebook (Intel Celeron)||7:49|
|Samsung Chromebook (2012)||6:33|
|HP Chromebook 11||5:08|
|Chromebook Pixel||4:08 (WiFi)/3:34 (LTE)|
|HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook||3:35|
|Samsung Chromebook Series 5 550||3:23|
|Acer C7 Chromebook||3:16|
Don’t worry, though, ASUS redeems itself somewhat with amazing battery life. In a field where almost every Celeron-powered Chromebook gets the same runtime (around eight hours), the C200 is a stand-out. All told, our review unit lasted through 11 hours and 19 minutes of continuous video playback, making it the longest-lasting Chrome OS machine we’ve seen yet. Now, does the best-in-class battery life make up for the worst-in-class performance? Not quite, if you ask me, but hey, it’s your shopping decision to make, not mine.
Obviously, you’ll get the same Chrome OS experience regardless of which model you get, so that shouldn’t factor into your decision about whether to buy one Chromebook over another. But if you’re unsure if Chrome OS is a good idea in the first place, you might be wondering how much you can do with such a machine, and whether it’ll be enough to replace a “real” OS. As ever, it depends on what you need out of your computer. Since the first Chromebooks came out three years ago, Gmail and Google Drive are both usable offline, without an internet connection. The same is true of many third-party apps offered in the Chrome Web Store. Recently, too, Google started allowing folks to watch Google Play movies and TV shows offline, so you definitely don’t need an internet connection quite as desperately as you did when Chromebooks first came on the scene.
Like every other Chromebook, the C200 comes with 100GB of Google Drive space, free for two years, which should partially take the sting out of having just 16GB of built-in local storage. As for navigating the OS itself, having a desktop and windows you can close and resize continues to make Chrome OS feel like a more traditional operating system. The OS has also benefitted recently from other features that might seem like no-brainers — things like pinch-to-zoom, a more sophisticated file-management system and the ability to upload Google+ photos in the background.
Configuration options and the competition
What you see is what you get: The C200 goes for $250 (often less) and comes with the same specs as the unit I tested here, including a dual-core Intel Celeron N2830 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 1,366 x 768 display and 16GB of built-in storage. There’s also a 13-inch version, the C300, which features the same price and carries the same specs, with the exception of screen size and battery life (runtime is rated at up to 11 hours on the C200, and up to 10 hours on the C300).
As for competition, the C200 has plenty. If I had published this review last week, I would have compared this mainly to other Celeron-based models, like the Dell Chromebook 11, HP Chromebook 11, Acer C720 Chromebook, Toshiba Chromebook and the 11-inch Samsung Chromebook 2. I would have reminded you that the performance is just about the worst in its class, though the battery life is the best. The keyboard is nice, and the display, while poor, is at least on par with the competition. In other words, I would’ve told you it’s worth a look, though it’s hardly a slam dunk.
The problem is, even as I sat down to write this review, Acer announced the Chromebook 13, the first Chrome OS device to make use of NVIDIA’s Tegra K1 chip. I haven’t tested it yet, so I can’t vouch for the performance or say how it compares to the C200. If nothing else, though, the Chromebook 13 should excel at graphics-intensive tasks — things like browser gaming, movie streaming and interactive web apps. Meanwhile, the battery life is said to be as good as, if not better than, the C200: 13 hours if you get it with the 1,366 x 768 resolution screen, and 11 if you go with the full HD model. That’s another thing: The regular ol’ HD version starts at $279, just 30 bucks more than the C200, while the 1080p edition is priced at $299. If the Acer Chromebook 13 really performs as promised, with long battery life and impressive graphics muscle, then it’s priced uncomfortably close to the C200.
Unless you’re hankering for an 11-inch machine (or can’t spare the extra $30), the Chromebook 13 is shaping up to be a smarter buy. Even then, the Acer C720 can be had for a lower price (around $199) and the performance is guaranteed to be better. And besides, NVIDIA has made it clear there are other Tegra K1 Chromebooks in the works. Surely, an 11-inch one is on the way, right?
How’s this for a ringing endorsement? The C200 isn’t totally without merit. Its battery life is easily best in class, and the spacious, cushy keyboard makes it one of the better Chromebooks for typing. Even so, its performance is actually worst in class, which is saying a lot considering its rivals aren’t exactly powerhouses themselves. Even today, there are Chromebooks on the market offering smoother performance for a similar price, while Acer’s forthcoming Chromebook 13 promises improved graphics muscle and equally long battery life for only $30 more. ASUS would do well to upgrade the C200′s processor, and maybe drop the price to better compete against other brands. Until that happens, this is an acceptable option, but hardly the best.
The MeMO Pad HD 7 was arguably the sleeper hit among small tablets in 2013. ASUS’ device didn’t have the speed of the Nexus 7 or the interface tricks of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 3 line, but it was superbly balanced. It ran smoothly, packed smart software and (most importantly) carried a sub-$200 price. For that reason, this year’s MeMO Pad 7 and 8 are potentially exciting; they stick to that familiar formula while bringing in faster processors and a fresher interface. What’s not to like? As you’ll find out in our review, there are a few aspects that definitely need improvement, or even take steps backward — but it’s also clear that ASUS has budget-tablet design down to a science.
The strongest evidence of ASUS’ if-it-ain’t-broken philosophy manifests on the outside. If you’ve used either the MeMO Pad HD 7 or HD 8, the basic layouts of their MeMO Pad 7 and 8 sequels will be very recognizable. And that’s mostly a good thing. They’re easy to hold, with rounded edges and side buttons that you’re unlikely to hit by accident. You’ll find micro-USB and headphone ports on the top, the power and volume controls on the right and a microSDXC storage slot on the left. There’s little on the front besides the company logo and the front-facing camera (0.3 megapixel on the Pad 7, two megapixels on the Pad 8). On the back, you’ll spot a rear camera above (two and five megapixels, respectively), and stereo speakers below.
That’s not to say that ASUS is simply recycling its hardware. Both of the new entries are a tad thinner and lighter than their predecessors. The 7-inch MeMO Pad 7 is the featherweight of the bunch, at 0.65 pound and 0.37 inch thick; its 8-inch counterpart is unsurprisingly heavier, at 0.7 pound, but it’s also slimmer at 0.3 inch. The designs are narrower than last year’s models too (4.4 and 4.9 inches, respectively), so they’re ever so slightly easier to grab with one hand. I was happy to use either for significant stretches of time without propping them up on my lap; these are fine devices for reading on the couch or playing games that demand a two-handed grip.
That conservative design approach does mean the MeMO Pads inherit a few flaws. Those buttons may prevent unintended presses, but they’re also harder to activate on purpose. Since you can’t see them most of the time or quickly identify them by feel, it’s all too easy to accidentally lower the volume when you meant to put the device to sleep, or vice versa. The matte finishes also have their quirks. The 7-inch slate’s smooth backing tends to stay relatively pristine (at least in a red hue), but it’s a bit slippery; the textured 8-inch model is more stable in my hands, but it picks up lint like nobody’s business. The MeMO Pad 8′s new camera layout also doesn’t do anyone any favors. ASUS has moved the camera from near the center to the corner, making it a little too trivial to block the lens when you’re shooting. The Pad 7′s rear shooter is in the same position as on the HD 7, though, so you won’t easily smudge its glass.
Not much has changed on the inside apart from the processor, although that’s not shocking given that the Pad 7 and 8 cost just $150 and $200 respectively. In US models, you’ll still see 16GB of built-in storage (11.1GB free), 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. Sadly, there’s no HDMI output, so you’ll have to lean on Miracast streaming to send video to a TV. ASUS does have an ace in the hole with its built-in GPS and GLONASS positioning, however. You can use any of these devices for navigation so long as you have offline maps; many rivals, including iPads, can’t do that unless you buy their cellular-equipped variants.
Display and sound
Although the MeMO Pad 7 and 8 are separated by an inch in screen size, you get the same basic display technology: a 1,280 x 800, IPS-based LCD. Neither tablet’s screen is especially sharp (the Nexus 7 and Dell’s Venue 8 have much crisper-looking 1,920 x 1,200 panels), but they’re reasonably attractive for the price you’re paying. Both deliver rich colors that aren’t overdone, and you only really lose brightness when you look at them from sharp angles. There are a few practical differences beyond the raw surface area, mind you. The Pad 8′s display is a bit brighter, at a high 400 nits versus 330. Either model is easily visible indoors, but you’ll definitely want the larger slab if you venture outside. I also noticed that the Pad 8 had a warmer, slightly yellowish color cast out of the box, although ASUS’ Splendid screen utility makes it easy to dial that out.
Really, it all comes down to dimensions. Just how much screen real estate do you need? Having held the two MeMO Pads side by side, I can safely say that you’ll want the 8-inch version if you can at all swing the extra cash. It’s much easier on my eyes for long gaming and reading sessions, and it gives me more overall breathing room than I get with the cramped 7-incher. The lower pixel density isn’t a problem at normal viewing distances, in my experience. The tinier hardware will do if you don’t have the money or free space for the bigger hardware, but it’s tougher to justify in an era when many smartphones aren’t that much smaller.
There’s a similar split when it comes to sound quality. While the MeMO Pad 7′s stereo speakers are clear-sounding, they’re a bit quiet and lack even the vaguest hint of bass. The Pad 8 isn’t an audio powerhouse, but it produces louder, fuller output that’s just good enough to make me forego my headphones. With that said, the stereo separation on both tablets is virtually nonexistent. I’d really like to see ASUS put the speakers on opposite ends, like it does with the larger Transformer Pad TF103C.
If you’ve read our review of the new Transformer Pad, you’ll know what to expect software-wise. The two MeMO Pads are running the same ZenUI interface, which spruces up Android 4.4.2 KitKat with a trendy “flat” look and a handful of customizations. ASUS strikes a careful balance between adding its own flourishes and leaving Android’s better features alone. You’ll get quick settings, some well-done media galleries and app drawer sorting, but multitasking and most other Google-made elements remain intact. Yes, that means you’ll miss out on multi-window support and other perks from heavier Android skins, like what you get on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 4 line. Still, it’s hard to object to ZenUI’s more restrained approach — it’s simple, colorful and responsive.
There isn’t an avalanche of preloaded software, either. ASUS’ own titles are dominated by simple utilities like the previously mentioned Splendid display tool, What’s Next (a simplified calendar view) and Do It Later (a to-do list). The more substantial apps are a mixed bag. SuperNote is great for scribbling and typing notes, but I just couldn’t find a use for Story’s diary-keeping abilities. The third-party app selection, meanwhile, is small, yet smart. Flipboard and Kindle are practically must-haves for reading, and I can see some subscribing to either eMusic’s song-download service or some of Zinio’s magazines.
Performance and battery life
|ASUS MeMO Pad 7 and 8 **||Nexus 7 (2013)||Samsung Galaxy Tab S ***||Amazon Kindle Fire HDX (7-inch)|
|SunSpider 1.0.2 (ms)*||607||602||1,109||554|
|3DMark IS Unlimited||14,171||N/A||12,431||N/A|
|GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan Offscreen (fps)||7.5||N/A||5.5||N/A|
*SunSpider: Lower scores are better.
**Average score for the 7- and 8-inch models.
***Average score for the 8.4- and 10.5-inch models.
Don’t expect to see a performance gap between the two MeMO Pads… or the TF103C, for that matter. They’re all using the same quad-core, 1.33GHz Atom Z3745 processor with 1GB of RAM, which means the benchmark scores are virtually interchangeable. Not that there’s much room to complain. As you can see above, either of the entry-level tablets can match or beat more expensive challengers. It’s not shocking that they can outpace ASUS’ own Nexus 7, a year-old device using an even older processor. However, they also fare well against Amazon’s speedy Kindle Fire HDX, and even the premium Galaxy Tab S 8.4 — not too shabby when you’re paying up to $250 less.
The numbers translate well to the real world. The Atom chip doesn’t break a sweat while navigating through the interface, and it’s equally adept at both web browsing and intensive 3D games like Real Racing 3. As I touched on with the Transformer Pad, the low resolution goes some way toward easing the workload. You don’t need a rocket to power a paper airplane, after all. However, the offscreen graphics tests suggest that neither MeMO Pad would have much trouble handling 1080p. It’s just a shame that the displays can’t match the might of what’s under the hood.
More memory would be nice, too. Although the devices didn’t get bogged down as I juggled different apps, it’s evident that 1GB of RAM isn’t quite enough for very demanding apps. One benchmark I ran would randomly spit “out of memory” errors, even after rebooting to give it as many resources as possible. You might never encounter these problems yourself, but I’m concerned that the MeMO Pads could choke on software a year or two down the road.
I don’t have similar reservations about the battery life. Where the Transformer Pad TF103C’s runtime was disappointing for its size class, both the MeMO Pad 7 and 8 are at least on par for their price tier, if not a bit above average. ASUS claims that both of them should last for nine hours when looping a 720p video at a low 100-nit brightness, but that’s fairly conservative. In my testing, which upped the brightness to the halfway mark and threw in periodic updates from Facebook and Twitter, both gadgets were still within the ballpark of that official estimate. The 7-inch unit managed a respectable eight hours and 36 minutes before shutting down, or enough to trump the current Nexus 7 and multiple older Samsung tablets. Meanwhile, the 8-inch model lasted for nine hours and 21 minutes, putting it ahead of both the TF103C and Sony’s Xperia Z Tablet series. Neither result holds a candle to the longevity of the Galaxy Tab S, ASUS HD 7 or most iPads, but they’re more than acceptable given the blend of raw power and discount pricing.
|ASUS MeMO Pad 8||9:21|
|ASUS MeMO Pad 7||8:36|
|Microsoft Surface 2||14:22|
|iPad Air||13:45 (LTE)|
|Apple iPad mini||12:43 (WiFi)|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S (10-inch)||12:30|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S (8-inch)||12:22|
|Apple iPad mini with Retina display||11:55 (LTE)|
|Apple iPad (late 2012)||11:08 (WiFi)|
|ASUS Transformer Book T100||10:40|
|Apple iPad 2||10:26|
|Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2||10:04|
|ASUS MeMO Pad HD 7||9:56|
|Apple iPad (2012)||9:52 (HSPA) / 9:37 (LTE)|
|Acer Iconia W4||9:50|
|Nexus 7 (2012)||9:49|
|Microsoft Surface RT||9:36|
|Sony Xperia Tablet Z||8:40|
|ASUS Transformer Pad TF103C||8:26|
|Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet||7:57|
|Dell Venue 8 Pro||7:19|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0||7:18|
|Nexus 7 (2013)||7:15|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4||7:13|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1||6:55|
And in real life, the battery is healthy enough that you likely won’t notice the difference. I can get through a day of moderate browsing, social networking and photography even on the MeMO Pad 7, and I had less to worry about with the Pad 8. Heavy-duty gaming chews up a lot of that precious energy, although you can counter that by invoking a special energy-saving mode that cuts internet access when the tablets aren’t in use. It’s a last-ditch measure, to be sure, but it might save your hide if you need a working device at the end of a daylong trip.
Here’s where ASUS seemingly backtracks on its earlier successes. I lauded the MeMO Pad HD 7 for having solid cameras, but you’re not guaranteed a similar experience with its 2014 follow-ups; to achieve what I saw in the HD 7, you’ll have to spring for the costlier MeMO Pad 8. Its 5-megapixel autofocusing rear camera is nothing special with noisy low-light shots, blown-out highlights and processing that tends to erase finer details, but it generally produces accurate colors and can take reasonably well-exposed photos in dim indoor environments. The front 2-megapixel sensor is similarly unremarkable, but it’s good enough for an HD-quality video call or selfie. Whichever camera you use, there’s a fairly sophisticated set of filters and manual camera settings, so you can add an effect or tweak the white balance if an image isn’t quite to your liking.
It’s the MeMO Pad 7 that you have to watch out for. ASUS has dropped the HD 7′s 5-megapixel back camera in favor of a 2-megapixel, fixed-focus shooter, much like that in the TF103C. Predictably, the downgraded equipment is terrible — you can’t get close to many subjects without losing focus; colors are slightly off; and shots in anything less than good lighting generate an abundance of noise. Both this and the equally lackluster 0.3-megapixel front camera are serviceable if you only need to capture a chalkboard or join a Hangouts chat, but they’re unfortunate regressions on a tablet that’s otherwise a big leap forward.
Just what represents competition will depend heavily on whether you’re considering a MeMO Pad 7 or 8. The smaller slab may be the easiest choice. Poor cameras notwithstanding, the Pad 7 outmuscles much of what you’ll find around its $150 sticker. Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, Barnes & Noble’s Nook HD, LG’s G Pad 7.0 and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 4 7.0 are slower and carry less storage. The Kindle and Nook don’t even have any cameras to speak of, while LG and Samsung don’t offer much more photographic prowess than ASUS. HP’s Tegra 4-packing, $200 Slate 7 Extreme is no real threat either. The biggest danger may come from Dell’s Venue 7, which offers noticeably higher-resolution cameras (if also a slightly pokier Atom chip) for $10 more. Neither the Kindle Fire HDX nor the Nexus 7 justify their premiums as much as they did roughly a year ago — $80 more gets you an exceptional screen and perks like the Nexus’ wireless charging, but they’re not faster.
Move up to eight inches and it gets trickier. Frankly, the Venue 8 may be a better buy than the MeMO Pad 8 if you’re interested in getting the best hardware possible for $200. It’s using a dual-core Atom, but it has a far nicer 1,920 x 1,200 LCD for a similar hit to your wallet. You will get more for your moolah than other tablets can typically muster, though. The G Pad 8.0 isn’t available in the US yet, and the $270 Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 is both more expensive and comparatively sluggish. If you’re open to trying Windows, keep your eye on the Venue 8 Pro; Amazon affiliates frequently sell it for as little as $200, and it may be worth giving up some battery life in the name of a desktop-class operating system or (optional) pen input.
Of the two MeMO Pads, I’d choose the 8-inch model without hesitation, as it’s simply a better bargain. Spending $50 more nets you better cameras, longer battery life and that all-important larger display. The 7-inch system offers superb speed for a $150 tablet, but it’s somewhat hobbled by the downgraded cameras. I’d make the sacrifice, as I rarely snap photos with any tablet, but it isn’t as well-rounded as last year’s MeMO Pad HD 7.
It’s a harder call when pitting ASUS against its opponents. While it should be clear by now that the MeMO Pads can take on most any task you’d expect from a mobile tablet, they’re not the best at everything; you can find nicer screens and cameras without much difficulty, especially if you’re willing to go beyond the $200 mark. I don’t think that specs alone tell the whole story, though. ASUS makes a good case for custom Android interfaces. ZenUI is more helpful than the largely stock Android implementation on the Dell Venue 7 or 8, yet it never gets in your way. I can comfortably recommend both the MeMO Pad 7 and 8, but you do have to be aware of what you’re giving up — these aren’t so much sleeper hits as they are wisely calculated trade-offs.
Whether you’re looking to replace your laptop or just find something to keep you entertained, there’s a tablet out there to suit you. But with an ever-increasing array of slates crowding the market, narrowing down the list can be a chore. So we’ve sorted through the pile and picked out some of our favorites for both power users and media consumers. Our complete buyer’s guide is always just a few clicks away, but feel free to cruise through the gallery below for a quick rundown of the best tablets you can buy today.
Hey look, a new router from ASUS and, apparently, it is super, super fast. According to the Taiwanese company, its RT-AC87 is “the world’s first” with Wave 2 features, which bring better reliability, major speed boosts and overall performance improvements to the 802.11ac generation of WiFi routers — one that, by the way, has yet to break through to the mainstream. Thanks to this novel technology, ASUS’ RT-AC87 can beam out 5 GHz signals with up to 1.73 Gbps speeds, making it a great option for someone who has a lot of different 802.11ac-equipped devices under a single roof. People that, you know, love watching stuff on Netflix, like to livestream games to the internet or just have too many connected things happening all at once. The RT-AC87 will be available “shortly” for $270, though it’ll be limited to North America. For the time being, ASUS can enjoy having the speediest router in town, at least until D-Link, Netgear, Belkin and the rest of them show up to the party.
I can remember a time when we all talked about and wanted an Asus Transformer Pad. It was an Android tablet, with a detachable keyboard, that made its self into a laptop. It was pretty amazing when Asus first put them out. Now the line has come down a notch and other OEM’s have started to do even bigger things. Nvidia and the newly announced Shield Tablet comes to mind. Asus was always fairly good about keeping the Transformer line updated and squashing bugs though. The higher-end Transformer Pad, the TF701T, is picking up an update that owners will be happy to see.
In a typical staged roll-out owners should all start to see a pop up to let them update the wonder tab to Android 4.4.2. You can head into the device settings and hit that software update button if you want to. If you happen to be impatient, you can also visit the Asus website and look for your devices SKU and side load it. Although they don’t offer any documentation on how to install it. AndroidPolice recollects that you tossed the file on an external SD card and popped it into the tablet to trigger the update process. You may want to do some research on the matter before hand and be sure you get the right file as well.
Any Transformer TF701T owners out there seeing the update on their devices today?
Source: Android Police
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