Last week, I traded my Google I/O Chromebook for an ASUS Eee Pad Transformer/keyboard dock combo and started exploring the fascinating laptop/tablet hybrid. Overall, my impressions so far are more positive than I thought they would be, and I'll most likely end up selling the 3G XOOM that has none of the features the Transformer with the dock have to offer. The only problem with the Transformer that I've experienced is a relatively poor battery life compared to both the XOOM and the Tab 10.1, which I can't explain yet... but I'm getting carried away.

After my exploration of the Transformer was complete, I noted 2 annoyances - the absence of the dedicated app switcher key on the dock, which was conveniently present on the Samsung keyboard dock I tested earlier this month, and the absence of the familiar scrolling area on the touchpad that I got so used to on my laptop. I discovered a solution to the first problem shortly after, which we described earlier, but the scrolling situation took another few days to get sorted out.

As it turns out, the keyboard dock's touchpad actually supports multitouch, and the Honeycomb version of the OS on the Transformer supports two-finger gestures. Therefore, the following operations are possible by just placing two fingers on the touchpad simultaneously and dragging them around - yup, kind of like on a Macbook, except limited to only 2 fingers:

  • scrolling in all 4 directions
  • zooming in and out

Finally, I could scroll down in the browser without touching the screen or looking for the sidebar. I could also swipe between home screens and, as I mentioned, the familiar pinch-to-zoom action allowed for some easy zooming in and out.

I'm not sure which version of Android introduced 2-finger touch, but it was likely 3.1 or 3.2, as in my research I discovered that the feature wasn't present in the dock's touchpad only a few months ago.

In conclusion, I'd like to show you what happens to the mouse pointer when you use two fingers - on the top left screenshot, the single mouse pointer sits on the screen all lonely, but on the right and bottom, it splits into two to show your finger position.

Neat, isn't it?

wm_P20110820010917 wm_P20110820010930 wm_P20110820010957


Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • Wally

    What about using a browser for flash games? Thats been my biggest problem, the browser.

  • cory

    Turning off GPS made the battery last for days on mine.Also, you may have the faulty dock issue that drains the battery

  • http://lettersfromdave.wordpress.com daveloft

    Battery life on my Transformer is great but it depends how much I use it. When I first got it, it drained really quickly. Maybe your just using it way more than the other tablets.

    I found having it turn Wi-Fi off when the screen goes off helped. If I don't plug it in when I go to bed it only drops about 2% by the morning.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      I use the Transformer less or the same as my other tablets, with the same settings (GPS on, Wi-Fi always on) - yet the Transformer's dock battery drops much harder.

      @cory I heard about the dock issue - do you know what the symptoms are and whether there's a solution?

  • cory

    I had to send my dock, but it took only a week. Easy test: with dock attached, make sure the dock is set to battery save (under screen in settings) . Press the power button to put the unit in standby. Now press any key on the keyboard dock. If the unit wakes up, then you have the faulty dock. If it doesn't, you are in the clear. more details here:

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Thanks, cory. This is great info. I'll test mine out, and I have a feeling will have to send it in.

      • Cory

        The good news is that asus rma has been very good to deal with. The online status check was updated frequently. My status went from received to testing to repaired to ready to ship in one day. I expect the whole process will take about 7 or 8 days, including shipping time.

        • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

          Good to hear, especially since I don't have a receipt. Did you have to pay for shipping to them?

      • Cory

        I had no receipt either. In fact, I got mine from craigslist, so when asked where I bought it, I said my wife bought it from bestbuy online. They didn't ask for anything else. Yeah, I had to pay for shipping - about $10.

        • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

          Great, just confirmed the issue, indeed have this problem. Excellent - I'll get in touch with ASUS.

  • denbo

    I like my Asus transformer. The big problems are Android. For example... typing this post in from the stock browser is just God awful slow. There is no good reason for this....

    • Peter

      Are you using the Asus keyboard or the Android one? I find the Android one a lot better in the browser.

      • Cory

        I find Thumb keyboard to be the best by far.

        • ron

          Thumb Keyboard is hands-down the best keyboard - I'm only marginally slower typing on the virtual keyboard as I am on the dock.
          I use my Transformer eight hours a day, but rarely end up hooking to the dock as I use it at my desk (ignoroing my dual screen desktop in front of me. I only use the desktop when I have lots of ttyping or need of gpu intensive apps.)

          Considering the heavy usage, I find the battery more than acceptable. Comparing to the much less useful Galaxy or Ipad is unfair/silly comparison.

  • L boogie

    Agreed on the stock browser so i switched to dolphin and i just luv it BTW, been playing with the 2- finger gesture and gotta say its cool.

  • Mart

    Samsung GT 10.1 or Asus Transformer -- what's the better tab?

    • Cory

      Both are android tabs, so really a lot is the same. The galaxy looks a bit more aesthetically pleasing, but the keyboard dock is great and has replaced my laptop.

  • jim

    I enjoy my TF300F Tablet. I just bought the dock for it and the dock will not work it will only charge, but thats it. Can't find a solution I'm ticked because it seems like I have to send it right back to the dealer.