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Curandy
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Should I buy a Transformer $400 or wait for more quad core tabs and prices to drop?
      #42054 - 01/25/12 07:49 PM

For a while I was resisting what I called the tablet hype. I felt that a tablet is nothing more than a large PDA. I used to own an Ipaq years ago and looking back that was a disappointing experience. But that could be me. Maybe I adopted too early, maybe my expectations were wrong.
In any case, I have been seeing what people do with tabs/pads and I have to say that little by little I got intrigued. Since I became the father of my first baby 3 months ago I also noticed that my computer usage at home has changed. Where I used to like to experiment a lot, now I just want to use Facebook, watch Netflix (connected to my 50” or 42” flat-screen tv) connected in HDMI, watch Youtube (with headphones), read an e-book, browse the internet for information, look at high resolution pictures of my baby, and e-mail and Skype. Since I find myself mostly doing these things in bed, I am getting tired of my laptop. I am now thinking that a pad/tab might be the thing for me. Honestly, I want one.. I'm hooked and I am ready to buy one now!
An iPad to me is no option. Mostly because I don’t like the fact that it is such a closed system and has no ports. I am certain I am going to want to connect something to it at some point and stick an (micro)SD card in it at some time!
So I decided to start looking at eBay and quickly realized that for around $300-$400 there are some tablets available that seem to be good alternatives.
I considered the Lenovo Ideapad, Acer Iconia, Samsung Galaxy, Toshiba Thrive, HP Touchpad and the Asus Eee pad Transformer (I may be forgetting some) and I guess all have their pros and cons and none are perfect.
I have a Lenovo Laptop, like the brand and with 32G and a nice design I leaned towards the Idea pad at first. However, after further research (reading and watching reviews) I concluded that The Transformer has a better screen, is thinner, lighter and seems do be able to do everything I want it to do. At about $400 it’s affordable and I thought I’d be getting a good deal….
And then the Transformer Prime came out…. Quad core…. OK, so after viewing Lisa’s review I know it is not the tab for me but it did make me think and continue my research… Is this the right time to buy a dual core tab? Does it indeed do what I need it to do? And if so, will it keep on doing so? Will it take me far enough into the future? Or will the thing be useless 1 a year or so? Too little CPU capacity, too little RAM…. I don’t know… What do you think? I don't want that same kind of disappointing experience like I had with the Ipaq back in the day...


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LisaGModerator
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Re: Should I buy a Transformer $400 or wait for more quad core tabs and prices to drop? [Re: Curandy]
      #42060 - 01/25/12 10:41 PM

Dual core tablets are here to stay for a good part of 2012. Some of them will use new technology like ARM A15 dual core CPUs vs. the ARM A9 used in current dual core tablets and the quad core Transformer Prime. There's certainly no shame in buying a dual core tablet now, though in a few months, the 1GHz dual core Nvidia Tegra 2 used in 2011 tablets might seem a little dated or slower for 1080p video playback. Lenovo has a very promising new dual core tablet on the horizon as does Toshiba with the Excite X10. If you get an original Asus Transformer at a good price, it has a great display and a good track record for updates plus more stable HDMI out than the new Transformer Prime.

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Lisa Gade
Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview


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Curandy
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Re: Should I buy a Transformer $400 or wait for more quad core tabs and prices to drop? [Re: LisaG]
      #42061 - 01/26/12 04:30 AM

So that means that even though the original Transformer can play 1080p with that Tegra 2, it cannot do it well...?
So what is a good price for an original Transformer? Cheapest I can find it at is about $400. Will it be like $200 in a month, or what? And I wonder how this market is going to evolve? Will it be like this each year? Will the stuff that comes out in 2012, seem outdated in 2011? Is it worth it buying the latest and "greatest"?


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LisaGModerator
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Re: Should I buy a Transformer $400 or wait for more quad core tabs and prices to drop? [Re: Curandy]
      #42065 - 01/26/12 10:07 AM

The Tegra 2 lacks good hardware acceleration for 1080p video playback (it's better at 3D than 2D graphics acceleration). That means on some tablets using the built-in player it refuses to play, while on others with a few added by manufacturer codecs (software components that help video playback). There are however several video players on the Android Market that can handle 1080p video. The CPU can handle 1080p standard profile but not high profile MPEG4 H.264 video.

Mobile tech races forward, but tablets honestly have a more leisurely pace. In computers and smartphones, a 6 month old product can seem dated, but tablets make it a year or more. Of course, there will always be something better, but I don't see a radical or sudden leap in 2012 for tablets. Most manufacturers are moving on to different dual core CPUs as I mentioned, and these will hit the market in a few months. Quad cores aren't abounding, but in 2013 may blossom. Right now, Android OS and the apps made for it really don't call for immense processing power and are designed for the Tegra 2 level of CPU.

Is it worth it to buy the latest and greatest? That depends on your budget and whether you're a gadget freak who wants the latest tech. Honestly, we just reviewed the Acer Iconia A200, a 2012 tablet with the same old Tegra 2, and it does everything just fine for only $349 (as long as you don't need 1080p high profile playback or HDMI). It's fine for many folks and gets the job done.

The original Transformer may further drop in price once the Transformer Prime isn't supply constrained. Given Asus' track record for manufacturing tablets (too slow in the first months), the Prime may be constrained so long that the original Transformer stock sells out. Hard to say.

--------------------
Lisa Gade
Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview


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Curandy
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Re: Should I buy a Transformer $400 or wait for more quad core tabs and prices to drop? [Re: LisaG]
      #42067 - 01/26/12 10:25 AM

OK, sounds like I am safe buying such a tab. How would you compare the original Transformer for $400 with the Iconia A200 for $350?
No IPS display, it's a bit heavier and thicker, no back camera and no HDMI out. I haven't actually seen any of the 2 (I will have to buy them online since no store near me has them) but it sounds like for that extra $50 you get a lot, making the original Transformer the better deal if you have the extra $50... Am I right?


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LisaGModerator
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Re: Should I buy a Transformer $400 or wait for more quad core tabs and prices to drop? [Re: Curandy]
      #42072 - 01/26/12 06:34 PM

For $50 more I'd get the Transformer!

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Lisa Gade
Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview


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Curandy
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Re: Should I buy a Transformer $400 or wait for more quad core tabs and prices to drop? [Re: LisaG]
      #42083 - 01/27/12 07:18 PM

Pfff I was decided... After this last reply I was certain.. It was going to be the transformer... And then I found the Motorola Xoom with 32 GB for $349 Looked at Lisa's review and that looks great too! I honestly don't know which to choose.....

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LisaGModerator
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Re: Should I buy a Transformer $400 or wait for more quad core tabs and prices to drop? [Re: Curandy]
      #42084 - 01/27/12 07:57 PM

The Transformer has a better display than the Xoom. The Xoom was the world's first Android tablet in Feb. 2011, but now it has lots of competition. It has great build quality though, and it gets OS updates quickly.

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Lisa Gade
Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview


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Curandy
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Reged: 01/24/12
Posts: 15
Loc: Curacao
Re: Should I buy a Transformer $400 or wait for more quad core tabs and prices to drop? [Re: LisaG]
      #42087 - 01/27/12 09:22 PM

Haha, exactly why I am now undecided.
My biggest problem is that I live on an island and I can't go to a store and just take a closer look myself. The Xoom seems like a great tab also.
Display: Transformer. But is the difference that big?
Weight and thinness: Transformer. But to the extent that it will bother me with the Xoom?
Design: I think I like the Xoom better and I like the fact that the back is metal also. But as you say in your review, the build of the Tranformer is fine too.
Ergonomics: Xoom I think. I have read that the Transformer has some sharp edges and may irritate your palm if you have it in your hand for longer periods. On the other hand.. it has less weight and I can imagine a heavier tab can also be irritating over time.. I have also read that the on screen keyboard is easier to use with the Xoom. Although I am not sure I will use that a lot anyway...
HDMI: The Xoom is actually the only tab where I saw that part included in the review. It works great on your 50"! Don't know about the Transformer.

I wish I could go to a store and check out these differences for myself... :-(

So I can buy:
A Refurbished Transformer 16GB with 90 day warranty for $298. With 2y extended warranty and tax: $385
A Refurbished Transformer 32GB with 90 day warranty for $395.
A New Transformer 16GB with 1y manufacturer warranty $428
A Refurbished Motorola Xoom 32GB with 1y manufacturer warranty $350

The fact that the Xoom has 1y manufacturer warranty, has 32GB and is the cheapest, is also something to consider... Pfff I guess I am 50/50 again...

I guess you are tired of me by now! hahaha sorry Lisa!


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LisaGModerator
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Re: Should I buy a Transformer $400 or wait for more quad core tabs and prices to drop? [Re: Curandy]
      #42088 - 01/27/12 11:08 PM

The Transformer works fine for output to an HD TV. It's a standard feature for Android tablets, so we only spend time discussing it when it doesn't work or the the feature is missing, as with the Acer Iconia Tab A200.

The screen on the Transformer is noticeably better than the Xoom.

The sturdy metal build on the Xoom is a definite plus over the plastics on the Transformer. The Transformer doesn't have sharp edges or cut into the palms though.

The 1 year warranty and price on the Xoom is compelling for the deals you listed.

--------------------
Lisa Gade
Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview


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Curandy
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Posts: 15
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Re: Should I buy a Transformer $400 or wait for more quad core tabs and prices to drop? [Re: LisaG]
      #42089 - 01/27/12 11:33 PM

To make matters worse, I now found an Iconia A500 16GB with 3G and a free Seagate GoFlex Satellite 500GB Mobile Wireless Storage... new and 1y manufacturer warranty for $430...
They do know how to make it a difficult choice... Is there such a thing as too many deals on the market?? I guess so! Good thing your review showed that it has a lot of trouble playing 1080p!


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