The Dock Experience

A few minutes after you update the Eee Pad to Android 3.1 you'll get a popup notification telling you that there's a new update available for the transformer dock. Version 209 brings some additional bug fixes to the dock as well as a new power saving mode.

In our launch review I complained that the dock would sometimes forget it was connected and sometimes result in an unexpected reboot. I'm still using the Eee Pad but thus far I haven't run into any of these issues on the new OS/dock firmware combination. In fact, the platform as a whole seems a lot more stable than it was at launch. It's too early to say whether or not it's perfect, but it's at least much improved.

ASUS enhanced the mouse tracking as well. I'm not sure if the mouse just tracks faster or smoother or both but it's a lot more natural now than it was when I first reviewed the tablet.

The keyboard experience is mostly unchanged but it was pretty good to begin with. Hitting Ctrl + L now properly shifts focus to the URL bar in the browser window without typing the letter L. After opening a new tab the focus is already set at the URL/search bar so you can just begin typing to navigate.

Android 3.1 adds support for more USB devices. The dock has two USB ports both of which worked perfectly with external USB keyboards and mice that I plugged in. Google even claims support for gamepads over Bluetooth but I didn't have a chance to try that on the Eee Pad yet.

The dock now properly idles when it's not in use and shuts off completely when the tablet isn't attached. I didn't notice any perceivable wake up time when I started typing. I'll be running the combination through our battery life tests when I return from Computex next week to see if you get better battery life as a result of the new sleep states.

The Web Browser More Enhancements & Final Words
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  • sprockkets - Saturday, May 28, 2011 - link

    Too bad they are in short supply.
  • fatso485 - Saturday, May 28, 2011 - link

    the stable 1.6GHZ kernel is out

    it should be tested
  • ProDigit - Saturday, May 28, 2011 - link

    It's 399Eur, or a good $550, not $399!
  • shabby - Saturday, May 28, 2011 - link

    You europeans are paying a 40% tax on it, its $399 over here.
  • risa2000 - Sunday, May 29, 2011 - link

    In fact, even though there is VAT (~17-25) around Europe, I believe this is so called "Apple exchange rate". Introduced by Apple when they found out their stuff would be insanly cheap here, they set 1 EUR = 1 USD.

    It has been later adopted by Valve's Steam for no obvious reason except making more money.
  • jalexoid - Monday, May 30, 2011 - link

    Fortunately the tablet + dock combo is cheaper in UK than in US.
    UK price 429 GBP = 710 USD
    US price 730 USD
  • darkhawk1980 - Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - link


    I don't think you get it.

    I paid $503 for my 32gb transformer, and $155 for my dock.

    $658 total for the tablet and dock is still cheaper than your $710 USD in the UK. I don't know where you get your prices, but they're a bit wrong...
  • nagi603 - Sunday, May 29, 2011 - link

    Hell, it's closer to $650 where I live... damn "exchange" rate.
  • dananski - Sunday, May 29, 2011 - link

    Yeah, it's £370 ($609.50) in the UK and that's at the cheapest dodgy online store, it's at least another £10 from any reputable place. It's 'only' £399 for an ipad 2, but I thought this Asus was meant to be a much cheaper alternative rather than competition at the same price point.
  • robinthakur - Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - link

    It is a poor man's iPad but ironically costs far more...which is the poblem with all Honeycomb tablets thus far. I voted with my money and just bought an iPad2 having tried out the Xoom and the Transformer and don't regret my decision one bit. The difference in smoothness is in order of magnitudes.

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