First Week With an Android Tablet
On October 16th I finally caved and bought myself a tablet. At the time, I had no idea what I might use it for, so I opted for the Asus EeePad Transformer. I picked up the keyboard dock as well, figuring that worst-case scenario I'd have bought an Android netbook.
The last time I owned an actual netbook I didn't care for it. The keyboard was too cramped and the battery life was too low. Plus it had a full-sized power brick, which made it awkward to bring it along for short trips. This tablet doesn't have any of those problems (well, by default it uses a lot of power while sleeping ... but I found a simple solution). The overall battery life is about 8 hours for the tablet, and there's an equivalent battery in the keyboard dock, which should suffice for all-day use. Even if I do let it power down, the power adapter is small, so it's not a problem to take it with me. Charging is a bit slow, and the charging cable is both short and proprietary. Not ideal, but I can live with it.
I've found that I prefer using this device in tablet mode for reading and casual web browsing. It's like owning a book with the internet in it. Mostly I've been using it to read comics. I've read comics on my computer before, but it's hardly ideal. For daily webcomics, a browser is fine but longer stories are a nuisance. The tablet, however, is perfect for long-form reading. Ebooks are next on the list to try ... but I'll need to finish off some of the dead-tree novels on my coffee table first.
There are a few quirks I'm still getting used to. The first thing I noticed was that while in-use battery life was fine, the battery level dropped significantly when the device was left in sleep mode for an extended time. Looking at the battery use history it was apparent that the device was waking up and connecting to WiFi periodically. Most likely to check for email, application updates, and probably the time and weather. This was despite having set the device to disconnect from WiFi when the screen shut off. Installing Auto Airplane Mode helped a lot. Now when I wake up the battery is only 1% or 2% lower than when I went to bed. Much better than the 30% drop when the device is allowed to connect to the network from sleep. There are at least two applications named Auto Airplane Mode, so this is clearly an issue that other Android users are having. The one I installed triggers when the screen shuts off, the other one I saw worked by specifying times to turn off wireless access.
The second issue I ran into was when I bought a bag this weekend so I could carry the thing around here and there. Due to the enormous disparity in popularity between the iPad and Android tablets, most cases and accessories for tablet owners will be iPad-specific. And since my particular tablet is decidedly longer than an iPad, it turned out to be a tight fit. But it will keep my tablet out of harms way when I start shuffling it back and forth to coffee shops during NaNoWriMo. I'm sure I'll fail yet again, but I should at least figure out if I like the keyboard.