Real-World Benchmarks And Battery Life
Early on we discovered how difficult it is to benchmark tablets.
Benchmarking responsiveness with a camera is the easiest approach. Of course, normal cameras won't cut it, since they only shoot at 29 FPS. That's unacceptable if you're trying to measure precise time differences. Going the stop-watch route is no better due to human-introduced errors. That's why we're using a 1000 FPS high-speed camera to measure performance. Since, one frame equals one millisecond, it’s possible to measure timings with a high degree of accuracy.
The iPad 2, Xoom, and Iconia A500 all employ the same processing hardware, but the difference in boot-up time suggests that iOS is a fundamentally leaner operating system. Understand that our benchmark captures total performance. Even when dealing with the same CPU, the display panel can even influence this benchmark because we're also taking response times into account.
As we turn to browser launch times, Honeycomb's Chrome browser definitely seems more bloated than iOS's Safari. Remember that the Iconia runs Honeycomb 3.0, which may explain why it takes 300 milliseconds longer than what we see on the Xoom.
Input lag is the time it takes from pressing a key to the time it takes for text to appear on the screen. This tells you how fast a tablet is registering an action. Ideally, you want low input lag so that you don't feel like the tablet is stuttering as you type or click buttons. The average college student has a reaction time of 200 milliseconds for visual stimuli, so there's no perceivable lag while you're typing with the Iconia A500.
Testing a tablet’s battery life tends to be highly variable unless you control the entire experience from beginning to end. Cumulatively, touch gestures don’t have a great impact on battery life. The biggest factors are CPU/GPU processing, screen brightness, volume, and Wi-Fi use. In order to accurately measure battery life, I coded a script that automatically plays MP3s at 50% volume while browsing different Wikipedia pages every 12 minutes. This benchmark is probably overkill, but it gives you an idea of a worst-case scenario.
Charging times are a double-edged sword. Ideally, you want a nice slow charge so that your battery lasts more than a few hundred cycles. Fast charge times keep you away from the wall socket longer, but in the long run they cut down on the health of the battery. Usually, the rate of charge starts to slow down somewhere in the 80% to 95% range, which is why the charging time from 0% to 10% is faster than 90% to 100%.
It's great fun, has a great battery life compared to my laptops and I just enjoy it.
I take it to college (I do I.T Cert IV, Diploma next year) and it's very handy for drafting documentation when working with the computers and taking notes.
If I'm to pay a significant fee for a niche product, it had better be really good at a specific purpose. Better at it, in fact, than other, cheaper products. I got my kindle despite the fact that you can read ebooks on computers, smart phones, ipods, etc, because it damn well did a great job of being a book. It did it better than these other devices. The form factor combined with the great battery life and easy on the eyes screen made it worth it. Plus, you can read it in sunlight.
What then, is the purpose of buying a tablet over, say, a netbook? The tablet is geared at media consumption, but it doesn't do a significantly better job of that than the netbook. In fact, it does a worse job of it, allowing me fewer media options, while simultaneously costing more and having less storage, with an OS that won't run proper, useful software.
Maybe they'll get better, but right now, they're overpriced toys.
I bought the A500 under the assumption Skype, Netflix, HBO2Go, and Xfinity were standard apps across the Android offering. Turns out Netflix and Skype will run on newer phones with earlier versions of Android, but not this one.
Xfinity and HBO2Go are yet to be created for Android.
I worked with the network admin at my job to get this running on the network there (we are currently evaluating handhelds in the workplace) and we found it doesn't work on all PEAP/Wep Wifi network combos. It won't even connect out of the box. I read up on 'Advanced Network tools' for Android and found that people on earlier versions of Android were able to connect to this type of network using these tools. By golly they didn't work on this version.
Additionally, those on screen keypads are frustrating. The lag is apparent if you have any typing ability beyond the 40wpm mark. If you type too quickly, it won't even pick up your laters as I think it recognizes them as "mistake touches".
I've owned my A500 for around 2 months now. I've picked it up to use it around 10 times since I've gotten it primarily only because someone else was on my favorite laptop and I wanted to browse the web. I keep waiting for the update to let me do all the things I still can't and it hasn't come.
The finger swipe games are fun for people who are into that. I'm not. There are plenty available.
Again, I can't stand Apple, but out of the box we got the iPad on our corporate network and it plays Netflix, HBO2go, Xfinity and does Skype. While the hardware seems extremely advanced with these Android tablets, it seems the newer OSs are taking steps back in time.
As a result, I've found this device to be an over-sized mediocre gaming device (like a DS) with OK web browsing capabilities since not everything works in the browsers on Android. It has plenty of potential since the hardware is great, but these things aren't ready for prime time. Look for mine on Ebay come late November if they don't pick up on real software support for these things or if I still can't connect to my corporate network.
I sum it up as such:
Unrealized potential means nothing!
"Oh he was always so smart, but he just didn't apply himself" - kind of like that.
Out of every tablet I have played with so far(sorry havent seen a Galaxy yet) the Asus is a homerun and there is absolutely no chance I would buy the Iconia or any other Android tablet besides the Asus.