Folks, I'm going to do something I've never done before. I'm retracting every positive recommendation and every nice I've written about Asus and their tablets. I'm now putting Asus' tablets firmly into the "never buy" category, and I've made that decision for one simple reason.
I'm tired of Asus screwing up the firmware updates.
I'm sure you've heard that when you get a device, you're supposed to make your buying decision based on what it can do now. You're not supposed to listen to the hype about promised updates because there's no guarantee that they'll ever happen.
As a general rule, this is a good idea. And it is also a rule that Asus turns on its head.
I can absolutely guarantee that the performance you get when you first turn on an Asus tablet will be the absolute best that you will ever get from that device. I can make that promise because I know that Asus will force you to install updates that will degrade the performance. That is what I've seen happen to my Transformer.
I bought this tablet in July of last year. I bought it because it was on sale and because I kept hearing the surprisingly large number of owners say nice things, and after I got it I realized that they were right. It really was the best Android tablet on the market - until Asus screwed it up.
Over the past several months I have watched as my Transformer tablet got worse and worse. Apps tended to crash more, they took longer to open, and generally this tablet has become less and less fun to use.
Netflix stopped working some months back; I can't tell you exactly when but it's been more than a couple months. I'm not much on watching videos on tablets, so it's not a big deal. But today something happened that made me decide I don't want this tablet anymore.
I cannot play Angry Birds Space anymore. Just in case you missed the significance, let me say it again:
I cannot play Angry Birds Space on my $400, dual core CPU tablet. The app now tends to freeze in the middle of a level, a problem it shares with other games including Plants vs Zombies and Dead Trigger.
This is the final straw, Asus. You have now made this $400 tablet less capable than the $100 budget tablets that come off some random assembly line in China. None of the ones I've reviewed have had any trouble playing AB:S.
I feel like I've been robbed. No, wait - I was robbed. Each time I got an update Asus took away my Android tablet and replaced it with an inferior model.
And that is it. At this point I'm sure you're expecting me to issue an ultimatum to Asus, demanding that they replace my tablet or fix this one. I would, but I'm not sure they'd buy me an iPad.
If I had any faith in Asus I would consider getting another of their tablets. But as I've watched my Transformer get worse and worse over the past few months, I've come to wonder if this is part of Asus' regular update cycle. I'm afraid they're going to screw up all their tablets just like they did with my Transformer, and I don't want to waste several hundred dollars to find out I'm right.
P.S. Can someone recommend a replacement?