Asus Eee Pad Transformer Review

94 thumbs up

Half-baked.  That would describe the large majority of Android-based tablets we've seen come through our test labs here at HotHardware thus far. Even Motorola's Xoom, though infused with Google's latest Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) release, felt like it could use a bit of polish in spots, though most of the refinement wouldn't need to come from the device so much as its operating system.  If you were wondering why Google was restricting the Marketplace on any device larger than 7 inches, the reason is simply that 2.X versions of Android were engineered with handsets in mind, not tablets, netbooks or larger devices.  And though Honeycomb has made great strides in an effort to enabling Android for larger devices, the Android tablet scene thus far still has a ways to go with respect to catching the kind of polish and refinement that Apple is enjoying with the iPad.

That said, certain manufacturers like Motorola, ViewSonic, Toshiba, Acer and of course Asus are leading the charge now that Honeycomb is out in the wild.  A maturation process is taking place as we're writing this and Asus seems keen to get things done "right" sooner rather than later.  A lot of the competition was either pre-announcing very early systems or releasing cobbled together Android 2.2-driven devices while Asus was quietly refining their product, waiting for Honeycomb's go-ahead.  Today we've got a look at what is essentially the first real Android tablet to hit the market from Asus and it's also safe to say, at this early juncture, that it's also one of the most refined, well-planned Andorid tablets to hit the market yet.

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer tablet is a more complete Android-based tablet PC with a companion docking station that affords it the ability to act as an Android 3.0 Honeycomb-based netbook as well.  It's based on NVIDIA's powerful dual core 1GHz Tegra 2 processor with 1GB of RAM and 16 - 32GB of internal storage.  If you were waiting for Android tablets to get "real," today might be a good day to finally take the plunge.  Here's a detailed look at the Asus Eee Pad Transformer tablet PC and Netbook convertible.


Asus Eee Pad Transformer Tablet
Specifications & Features
Display:  10.1" LED Backlight WXGA (1280x800) LCD
10 finger multi-touch support
Scratch resistant glass

CPU:
  NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2

Memory: 
   1GB

Storage:
  16GB/32GB
Unlimited ASUS Webstorage (trial, one year)

Wireless Data Network:
WLAN 802.11 b/g/n@2.4GHz

Bluetooth V2.1+EDR

Camera:
1.2MP Pixel Front Camera, 5MP Pixel Rear Camera


Audio:
SRS Premium Sound Stereo Speakers, High Quality Mic

Interfaces:

1 x 2-in-1 Audio Jack (Headphone/Mic-in)
1 x mini HDMI 1.3a
1 x Card Reader (Micro SD)
Sensors:
G-Sensor
Light Sensor
Gyroscope
E-Compass
GPS

Multi-Task Support :
Yes
Flash Support :
Yes

Software :

- ASUS Launcher
- MyLibrary
- MyNet
- MyCloud*4
- File manager
- PC Sync

Battery:
9.5 hours; 24.4Wh Li-Polymer Battery *5

16 hours with dock *5

Dimensions:
271 x 171 x 12.98 mm
Weight:
680g/1.499lbs.

Mobile Docking Keyboard
:
Touch Pad
2 x USB 2.0
2 x Docking port (Host + Client)
1 x Card Reader (MMC/SD/SDHC)
1 x 24.4Wh Battery


The Transformer has dual front and rear facing cameras (1.2MP and 5MP, respectively), 1GB of on board memory, mini-HDMI output, a microSD card slot and a head phone/mic combo jack.  Drop it into its $150 keyboard dock and you pick up a full-sized flash card reader slot, a pair of USB ports and, of course, keyboard and trackpad functionality.  It's a total ultra-portable computing solution as a result, which makes the Transformer unique versus other Honeycomb-based tablets currently.

The 32GB version of the Asus Transformer is priced at $499, while the 16GB version has a $399 MSRP.  Comparatively, Motorola's Xoom is available in a WiFi-only version with 32GB of storage for $599 currently. This puts the new Asus Honeycomb slate at a $100 cost advantage over Motorola's, with nearly identical platform specs (Tegra 2 and 1G of system memory).  However, beyond its price advantage there is obvious design differentiation as well.  We'll take a look at that in more detail, next.

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Does the Pad itself have a USB port?

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OK, you have to at least READ the article before you can ask questions. :) I mentioned it more than once and it's in our Hot and Not list as a "not". No, no USB port on the tablet itself, the dock has two though.

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Nice review. :)

Regarding USB ports on the tablet itself, Asus Italia Facebook page have shown off a dongle that fits the docking connector to provide a USB port. But no pricing or availability as of yet. Also, I read on a developer web-site that it may also be possible to use the USB charging cable via an A-B female-female adapter for use with the likes of flash drives. Agreed, it is not an ideal solution (since it's always better to move beyond proprietary dongles/adapters) but it does offer a potential solution if you don't wish to add the extra battery keyboard dock.

Robert

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no

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Thanks for the review I have been looking forward to this for a couple weeks :) This looks like an amazing tablet but it might be good to wait for the next revision. Personally I hate proprietary connections though I know they needed one for the dock. I feel like they could have provided that micro USB port for charging and syncing and just had the dock for connectivity strictly to their docking station.

Does the docking port on the keyboard fold down? It almost looks as if it should in the video.

All in all the Hot outweighs the Not it would seem.

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Hey Omega, Yes, the docking port does fold down into a notebook style closed position.

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Awesome I would be worried about the pins getting bent on it otherwise when it was not docked with the tablet portion.

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I think you are "spot-on" that Asus has released a winner!

What I never see anyone share (probably because most tablets have yet to offer a USB or SD card slot) is can you use the SD card to transfer photos to a photo album on the tablet. I mean what does it do when you insert an SD card,.........does a dialogue box appear and ask you if you'd like to view or copy files? If it doesn't, can you even navigate to find the SD card files?

Does it even work this way or is that why Apple has you go through iTunes and Google would like you to use Picasa.

For my work we essentially just show Jpeg slide shows and some short videos, so if it was easy to transfer files one of these devices would work just fine.

Look forward to your response.

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One other question,........are they still in back order mode with these? If I ordered one, would it be longer than a 2 week wait?

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Great write-up Dave! As much as I want this I think I'll wait until the next version is rolled out, maybe then there will be more android tablet apps and a quad core under the hood, oh yeah! Plus I'm super excited about ice-cream sandwich. I like a keyboard when I type and I like how they don't just offer a keyboard but a keyboard docking station that adds battery life and direct usb support. Plus it makes a nice cover when it's closed.

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