Asus Eee Pad Transformer Review

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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

  NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2


Unlimited ASUS Webstorage (trial, one year)

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

Bluetooth V2.1+EDR

1.2MP Pixel Front Camera, 5MP Pixel Rear Camera

SRS Premium Sound Stereo Speakers, High Quality Mic


1 x 2-in-1 Audio Jack (Headphone/Mic-in)
1 x mini HDMI 1.3a
1 x Card Reader (Micro SD)
Light Sensor

Multi-Task Support :
Flash Support :

Software :

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

9.5 hours; 24.4Wh Li-Polymer Battery *5

16 hours with dock *5

271 x 171 x 12.98 mm

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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kylepaddock 3 years ago

Does the Pad itself have a USB port?

Dave_HH 3 years ago

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.

rwniel 3 years ago

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.


SFaisal 3 years ago


omegadraco 3 years ago

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.

Dave_HH 3 years ago

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

omegadraco 3 years ago

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

teeg60 3 years ago

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.

teeg60 3 years ago

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?

Drake_McNasty 3 years ago

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.

realneil 3 years ago

The fact that it's 100 bucks cheaper, and works better than the other guys product is what I like.

I personally can't justify buying one of them with so many other PC's in the house already. But I wouldn't mind having one either.

3vi1 3 years ago

[quote user="realneil"]

The fact that it's 100 bucks cheaper, and works better than the other guys product is what I like.

I personally can't justify buying one of them with so many other PC's in the house already. But I wouldn't mind having one either.


I'm in exactly the same boat realneil.  I, for the life of me, can't think of what I would actually use one for (that I can't already do with some other machine/phone)... but the price is pretty close to the point where I would just have to have it.

realneil 3 years ago

[quote user="3vi1"]but the price is pretty close to the point where I would just have to have it[/quote]

Yep!, I like my Bling, and this thing has the Bling Meter Dinging.

JSmith2 3 years ago

Agreed, I and everyone else wants one with either a USB port or a full SD card reader.....until then, not interested. They're trying to keep people from sharing music and videos while at starbucks etc.....

3vi1 3 years ago

@jsmith2: >> "They're trying to keep people from sharing music and videos while at starbucks etc....."

No, I think they're just trying to keep the ports down to eliminate any unnecessary hardware/weight. I'm guessing that the dock connector probably supports audio and video line-out - which a normal USB connector would not have offered.

If you want to share music at Starbucks, use the bluetooth file transfer, or the dock-to-USB cable.

schmich 3 years ago

Really a shame of the proprietary port. Or at least it would be nice to have 1-2 USB ports and 1 micro-USB so that you could charge with any mobile phone charger in case you forgot the proprietary port cable.

Dave_HH 3 years ago

Totally agree, Schmich. Not sure why not at least a microUSB on the tablet itself.

3vi1 3 years ago

I feel certain it was a penny pinching thing where the engineers were told to cut everything that wasn't absolutely necessary from the tablet portion.

There are two USB ports hidden behind covers on the detachable keyboard, right?

Dave_HH 3 years ago

Correctamundo, 3vi1.

CHatanaka 3 years ago

Thanks for the great review! This looks like the ideal tablet for me!

lapsoup 3 years ago

First review I've seen where they actually mention the screen bleed. Over at the XDA forum there are people who say the bleed gets worse over time (perhaps because as the device heats up it shifts??)


Dave_HH 3 years ago

I haven't noticed it getting worse but the screen bleed isn't fun at all. Agreed.

shakoun 2 years ago

I am looking to purchase a new PC. What files can be upoloaded to the Asus from Windows that are compatible. Specificaly are these Windows files compatible with the ASUS : spreadsheets, wordpad, .doc files, jpegs, Windows Media Player music and video?

Can I attach a cd/dvd player and use it for storage and transfer of files? Are memory sticks supported?

shakoun 2 years ago

Is there a keyboard on the screen itself?

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