Asus Eee Pad Transformer Review - HotHardware

Asus Eee Pad Transformer Review

94 thumbs up
On its own, the Eee Pad Transformer is a well-appointed slate PC, but with its companion keyboard dock, the device takes on a whole new level of functionality.  As you're also probably aware, Asus has spent many years perfecting ultralight netbook designs, so the Transformer's dock has a build quality and feature set that feels and functions like a ground-up design, rather than an afterthought bolt-on for the tablet.



The side benefits of the keyboard dock design that Asus has put together are the additional ports it brings out for the tablet, including a pair of USB  ports and a full SD/MMC flash card slot.  The dock also offers an additional 6.5 hrs of battery time as well, with its own internal battery.  However, one small let down is the the Eee Pad Transformer tablet itself doesn't have a micro USB port available.  Instead Asus forces you to go through their synch cable to get access to the tablet's storage.  However, there is a micro SD card slot on the tablet, thankfully, as well as HDMI output, a pair of speakers as well as front and rear facing cameras (1.2MP and 5MP respectively).  More on those cameras, shortly.


The Eee Pad Transformer has a really nice copper brown finish on what appears to be an all aluminum construction, with the exception of the keyboard key caps.  There's a knurled sort of textured pattern on the back lid of the tablet that resists fingerprints very well.  Even the wrist-wrest of the keyboard dock resists fingerprints well, however, there is of course no getting around the fingerprint issue when it comes to the display's glass.

We wouldn't say the Transformer's screen is anymore fingerprint prone than any other tablet on the market though.  The Transfomer's LED backlit screen supports a native resolution of 1280X800 and has really nice viewing angles as well as excellent contrast, black reproduction and color saturation.  We did however, notice a bit of backlight bleed under certain conditions, when the screen was turned up.  Bleed was visible mostly in the lower bottom corners of the display and it was a minor annoyance that didn't get in the way of functionality in the least.  Finally, as you could see in our video preview of the Transformer, the touch screen is very responsive and supports traditional pinch/zoom gestures as well as ten finger multi-touch.  Backlight bleed aside, the Tansformer has one of the nicest, most responsive touch screens we've seen on a 10-inch slate.

 
 

Aesthetically, mechanically, and functionally the Eee Pad Transformer is top notch in our book.  Perhaps its color scheme is more of personal preference but we think the machine looks great.  One final note, with respect to the keyboard is that, if you're use to ultralight notebook or netbook keyboards the Transformer's dock should provide a reasonably satisfying and comfortable typing experience.  You're not going to fly on this machine like you would at on full-sized workstation or notebook keyboard but even those with larger hand prints should find the Transformer's dock easy enough to work or play with.
 

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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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