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Asus Eee Pad Transformer tablet - Review and Specs

Posted by Mohd Khairun Nasir Saadi On - - 0 comments


The computer tablet market has exploded this year, with every man and his dog rushing to sell their own iPad rival. The Android-powered Asus Eee Pad Transformer tries to distinguish itself from the pack. Like the Asus Eee Pad Slider, the Transformer marries the portability and always-on convenience of a tablet with the comfort of a laptop, thanks to its optional keyboard dock.

The Asus Transformer Tablet is expected to release in May or June of this year in 16GB and 32GB versions. It will start at around £400 for the tablet and £500 for the tablet together with the keyboard dock.

Specification

OS: Android 3.0 (Honeycomb)
CPU/GPU: Nvidia Tegra 2
Memory: 512MB-1GB
Storage: 16GB/32GB/64GB eMMC flash
Connectivity: Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, WLAN 802.11 b/g/n
Display: 10.1 WSVGA IPS screen with 1280×800 resolution with capacitive touch
Camera: Front: 1.2-megapixel, Rear: 5-megapixel
Interface: 2-in-1 audio jack (headphone/mic-in); 1 x card reader, SD (SDHC); 1 x docking port; 1 x Mini-HDMI; stereo speaker
HDMI Type C (Mini-HDMI)
Unit dimensions: 271x176x12.9mm, 1.5 pounds

Video Demo:



Tablets in disguise

The Transformer is essentially a netbook that splits in half. Simply release a catch, and the 10.1-inch screen detaches. Then you can grab your tablet and carry it around with you for some quick Web browsing, emailing or film watching on the move. The keyboard can stay at home if you're travelling light, or in your bag ready to emerge when you've got somewhere to sit and you need to type away during more in-depth tasks. When you're done, the docked keyboard and tablet fold away exactly like a normal laptop.

Lenovo has had a similar idea with the LePad and U1 dock. The LePad also switches between Windows and Android.

The Transformer's dock is a very elegant solution. For your money, you get a netbook and a tablet, with the advantages of both and a few extra benefits besides. Battery life is one: each half of the Transformer has an 8-hour battery life, and, when you dock the two together, that extends to 16 hours. If the tablet is running out of juice, docking with the keyboard will charge it up again.

But the biggest advantage is the flexibility of choosing how you want to work, depending on what you want to do. Light use -- like watching video, checking emails or catching up on Facebook -- means simply pulling out the tablet. When you can't face using the touchscreen for a bigger task, like writing an important email or doing some work, simply slap the keyboard on the nearest flat surface and get typing.

Even the netbook-sized keyboard is a welcome alternative to an on-screen keyboard when you're getting stuck into an extended typing session. It's more comfortable to set a laptop-shaped device down than to have to hold or prop up a tablet while tapping on the screen. And both devices are extremely lightweight on their own, so, even when slotted together, the Transformer is still very portable.

The 1,280x800-pixel screen plays Flash video and 1080p high-definition movies. You can make video calls with a 1.2-megapixel camera in the middle of the screen bezel. On the back there's a 5-megapixel camera for taking proper pictures, as long as you don't mind looking silly when you hold the whole thing up to snap your picture.

Netbooks are often criticised for being underpowered, but the Transformer takes care of that. It boasts a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 ARM processor, Nvidia GeForce graphics and a choice of either 16GB or 32GB of storage. There's also an SD card slot for extra memory.

Slide away

Some users may prefer the Eee Pad Slider's built-in physical keyboard because it means the tablet is completely self-contained. But the built-in keyboard makes it a much thicker device, which isn't a problem for the Transformer as you can just whip the keyboard off. And the Slider's screen only opens to one position, while the Transformer's screen can be adjusted to the right angle for you, like any laptop screen.

Like the Eee Pad Slider and Eee Pad MeMo, the Transformer will be powered by version 3.0 of Google's Android mobile operating system, code-named Honeycomb. Honeycomb will offer flashy 3D-style graphics, a fancy new version of Google Maps, and, more importantly, a layout that's suited to the larger screen size of a tablet. What it won't do, however, is support keyboard shortcuts, so, when you're typing on the Transformer in netbook mode, you won't be able to hit Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V to copy and paste.

That's the main caveat to the idea of a tablet that turns into a laptop: while it looks like a laptop, it's still an Android mobile device. You're limited to Android apps rather than installing your own software, and you won't have the full experience you'd get from a Windows laptop or Apple MacBook.

Outlook

Being able to detach the screen from the keyboard proves to be a neat solution to the fact that tablets sacrifice usability for portability. If you're not keen on netbooks, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer won't be the ideal device for you, but, if portability is your main concern, then this tablet should offer the best of both worlds.

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