Android tablet battle: Here comes the Transformer!

Asus Transformer
Asus Transformer

 

 

Is it a tablet or is it a laptop? No, it is Asus’s Transformer.

Yes! It is the all new android tablet in the market which Asus has engineered and it runs the latest version of android that is honeycomb. So what’s different in the Transformer than the other tablets in the market. As the name suggests it’s truly a transformer, you can attach the dock to it and yes it turns into a laptop mode with android OS. What more to ask for it gives you a stunning 16 hours of battery backup altogether with the dock attached.

 

Asus Transformer
Asus Transformer

 

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer is an Android tablet that employs Asus’s netbook expertise, including a keyboard dock that not only makes typing easier – it also doubles the battery life and boosts connectivity. The package price is £429, while a keyboard-less edition is also available for £379, undercutting the iPad 2 by a cool twenty quid. Perhaps more importantly, it’s significantly cheaper than the Android-powered Motorola Xoom, HTC Flyer and LG Optimus Pad.

 

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer comes packing the same Tegra 250 chip as the other big hitters in the Android 3.0 world.

Backed up by 1GB RAM, and 16GB and 32GB storage flavours, it’s as well-specified as any other tablet we’ve seen. That storage capacity can be supplemented by taking advantage of the microSD slot in the tablet and the SD card slot in the dock.

It also comes with a 10.1-inch capacitive IPS display at a decent HD resolution of 1280×800, a 5MP rear-firing camera and a 1.3MP front-facing camera.
Other hardware features come in the shape of a three-axis accelerometer, gryroscope, wireless  connectivity and a tablet-only battery life of 9.5 hours. There’s not yet a 3G version but we believe there’s one on the way.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvxth_Sxfps-A

 

The dock’s battery packs in an additional six and a half hours of playtime, meaning that when docked the Eee Pad Transformer can be used for up to 16 hours without the need for a recharge.

What’s more, the dock actually passes its charge on to the tablet itself. So when the tablet’s not at 100% power the dock will charge it up, providing it has enough juice to do so.

 
Android HoneyComb UI

 

Display:

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer uses a 10.1in IPS display, with a 1280×800 pixel panel. IPS, or in-plane switching, is the screen technology used in the Apple iPad, and produces superb colours and viewing angles. This means that several people can comfortably crowd around the tablet without seeing a dull, poor-contrast image, as you’d get with the lesser TFT LCD panels of many cheaper tablets.

Also like the iPad though, the surface of the Eee Pad Transformer’s screen is highly reflective glass, so take it out on a sunny day and you’ll see as much of your face as whatever’s on-screen. However, we tested the tablet outside on a very sunny afternoon and found the tablet to be usable as long as the brightness is set to maximum.

Arguably more important than the quality of the Asus Eee Pad Transformer’s display though is its touchscreen. The tablet uses a capacitive panel, now the standard for all but the lowest-end tablets and smartphones. It supports multi-touch and, partly thanks to the powerful dual-core Tegra2 processor, is extremely responsive. The lightest of touches are registered instantly and we found no accuracy issues.

While we prefer the keyboard for any hardcore typing duties, the virtual keyboard is more than capable of drumming-out the odd email or social networking update. The 10.1in screen is big enough to give each key plenty of space – there’s none of that cramped feel you may have experienced with smaller-screened smartphones.

 

Camera:

The Eee Pad Transformer has a 5MP rear sensor and a 1.3MP front-facing sensor for video chats.  The camera is rather disappointed with the performance in both stills and video mode. Video is recorded at a respectable HD resolution of 1280×720, although the footage by no means has the appearance of high definition.

Still shots were acceptable in quality without being in any way, shape or form impressive. Colours were washed out, contrast was poor and sharpness was distinctly lacking. Therefore, you’re not going to want to use this tablet to capture any lasting images.

 

Verdict

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer is what we’ve been waiting for – a tablet that can truly replace a netbook or ultra-portable laptop. With the keyboard disengaged, it’s a slim, fairly light tablet with a great screen and touchscreen. With the dock in-tow, it’s a typing demon whose battery will outlast almost any laptop or tablet you can find. Android 3.0 Honeycomb apps need to catch up for it to compete with the iPad but we fully expect this to happen soon, and Android has its own trump cards like Flash video in the interim. What really completes the picture for the Transformer, though, is its ultra competitive pricing – this is an absolute bargain compared to its rivals.

 

Pros:

  • High-quality IPS display
  • Excellent keyboard integration
  • Great design and value

Cons

  • Honeycomb-optimized apps are sparse
  • Android 3.0 is a tad buggy
  • No standard USB slot on tablet