Pros:Only $399 for the 16GB
Nvidia Tegra 2 processor
Cons:Does not play 1080p video very well.
The Bottom Line: Feature packed, affordable Android Honeycomb tablet that offers more than its competitors. If you are looking for a Android tablet, do not over look the Trasformer
Tablets are the new 'must have item' and one of the latest to hit the store shelves is the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer. The ASUS Transformer is another Android Honeycomb based tablet similar to the Xoom and the Galaxy Tab, but is it different enough to set itself apart from the rest of the pack?
Recommend this product?
Well designed and powerful
The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer is very easy on the eye. The bezel is slightly larger than other tablets, but this does not detract from the over appearance of the device. The Transformer feels very solid and well built, and although it is not the lightest tablet on the market (weighing 1.6lbs) the extra weight actually plays in its favor. The unit is well balanced and feels nice while holding it for long periods of time.
The back of the ASUS Transformer is covered in plastic, and while you might think that is a sign of cheap design, you would be wrong. The plastic has a design etched into it, and it gives a great textured feel to the device. Not only does it feel nice, it also serves a purpose. The design on the back is there to stop the Transformer from slipping out of your hands.
The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer sports a 10.1 – inch IPS display, a Tegra 2 Dual-Core processor which runs at 1GHz, a 1.2 megapixel front facing camera, and a 5mp rear facing camera, 1GB RAM, 16GB for storage (expandable via SD Card),802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and a HDMI out port. The specification are very impressive overall, but how does it perform?
The test drive
The Nvidia Tegra 2 chip ensures that the Transformer moves along at a brisk pace. Applications are quick to load, and the 2 stereo speakers offer good, but not great sound. The cameras are superior to those found on the iPad 2 and they can take decent pictures. The battery lasts about 8 or 9 hours with moderate use, which is in line with the Xoom and the iPad 2.
The IPS panel in the Transformer produces vibrant colors and deep blacks, but there are signs of light bleeding from around the edges. This is a problem with IPS technology and not the Transformer itself. The highly polished Gorilla glass is a finger print magnet though, and after a short period of use the screen is covered. The display does not perform well in direct sunlight either, but in an indoor environment the display excels.
During general use there is very little lag when flicking between the 5 screens that Honeycomb provides. The Transformer performs very well even with multiple widgets running, and having multiple applications in the background, the Transformer never felt slow or sluggish. The screen is very responsive and applications opened up with the first touch of their icon, which is a nice change because some other cheap Android tablets are not very responsive.
1080P videos playback was a little choppy, but that is not due to the Transfomer. Right now Android Honeycomb does not support 1080p very well. 720P videos played very well on the Transformer, smooth as silk even. The 10.1 inch screen is a great size to watch videos on. Storing and playing music was also very easy, and the stock music player was very easy to use.
ASUS Transformer – More than meets the eye
Now why would ASUS call it the Transformer? The one thing that sets the transformer had and shoulder above the rest of the similar Android tablets is that the Transformer can turn into a true notebook.
The keyboard dock ($149 option) and the Transformer click together very easily, and in 2 seconds your Android tablet becomes an Android powered notebook. The keyboard dock works flawlessly with the Transformer, and it makes using the tablet a joy The keyboard dock comes with its own battery, which means battery life of the tablet will not decrease. In fact your battery power doubles up to 16 hours.
The keyboard dock not only adds more battery life, it also adds two USB ports so that you can attach USB powered devices such as digital cameras. The keyboard also has a trackpad just like you would find on a normal laptop, which means you can navigate the android desktop with a mouse cursor. The keyboard dock makes all the difference in the world, and make the Transformer completely different from any other tablet on the market.
Overall the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer is the best Android tablet I have used so far, and it is hands down the best on the market. The best part is that it is also the cheapest. The 16GB is just $399, and the 32GB is $499. The optional Keyboard dock is another $149, but it is well worth the money in my opinion. It is better than the Xoom, and the Galaxy Tab, and it gives the iPad 2 a run for its money. If you are in the market for a new tablet, you absolutely must give the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer a look.
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