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Hands On: Asus EeePad Transformer review

Asus hopes to transform tablet market with first Honeycomb device.

Read our full a Asus Eee Pad Transformer review now.

Asus today launched its innovative Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) tablet, the EeePad Transformer. Which is vying to be the first such tablet on sale in the UK. It’s a 10.1in tablet that can be bought with a unique docking station that adds a full QWERTY keyboard and extra ports. Android 3.0 Honeycomb is the tablet version of the popular smartphone software, with support for larger screen sizes. For more details, read our full review of Honeycomb now.

We had a chance to play with the Transformer and its dock, as well as some of the software Asus has pre-installed. The Transformer is powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 2 platform, a combination of a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor and a GeForce GPU for hardware graphics acceleration. It felt really quick and responded well to touch input – we watched YouTube and HD videos playing in full screen without any hiccups.

Asus EeePad Transformer docked

Asus has used an IPS panel, normally found on expensive professional monitors, and covered it with tough Gorilla Glass, and it’s one of the best displays we’ve seen on any device. Viewing angles are wide and there’s an oleophobic (oil resistant) coating that makes touch input smoother as well as reducing the smears of oily fingerprints that plague most smartphones and tablets. Colours are vibrant, contrast is excellent and the brightness level is adequate for outdoor viewing.

Build quality on both the tablet and the docking station is superb. Each has a solid metal frame, with a textured plastic back panel that makes it easier to grip. There was absolutely no flex in either the tablet or the dock, and the keyboard panel had no flex in it. This was a pre-production sample, so some of the keys were in the wrong place or weren’t functional, but we found it easy to type on, with a light, crisp action that will please touch-typists.

There’s a 5-megapixel camera mounted on the back as well as a front-facing 1.2-megapixel camera for video calling, although no video calling software was evident. The Transformer will initially be available in 16GB and 32GB versions, although you won’t be able to buy the dock separately for a while, and it’s only available as a bundle with the 16GB version at present. On its own, the Transformer apparently weighs 680g, and with the dock it’s 1.3kg, although it felt heftier to us.

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