Asus EEE Pad Transformer

The Good
  • Offers good value for money at around R 5 000
  • Handy keyboard dock
  • High quality screen
The Bad
  • Slightly outdated with the release of the Transformer Prime
  • Slightly overpriced in South Africa
The Verdict
★★★☆☆

The Transformer Prime is slightly dated, has some minor software issues and is just that little bit overpriced in the local market

R5,949.95
Buy Now

Asus EEE Pad [Review]

With the release of the first quad-core tablet, Asus has firmly established the Transformer Prime as the Android tablet to beat going into 2012. But the first release of its innovative EEE Pad Transformer Ranges with the optional keyboard dock still holds its own against many current tablet models. Read our review below to find out more.

Design & Features

What sets the EEE Pad apart from similarly priced Honeycomb tablets is its superior build and design. Whilst it continues the all-plastic approach we’ve come to expect from Android tablets – like the Samsung Galaxy Tab series – it feels and handles more like an iPad 2. It’s glossy, black and has a stylish strip of bronzed metal running around the side of the black bezel. The EEE Pad is quite slim at only 13mm, and comes with a curved back design that makes the tablet slightly easier to hold but does mean that it rocks to and fro when placed on a flat surface.

At a weight of 680g it is the heaviest tablet after the new iPad and we’ve found that one-handed use for extended periods to be somewhat strained. But of course that’s what the optional keyboard dock’s partly here for – to remedy the need to constantly keep your hands on the tablet to get it in an optimum position.

On the right edge are the 3.5mm headphone jack, miniHDMI slot, microSD slot and a very low-key speaker grille. There’s no standard USB on the tablet itself and data transfer is handled via a proprietary connector that doubles as both power point and USB connector. Whilst this does make the sides of the tablet appear more minimalist in design, we were not quite convinced by the merging of power and data transfer duties into a single proprietary connector.

Additional features include WiFi or 3G connectivity (depending on the model), GPS as well as dual cameras. A 1.2MP camera on the front, which is a little weak on the resolution side, with the rear facing camera offering a more decent 5MP. Pictures look ok when taken in steady, well lit conditions but video recording is not as great.

Hardware

The Asus Transformer runs on a speedy NVIDA Tegra 2 dual-core processor. Whilst obviously not as quick as its quad core counterpart found in the Transformer Prime, we found the 1GHz processor with 1 GB of RAM to handle most tasks quite efficiently.

The tablet comes in either 16GB or 32GB of on-board storage, which can be expanded via the microSD slots. The additional storage is quite useful, particularly as there is no 64GB version and space can become tight when loaded with lots of movies or pics.

Software

The Asus EEE Pad Transformer ships with Android 3.1 Honeycomb and comes preloaded with plenty of useful apps and features. Whilst you can always grab the apps you need from the Android Market, Asus does include some additional apps such as the ASUS Launcher, MyNet, MyLibrary, File Manager, MyCloud and PC Sync.

In additional, ASUS throws in a free 2GB account for its cloud based WebStorage service that comes in handy for storing extra files, music, videos and for general backup.

Display

Asus really did well to stretch the budget on this $399 tablet to include a gorgeous 10.1-inch IPS screen. And it does show – 1280 x 800 backlit WXGA LED monitor offers a beautiful, well saturated picture that maintained its vibrancy even when we tilted the tablet to test out ASUS’ promised 178-degree viewing angles.
The display on the Transformer is somewhat unconventional in that it is slightly broader when held horizontally in order to fit the length of the keyboard dock.


Conclusion

The EEE Pad Transformer was the best Honeycomb tablet when it was released and still holds its ground against many of the more recent tablet releases (such as the Xoom 2 for example). However, whilst it comes in at the all important sub $400 price tag in the US – the Transformer Prime is priced at almost R 6000 in South Africa. That price will probably include the keyboard dock as well – which is a great additional that really sets the Asus tablet family apart – however when considering you can get an iPad 2 for around the same, we do consider the EEE Pad Transformer to be slightly on the expensive side in South Africa.

If the price were to come down to reflect international pricing or should you purchase it overseas, then the Transformer provides decent value for money. But with additional releases of more budget versions of its flagship Transformer Prime, Asus should be offering more up-to-date models at lower price tags soon.

So the bottom lines is that the Transformer Prime is slightly dated, has some minor software issues and is just that little bit overpriced in the local market.

The Good
  • Offers good value for money at around R 5 000
  • Handy keyboard dock
  • High quality screen
The Bad
  • Slightly outdated with the release of the Transformer Prime
  • Slightly overpriced in South Africa
The Verdict
★★★☆☆

The Transformer Prime is slightly dated, has some minor software issues and is just that little bit overpriced in the local market

R5,949.95
Buy Now

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