Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101 review

£380
Price when reviewed

At first glance the Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101 looks very similar to the Acer Iconia Tab W500. Both are 10.1in tablets that come with their own netbook-style keyboard dock, so you can tap away on the move or type at your desk. In practise, however, the two hybrids couldn’t be more different.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101

It’s all in the operating system. By using Android 3, the Transformer sidesteps Windows’ touch-related problems, and gives the full Honeycomb tablet interface that impressed us on the Motorola Xoom. It sports the same 1GHz Tegra 2 chip as the Xoom, but the Transformer feels a mite slicker and more responsive in use, suggesting there’s a bit of performance headroom these early devices are still trying to tap into.

Sure enough, the Transformer took two seconds to complete the SunSpider JavaScript test, three to load the BBC homepage and scored 2,041 in the Quadrant Android benchmark. The latter two of those results beat the Xoom, although it’s worth bearing in mind the same sticking points apply: the browser remains a tad juddery, YouTube HD clips aren’t totally smooth, and we experienced more than a few hangs and reboots during our tests.

It’s quite a long device, with a widescreen 1,280 x 800 display embedded within a drab brown (or if we’re being kind, bronze) chassis. A variety of buttons and ports adorn the edges, including Mini HDMI and a MicroSD slot, while the bottom has a proprietary power and docking connector. You get 802.11n Wi-Fi, but there’s no 3G version available yet.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101

The screen is the Transformer’s best feature. It’s an IPS panel that’s significantly brighter and punchier than the Xoom’s display, and the resolution also makes it sharp and clear. It’s slightly sunk from the bezel, which reduces viewing angles, but it’s a perfectly pleasant screen to look at for long periods. The speakers are fairly loud but don’t pack a great deal of bass.

There’s a 5-megapixel camera on the rear, which produced sharp images with generally good colours. However, we noted quite a bit of noise and chromatic aberration, so it’s a long way from a good smartphone camera. The less said about video the better – our 720p clip was captured at just 8fps.

Detail

Physical

Dimensions 271 x 13 x 171mm (WDH)
Weight 690g

Display

Primary keyboard On-screen
Screen size 10.1in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,280
Resolution screen vertical 800
Display type LED Multi-Touch
Panel technology IPS

Core specifications

CPU frequency, MHz 1,000MHz
Integrated memory 16.0GB
RAM capacity 1,000MB

Camera

Camera megapixel rating 5.0mp
Focus type Autofocus
Built-in flash? no
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Other

WiFi standard 802.11n
Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes
Accessories supplied Optional keyboard dock
Upstream USB ports 0
HDMI output? yes
Video/TV output? yes

Software

Mobile operating system Android 3

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