Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101 Hands on Review

The nice people at Asus let us play with their Eee Pad Transformer TF101 tablet, and we were keen to discover if it was as good as it looks. In a world of iPad-a-likes Asus has come up with something completely different, and the result is really rather interesting.

Hardware

On its own the Transformer is a well-designed, well-made and well-specified Android Honeycomb tablet. It can't quite compete with the design flair and bomb-proof construction of an iPad, but it's close: we like the bronze-effect case, and the screen is gorgeous. A dual-core Tegra 2 processor provides more than enough horsepower, and 9-and-a-bit hours of battery life means it won't run out of puff when you're on the train.

What makes it different

The Transformer is a very good Android tablet, but its dock makes it something more special. It's near-full sized keyboard turns the Transformer into a netbook, and in a clever twist the dock has its own battery - so it can boost battery life to 16 hours. That's enough to fly from London to LA with battery life to spare. The dock includes twin USB ports and an SD card reader.

Does it deliver?

The hardware's great, and the only real flaws are minor: the unique design is a bit top-heavy, and as with other Honeycomb tablets the relative lack of available apps is frustrating.

In summary

If you're in the market for an Android tablet you really ought to look at this one. At £379 it's good value for money, but when you discover that the dock adds just £50 to the price the Transformer becomes much more tempting. It's not for everyone - you don't need the dock if the tablet's going to spend its entire life with you on the sofa, and Android's not as work-friendly as a full-fat Windows netbook would be - but if you need a tablet that can switch effortlessly from work to play then we think you'll like this one.

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