Tablets Guide

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer review

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer - It's Morphing Time

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Features - Part I

Powered-Up Transformer

And if you think the Transformer is scoring points just as a tablet, think again. It has the one thing that differentiates it from the common tablet - a unique keyboard dock that also acts as a secondary battery. In doing so, the Transformer gets a battery life boost of up to nearly twice its original specifications.

The Transformer's keyboard dock is considerably secure, thanks to two latches that hooks onto two grooves found on the bottom of the tablet. The slider switch, which locks the tablet to the dock, doesn't come with the most intuitive design. Nonetheless, once it's secured, the two components look to be of a single entity, much like a netbook.

Due to the thin profile of the tablet component, it's nearly impossible to include a full-sized USB port on the Transformer. Fortunately, the keyboard dock takes care of that shortfall with not one, but two such ports located on both sides and protected by a plastic cover. The inclusion of these USB ports makes it possible to add expandable storage in the form of a thumb drive, or even attaching a USB mouse to enhance its overall usability. And if you need more storage space beyond the microSD slot on the tablet or the USB ports, there's also a SD slot to increase the overall capacity.

Honestly, we preferred to use a mouse over the track pad. While it does suffice for the usual web surfing, the track pad can be a challenge for more precise operations such as document editing. That aside, the keyboard does have the right tactile feedback, and we experienced minimal errors in our typing test. Its overall design emulates what we see on a notebook keyboard, with a few modifications to its function keys. Similarities are obvious with a dedicated function key to deactivate the track pad, while new additions such as a camera and auto brightness shortcut are added to fit the Android experience.

With both the tablet and dock secured, what impressed us further was how befitting the Transformer name is to this ASUS tablet. From a tablet, the Transformer literally morphs into a netbook that's powered by the Google Android 3.2 OS, an update that we'll be exploring further in the next page.