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Eee Pad Transformer: More Than Meets The Eye

Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101: A Tablet In Disguise
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The real hotness tied to the Eee Pad Transformer comes from its docking station. Unlike other tablets, docking the Transformer essentially turns it into a notebook. Because the security tabs that lock the Transformer in place are located on a hinge, you can even adjust the screen. As a result, you're able to close the display lid, just as you would on a notebook. Unfortunately, you also have to spend another $150 because Asus sells the docking station as a separate accessory.

You may not realize it at first, but the docking station also extends battery life; there's a supplemental battery pack located underneath the keyboard. How much longer you're able to stay away from the wall depends on the workload. In general, though, expect to roughly double battery life.

Bear in mind that the battery gauge in Android only reflects the amount of life left in the tablet. It doesn't take into account supplementary power in the docking station (the Transformer treats the docking station's battery pack more like an uninterruptible power supply).

If the Transformer and docking station are both 50% charged, you're not going to get as much run time as you would with the Transformer on its own at 100%. Once you dock, the Transformer uses whatever power is left in the docking station to charge its own battery. For that reason, road warriors should stay docked as much as possible.

While battery life is a major bonus, the USB ports on the docking station also go a long way to expand your storage possibilities. The Transformer recognizes any storage device formatted using FAT32 and Asus provides a native app for file management, so there's no need to hunt down OI File Manager (a necessity for the A500).

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If you're using the docking station, we highly recommend a USB mouse. The touchpad on the docking station displays a circular cursor, which just feels weird. It takes up a lot of space on the screen, so we're never quite sure if we're actually clicking the location we want. Once you plug in a USB mouse, you get a familiar arrow cursor.

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