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Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101: A Tablet In Disguise

Eee Pad Transformer: More Than Meets The Eye

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.

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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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Touchpad Mouse Cursor

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USB Mouse Cursor

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.

  • americanherosandwich
    If only some of them sold for $99... but a chance to win one of four for free = just plain awesomeness!
    Reply
  • compton
    Having recently tried the Transformer in person, I can say that it doesn't feel cheap and the novelty of the docking system could be awesome in future iterations. But as I recently found out with my $99 HP TouchPad, tablets have a long way to go in some areas. In the TouchPad's case, many of it's problems seem to go away when overclocking it's processor from 1.2Ghz to 1.8Ghz +. Of course, it's battery life is already less than compelling so you don't really notice the higher power usage. Like so much in life, better and faster hardware makes all the difference. Higher clock speed overcomes many of the problems HP could have ironed out had they given WebOS more time.

    The Transformer is a not-insignificant step forward for Android tablets. As an optimist, I believe the next iteration will be pretty damn good. But like the TouchPad, who knows how much longer it's going to be around?
    Reply
  • Dangerous Beans
    americanherosandwichIf only some of them sold for $99... but a chance to win one of four for free = just plain awesomeness!
    Yeah, if you are American. Hey Toms, how about you find some way to only display the comp if the reader is on an American IP address.
    Or better yet, find a way to let us enter.

    What is the point of a 32gb model when the tablets has a micro sd slot? I can get 2 32gb mSD cards for the extra $100 bucks.
    Reply
  • clonazepam
    I went to the verizon store to get help choosing some decent headphones for my bionic. While I waited for him to go in the back of the store and get a few models, I started playing pinball on the galaxy tab 10.1. When he came back there was that brief moment I couldn't decide to keep playing and ignore him, or set it down. win win here.
    Reply
  • clonazepam
    Dangerous BeansYeah, if you are American. Hey Toms, how about you find some way to only display the comp if the reader is on an American IP address. Or better yet, find a way to let us enter. What is the point of a 32gb model when the tablets has a micro sd slot? I can get 2 32gb mSD cards for the extra $100 bucks.
    They could do international possibly, if any international persons agreed to help pay shipping (I bet). A UK site I won't name allows international entries and lets them know up front they'd try to work with you on the shipping costs, etc.

    Wanted to add. I bought a transformer and dock for my mother. She's in her 60s and loves it. She takes it to work, to the coffee shop. I set it up for her, my first time with Android, and it definitely has its uses.
    Reply
  • Geef
    Well the first thing I think of when I'm looking at a tablet is NOT watching a movie in the park or playing around like most commercials show. I actually think of when I get up off the computer chair to head to the toilet. I don't read the newspaper here so where else am I gonna get my up to date info? Only bad thing I can think of for that is needing to wash hands and Tablet. :P
    Reply
  • ps3hacker12
    BTW WARNING ITS A US ONLY COMPETITION : (
    Reply
  • siege_templar
    i am so sad, i cant enter comp due to:
    under 18
    and i live in aus :(
    isnt tomshardware from germany?
    Reply
  • anonme
    On the other side of the screen argument it seems to be one of the few that does not need closed curtains.
    Heavens forbid, it sounds decent outdoors too thoug OLED is probably better.
    Reply
  • anonme
    On the other side of the screen argument it seems to be one of the few that does not need closed curtains.
    Heavens forbid, it sounds decent outdoors too thoug OLED is probably better.
    Reply