As the tablet with the most units shipped to date next to the iPad according to DigiTimes, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer is emerging as the sleeper hit in the tablet market so far. Now, the coveted Transformer and detachable docking station are now available at your local Office Depot and on OfficeDepot.com.
The Honeycomb-running Transformer packs some of the most up-to-date technologies in tablets with a Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core CPU, 1GB RAM, 10.1" IPS multi-touch display at 1280x800 resolution with viewable angles up to 178 degrees, and protected by Gorilla glass. It also has a 1.2-megapixel front- and a 5-megapixel rear camera that can record video, SRS surround sound, mic and stereo speakers, Flash, as well as a mini HDMI port, sensors like GPS and Gyroscope, which means the 0.5" thick slate can handle everything from games to movies. It only supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity though so no need for a data plan, and comes in two sizes: 16 GB and 32 GB.
That said, the docking station for the Transformer is equipped with a SD Card slot so the storage capacity of the slate is expandable up to an extra 32 GB. Other reasons the dock is also in short supply: it comes with a full-sized keyboard, multi-touch touchpad, 2 USB 2.0 ports, and can extend the Transformer's nine hour battery life up to 16 hours with the devices are connected. Its flexible design means you won't have to budget for a number peripherals when you want your tablet to double as a laptop, and when you don't need the laptop-like functions, simply detach the Transformer from the dock.
The best part about the convertible tablet-laptop combo from Asus is the relatively low prices for this category. The 16 GB Transformer will only set you back $399; even factoring in the $150 docking station, the combo only costs $50 more than the 16 GB iPad 2 Wi-Fi ($499) but with significantly more functionality. For a hundred dollars more, the 32 GB Asus slate can be had, whereas the 32 GB iPad 2 Wi-Fi is $599.
When I got the chance to briefly play with the Transformer at PepCom in New York City, it felt like a solid machine with a sophisticated, metallic finish. It certainly didn't feel as delicate as the ultra-light Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 4G, which is a good thing for those who need to travel with their slates.
Let me know how you like the Transformer after playing with one at an Office Depot near you. Is it everything you thought it would be?
- CNET Review: Asus Eee Pad Transformer (16GB, Wi-Fi)
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