ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF101 Tablet ReviewTue, Sep 27, 2011 - 12:00 AM
ASUS Transformer External Thoughts
The ASUS Transformer is powered by the NVIDIA Tegra 2 1GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM. The official model number for the NVIDIA Tegra 2 chip is ‘Tegra 250 T20′ which uses a 40nm design process and is based on the ARMv7 CPU instruction set. It features a 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU combined with the GeForce ULP (Ultra Low Power). The 1GB of system memory is a single-channel LPDDR2 DDR2 667MHz memory module. This is pretty much identical to what the Motorola Xoom and some of the other notebooks on the market run, so it’s a tried and true platform.
For network support the ASUS Transformer has Wireless LAN 802.11b/g/n connectivity. There’s also Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR support for those that want to use Bluetooth mice or keyboards without needing to use a USB dongle. The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer features a number of sensors internally such as a G-Sensor, Light Sensor, Gyroscope, E-Compass and GPS. Let’s take a look around the Transformer and see what the external features are.
In terms of screen size the ASUS Transformer boasts a 10.1-inch display with 1280×800 (WXGA) screen resolution. This means that the Transformer uses a proper 16:9 aspect ratio for widescreen video viewing rather than the slightly awkward 1024×768 size that Apple uses on the iPad 2. The screen does support 10 finger multi-touch and the contrast and brightness are impressive thanks to the use of an In-Plane Switching (IPS) LED-backlit LED display. IPS gives the Transformer an impressive wide viewing-angle of up to 178 degrees. The dimensions of the ASUS Transformer are 271 x 176 x 12.98 mm and it weighs in at 680g. This makes it a little bigger than the Apple iPad 2 (241x186x8.8mm), the Motorola Xoom (249x168x12.9mm) and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 (257x173x8.6mm). The only other physical feature we wanted to mention on the front was the foward facing 1.2 megapixel camera that is located along the top edge of the tablet.
The ASUS Transformer also uses Gorilla Glass by Corning, so you shouldn’t have to worry about scratches that much. ASUS made a great video about how durable and resilient the display glass is on the transformer, so check it out above.
Most tablets feature a flat surface on the back and are finished with just one color, but ASUS wanted this tablet to stand out from the crowd and designed it to be ascetically pleasing. The Eee Pad Transformer has a brown colored finish to it that ASUS calls Espresso. The backside of the tablet, as well as the underside of the dock, both also feature a geometric star pattern that give it a neat look and also help with grip. Along the top edge of the backside is the 5 megapixel rear facing camera that should be used when taking pictures and video clips. Notice that there is no flash on the transformer. ASUS rates the battery life on the transformer at 9.5 hours and specifies that it uses a 24.4Wh Li-Polymer battery.
The side panel of the tablet has both the power button and volume control located along the top edge. At first this feels like an awkward place, but you quickly get used to it.
The built-in stereo speakers for the ASUS Transformer are located on the lower left and right outer edges and get the job done. We found that they don’t get as loud as the Motorola Xoom speakers though and their location means that they could get covered up if you are holding the tablet by the lower sides.
On the right side, you have the headphone, microphone, miniHDMI, microSD port, and the right speaker.The mini-HDMI 1.3a port means that you can connect the Transformer to a HDTV and a 5.1 surround sound system if you wanted to view your videos and images on a larger screen.
The proprietary 40-pin connector is located on the middle of the bottom of the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and it serves three functions. With the included proprietary cable provided by ASUS, you can charge the tablet or sync the tablet to a computer. If you purchase the optional docking station this connector servers pass-through connector that lets the Transformer function as a notebook. The two slots located on both sites of the ASUS connector are where the latches for the docking station latch to secure the tablet to the dock.
Speaking of the dock, let’s take a closer look at the dock!