ASUS Transformer (TF101) Tegra 2 Tablet and Keyboard Dock Review
The ASUS Transformer (TF101)
The Transformer has a 10.1" (1280×800), LED Backlight, 10 finger multi-touch, scratch resistant glass screen. It’s an IPS display, meaning that we get accurate colour and good viewing angles. With a density of 160 pixels per inch and 178° viewing angle this is certainly evident from the moment we turn it on.
The rear of the tablet features the ASUS logo and a sturdy plastic textured surface.
The screen is surrounded by a black bezel and that is ringed by same cross hatched brown plastic as the rest of the Transformer. The thickness of the bezel makes the screen feel a little smaller than it actually is, but it does provide a place to clasp the tablet and it neatly frames the display. At the top, in the centre of the black bezel is the 1.2 megapixel front Camera with the adjacent microphone hole. Also sharing the front bezel trim are the Transformer’s stereo speakers. These are coupled with 3.5mm headphone/microphone jack located on the right-hand bezel and also present are the HDMI 1.3a port for high-definition output including 5.1 audio, and a microSD card slot.
The left-hand bezel is home to the power button, volume rocker switch and on selected models, (not the reviewed model) a SIM card slot. The SIM card compartment allows insertion of a mobile SIM card for 3G functions.
The Transformer’s bottom edge has a 50-pin connector and two docking connectors. This is used to charge the tablet, connect to a PC for data transmission and dock with the keyboard.
On the back of the Transformer is the 5 megapixel rear Camera.
Asus EeePad Transformer TF101 gets its name from its distinctive optional extra, the keyboard which also contains a second battery for added time away from the charger. Described in the manufacture’s literature as a mobile dock it shares the same colouring and styling as the tablet itself, though there are four rubber feet on the back to stop it slipping on our desk.
ASUS use a Chiclet QWERTY keyboard with touchpad and single bar mouse button. The size of the single bar button means that we had no problem with differentiating between left and right clicks. Generally in the OS left click makes a selection and right click serve as a back button.
As well as the QWERTY setup, the keyboard has a full number row, arrow keys, home, search, menu, spacebar and a top row of functionality keys. The function keys are:
Back, Wi-Fi toggle, Bluetooth toggle, Trackpad toggle, Display brightness up, Display brightness down, Auto brightness, Screen shot, Browser, Settings, Skip back, Play/pause, Skip forward, Mute, Volume down, Volume up and Lock/screen off.
The 50-pin connector on the bottom edge of the tablet connects to the middle of the hinge and once the adjacent docking connectors are it in place the tablet and keyboard are one. A large locking switch is present on the left-hand side of the hinge to prevent accidental separation. Additionally the hinge is stiff, bulky and sticks out from the back of the newly created laptop. This only adds to the feeling that it is one durable device.
At the left-hand edge of the keyboard is a 50-pin connector, capable of the same charging and PC Sync functions as the 50-pin connector on the tablet. Adjacent to it is a power LED indicator light and further along the same side a USB 2.0 port. On the right-hand edge of the keyboard is an MMC, SD and SDHC card slot along with second USB 2.0 port.
In terms of other measurements the Transformer is 271x171x12.98 mm, the tablet weighs 680g, the keyboard 655g giving it a combined weight of 1335g.