The Asus Eee PC Transformer is one of the most innovative tablets currently on the market, doing it's best to replace your laptop as well as offer a small and lightweight tablet for movies and checking out the web. With the compact keyboard attached, it looks just like a laptop, is considerably more useful than other tablets, and is packed with features.
By far the best bit about the Eee Pad Transformer is the design. If you don't have the keyboard attached, you'd never know it was different from any other tablet. When you do hook up the keyboard, it looks like any other mini laptop, save for a slightly bulkier but incredibly tough aluminium hinge that also acts as the dock.
The keyboard is excellent considering the compact size, with the palm rest and keyboard surround made out of metal, and a textured plastic back – just like the tablet itself. All-in-all, the design works perfectly – either as a stand-alone tablet, or as a compact laptop.
The screen on the Transformer is a cracker, proving incredibly bright, sharp and easy to see even in direct sunlight. Perfect for a life on the road, in fact. You can use the touchpad to navigate the Android OS when the tablet is docked, or you can stick to using the touchscreen. It’s all simple, although using Android on a device that looks like a laptop feels a bit alien at first.
Although the Eee Pad Transformer is one of our favourite tablets to date, it's not without issues. The Android operating system is arguably the biggest glitch – it's good, but it's not as impressive as the iOS operating system found on the iPad 2. At times, it can be unintuitive to use, and still feels better suited to smartphones than tablets.
That said, although some features weren't where we expected them to be – there's no hardware menu button on the Transformer, for instance (something we've got used to on most smartphones) – it's a speedy device in day-to-day use, and we've got no issues with the performance.
The bottom line
The Transformer is the perfect tablet for more than one type of user. It's great if you're just looking for a well made gadget, for example, as it's small, robust and packed with features. If you're yet to be convinced by tablets, however, the Transformer is even better.
With the keyboard attached, it really is a close run thing between the Transformer and the current crop of CULV laptops. Sure, the Android OS isn't quite so versatile, but it's perfect for web browsing, emailing and basic office tasks. When you just want to watch a movie or read an eBook, you can then just take the screen off and take it out and about with you. All-in-all, we love it.