The Asus Eee Pad Transformer will be officially arriving to the U.S. on April 26. Priced at $399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model, the Honeycomb tablet is one of the first to offer a 10.1-inch display while also meaningfully undercutting Apple's $499 price for the iPad 2 -- not the mention the Motorola Xoom, which starts at $599. That alone may be enough to make it worth considering if you are looking for an Android tablet, but spec-wise the Eee Pad is no slouch either.
It has a 10-inch 1280×800 IPS Gorilla Glass capacitive touchscreen display, a 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 5MP rear and 1.2MP front cameras, a Micro SD expansion slot and HDMI out. You'll also find speakers and audio jacks, USB 2.0, 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity, as well as a G-sensor, light sensor, gyroscope, e-compass, and Asus' "Waveshare" interface to stream media, buy books and access cloud storage.
However, the real differentiator is that the Eee Pad Transformer comes accompanied by an optional chiclet-style keyboard dock that essentially transforms the device into a netbook. Besides making the device much more convenient to type on and handle productivity tasks, it also extends battery from around 9.5 hours to 16 hours.
The dock will add an extra $150 to the cost, though, meaning the cheapest you could walk away for the whole part tablet and part Android netbook experience is $550. It may not be as powerful as a full-fledged notebook but it'll be interesting to see if the form factor catches on and how it will affect the netbook/ultra portable laptop market in the next few years.
AnandTech has posted a review
of the tablet. A 32GB version of the Transformer will also be available for $499, and a 3G version will be released later this summer. Acer is also offering an aggressively priced tablet of its own; the 10.1-inch Iconia Tab A500 recently went on sale at Best Buy for $450
and sports comparative specs all around.