Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider
It’s likely Asus knows it has a winner on its hands — despite reports of poor sales — which is is why we have a new, budget-friendly version of the Prime.
The Transformer Pad is the newest tablet from Asus, and it has many of the same benefits as its more powerful older brother: a zippy NVIDIA processor, the latest and greatest version of Android (called Ice Cream Sandwich), and an optional keyboard dock that turns the tablet into a netbook.
The downside: the lower cost means lower quality materials. Unlike the heavy-duty metallic Transformer Prime, the Transformer Pad has a cheap-feeling plastic body. That’s kind of a bummer. Part of what made the Transformer Prime so great was it’s fantastic build quality.
But if you can get past the plastic, the Transformer Pad isn’t a bad choice for an Android tablet, especially at $379 for the 16 GB model. Keep reading for the full photo review.
On this side you can see the volume controls and an HDMI port. The HDMI port lets you play videos on your big screen TV.
There's also a SD card slot so you can add extra storage. (The base model comes with 16 GB of storage built in).
The speaker on the bottom left is louder than most tablets. That's good if you watch a lot of video without headphones.
The Transformer Pad runs the latest version of Android, called Ice Cream Sandwich. Here's what the lock screen looks like.
This control panel lets you switch on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and aeroplane mode. You can also view notifications.
The Transformer Pad comes with a lot of Asus-branded software. It's not attractive though. Here's a look at the Polaris Office app that lets you read and edit documents.
Asus gives you free access to its cloud storage service. It lets you sync files and documents between your tablet and computer.
The newest version of Android has updated apps for Google services like Gmail and Calendar. Here's the new Google Calendar app.
Unfortunately, developers have been slow to make tablet-friendly versions of their apps for Android. The Twitter app is just a stretched out version of the smartphone app.
You can get the new version of Google's Chrome browser on the Transformer Pad. It's the best browser available for Android.
Tap the multitasking button in the task bar to view all your open apps. You can tap to open one or swipe across to close it for good.
Here's a look at the Transformer Pad's screen next to the new iPad's. The iPad has much better resolution.
You can buy the laptop dock separately for $149. It turns your tablet into an Android-powered netbook.
Here's the charger port for the Keyboard dock. The dock has its own battery and can extend the tablet's battery life to up to 15 hours.
The keyboard also has some Android-specific keys like the lock button on the top right. This wakes your tablet up from sleep mode.
When you dock your tablet to the keyboard, you'll get a mouse cursor just like any other netbook. The controls are very responsive.
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