ASUS Eee Pad Transformer vs Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet: Tablet showdown

Which is the better Android tablet: ASUS's Eee Pad Transformer, or Lenovo's ThinkPad Tablet?

It seems a new Android tablet is launched or announced almost every week, however most of them are very similar. Two products that are at least trying to offer something different are the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet. Both tablets attempt to add some variety to the market by the availability of an optional keyboard dock that adds extra functionality, along with a few other key features that may endear them to business users rather than consumers.

Read our comprehensive ASUS Eee Pad Transformer review, along with our detailed Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet preview.

The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet share a 10.1in sized touchscreen, run almost identical software and have similar ports and features. With this in mind, how does the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer compare to the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet when it comes to specifications?

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer vs Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet: Specifications

Feature ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet Verdict
Display size 10.1in 10.1in Draw
Display technology Capacitive IPS Capacitive IPS Draw
Display resolution 1280x800 pixels 1280x800 pixels Draw
Multitouch Yes Yes Draw
Front camera 1.2 megapixels 2 megapixels ThinkPad Tablet
Rear camera 5 megapixels, no flash, autofocus, geotagging 5 megapixels, no flash, autofocus, geotagging Draw
Video recording Yes, 720p HD Yes, 720p HD Draw
GPS Yes Yes Draw
Internal memory 16GB or 32GB 16GB or 32GB Draw
Expandable memory microSD (full sized SD on dock) Full sized SD ThinkPad Tablet
Dimensions 271 x 171 x 13mm 260.4 x 181.7 x 14mm Eee Pad Transformer
Weight 680g 715g (730g with 3G) Eee Pad Transformer
Processor NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core (1GHz) NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core (1GHz) Draw
RAM 1GB 1GB Draw
3G Wi-Fi only models Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + 3G models ThinkPad Tablet
Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP 2.1 with A2DP Draw
HDMI-out Yes, mini HDMI Yes, mini HDMI Draw
USB port Only on keyboard dock (two full size) Yes, full size Draw
Quoted battery life Up to 9 hours Up to 8 hours Eee Pad Transformer
Adobe Flash support Yes Yes Draw

Software and performance

The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet both run the same software, so the end user experience will be almost identical. The Eee Pad Transformer originally shipped with the 3.0 version of Google's "Honeycomb" version of Android but is currently in the process of being updated to the latest 3.1 version of Google's "Honeycomb" version of Android. The Eee Pad Transformer received the 3.1 software update over-the-air during our review period. The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet on the other hand will ship with 3.1 as standard. Android 3.1 brings improved UI transitions, an expandable and scrollable recent apps menu, and resizable home screen widgets, along with improvements to the standard Web browser, calendar, e-mail and gallery apps.

The software on both the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is largely a 'vanilla' version of the Honeycomb OS, though ASUS includes its Waveshare UI on the Eee Pad Transformer. Additions include a file manager, a MyCloud storage app, a MyLibrary books app, and a MyNet app for streaming multimedia content via DLNA. The MyCloud app offers one year of unlimited cloud storage. ASUS also includes handy e-mail, clock and weather widgets, though we found these made scrolling through home screens sluggish and choppy.

By comparison, Lenovo includes its "Launch Zone" software on the ThinkPad tablet, which is basically a fancy name for its UI overlay. The software includes five customisable zones for reading, listening watching, e-mail and the Web. Lenovo will also include 2GB of free cloud storage with every ThinkPad Tablet sold.

Design

As a standalone device, the Eee Pad Transformer has textured plastic on the rear which makes it easy to grip. However, the plastic does exhibit a bit of flex when pressed, and the bezel surrounding the display seems a little large. At 271mm in length, the Eee Pad Transformer is a pretty large device. Weighing 680g, it's heavier than the upcoming, featherweight Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v, but lighter than the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet. The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer obviously gets its name from the optional keyboard dock, but the tablet can be purchased without the keyboard dock for $599 in Australia.

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer's keyboard dock has two full-sized USB ports, an SD card slot and a trackpad, as well as its own built-in battery. ASUS says the battery offers an additional six and half hours of use.

Tags google android tabletsASUS Eee Pad TransformerLenovo ThinkPad TabletLenovo tablettablets

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World

15 Comments

legacy

2

The Thinkpad Tablet is currently prices at $509 for 16GB Wi-Fi only with the pen.

farwest

3

Asus just announced they'll update to Android 3.2 OTA tomorrow (July 28).

You neglected to mention that with the dock, the Transformer has around 16 hr battery life (there is a battery inside the keyboard dock). And when the dock is attached, it looks like a clamshell laptop, so no need for a case if you don't want one.

As for width, I prefer the wider bezel as it gives a place for your fingers to rest w/out touching the screen. And wider width allows a near full size keyboard to attach in an attractive package, so is a win-win from my fat fingered perspective.

You also failed to mention that the Transformer has a big cost advantage right out of the gate - for nearly identical specs, it is $100 cheaper.

But in reality, the two tablets are targeting much different audiences. Lenovo is for business only and has more robust design (ie heavier) and better security (or so they claim). That said, the Transformer remains the cream of the Android tablets, and at the best price point - and why it is the leading seller despite almost no advertising and limited availability due to unexpectedly high demand.

Jeff Tyler

4

Both tablets look good but I've yet to see either run MS Office products and, if so, run them smoothly. If either the Ausus or the Lenovo tablet overcome this impedement, I'll be the first in line.

jhon a.

5

on the expandable memory available on both, how can the Transformer lose when it has a micro SD slot in the slate and a full-sized SD slot in its keyboard dock?

bobby ray

6

RE: jhon a.

The thinkpad tablet comes with all that in the acctual tablet.
I dont think its fair to compare the TF with the dock, vs the Thinkpad without one.
The comparison is between tablets, not accessories.

Also, the Thinkpad comes with gorilla glass, while the TF does not.

The only disadvantage I see with the Thinkpad, is the ugly buttons. I dont see why they didnt just leave them out and cover the whole thing with gorrilla glass.

The buttons will most likely be accedently pressed, and be more of a neusance than an utility.

Brian Collins

7

Uh... you failed to mention that the Thinkpad tablet has an ACTIVE DIGITIZER screen + optional stylus pen, and the Asus does not.

Seriously though... have you researched the Thinkpad at all? Did you even look at the Thinkpad tablet picture you have up? It's got a PEN in it!

I think that is a big enough feature that will draw one crowd to the Thinkpad who would not consider the Asus.

Ross Catanzariti

Staff

8

If you read the whole article, I HAVE made mention of the digitiser pen.

Jake Lockley

9

The Thinkpad K1 also functions more like a real computer - there's VPN support, anti-virus support, real doc (MS Office) support (editing and viewing), wireless printer sharing, and an actual file explorer - unlike the other tablets which just run apps.

Fred

10

The Asus has Gorilla Glass. Also the Asus has the full version of Polaris Office to view, edit or create MS Office files (Word, Excel, Powerpoint. Asus has committed (released in Italy) a 3G unit. The Lenovo beats the Asus with the USB and mirco USB ports on the tablet. But as an owner of an Asus I love the dock with the extended battery.

Joseph Johnson

11

I think you couldn't go wrong with either one. The thing that draws me to the Thinkpad is the pressure sensitive digitizer pen. I have a Thinkpad PC Tablet (x201) and I love it, but its a little bulky. I am an artist at heart so I really like being able to draw on a screen, but I need a keyboard to justify doing the office work that I need for school and work. If the new Transformer included a stylus, well I would ask, where, when and how much? ;)

Just for the naysayers, I'm aware that there are many styli for the iPad and other tablets but they are not natively supported (aside from the HTC tablets)and they are not pressure sensitive (which is the only way you draw anything! Otherwise it will probably look like it was made in MS paint ;)

Fred

12

Just a note on pricing up here (in Canada). the Asus Tablet sells for $399 CDN the Dock normally $150. As a package $499 (16GB unit). With our sales tax total comes in at about $550 AUD. A bargain in my opinion, and it would seem that this aggressive pricing has forced others (ie Toshiba, Acer) to lower the prices on their products.

Larry

13

Where can I actually touch and feel/ tryout the Lenovo? I am wary of buying something unsighted that is only available on the Lenovo web site.

RIDIKULUSREVIEW

14

ITS INCREDIBLE HOW THIS COMPARISON FAILS TO NOTE ONE MAIN DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE TWO TABLETS. LENOVO HASS NTRIG BASED DIGITIZER SO YOU CAN ACTUALLY WRITE ON IT USING A DIGITIZER PEN.NO OTHER 10 INCH TABLET HAS THAT FORM OF INPUT. THAT ALONE BLOWS ASUS OUT OF THE WATER

JustANote

15

The thinkpad is more expensive than the ASUS tablet with keyboard in Canada. I think the transformer wins that one. And if anyone has actually watched a video of the digitizer and pen you will know that writing on it seems to take a bit of a long time: especially because they were writing one word at a time. I still really like the thinkpad, but for the price of almost the exact same product save the pen and software for writing recognition it's kind of a rip off... especially cause the pen is optional and you have to pay even more for that option. Also, how many people use SD cards regularly? I mean it's nice to have, and it might be just me (so i apologize), but i use them every once in a very blue moon.
I guess it just depends on how highly you value certain attributes.
Bottom line: I think it's a bit of a draw depending on what you like to see in a tablet.

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