First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
ASUS Eee Pad Transformer vs Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet: Tablet showdown
- — 27 July, 2011 14:52
The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet possesses a thick design that intends to mirror the Lenovo's ThinkPad range of business notebooks. Weighing 715g, it's heavier than both the iPad 2, and the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer. The ThinkPad Tablet has square, sharp edges, and physical shortcut keys below the display.
The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet share virtually identical software, and they also have very similar, capacitive touchscreen displays. Both tablets have an IPS screen that is 10.1in in size, with a resolution of 1280x800.
The Eee Pad Transformer's display produces vibrant colour and crisp text indoors, but its glossy surface makes it very tough to see in direct sunlight, and its viewing angles aren't great. The glossy surface doesn't always feel smooth to swipe your finger across, though the display itself is responsive to touch when in use.
We are yet to get our hands on the ThinkPad Tablet to judge its display, but it is likely to perform very similar to the Eee Pad Transformer. Being a business tablet, we'd love to see a matte screen on the ThinkPad Tablet, which would make it much easier to view in direct sunlight.
The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet has a thick design that intends to mirror the Lenovo's ThinkPad range of business notebooks. It has square, sharp edges, and physical shortcut keys below its display.
Internals and cameras
The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet have near identical internals. Both tablets are powered by a 1GHz dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, both have a hefty 1GB of RAM, and both have at least 16GB of internal memory. Both tablets also come in 32GB models.
If you're looking for a tablet to store a hefty amount of digital media on, then both the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet are ideal. They have a full sized SD card slot that can support cards of up to 128GB in size — much more than the current 32GB limit of the microSD card slot in most other Android tablets. However, the Eee Pad Transformer's SD card slot is only available on the optional dock connector, and not on the actual tablet itself.
The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet both have a 5-megapixel rear camera for photographs, which can record 720p HD video. However, the ThinkPad Tablet has a 2-megapixel front camera that slightly betters the 1.2-megapixel front snapper on the Eee Pad Transformer.
Both the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet include a full USB port for transferring and storing files. This means you can plug in a USB thumb drive to quickly access your files. However, the Eee Pad Transformer only has a full USB port if you purchase the optional keyboard dock accessory — ASUS bundles this with the device for $799 in Australia.
Along with a USB port, both the Eee Pad Transformer and the ASUS ThinkPad Tablet have mini-HDMI out ports, so they can be plugged directly into a high-definition television with the right cable.
Perhaps the best feature of the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is its optional keyboard portfolio carry case, which will sell as a separate accessory for $89. Much like the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, the portfolio case turns the ThinkPad Tablet into a notebook-style device with full, physical keyboard. Unlike the Transformer, the accessory doesn't have its own battery, but it does double as a proper protective case, and has an optical trackpad.
The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet also comes standard with a digitiser pen that allows users to take notes straight onto the screen. The digitiser pen supports handwritten text entry, document mark-up and drawing.
Lenovo will sell an optional keyboard portfolio carry case for $89, while the ThinkPad Tablet also comes standard with a digitiser pen that allows users to take notes straight onto the screen.
The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet will come in Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + 3G models, but the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer is a Wi-Fi-only tablet. ASUS is expected to release Wi-Fi + 3G variants of the Eee Pad Transformer at a later, unannounced date.
ASUS promises 9 hours of video playback on the Eee Pad Transformer, but has an ace up its sleeve with the keyboard dock. This has its own, separate battery that ASUS says offers an additional six and half hours of use. If both the tablet and the keyboard dock batteries are fully charged, the Eee Pad Transformer draws power from the keyboard dock first in order to preserve power for tablet-only use. By comparison, Lenovo promises 8 hours of video playback on the ThinkPad Tablet.
Disappointingly, the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer does not charge through a USB connection. The upside to this is that use of a different port will charge the tablet much faster that a USB connection can. It is not yet known if the ThinkPad Tablet charges via its regular micro-USB connection, or the proprietary connector, or both.
Pricing and availability
The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer is available now through retailers Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi. It costs $599 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model, and $799 for the 32GB Wi-Fi model with optional keyboard dock included. The keyboard dock accessory sells for $199 on its own.
The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet will come in Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + 3G options in 16GB and 32GB sizes, though the 32GB model is only available with 3G. Pricing starts at $599 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model, and $729 for the 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G model. The 32GB Wi-Fi + 3G model will sell for $839. The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet will be available to order online in August, but will officially release in Australia in September.
What do you think about the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet? Let us know in the comments below!