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?

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.

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.

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 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.

Other features

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 ThinkPad Tablet 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.

Battery life

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!

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World
Topics: google android tablets, ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet, Lenovo tablet, tablets

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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