ASUS Eee Pad Transformer vs Acer Iconia A500: Tablet showdown

Which is the best Android tablet: ASUS's Eee Pad Transformer, or Acer's Iconia A500?

Acer's Iconia A500 has a brushed aluminium back, curved bottom and top edges, and flat sides. It's a rather heavy device that tips the scales at 730g and it can take some getting used to the extra weight. Acer will be hoping that potential buyers will be happy sacrificing a little size and weight for some extra features — while we think many people will be happy to do so, we still have our reservations about carrying the Iconia A500 around all day. On the upside, the Acer Iconia A500 feels sturdy and well built.

Display

The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and Acer Iconia A500 share virtually identical software, and they also have very similar, capacitive touchscreen displays. Both tablets have a 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.

By comparison, the Iconia A500's display also produces vibrant colour and crisp text indoors, but its glossy surface again makes it very tough to see in direct sunlight, and its viewing angles aren't great. Importantly, the Iconia A500's display is responsive to touch.

Internals and cameras

The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the Acer Iconia A500 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, with 32GB models also available.

If you're looking for a tablet to store a hefty amount of digital media on, then the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer's full sized SD card may be a critical factor to consider. Although its only available on the optional dock connector, the full-sized SD card slot can support cards of up to 128GB in size — much more than the current 32GB limit of the microSD card slot in the Acer Iconia A500.

The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the Acer Iconia A500 both have a 5-megapixel rear camera for photographs, while both tablets can record 720p HD video. However, the Iconia A500 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 Acer Iconia A500 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.

The Acer Iconia A500 doesn't come preloaded with a file manager but a free download of one from the Android Market makes it easy to access files on the USB port. The Eee Pad Transformer includes a relatively straightforward file manager. Even more convenient is the fact that you can plug in a USB keyboard into both devices and use it for text input, though the keyboard dock obviously negates this issue on the Eee Pad Transformer.

Along with a USB port, both the Eee Pad Transformer and the ASUS Iconia A500 have HDMI out ports, so they can be plugged directly into a high-definition television with the right cable.

Both the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the Acer Iconia A500 are Wi-Fi only devices, but both companies are expected to release Wi-Fi + 3G variants 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. Acer promises 10 hours of video playback on the Iconia A500.

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. The Iconia A500 charges via a regular micro-USB connection, which although more convenient, is slower.

Pricing and availability

The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer is available 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 Acer Iconia A500 is available starting at $579 for the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi model, and $678 for the 32GB Wi-Fi model, and is sold through major Australian retail outlets including Harvey Norman.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World

11 Comments

aajat

1

What the hell Toshiba is doing in this comparision, please correct it , its Asus Vs Acer not toshibe :)

Display technology Capacitive IPS Capacitive TFT Toshiba Tablet

LeChuck

2

The initial comparison chart is not fair... the full usb and the SD card slot are only present on the Transformer if you buy the separate $150 dock... so I would give Iconia 500 the win for the USB and draw for the memory slot.

Apart of this, I think I've read somewhere that the memory on Iconia is DDR2, faster than the one that the transformer has... but I can't confir this... is that's right, its a win for the Iconia too...

simon

3

+1 LeChuck. The Asus is a competitor ONLY IF you shell out for the dock. The Acer is a tab for people who actually DO STUFF with it, instead of just wanting something light to show off at a coffee shop. full size USB port means you can: use a hub, use 3g from a phone or dongle, have basically unlimited storage, not have to shell out for bluetooth keyboard or mouse, or any of the billion other things usb devices do...

Davide

4

Does anyone know if is possible connect external HD, wd passport 500GB to the mini usb port on the Asus? thanks

Sean

5

@simon - "The Acer is a tab for people who actually DO STUFF with it..."

That reads like a Radio Shack commercial.

Adam

6

Totally incorrect comparison... how can it be a draw if the eeePad Transformer doesn't have USB ports on the unit itself whereas the Iconia does?

Go back and re-do the review... compare like-for-like next time.

Frank

7

My experience with the Iconia A500 has been amazing so far. I have been using this more than my laptop. With the USb I have been able to work with my files on the go. Also I have been able to hookup an external HD and transfer files. I am still going to get the Transformer 2 when it hits the market.

Manuel

8

I'm deciding between Iconia an Asus tablets, I'm in pro for the Iconia because of the USB port, I already have an old Archos 10.1 and I can't imagine a tablet without USB ports, but my doubt is about the LCD screen on the iconia vs the LED screen of the Asus? what about it?

The screen of my archos tablet has a TFT LCD and it really sucks!!! the viewing angle is very limited and and the light reflecting over the screen. Is there a relevant difference about the screen between the Asus and Iconia tablets?

gary

9

I guess I was luck I got an Acer 500a tablet that has never crashed,connects to a wifii a block away and I can't live without the USB port

ian.lws

10

Iam thinking of byeing a A500 Iconia will i be doing the right thing? HELP!!!!!!!

made

11

Yang mana satu nak pilih nie?. Harga tidak menjadi masalah.

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?