Two of the latest Android "Honeycomb" tablets to hit the Australian market are the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the unimaginatively named Toshiba Tablet (otherwise known as the AT100 in Australia, and the Toshiba Thrive in other markets). Both tablets attempt to add some variety to the market — the Eee Pad Transformer is bundled with an optional keyboard dock that adds extra functionality, and the Toshiba Tablet boasts a full sized HDMI port, a full sized SD card slot, and a removable battery.
Both available now through major Australian retailers, the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the Toshiba 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 Toshiba Tablet when it comes to specifications?
ASUS Eee Pad Transformer vs Toshiba Tablet: Specifications
|Feature||ASUS Eee Pad Transformer||Toshiba Tablet (AT100)||Verdict|
|Display technology||Capacitive IPS||Capacitive IPS||Draw|
|Display resolution||1280x800 pixels||1280x800 pixels||Draw|
|Front camera||1.2 megapixels||2 megapixels||Toshiba Tablet|
|Rear camera||5 megapixels, no flash, autofocus, geotagging||5 megapixels, no flash, autofocus, geotagging||Draw|
|Video recording||Yes, 720p HD||Yes, standard definition||Eee Pad Transformer||GPS||Yes||Yes||Draw|
|Internal memory||16GB or 32GB||16GB||Eee Pad Transformer|
|Expandable memory||microSD (full sized SD on dock)||Full sized SD||Toshiba Tablet|
|Dimensions||271 x 171 x 13mm||272 x 175 x 15mm||Eee Pad Transformer|
|Weight||680g||771g||Eee Pad Transformer|
|Processor||NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core (1GHz)||NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core (1GHz)||Draw|
|3G networks||Wi-Fi only||Wi-Fi only||Draw|
|Bluetooth||2.1 with A2DP||3.0 with A2DP||Toshiba Tablet|
|HDMI-out||Yes, mini HDMI||Yes, full size HDMI||Toshiba Tablet|
|USB port||Only on keyboard dock (2 full size)||Yes, full size||Toshiba Tablet|
|Quoted battery life||Up to 9 hours||Between 7-8 hours||Eee Pad Transformer|
|Removable battery||No||Yes||Toshiba Tablet|
|Adobe Flash support||Yes||Yes||Draw|
Software and performance
The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the Toshiba Tablet (AT100) both run the same software, so the end user experience is almost identical. However, both tablets are 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, while Toshiba has not confirmed a date for the update but expects it in the "coming weeks". 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 Toshiba Tablet is 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.
The Australian model of the Toshiba Tablet ships with Norton Mobile Security software, the ThinkFree office suite that enables the creation of Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents, and the Toshiba Media Player that handles a wide range of video, audio and image files, and can stream music and videos to a DLNA-enabled TV. Toshiba also includes a PrinterShare app that enables wireless printing, though oddly, the app appears to be designed for Android phones rather than tablets, and only fills about a quarter of the Tablet's screen. The best inclusion is Toshiba's File Manager app, which easily allows you to access the Tablet's internal memory, the SD card and the USB slot.
Both tablets offer a slick Web browser that is fast and displays Flash content, most of the time with minimal delay. They also support tabbed Web browsing, and the entire browsing experience is as close as you'll find to a full desktop or notebook computer. The on-screen keyboard on both tablets is spacious and comfortable to type on once you get used to its layout.
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 large device. Weighing 680g, it's heavier than the featherweight Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v, but lighter than the Toshiba 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.
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.