From starters, I have to tell you that I own an Asus Transformer and I’ve been using it (next to my iPad 2) in the last months. I got it after carefully analyzing my options and decided it was the perfect 10 inch tablet for my needs, back in May. The fact that it was excellently priced helped as well.
Today we’re going to compare the Transformer with Asus’s new born baby, the Asus EEE Pad Slider. On paper, there are many similarities between the two, especially in terms of hardware, display and features. And while both offer some extras over all the other tablets on the market right now, there are some significant differences between them as well.
The following post should tell you more about the particularities of each of these two EEE Pads. Of course, you’ll get more details from the two clips included below as well, but I’ll also highlight the most important aspects.
First, let’s talk about the similarities of the two:
- Hardware platform – Both are powered by a Tegra 2 platform, with 1 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage (the Transformer also comes in a cheaper option, with only 16 GBs, while the Slider does not).
- Connectivity and ports – Both these tablets offer Wireless N and Bluetooth (no 3G for now), GPS, plus mini HDMI and a microSD card slot. The Slider also offers a Full-size USB slot though, while the Transformer gets the optional docking station that can add two USB 2.0 slots and an SD card reader.
- Sensors – both of them feature pretty much all there is in terms of sensors, with Accelerometer, G-Sensor, E-compass, light-sensor and Gyroscope.
- Display – I really like the screen of the Transformer, a 10.1 inch 10 points multi-touch capacitive display, with an IPS panel and 1280 x 800 px resolution. It offers good viewing angles, good colors and brightness levels, so we can easily say it’s one of the best screens you can get on 10 inch tablets these days, right there on par with the ones from the iPad 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 . Luckily, the same display is also available on the new Slider, but it comes with a bit wider bezel here.
- Cameras – Both feature a 5 MPx camera on the back, without Flash, and a 1.3 Mpx front facing camera for video calls and chatting. Image quality ain’t great on neither for them, but that’s the case with pretty much all tablets these days. As for video recording, both can shoot 720p clips, but once again, don’t expect too much in terms of quality.
- Software and apps – Both tablets run on Android HoneyComb. For our tested units, we got Android 3.1 on the Slider and 3.2 on the Transformer, but as I’ve said before, Android 3.2 is only a minor update that only offers some in-game performance improvements. During everyday use, you won’t see any difference between the two. Also, both these tablets come with the same bundled software, including MyCloud, MyNet, Polaris Office and all the standard Honeycomb apps.
And here are all the details that could make one or the other tablet the better choice for you:
- Body – Perhaps the main difference between the two is the concept around the chassis.
The Transformer is a regular slice tablet, like most others available on the market. It does come however with a docking station that offers a keyboard, trackpad, extra battery life and ports. But that does add to the bulkiness of the device and its weight, as when connected, the two look exactly like a netbook.
The Slider is a hybrid tablet, with a keyboard that’s hidden beneath the screen and can be unfold when you need it. As a result, there’s no way for you to leave that keyboard home, as it cannot be detached like on the Transformer. Thus, you can place the Slider somewhere between the Transformer without and with the docking, in terms of size, weight and functionality.
And one more thing: both these tablets are solid built. I like the metallic and textured plastic finish of my Transformer, it’s been quite reliable till now. But I also like the Slider, it feels great in your hand and looks rather chick I could say. And while the casing is made entirely from plastic, I really like the soft finish on the back and the round edges of this tablet.
- Size – The Transformer measures 10.67 x 6.73 x 0.51 inches (271 x 171 x 12.98 mm) , while the Slider measures 10.75 x 7.09 x 0.70 inches (273 x 180 x 17.7 mm) . Thus, the Slider is nearly identical to its relative in terms of width and length, but it is more bulky, with that 40% extra height, and you can easily notice that from our clips.
- Weight – The Slider weighs 1.95 pounds (886 g), while the Transformer is lighter, at 1.49 pounds (680 g) for the tablet alone, but can get to nearly 3 pounds if you’ll also add the docking station.
- USB slot – While the Slider includes an USB 2.0 slot by default, the Transformer Pad lacks this feature. However, if you’ll go for the docking station, you’ll get not one, but two of those.
- Keyboard and trackpad – The EEE Pad Transformer is basically a slice tablet with an expandable docking station. By default, it lacks a keyboard, still you will only get one if you buy the extra docking, that also includes a trackpad. The Slider comes with a keyboard by default, but it is more cramped than the one available for the Transformer and lacks completely a trackpad, trackpoint or any method of controlling a mouse cursor.
- Speakers – The speakers are placed on the sides on the Transformer and they offer average volume and quality. On the Slider, they are placed on the back, near the sliding mechanism and they are not louder or better. Thus, sound volume could be an issue in a noisy place, especially when using the tablet in folded mode, when those speakers will be blocked by the screen rolled on top of them.
- Battery life – By default, the Transformer offers an average of 8 hours of life, during everyday use (without the extra battery inside the docking). The Slider will give you pretty much similar battery life, but you should expect though only around 7 to 7 and a half hours on average, so a little bit under what you get on the EEE Transformer.
Like I said, you’ll get more from the video comparisons. The first one talks about the exterior, screens, keyboards and features.
While the second talks about software, battery life, pricing and some of my conclusions.
The Asus EEE Pad Transformer was and still is one of the best tablets in terms of price/features ratio. The 16 GB Wi-fi only version goes for around $400 bucks, while the 32 GB model will cost you an extra hundred. As for the docking station with all its features, that one goes for around $150.
The Slider is not yet available in stores, but we have some details about it regarding prices and release date. Thus, it will only be offered in a 32 GB storage space version, with a price around 550 dollars . Should be available in stores worldwide by the end of September.
There are still many other things to be said about these two tablets. Bottom line though, after playing with both of them, I’ll have to repeat what I already said above: the Slider is a hybrid, coming to fill the gap between the EEE Pad Transformer Slate used without and with its docking station. It is a bit bulkier and heavier than regular tablets, but adds a keyboard and all those useful connectivity options (we do have those ports on more compact bodies as well though, like on the Toshiba Thrive and Acer Iconia Tab A500).
Thus, I feel like there’s no real competition between these two: you either pick the Transformer slate for fun, the slate and docking for fun and productivity (but also less portability) or the Slider, that seats between them. For sure the keyboard on the Transformer combo is better, but on the Slider, you have it with you all the time and the overall package ain’t neither that bulky, nor that heavy as you might think.
So it’s really up to what each of you guys will need. I do have to say I wasn’t impressed with the Slider concept back in February when I saw it at MWC in Barcelona and I still feel that for me, the Transformer is the better option, as I need that keyboard for my daily writings. On the other side, I did change my opinion about the Slider and I consider that for a less keyboard-dependent buyer, it could be the perfect solution to combine leisure and work on a tablet.
So, which one do you guys like better and why? I’m really looking forward to see your input on this matter, as I for one can only say that the true winners of a Slider vs Transformer battle are us, the users, as we get two excellent tablets to pick between.