Asus Eee Pad Transformer : A Convincing iPad 2 Rival

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We had a brief hands-on on one of the most intriguing alternatives to the Apple iPad 2 tablet device, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer hybrid device, one which we suspect, first came to life two years ago during the Asus WePC project.

Although it was launched earlier this year at the CES 2011 conference in Las Vegas, the model presented at CeBIT 2011 this year comes with Honeycomb rather than Froyo but is still missing Android market.

The EEE Pad is actually made up of two parts, a tablet and a docking station that doubles as a keyboard. It runs on the Nvidia Tegra 2 SoC, just like the Motorola XOOM, the Advent Vega and many others.

It comes with 512MB memory (upgradable to 1GB) and 16GB onboard storage (upgradable to 32GB and 64GB), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB 2.0, microSD card, a 10.1-inch WSVGA capacitive IPS touchscreen (same technology as the current iPad), a 1.2-megapixel front facing and a 5-megapixel rear camera without flash.

As for interfaces, there's a mini HDMI, an audio jack, the card reader, the docking port plus an internal microphone and two speakers.

At 680g and 12.9mm thick, it is just as light and as thin as the iPad. However it truly comes to light when coupled with the docking station which turns it into a fully fledged notebook with an extending battery life (up to 16 hours), something that's not currently available on the iPad.

Asus hasn't yet confirmed when exactly the Asus Eee Pad Transformer will be launched in the UK or at what price.