ASUS Eee Pad Transformer vs. ASUS Eee Pad Slider: Two Sides of the Same Coin

August 20, 2011

Many people who own an ASUS Eee Pad Transformer consider it to be one of the best 10.1-inch Android tablets on the market, and probably also worth recommending considering its amazing price-to-features ratio. The Eee Pad Transformer has already been selling for months, and ASUS is about to bring out a new toy: the ASUS Eee Pad Slider, which ASUS recently announced officially and which we can expect to see hitting the shops in the next month or so.

The two tablets are closely related. In fact, they are like the two faces of a coin. Each one bears strong similarities to the other, but each one also comes with a set of peculiarities that make it more or less attractive in the eyes of potential buyers.

I own an ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, and just last week I had the wonderful chance to play with an early Eee Pad Slider unit. Thus, in this post, I’ll be sharing to you my hands-on experience of the two.

The Same Coin

The two ASUS tablets carry the same powerful NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor. Both have 1 GB of RAM and 16/32 GB of storage. These hardware components practically place both Eee Pads on par with all the other popular Android tablets available these days.

The Asus Slider (left) next to its kin, the Transformer (right)

The Asus Slider (left) next to its kin, the Transformer (right)

Then, there’s the 10.1-inch display with an IPS panel on both, which is the technology to blame for the great colors and viewing angles on both–just as long as you don’t plan to use the tablets outside or under strong light.

The cameras on the two are identical as well, and so are most of the ports and connectivity options: both come with Wireless N and Bluetooth. Neither offers 3G yet.

Also, you get a microSD card slot and a mini HDMI (Type C) port on them, but the Eee Pad Slider also offers a USB 2.0 slot that you can use to connect various peripherals.

Last, but not the least, both tablets run Android 3.x HoneyComb. Version 3.2 is already available for my Eee Pad Transformer. The Eee Pad Slider unit that I was able to play with only had version 3.1, but it will reach the market with version 3.2 onboard.

Despite this difference in Honeycomb versions, both tablets performed at comparable levels with daily use. Both tablets come bundled with apps and tweaks that I find very handy, including such apps as Polaris Office, MyCloud, and MyLibrary. The exclusively ASUS-customized home screen widgets (e.g., for weather, location, email, and the like) are exceptionally nifty, too.

But, these are where their similarities end. Where do their distinguishing features begin?

One Coin, Two Faces

Of the two, the Eee Pad Slider packs more bulk, with a depth/thickness nearing 18 millimeters. The Eee Pad Slider is only about 13 millimeters thick.

Just as it is thicker, the Eee Pad Slider also weighs heavier–at 1.95 pounds–compared to its elder sibling, which weighs only 1.49 pounds. Based on weight alone, I find my ASUS Eee Pad Transformer more portable and more comfortable for daily use.

Yet, before you throw a hasty stone at the Eee Pad Slider’s more massive build, let me tell you something that can explain its weight and thickness–and can potentially make you pause before you hand down a hasty verdict: the Eee Pad Slider hides a sliding keyboard.

The Bulky Reason

The keyboard’s sliding mechanism, similar to what we saw on some Nokia phones in recent years, is rather solid and stiff, so it should cope well with time. As for the keyboard itself, it is as wide as the ones you usually get on netbooks but is more cramped, as the keys are shorter. It will take a bit of time to get used to this aspect and the flex, but in time you should be fine.

However, if you are one of those who really need a physical keyboard on your Android tablet, the Eee Pad Transformer and its docking station are your best bets. The Eee Pad Transformer’s docking station features a bigger keyboard and a trackpad.

Plus, when connecting the docking unit to the slate, you also get increased battery life, an SD card reader, and two USB 2.0 slots–not just one like you have on the Eee Pad Slider. The downside to this handy accessory, though, is that of trading off some of the Eee Pad Transformer’s portability, since the tablet plus its docking unit combined can easily add up to about an inch in thickness and a weight of about 3 pounds.

The Slider is slimmer and lighter than the Transformer with the docking connected

The Slider is slimmer and lighter than the Transformer with the docking connected

Admitting that aesthetic appreciation remains relative and subjective, I find the Eee Pad Slider’s look and feel very stylish and excellent despite its all-plastic casing. The Eee Pad Transformer, on the other hand, is protected by a metallic frame and textured plastic back, which makes it sturdier. In my eyes, though–and this one’s truly subjective–the Eee Pad Slider looks better.

Differences in Experience and Longevity

So far, we’ve examined the two tablets’ differences in exteriors and concepts. Let me tell you about two other important differences.

The speakers on both units are pretty much identical in terms of quality–not shabby, but not impressive either. However, the sound volume is poorer on the Eee Pad Slider, mainly because the speakers are placed behind the screen, near the sliding mechanism, thus a bit far from your ears. Thus, when using the tablet in a noisy place, you’ll have to muster a helping pair of headphones.

The battery life is that other thing you should be aware of. You’ll get like 7 to 8 hours of life during everyday use on the Eee Pad Slider, which is only 30 to 60 minutes less than the Eee Pad Transformer offers. So, in terms of battery life, the two tablets arguably have comparable power. However, when connecting the docking unit to the Eee Pad Transformer, battery life will easily jump to 12+ hours on every charge. Thus, in terms of battery life, the Eee Pad Transformer outlasts its younger sibling–but only with the help of the docking unit.

A Closer Look at the Coin’s Two Faces

You have reached this far into my review, yet I have only pointed out the major differences between the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the ASUS Eee Pad Slider. There are several other points of divergence between the two, although they are minor compared to the ones I’ve mentioned in this review.

You can find a more detailed comparison of the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the ASUS Eee Pad Slider on TabletBite.com, or if you prefer video comparisons, you can check out my two-part detailed comparison of these ASUS tablets.

Here’s my video review discussing the tablets’ exteriors and keyboards:

And, here’s the second part focusing more on software, battery life, and pricing:

The ASUS Eee Pad Slider is not yet officially on the market, but latest rumors claim a US$550 price tag for a 32 GB Wi-Fi only version of the tablet, with about 70 bucks less for a 16 GB model.

These rumored prices place the ASUS Eee Pad Slider somewhere between the standard Eee Pad Transformer slate and the Transformer+dock combo. And, apparently, its price strongly represents its perfect place where it stands out–as a middle ground between a regular slate tablet and a notebook-like Android device (e.g., Transformer+dock combo).

As such, the Eee Pad Slider offers the best (or the worst, based on how you see things) of two worlds: extra productivity (thanks to those ports and sliding keyboard) while keeping a portable and sleek-looking body.

Can't say if one is better than the other. They are just designed with slightly different purposes in mind

Can't say if one is better than the other. They are just designed with slightly different purposes in mind

The Better of the Two Sides

After weighing the two tablets, I find it difficult to say which is the better pick. Folks like me will appreciate the modular concept behind the Eee Pad Transformer and the fact that one can get a better keyboard and extra battery life with its docking station. Others will fancy the sleeker Eee Pad Slider more, as they probably won’t need a keyboard as much as I do, for all the daily blogging activities.

If you need a tablet that offers a keyboard, ASUS offers you two sides of the same coin in the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the ASUS Eee Pad Slider. Which side of the coin looks shinier to you? Or, do you have your eyes on another Android tablet?

Which tablet is better?

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Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1851385795 Kazi Azwad Ahmed

    Hey! can you tell me whether the docking unit is sold seperatly or together with the transformer also whats the price of the transformer+ dock.

    please please please if you don’t mind mail me about it at azwad@live.co.uk?

    • Roering

      I bought my tranformer tablet first because the keyboard was not available at the time and bought the keyboard from Asus through the internet (took 3 days) the price ? 150 euros (works perfectly)
      Greetings
      Evert Roering The Netherlands

  • Andrewnmendoza

    Thanks I’m deciding between the two, think I’ll wait a month and see if the transformer 2 is coming out and specs on that, otherwise, for my purposes I think I’ll go with the slider as it’ll be my first tablet and it’ll still be light to me compared to my huge gaming Asus laptop! Also could you tell me what you think of the viewing angle on each? I know that it is not adjustable on the slider, is it comfortable viewing compared to transformers?

    • ASD

      IT IS COMFORTABLE BECAUSE THE SCREEN HAS WIDE VISIBLE ANGLE

  • jlsousa

    Transformer is a tablet concept… the keyboard should be used for blogging and some professional work that is writing intensive. I have a transformer and a Targus Bluetooth Keyboard for I-PAD (Need to change some keys :-) and it works fine and I still have a tablet.

  • Eli Walls

    I have owned both, and the Slider is the one I kept. I was considering both, and it was origionally the track pad that won me over to buying the Transformereli.walls. However, the keyboard dock was constantly laggy (often times taking 2-3 seconds just to register a keystroke) and after I updated to 3.2, multi-touch (a must for me, if a trackpad is to be used) no longer worked on the trackpad. So I traded my Transformer in for a Slider and it has been a charm. The keyboard is quick and responsive, and the slight curve on the sides make it a pleasure to hold when closed. Plus, I got a bit of money Slider ehas a lower price than the Transformer + the dock. I do miss the better build quality of the Transformer, but the more responsive keyboard on the Slider more than makes up for that, and the Slider is a solid and good-looking devicein its own right.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/William-Robert-Kent-Cousert/100000026392426 William-Robert Kent Cousert

    The upcoming Transformer Prime will have the Tegra 3 CPU. Do they plan to update the Slider?

    • ASD

      NO, DUE TO THE POOR SALES.

  • Rsalts

    Ive had my slider for 6 months and I love it. In the beginning I couldn’t decide between he slider and the transformer, but I was leaning toward the all in one, and the shop happened to be out of the transformer, sealing the deal. I’m happpy with the quick access to the keys. you can surf and browse with the key board away, and quickly flip it out to type. it is a bit squishy but you get used to it, and if you have a job like mine where access to docs and the ability to make notes, but not extensive ones, is key. then it’s awesome. fits nicely in my handbag. the no 3G is a downer, but if you have pocket wifi or phone you can tether, it works pretty well, but eats the batteries of both devices. it would call it a good all rounder. i’m loving andriod so much, my next phone will not start with i.

    email clinent is very basic – but some better apps out there.