We've finally gotten our hands on the most affordable Android Honeycomb tablet, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. These 10.1" tablets are still nearly impossible to find, but we should start seeing them appear in stores in greater numbers in the coming weeks. The nifty keyboard accessory comprised of a keyboard, trackpad, secondary 8 hour battery and USB port sells for $149, and is even harder to find than the Transformer itself. It's worth waiting for if text entry or remote control of your PC using the included Splashtop app are your idea of fun.
The Eee Transformer's two big claims to fame are its IPS display and relatively low price tag. The 16 gig model costs $399 and the 32 gig model is $499. These are the first Android Honeycomb 10" tablets to cost less than comparable iPad 2 tablets. With such a low price, you're probably wondering what's missing. The 16 gig Eee is half the price of the Motorola Xoom, and indeed you get half the storage and no 3G or 4G on the Asus. It's a WiFi-only tablet, and it has WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 and a GPS.
Build quality is a mix of impressive materials (mostly the front bezel and metal sides) and not-quite cheesy plastic. Overall, it's a good looking tablet, except the back. It also looks quite similar to its fairly popular Windows 7 tablet cousin, the Asus Eee Slate EP121.
You get the standard Honeycomb tablet parts: a 1 GHz Tegra 2 CPU, 1 gig of RAM, front and rear cameras that work with Gtalk for video chat, stereo speakers and mini HDMI out. The Eee is a solid performer that can handle 1080p video playback and we particularly like Asus' software bundle: an eBook reader that allows for side-loading of non-DRM ePub books and PDFs, a PC remote control app that works impressively well (watch the video to see us playing Left 4 Dead 2 remotely on the Asus) and cloud storage services.