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Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime Keyboard Dock Review with Video
      01/30/12 04:16 PM

Part of the appeal of the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime (beyond that quad core CPU, ICS and super bright IPS display!) is the optional keyboard dock. For those who want to use the tablet as a notebook replacement for basic tasks like web, email, social networking, video and MS Office work, the $149 keyboard dock sets the original Transformer and the new Transformer Price apart from the slabbish crowd.

The principle is the same as with the original Transformer and its dock: insert the tablet into a channel at the back of the keyboard and it locks in. It's a firmer connection thanks to two robust tabs that slide into the tablet, but you still shouldn't pick up and carry the open "laptop" by the display section because it might not hold.

The dock has a keyboard, trackpad, 1 USB 2.0 port that works with USB peripherals, a full size SD card slot and a charging/dock connector. There's 22W battery inside that charges the tablet and adds approx. 6 hours to battery life. As with the later revision of the original Transformer dock, you can set the dock to sleep when the display is off so the dock battery isn't drained unnecessarily.

The package looks very attractive and is noticeably more compact and lighter than the original Transformer and dock combo. The keyboard dock is clad in matching aluminum, and comes in champagne and gray to match the tablet colors (make sure you order the right color!). The Transformer Prime with dock in laptop mode is considerably smaller than today's 13.3" Ultrabooks, and at 2.5 lbs. is lighter than all Ultrabooks except the 2.5 lb. Toshiba Portege Z830.

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime on top of the Toshiba Portege Z830 13.3" Ultrabook.

The tablet weighs 1.3 lbs. while the keyboard dock weighs 1.2 lbs.; but I don't find the combo to be top heavy (the weights are very close). I've used it several days at a variety of locations and angles and it's stable. Rubber feet on the dock's bottom give it a good grip, and when opened beyond upright, the rear rests on the large barrel hinge that holds the tablet. The keyboard has chiclet keys and reasonable tactile feedback, but it's small: remember this is about the size of a 10.6" netbook. Those of you with medium to large hands will likely find it cramped.

Here's our video review of the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime Keyboard Dock:


Lisa Gade
Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview

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