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Asus Eee Pad Transformer review: The Netbook of Honeycomb tablets

Thanks to its keyboard/dock accessory, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer is the Netbook of Honeycomb tablets.

The Eee Pad Transformer is the longest Honeycomb tablet yet. Not very pocket compatible. Josh P. Miller/CNET

When it comes to tablets, we're not really ready for software keyboards, are we? Or maybe the developers of software keyboards aren't yet ready for us.

This week, we received the Asus Eee Pad Transformer tablet. Like with most new tablets that enter this building, it was immediately pounced on by a pack of ravenous wolves group of my coworkers.

What made the Transformer's debut more exciting than most was its primary claim to fame and origin of its namesake: the keyboard/dock accessory.

If not for the keyboard/dock, most would have mistaken it for one of the two other new Honeycomb tablets we acquired in the last week. iPad sales numbers not withstanding, there are still quite a few who simply prefer the tactile to the abstract. It's familiar and thereby comforting, I think.

In the case of the Transformer, it's also utilitarian. The $150 accessory includes two USB ports, an SD card reader, and its own battery. Once connected, it's like your very own Honeycomb Netbook.

Once connected to the keyboard/dock, the Eee Pad Transformer looks a lot like a Netbook. Josh P. Miller/CNET

The Wi-Fi-only tablet itself costs a low $400 (for the 16GB version; $500 for the 32GB), making it the cheapest Honeycomb tablet yet.

You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, though, and in this case, the omelet is the capable, powerful tablet. The eggs come in the form of build quality, bugs, and a couple of features.

For details on those broken eggs, check out the full review.

Still, with such a low price, I hope the Transformer will inspire more-competitive pricing on Honeycomb tablets going forward.

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer will be available April 26.