With fantastic IPS screens and displays large enough to watch a feature film on fairly comfortably, the iPad 2 and Asus Eee Pad Transformer should be some of the best media devices ever. Sadly, they're not.
Both are severely limited in terms of the types of media they support as standard - H.264 and MP4 are the main codecs on offer for both devices. Neither can take on Divx or MKV files fresh out of the box.
This is particularly disappointing in the Transformer, as you can stick a few movies on a microSD card in a few minutes unlike the slot-free iPad 2. If they're downloaded from the net though, it's likely they'll simply refuse to play.
There are two ways around this. You can either convert them on your computer before transferring them - a process that can take a long time - or use one of the third-party media players available from the Android Market. The latter is simpler, but is not a perfect solution as currently none can make use of the tablet's hardware properly, leaving high bit-rate HD videos stuttering even with the powerful Tegra 2 processor on-board.
The video limitations are arguably even more severe on the iPad 2, but in use they're less of a sore thumb point. In opting for an iPad, you've already acquiesced to the "Apple way" to an extent, in being more-or-less tied to iTunes. If you're willing to stick with iTunes for video too, you'll have no problems. iTunes offers a large selection of TV episodes and movies, not all of which are priced hideously.
As with the Asus Eee Pad Transformer though, to get an existing downloaded video library playing ball with an iPad, you'll most likely need to transcode the files before slotting them into your iTunes library. There was once a better solution, in the shape of the VLC iPhone and iPad app, but that was pulled from the App Store back in January 2011.
Sadly, neither of these tablets is a true video powerhouse.
Battery performance is much more impressive. The iPad lasts a solid 10 hours, or more if you dim the screen and don't stress out the processor too much, and the Transformer tablet alone lasts for up to 9 hours. If you slot in the keyboard dock, that figure rockets up to 16 hours because it features its own rechargeable battery pack.
When connected, the keyboard automatically replenishes the tablet's own battery too, to give you maximum longevity should you want to disconnect it again. This combo makes the Asus Transformer the longest-lasting tablet we've seen, as well as beating virtually any laptop or netbook you could mention.