The Asus Transformer Pad TF300T is one of the most powerful Android tablets you’ll find, and excellent value to boot. It’s a fantastic hybrid, equally great for gaming, social networking and work tasks. But is it as covetable as the new iPad? The major battleground for tablets is price, and when you launch a tablet with the same tag as the new iPad, you’re asking for comparisons – so let’s get those over and done.
The Asus Transformer Pad TF300T is near enough the same size as the new iPad, at 10.1-inches rather than 9.7-inches, but it has double the internal memory at 32GB. This is a real coup for media and app-hungry users. Then there’s the keyboard dock, which turns the Asus Transformer Pad TF300T tablet into a netbook-style device, and extends battery life.
When Asus announced it was to release an entry level Transformer, we had no inkling it would pack in so much performance. This Ice Cream Sandwich-sporting 10-inch tablet is powered by the latest Nvidia Tegra 3 chip, clocked at 1.2GHz, and weighs 637g, fractionally lighter than the new iPad.
Tegra 3 is one of the leading mobile processors. It’s a quad-core chip, which means laptop levels of power. 3D games, apps and websites are getting more and more complex, and quad-core systems are tangibly more responsive, and quicker at capturing photos, editing snaps and loading apps. The Asus Transformer Pad TF300T scored a staggering 9,623 in our Antutu benchmarks, vastly superior to any of its rivals, bar the TF201 Transformer Prime. 3D gaming also scored highly, which was reflected in our gaming tests. We played endless games of Temple Run and Riptide GP, with no sign of slowdown, and we enjoyed enhanced graphical effects as well, such as splashes and drips.
Navigation through Ice Cream Sandwich was seamless and smooth, and the TF300T rarely paused for thought, although we did have issues with some strange noise to the left of the screen. A couple of apps fell victim to this, but hopefully the issue will be fixed via an update.
The 10.1-inch display has a 1,280 x 800 IPS panel, which did lack the punch and vibrancy of its competition. Colours were well represented, but the screen wasn’t as sharp as the new iPad or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and it was extremely reflective.
The screen is one area in which the Asus Transformer Pad TF300T does fall down. When playing Temple Run and Riptide GP, and looking closely at HD content, blacks were blue, and noticeably noisy. To make a cost saving of nearly £100 over the Transformer Prime package, there needed to be some pay-off.
This comes in the form of build quality. The metal back has gone and been replaced by a flexible plastic panel, the keyboard is flimsy and the keys are noticeably less refined. The keyboard is very cramped, but adequate for writing emails or amending documents in the supplied Polaris Office app. On the flip side, travel was minimal, cushioning nonexistent, and a major flex in the middle of the keyboard made extended typing laborious. The touchpad, however, is a triumph. It’s generously sized and supports multi-touch, which enables you to navigate the multiple screens of the Android homepage with ease. We returned to the tablet mode time after time – it was fast, responsive and silky smooth – which is compliment to its usability.
Those looking for the best build quality should look elsewhere, but if you can get beyond its plasticky finish, the Transformer Pad TF300T has a great deal to offer.
Battery life was strong in our tests. We looped Kanye West’s Runaway video in HD and streamed from YouTube for 416 minutes before it gave up the ghost. At nearly seven hours of HD streaming, the Asus Transformer Pad TF300T is one of the best performers on the Android tablet scene, and longevity is boosted further when connected to the keyboard, with 10 hours of use easily achievable. They charge independently, and when the dock is connected, a second battery bar is displayed. Just one look at the iPad’s Retina screen and app selection – compared with the lacklustre performance on offer here – will only ever end with one decisive winner. But the thinking consumer should seriously consider the Transformer Pad TF300T.
If you’re looking for the tablet hybrid, with heaps of personality, great performance, flexibility of the netbook and the pleasure of the iPad, then you are not wrong to choose the Asus Transformer Pad TF300T.