The Asus Transformer Prime set standards for Android tablets back at CES. Today we have the Prime’s younger brother for review, the Asus Transformer Pad (TF300). The major difference was making this tablet more affordable. By doing so, features & design had to be sacrificed for this price point. Let us see how Asus did with this one.
Like all Transformers, the TF300 has a compatible laptop dock for the full experience. It adds great features & ports plus an additional 5+ hours of battery life. The TF300 screen & bezel look very similar to the rest of the family. Where it differs is the back casing. The ring design does a nice job of providing grip. It looks great and feels sturdy but noticeably in a lower tier when compared to the Transformer Prime’s metallic finish. When held with both hands I noticed the middle (backside) would creek when pressure was applied. The TF300 has a 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 IPS display, which is not as bright as the IPS+ display on the Transformer Prime. This is an area they used to cut down on price. However, the overall experience has been good.
The TF300 is powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 3, making it very fast and smooth. Gaming on this laptop is just as amazing as its counterparts (gaming reviews coming soon). It has two cameras. a 1.2 MP Front Camera and an 8 MP Rear Camera with auto focus (but no flash). It shoots 1080p video but does not look amazing. The front facing camera is great for video chatting, and I’ve had an especially positive experience while using it in Google Hangouts. This TF300 has a micro HDMI port, a micro SD card for expandable memory, and 3.5mm headphone port.
TF300 is running Android 4.0.3 (ICS) with minor tweaks by ASUS. However, Asus does give their users the ability to switch between their options, giving users the closest experience to Pure Android than any other manufacturer. Where it lacks is in the application department. This is a given for all Android tablets. We hope to see this problem be address at Google I/O 2012, especially with the rumored Nexus Tablet. Asus provides a portfolio of applications that we usually label as “bloat ware.” However, one app called “Supernote” does stand out. This application adds a much need note-taking experience for Android tablets. It does an amazing job and gives a great experience when using on and off the laptop dock.
Finally, we have the laptop dock. Sold separately for $149, the dock ties in perfectly providing the best overall experience. It is on the heavy side weighing in at 1.2lbs (for a combined 2.6lbs with the accompanying tablet). Many users may find that the extra 5+ hours of battery life compensates for the added weight. The keyboard adds dedicated Android buttons to enhance the experience but using both the touchscreen and keyboard interchangeably feels normal.
At the end, the TF300 is a great middle-tier tablet option. With both the tablet & dock option for $528+ (cheaper options on Amazon), it is a nice portable experience. The tablet alone is at the top of its class when price and performance are weighed against each other. Check out the official Asus Website for scomplete list of specifications.]]>