Asus Transformer Pad TF300T review
The Asus Transformer Pad TF300T (£399 inc. VAT) is one of the most powerful Android tablets you’ll find, and excellent value to boot. While it’s an admittedly fantastic hybrid, which is equally great for gaming, social networking and work tasks, it isn’t as covetable or pleasing 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 with now.
The Transformer 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 who would certainly test the limits of the 16GB iPad. Then there’s the keyboard dock, which turns the Transformer 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 that it would manage to 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, that powers everything your tablet does. It’s a quad-core chip, which means laptop levels of power, and while that may sound like overkill, it’s a necessary part of tablet evolution. 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 TF300T scored a staggering 9623 in our Antutu benchmarks, which is 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 enjoyed enhanced graphical effects such as splashes and drips, thanks to the Nvidia Tegra 3 chip.
Navigation through Ice Cream Sandwich was also 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 forthcoming Asus Transformer Infinity 700 will have a full 1080p screen, but this is one area in which the 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 there was major flex in the middle of the keyboard, making extended typing laborious.
The touchpad, however, is a triumph. It’s generously sized, and supports multi-touch gestures, which enable you to navigate the multiple screens of the Android home page with ease.
A major compliment to the Transformer’s usability was how we returned to the tablet mode time after time, which was fast, responsive and silky smooth, in no small part due to the quad-core Tegra chip.
Plenty to offer
Those looking for the best build quality should seek out the Transformer Prime or new iPad, but if you can look beyond its plasticky finish, the Transformer Pad TF300T definitely has a great deal to offer.
Battery life was strong in our tests, even under extremely heavy load. We looped Kanye West’s Runaway video, in HD and streamed from YouTube for 416 minutes before the Transformer TF300T finally gave up the ghost.
At nearly seven hours of HD streaming, the Transformer is one of the best performers on the Android tablet scene, and longevity is boosted even 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.
The thinking consumer should seriously consider the Transformer Pad TF300T, but 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.
However, if you’re looking for a top hybrid tablet, with stacks of personality, great performance, versatility, features the latest version of Android with all the usability of a netbook and the fun of the iPad, then look no further than the Asus Transformer Pad TF300T.
on Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 at 4:12 pm under Tablets.
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Tags: Android, Asus, budget, Hot, Tablet, Transformer Pad 300