ASUS Transformer Pad 300 TF300 Review Round Up

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22 Apr, 2012 9:57 pm

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The ASUS Transformer Pad 300 has just hit the web for review and we thought that we’d bring together some of the best summaries of for the budget hybrid tablet with detachable keyboard.

If you’re wondering how the 300 differs from the Prime we’ve got a comparison chart here, but basically they’ve cut back on alot of the features like it’s got a 10-inch IPS display not a Super IPS+ display and 16GB of storage, not 32GB or 64GB. Otherwise, the key specs remain the same: a quad-core Tegra 3 chip, 1GB of RAM, Android 4.0, 1280 x 800 resolution and dual 8MP / 2MP cameras.

The consensus is that it’s a great tablet that is well worth $399 and it’s already available on Amazon.

Engadget

Think of it as a watered-down Prime. Make no mistake: the TF300 shares some overarching design language with the original, so even now that there are several Transformers on the market the lineup still feels cohesive.

Like the Prime that came before it (and pretty much every other 10-inch tablet on the market), this guy has a pixel count of 1280 x 800. The difference, though, is that while the original Prime has a 600-nit Super IPS+ display, the TF300 has a brightness level of 350 nits and is “merely” IPS. (We know, right?!)

Wrap-Up

Though the TF300′s price is fairly low, there thankfully isn’t that big of a catch. Even as more mid-range, 10-inch Android tablets start hitting the market, the second-gen Transformer still feels like the best deal, with smooth, Tegra 3-powered gaming, good endurance and an understated design that calls to mind ASUS’ other Transformer, the $500 Prime.

Aside from the fact that the battery life isn’t quite as epic as the Prime’s, our most serious complaint has little to do with ASUS, and more with Android: even with a state-of-the-art chip running the latest version of the OS, the tablet occasionally hiccups when launching apps and resizing web pages. There’s no reason for a product with such strong tech credentials to stumble over the mundane stuff. Still, the tablet is eminently usable, and ultimately a pleasure to live with. Moreover, the performance is a clear improvement over what you’ll get from similarly priced 10-inch tabs, many of which run on last year’s dual-core Tegra 2 chip. So if you feel at home in Android and have about $400 to spend, this, friends, is the tablet we recommend.


AnandTech

The 300 is thinner and lighter than its predecessor, although it’s obviously thicker and heavier than the Prime.

If you’re really considering picking up the Transformer Pad 300 AnandTech’s review is extremely thorough. I’ve got the Usability and Final Words below, but if you’re looking a really in depth review this is a great one to start with.

Thus far I haven’t really touched on the usability of the Transformer Pad 300 as a tablet, mostly because it’s a topic I’ve addressed many times before in previous tablet reviews. I do believe a quick summary and update are necessary in this case however.

Fundamentally the Transformer Pad 300 doesn’t change the iOS/Android balance, it’s simply another great solution in the Android camp – at a lower price then the Transformer Prime. The fact that it doesn’t carry any of the wireless issues of the Prime is an added bonus, particularly since it maintains many of the Prime’s characteristics that we love (design, keyboard dock, performance, etc…).

As a device purely for browsing the web or sending emails, the 300 is easily in the same camp as the iPad 2. The user experience isn’t as consistently smooth, but there are advantages that matter to some – such as the ability to support Flash and the ICS Gmail app.

As a tablet that needs to function as a netbook replacement, the Transformer Pad has an obvious advantage there as well. The Transformer dock remains the best way to turn a tablet into something you can type on for an extended period of time. While I don’t believe that Android is any closer to a full blown notebook OS, as a netbook replacement I do believe the TF Pad 300 + dock is already there.

It’s not all rosy unfortunately. The past few Tegra 3 updates to ICS for the Prime have decreased stability in my usage, and I saw a handful of app crashes on the 300 during my testing period. I didn’t run into any showstoppers but the latest build of the OS on these devices doesn’t seem quite as solid as the last Honeycomb build or even some of the earlier ICS builds. The good news is that ASUS and NVIDIA appear to be pushing out updates to these devices quite aggressively, which is unfortunately a rarity in the Android space.

Move outside of the core apps and Apple starts to gain a significant advantage, depending on the apps you’re talking about of course. Then there’s the UI experience, which for many continues to be a win on the iOS side. Although I still don’t really believe that many folks cross-shop Android and iOS. The iOS experience ends up being more appliance-like while Google is building a mobile computing platform with Android. Both have their strengths/weaknesses.

I do appreciate that ASUS continues to deliver a mostly stock ICS experience with a few additions and a handful of useful preloaded apps (e.g. Polaris Office). The additions to ICS are all functional and ASUS tends to rely on its strengths as a great hardware manufacturer rather than gimmicky software to sell its Android tablets. I’d also like to applaud ASUS for offering sensible pricing on its NAND options with the Transformer Pad 300: $20 buys you another 16GB of storage. This is the direction I hope more tablet vendors go in the future.

At the end of the day the Transformer Pad 300 is a good successor to the original Eee Pad Transformer. If you want an upgrade to the original or are looking for an Android tablet at $399, the Transformer Pad is the one to get. If you find yourself looking at the Prime end of the market, then you’ll want to wait until this summer when the Transformer Pad Infinity is expected to show up.

What I’m really hoping for is that ASUS is using its experience in building the Transformer lineup and bringing it to market as practice for the release of a truly perfect, x86-based Windows 8 tablet later this year. Give me the form factor of the ARM based Transformer Pad 300/Infinity (along with optional dock), but with the ability to run Windows 8 Pro and I think we may just have the perfect tablet for users who need a notebook for work but want the portability of a tablet.

Android and Me

I liked the camera review section of the Transformer Pad 300 review. “The cameras on the ASUS Transformer Pad 300 are really pretty “meh.” Meaning they aren’t great, but they aren’t terrible.” Click here to check it out.

ASUS TF300 – 8 / 10

ASUS has proved several times over now that there is definitely a market for high-end Android tablets. With the exception of a Slate or two out of Samsung, ASUS rules this sector of the market. As such, I had high hopes for the ASUS Transformer Pad TF300.

It’s incredibly similar to its sibling the Transformer Prime, with only a minor downgrade here or there. Fortunately, the price of the Transformer Pad 300 is set to reflect those changes. At $379 for the 16GB model and $400 for the 32GB model, the ASUS Transformer Pad 300 offers a premium tablet experience for less money than extremely similar tablets on the market. It looks like ASUS has another winner on their hands.

You can buy the Royal Blue ASUS Transformer Pad 300 starting this Monday online and in stores by the week of April 30. Look for the red and white Transformer Pad 300s to launch this summer.

SlashGear

If you’re keen for some videos, Chris Burns has pulled together several worth watching, thing is you have to watch them on the site, so visit their review to get your fill of video.

Here we have the slightly less expensive version of the most well-rounded and powerful Android tablet on the planet. The qualities that allow this model to cost significantly less than its bigger brother are not bothersome to me, and I see no reason, save for one, why a person wouldn’t just go with this TF300 model over the Transformer Prime. That reason is, of course, the flash for the camera – I think it’s safe to say that most people don’t use their tablet as their primary photo and video machine, but if they do, that little LED can make or break a purchase.

After that though, everything on this device is high quality and ready for action. Even the plastic casing which replaces the fabulous ring-spun aluminum on the Prime is of a quality high enough to run with the top tier of the Android tablet world. It even has a ring-spun texture so you know it means business. ASUS hasn’t just created a lower-cost model of the Prime here, they’ve re-done the Prime with the essentials it needed to be the top-quality Android tablet in the field and offered it here with the name ASUS Transformer Pad TF300 with a much more pleasing price tag. Pick one up right now!


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  • Looking4aNook

    I think people need to stop bitching about the backplate being plastic. As far as I know, Apple has patented the whole “make the back logo plastic & place the wifi/gps antennae there for maximum range.”  If not, Asus has demonstrated, with disastrous results, what happens when you make the entire backplate of a tablet a metal. You simply can’t have both. As long as it doesn’t look cheap, who cares if the backplate is plastic afterall?

  • http://www.netbooknews.com Nicole Scott

    It’s true…my only concern is as they get thinner and thinner we’ll need some pretty strong plastic.

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