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Asus Transformer Pad TF300

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Manufacturer: Asus
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What's hot: Great set of features for the price, works with optional keyboard dock, quad core and latest OS.

What's not: Not wildly attractive, ports could still use some beefing up.


Reviewed May 2, 2012 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

The Asus Transformer line of Android tablets has been consistently hot. The first Transformer brought high specs with a low price tag. The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime challenged the iPad 2 for extreme thinness and metal casing (at the expense of good WiFi and GPS). The third is Asus' chance to prove they can get it right, and indeed with the lower priced Asus Transformer Pad TF300T everything does work. That's good news for you guys and for Asus, though Prime owners might grumble a little.

Asus Transformer Pad TF300

The Asus Transformer Pad TF300 is the replacement for the original Transformer that's now more than a year old, and it sells for an affordable $399 for the 32 gig model. There's a 16 gig model for $379, but why would you opt for that? It exists only so Asus can get that hot spot on the low price sort on merchant websites. The tablet joins the Transformer Prime and Acer Iconia Tab A510 in the quad core Tegra 3 club, though it has a slightly lower clock speed Tegra T30L CPU. In terms of benchmarks and performance, we didn't feel like the slow kid on the block. The TF300 ships with Android OS 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich.

IPS Display

The Tablet has an IPS display capable of 300 nits brightness, which is respectable, though not groundbreaking like the IPS + 600 nit display on the Transformer Prime. Do you need 600 nits indoors? Likely not, but it's useful if you use the tablet outdoors. Resolution is the usual 1280 x 800 (you'll have to wait for the Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 if you want a 1080p display). The screen can get plenty bright with the slider set toward max, and it has high contrast and plenty of glare (the Prime is also a glare monster). The TF300 does not have Gorilla Glass and it picks up fingerprints more than the Gorilla Glass clad Transformer Prime. Is it one of the nicer Android tablet displays on the market? Yes, it is. It has wide viewing angles, neutral colors (it's just a tiny bit more cool than the Prime but warmer than the Acer Iconia Tab A510) and decent brightness.

Optional Keyboard Dock: Make it a Laptop of Sorts

Like all Asus Transformer models, it works with the optional $149 keyboard dock that has a keyboard, trackpad, USB port, SD card slot and secondary battery that charges the TF300T. It's available in blue to match the tablet, and there will be red and white docks to match the red and white Transformer Pad TF300's when they ship in June. The keyboard dock turns the tablet into a netbook form factor device, which is great for those who want to use it as a notebook replacement. The hinge is quite stiff, and I doubt it will get loosy-goosy any time soon. But I also suspect it puts a good deal of pressure on the lower section of the tablet's display, so open and close the assembly with care. There have been some reports of Prime displays cracking with liberal use of the keyboard dock, but the TF300 is a bit thicker and more robust.

Asus Transformer Pad TF300

As you'd expect, the keyboard on a 10.1" device is tight, and those with big hands will likely feel cramped. The keys have reasonable travel given the thin design, and decent tactile feedback. There are a variety of dedicated Android keys for menu access, music playback and even a screenshot button. The trackpad on the TF300 dock works very well (better than some Windows laptops). We like the actual clicky chrome button vs. the buttonless design on the Prime keyboard dock and many laptops.

Asus Transformer Pad TF300

The dock adds a secondary battery that charges the Transformer Pad's 22Wh Lithium Ion battery (down a bit from the Transformer Prime TF201's 25Wh battery and seriously less than the 36Wh battery in the Acer Iconia Tab A510).

The full size USB port works with USB peripherals like flash drives, portable hard drives, CDROM drives, keyboards, mice, game controllers and USB Ethernet adapters. Android lacks drivers for USB modems and audio devices. USB Ethernet isn't a part of the standard Android driver selection: Asus added their own driver. The tablet works with FAT32 and NTFS formatted volumes. If you don't want the dock but do want USB host, Asus makes a not very easy to find $20 adapter that plugs into the 40 pin charge/dock connector and adds a single USB port.


Deals and Shopping:


Asus Transformer Pad TF300 Video Review


Acer Iconia Tab A510 vs. Asus Transformer Pad TF300


Asus Transformer Pad TF300 vs. Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime

Design: Everything Old is New Again, But Less Pretty and Shiny

The Asus Transformer Pad TF300 has a plastic back with an embossed swirl pattern that mimics the Transformer Prime's design, and the TF300 is a little bit heavier and thicker (thick enough that I wouldn't want to force it into a TF201 Prime dock). WiFi and GPS? Yes, they work great! Asus has worked that problem out. Bluetooth and WiFi so far coexist nicely, though we've noticed Bluetooth speaker audio sometimes falls behind the video track even for non-streaming locally stored videos.

But does the Transformer Pad TF300 look nearly as pretty or sexily thin as the Transformer Prime? Nope. A blue ABS plastic back is no esthetic replacement for a super-slim metal backed tablet. And there lies the dilemma: great looks and high quality materials vs. a more robust design and better wireless reception. The TF300 is slightly thicker (though still thinner than many tablets) and weighs 1.4 lbs. vs. 1.29 lbs. for the Transformer Prime, but the revised edges provide more support for ports. I'd like to see even more support for ports, but that would mean even less side taper, which would make the tablet look fatter (Asus Marketing would hate that). For me, function wins over form, and I'd choose the TF300 over the Prime when it comes to those stronger ports, easier to operate controls and stronger wireless.

Asus places two small stereo speakers next to each other under a thin slit on the right side (when held in landscape mode). Volume is just OK, separation is nil as you'd guess, and sound isn't particularly rich and full. They're a little bit louder than the Prime's speaker but are blown away by the large and well-separated speakers on the Acer Iconia Tab A510 with Dolby Mobile audio. Sound through the headphone jack is excellent, and Bluetooth stereo headphones and speakers work well though we noted that audio tracks lag behind video when watching movies (we've seen this on other Android tablets too). The TF300 can output 3D content to a 3D TV over HDMI and it supports 5.1 audio out over HDMI. 5.1 audio worked fine in our tests; in fact it was much more reliable than the finicky Prime.

Performance and Horsepower

The Transformer Pad TF300 runs on the Nvidia Tegra 3 T30L quad core CPU with GeForce graphics. This is a slightly lower clocked CPU that's 100MHz slower than the T30 used in the Transformer Prime and Acer Iconia Tab A510. The graphics chip is supposedly clocked approximately 200MHz slower. Will you feel the difference? No. The 1.2GHz feels equally as responsive and it benchmarks almost as well as the T30-based tablets. While most Android tablets have 1 gig of DDR2 RAM, the TF300 uses a gig of DDR3 RAM. Benchmarks don't show significant improvement in memory operations, but we'll never turn down faster components.

The tablet is available with 16 or 32 gigs of storage and you can expand storage using microSD cards. Cards and USB mass storage devices like flash drives and portable hard drives appear under the Asus file manager but not third party file managers using SD card and USB aliases (the same is true of the Prime). You can use third party file managers to access external storage, but you'll have to navigate to the root level of internal storage, then go into the /mnt folder to find you microSD card and USB flash drives and hard drives. Gallery will automatically pull in photos and videos and Google Play Music sees tracks on external storage.

We've seen a few "wait/force close" dialogs in the Google Play Store when downloading apps, but so far not in the web browser where it drives us crazy on the higher end but buggier Transformer Prime. It seems that I/O has improved with the TF300, and we're guessing it's a hardware improvement since both tablets run nearly identical software.

The tablet plays 1080p video well, and the Tegra 3 has hardware decoding support (including NEON) that puts it leaps ahead of the Tegra 2 for HD video playback.


  Quadrant GLBenchmark 2.1Egypt Offscreen AnTuTu Sunspider JavaScript Test
Asus Transformer Pad TF300 3425 69 fps 9559 2257
Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 4915 74 fps 12,229 1903
Acer Iconia Tab A510 3807 69 fps 10,910 1788
Toshiba Excite 10 4143 63 fps 11,056 1935
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime 3801 61 fps 9846 1814
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 2636 27 fps 4942 2206
Acer Iconia Tab A200 (dual core Tegra 2) 1800 42 fps 5025 2185

Battery Life

The TF300 has a 22Wh Lithium Ion battery that's sealed inside. That's a little bit less capacity than the Transformer Prime (25Wh) and a lot less than the Iconia Tab A510 (36Wh). The tablet lasted us an average of 7.5 hours of actual use time with brightness set to 60% and WiFi on in a mix of web browsing, streaming YouTube videos, checking email and checking in with various social networks. That's about 30 minutes less than our Prime and a few hours short of the Acer A510. Still, it's a respectable enough number, and a fully charged keyboard dock adds another 3.5 hours to runtimes.


The Transformer Pad TF300 ships with Android OS 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. Asus doesn't customize the UI in any way, but they do add their selection of useful applications. These are the same apps that are bundled with the Transformer Prime and they include Polaris Office (view, edit and create MS Office compatible docs), Splashtop remote (remotely access your PC or Mac's desktop), an app backup utility, App Locker (prevent the kids from running specified apps), SuperNote (rich notes with text and drawing support), Zinio, Press Reader, dLNA, a basic ePub ebook reader and Asus Cloud Storage.

Cameras, Front and Rear

Like the Transformer Prime, the Transformer Pad TF300 has an 8 megapixel rear camera but it loses the LED flash. Honestly, my Prime rarely takes wildly compelling photos unless lighting is just right: not too sunny and not too dim. The TF300 is the same, but low light shots are truly impossible without the flash (they were marginal on the Prime). The tablet can shoot 1080p video that again looks best with ideal lighting.

The front 1.2 megapixel video chat camera and mic worked fine with Google Talk video chat and Skype, and the slightly off-centered lens didn't cause any problems.


The Asus Transformer Pad TF300 is a solid Android tablet. For just $399 you get a lot for your money: the latest OS, a fast quad core CPU, an IPS display and a reasonable amount of storage. In some ways, it's a better tablet than the more expensive Transformer Prime: WiFi and GPS work very well and the tablet is less delicately designed. But the TF300 looks like a plastic tablet and lacks the sexy metal back, insanely (and not necessarily comfortable) thin design and IPS+ display. If you're in the market for a tablet with the convertible option via keyboard dock, we recommend the Transformer Pad TF300.

Price: $379 for 16 gig and $399 for 32 gig


Related Articles:

Acer Iconia Tab A510 Review

Asus Transformer Infinity TF700 Review

Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 Review (with keyboard dock)


Asus Transformer Pad TF300

Above: the Asus Transformer Pad TF300 and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime.


Asus Transformer Pad TF300



Asus Transformer Pad TF300



Asus Transformer Pad TF300



Asus Transformer Pad TF300


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Display: 10.1" capacitive IPS display. Resolution: 1280 x 800, supports both portrait and landscape modes via accelerometer. Has ambient light sensor, digital compass and gyro sensor.

Battery: 22Wh Lithium Ion Polymer rechargeable. Battery is not user replaceable.

Performance: 1.2GHz quad core Tegra 3 T30L CPU with 1 gig RAM and 16 or 32 gigs of internal storage.

Size: 10.35 x 7.12 x 0.39 inches. Weight: 1.4 pounds.

Cellular: N/A, WiFi only.

Camera: 1.2MP front camera and 8MP rear camera that can shoot 1080p video.

Audio: Built in stereo speakers, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack..

Networking: Integrated WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR.

Software: Android OS 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. Full suite of Google apps: search, voice search, Maps, Navigation, Places, Gmail, Email, web browser, Market, Gtalk with video chat, Books (Google ebook reader), Gallery, YouTube, Music, Clock, Calculator, Contacts, Calendar and Latitude. Asus and third party apps:MyNet dLNA, MyLibrary ebook reader, Polaris Office (MS Office suite), MyCloud (cloud storage and PC remote control software by Splashtop) and file manager.

Expansion and Ports: 1 SDHC microSD card slot, micro HDMI port, propriety sync/charge port and 3.5mm headphone jack. Keyboard dock adds one full size USB 2.0 port and SD card slot.


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