The Asus Transformer line of Android tablets has been consistently hot. The first Transformer brought high specs with a low price tag. The 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 most everything does work. That's good news for you guys and for Asus, though Prime owners might grumble.
The Asus Transformer Pad TF300 is the replacement for the original Transformer, 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 Asus Eee Pad 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 slower kid on the block.
The Tablet has an IPS display capable of 350 nits brightness, which is respectable, though not as groundbreaking as 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) and the tablet has a gig of DDR3 RAM. 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.
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. Be warned that the keyboard on a 10.1" device is tight, and those with big hands will likely feel cramped. The trackpad on the TF300 dock works wonderfully (better than some Windows laptops).
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 Asus Transformer Pad TF300 has a plastic back with an embossed swirl pattern that mimic's the Transformer Prime's design, and the TF300 is a little bit heavier than thicker (thick enough that I wouldn't want to squeeze 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. 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. The TF300's ports are better supported than the Prime, and our microSD card doesn't accidentally shoot across the room.
Here's our Asus Transformer Pad TF300 video review. We'll have comparison smackdown videos with the Acer Iconia Tab A510 and Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime as well.