Asus are releasing a younger brother to their Transformer Prime in the form of the Asus Transformer Pad 300. With an add-on keyboard the tab lacks a certain style but it has the heart of a lion featuring a powerful NVidia Tegra 3 chip that will power pretty much anything you can throw at it.
Looking to provide an option for the cheaper pad market although still an expensive £399 in the UK and around $399.99 in the US it’s definitely a good price for the power the pad gives you, especially with the add-on keyboard.
The most surprising thing about the pad is that Asus have provided an entry level Transformer but kept the powerful punch of its older brother. Using Ice Cream Sandwich as its operating system and with a 10-inch screen it’s also a nicely sized tablet featuring the most up to date features of the latest Android operating system.
The add-on keyboard that is supplied is a nice feature as it also adds battery life to the pad so it’s not just a keyboard but more of a docking system. This takes battery life from around 7 hours to 12, turning the tablet into a hybrid netbook of sorts. Of course with this being a Transformer on a budget there are cost cutting methods in place, this is more in the style of the tab itself. Gone is the metallic back of the older sibling and in its place is a plastic panel, the keyboard does feel slightly weaker though. For the power the tablet is giving you though this is likely to be important and with cameras included on the rear of the tablet (8MP and 1.25MP on the front) this just adds to the quality.
As mentioned the screen comes in at around 10-inches and is capable of a resolution of 1280x800 against other tablets this is hardly competition though which is a shame as it felt less sharp as the new iPad screen or Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1’s screen. Reflection of light can be an issue too.
Although the keyboard is not stylish the connection between the tablet itself and the keyboard is a very nice feature. The tablet will click into the slot easily enough and with a slight flicker will come to life allowing you to use the keyboard and trackpad straight away.
As is common with netbooks in general the keyboard is quite cramped but this is easy to get used to especially for what you would use the netbook for. Extended use can be an issue though as it was hardly made for comfort. The trackpad has no such issues though making using the Android features no problem at all. It should also be noted that there are no issue with the transition back to tablet use, all it takes is removing the keyboard and the tablet is ready to use straight away.
The real power behind this tablet is the NVidia Tegra 3 chip. This is a 1.2Ghz quad core chip which means the tablet will have no problems at all running anything you want to use. Couple that with the inclusion of Ice Cream Sandwich as the operating system and you have a smooth running operating system that should be a pleasure to use. The power of this tablet will be its main selling point and really does make the tablet stand out.
As an entry level tablet the Asus Transformer Pad 300 is an excellent choice. With the power it provides it manages to be competition to the likes of the iPad in usability if not style. If the tablet is compared with the iPad itself this tablet has double the storage (16GB with 8GB free webspace), an excellent range of apps loaded onto it when you first load it up and an excellent keyboard docking system. It won’t compete on stylish looks but with power it beats the competition.
Of course the iPad has the new Retina screen and the App Store still provides a greater number of apps for purchase so some may still wish to stick with Apple on that one. If you want a good entry level Android tablet though that provides powerful performance this may be the option for you.