Beginning next week, I will be doing a lot of traveling (I’ll explain that in a future post) and wanted a nice tablet I could take on the road with me. Even though I already own several Android tablets (1 MID, 1 Pandigital, 2 Pocket eDGE Dual-books, 1 Kindle, 1 Kindle Fire, 1 Sony Dash) and e-readers as well as an iPad, I wanted something a little more. So, I set out to compare some of the top tablets currently on the market and wanted something that had at least a 10-inch screen. The tablet I finally decided on happened to be the ASUS Transformer Pad TF300T. After a few days of playing with the ASUS Transformer Pad, I want to share my thoughts on it.
To begin with, the TF300T was extremely well priced. Other comparable devices with 10-inch screens such as the New iPad, Motorola XOOM, and even the ASUS Transformer Prime TF201 all had starting prices of $499. Most of the comparable tablets with that price tag only had 16GB of internal storage. But, the TF300T had a starting price of only $399 and came with 32GB of internal storage. The price point alone got me interested in the TF300T, but the device itself is what sold me.
The TF300T has a 10.1″ LED Backlight WXGA screen with a 1280×800 resolution and a 178-degree wide viewing angle. Even though the TF300T‘s screen doesn’t match up to the resolution of the New iPad, it’s still a very sharp screen to look at. It also includes 10 finger multi-touch support, but I’m not sure why you’d want 10 fingers touching your screen at the same time. After playing a few movies on the TF300T, I was very impressed with the resolution and quality of the video playback. After all, this thing does come with a 12 core GPU!
One of my favorite things about the TF300T is the processor. This bad boy comes with a brand new NVIDIA Tegra 3 Quad-core CPU. Even though it says “quad-core”, this thing really has 5 cores. That’s right, five!!! The 4 main cores are strictly for user processing. The extra fifth core is for background processing tasks such as checking for emails, updates, and weather. There aren’t many tablets on the market today that boasts such a hardcore processor, but this one certainly does! The tablet even comes with a pre-loaded app called TegraZone Games. It’s an app that allows you to locate games that are designed specifically for the NVIDIA Tegra processors. Since this thing does come with a kicking processor, everything you do on it is pretty much flawless. Swiping windows on the home screen appears to be nice and fluid. Navigating and launching your apps is also extremely smooth.
Even though the processor is extremely powerful, it’s kind of limited by the device only including 1GB of memory. I would have liked this thing 10x more if it would have included at least 2GB of RAM to keep up with all of that processing power. But, so far the 1GB seems to be keeping up with what little I’ve done with it.
As for storage, the TF300T is available in flavors of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. I went with the 32GB because I wanted the extra space and didn’t really know at the time that a 16GB was available. ASUS also provides an additional 8G life time webstorage space. But, I don’t think I’ll be needing that. One of the reasons I won’t be needing the extra storage space in the cloud is because the TF300T also supports up to 32GB of storage via it’s MicroSD expansion port.
The TF300T has both front and rear facing cameras, both of which aren’t bad, especially compared to some of the other devices out there. The rear camera is a whopping 8MP with auto focus. Even though the rear camera has good quality, it does take a couple of seconds to auto focus and to adjust for lighting. Once it does though, it’s extremely nice to have and does a great job. The front camera is a little less exciting as the rear camera coming with only 1.2 MP. Even though it isn’t the best quality, it’s still plenty sufficient for things like Skype. Aside from the low resolution the front camera has, I’m also not pleased with its position. The front camera is a little off to the right side of the center of the tablet. In order for your videos to be centered, you have to offset the tablet from your face which feels retarded in my opinion. But, hey. To each his own, right?
The audio is fairly decent on the TF300T. But, I would definitely prefer more out of this thing. The speaker is 1 small speaker located on the back of the tablet near the right-side edge. This means that all of the sounds come from the right side of the tablet, eliminating any kind of stereo quality or surround sound audio. This also sucks when you put the tablet in a case of any kind. I added a nice looking leather case to my tablet purchase and when watching movies while the tablet is in the case, the audio seems extremely muffled. But, since I plan on using this tablet when traveling, I expect I’ll be using headphones about 95% of the time anyways. So, I don’t really care what the audio sounds like otherwise.
Where the ASUS Transformer Pad TF300T lacks in audio, it makes up in other places. For example, the TF300T includes a micro HDMI port which allows you to hook this thing into any TV or projector that supports HDMI. Because of that, you can move all of your video “and” your audio to a bigger TV where audio is not a problem. The TF300T also comes with a G-sensor, light sensor, gyroscope, e-compass, and even GPS. I guarantee that I’ll be making use of all of those sensors in my travels. Stay tuned for articles about how I’ll be using them.
Another thing I really like about the TF300T is its battery life. The book on this guy claims 10 hours of constant use and during my tests it proved correct. I copied a digital version of Avatar onto my tablet via WiFi and let it play the entire way through. While the movie was playing, I also had WiFi and bluetooth turned on. When the movie was over, the battery showed to have decreased only by a small percentage. So, I set the movie to repeat and left the WiFi and bluetooth still turned on. Right about the 10 hour mark, the TF300T finally died and needed to be recharged. I was extremely impressed with this!
Since I will be using this tablet for travel, another reason I decided to go with it is because it also supports the ASUS Transformer keyboard which pretty much turns the TF300T from a tablet into a laptop. Even though I already have several laptops, I really like the idea of being able to use my tablet as a tablet or as a laptop just by adding on an extra adapter. Plus, by adding on the keyboard dock, I would also get an additional 5 hours of battery life thanks to the extra battery in the mobile dock. And, the dock also adds an extra USB port and an SD card reader. Both of which could become valuable later down the road. The tablet itself already includes a mini-USB port which allows you to connect the tablet to a computer via the included USB cable (charging cable).
As I’ve already mentioned, the TF300T does support WiFi and bluetooth. Last week, I wrote an article telling about a cool little bluetooth keyboard I bought called the Hype Mini Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard. Since this thing is bluetooth, I decided to pair it with my TF300T to see how difficult it would be and to basically ensure that it would work with the tablet. I begin by turning on the Hype keyboard and setting it in sync mode. Then, on the TF300T, I went into settings and searched for available bluetooth devices. The TF300T recognized the Hype keyboard immediately and paired with no trouble at all. Once I told the TF300T to pair with the Hype keyboard, the TF300T told me to enter “4031” on the keyboard and hit enter. Once I did that, the 2 devices were paired at which point I was able to control my TF300T using my Hype board. Even if I don’t purchase the extra mobile dock, I will definitely be using my Hype keyboard to type on my new ASUS Transformer Pad.
To wrap things up, I am more than impressed with this tablet. I think the money was well worth it, especially considering all that I got for $100 less than all of the other tablets with comparable specs. If you decide you would like to give the TF300T a whirl, you can pick one up from Amazon for about $390 bucks right now by clicking here. If you want the additional mobile dock, Amazon also has it available currently for $130. You can get it by clicking here.
P.S. This tablet even comes preloaded with Ice Cream Sandwich – Android!!!
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