Asus Transformer Pad 300 review

3 Aug 2012

Great performance, but given the weak screen we’d expect a lower price to match the appeal of its premium-priced rivals

Price when reviewed 
400
4

It may have been eclipsed by Asus’ most exciting launch of 2012 – the Full HD Transformer Pad Infinity 700 – but this cut-down version, the humble Transformer Pad 300, delivers Asus' hybrid tablet vision for significantly less cash.

It takes over from where Asus’s other award-winning tablet, the Transformer Prime, left off, cutting a few corners to keep costs down. Instead of a metal finish, the chassis is clad in textured blue plastic.

Compared to the Prime, it’s 36g heavier and 1.9mm thicker in tablet mode, and 200g heavier and 3mm thicker when attached to the bundled keyboard dock. Otherwise, it has all the benefits of the original, with its extra battery and full-sized SD and USB ports.

Asus Transformer Pad 300 - lid

Its 8-megapixel camera lacks a flash, but aside from that and the physical changes, the Transformer Pad 300 is all but identical to its more illustrious predecessor. The processor remains a quad-core variant of Nvidia’s Tegra 3 CPU, albeit clocked a little slower at 1.2GHz, and it’s a very quick performer.

With Android 4 onboard, the tablet feels as slick and fluid as they come, and the benchmark results back that up. A SunSpider time of 2,008ms is quick, and a 4,037 score in Quadrant is superb. It’s only a whisker behind the turbo-charged Tegra 3 in Asus’s Transformer Pad Infinity 700.

However, there are differences. A smaller battery in the base means it can’t quite match the Prime’s stamina. In our looping video test the Transformer Pad 300 gave us 10hrs 20mins, and 15hrs 32mins with the dock.

Asus Transformer Pad 300 - front with keyboard dock

The 300 falls significantly behind its sibling when it comes to screen quality, too. It’s an IPS display, so viewing angles are wide, but it’s far from the brightest we’ve seen. We measured a maximum of only 304cd/m2 – a big disappointment.

Maybe if the Transformer Pad 300 was a little cheaper we’d overlook this fault, but prices just haven’t tumbled enough to earn our complete forgiveness. Given a few months on the shelves, the price may drop, but for now, Asus’s cut-down Transformer seems like a poor cousin to the, admittedly expensive, range-topping Transformer Pad Infinity 700.

Detail

Price ex VAT £333
Price inc VAT £400
Warranty 1 yr return to base
Overall rating 4
Performance 4
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 4

Physical

Dimensions 262 x 10.7 x 180mm (WDH)
Weight 1.150kg

Display

Screen size 10.1in
Resolution screen horizontal 800
Resolution screen vertical 1,280
Display type LCD
Panel technology IPS

Core specifications

CPU frequency, MHz 1.2GHz
Integrated memory 32.0GB
RAM capacity 1.00GB

Camera

Camera megapixel rating 8.0mp
Focus type Autofocus
Built-in flash? no
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Other

WiFi standard 802.11n
Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes
HDMI output? yes
Video/TV output? no

Software

Mobile operating system Android 4