The Asus Transformer Prime TF201 was a fine example of how a premium Android tablet should be done. It came clad in a slick metal casing and was one of the first devices to have the Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC at its heart. Asus’ new addition to its Transformer line-up is the Transformer Pad TF300TG, which is a slightly scaled-down version of the Transformer Prime TF201. Does this mean it’s a bang for your buck? Let’s find out.

Offers portability of a tablet and convenience of a laptop

Offers portability of a tablet and convenience of a laptop

Design and build quality

Unlike the Transformer Prime TF201, the Pad TF300TG sports a plastic shell. The rear panel sports a fine concentric circle texture, which adds a classy touch. In addition to the Iceberg White piece that we received, the Pad TF300TG is also available in Royal Blue and Torch Red colours.

At 635 grams, the tablet alone is about 50 grams heavier than the Prime TF201. It’s also 1.6 mm thicker, all thanks to the thick plastic shell. This doesn’t mean it’s bulky; in fact, it’s quite compact and feels very sturdy.

Comes in three attractive colours

Comes in three attractive colours

When held horizontally, you have the volume rocker, micro HDMI port, microSD and SIM card slot on the left side. The power button is placed on the top left and the 3.5 mm headphone jack is placed on the right side. The rear panel sports an 8 megapixel camera and a secondary 1.2 megapixel camera is placed just above the 10.1-inch IPS display. The Prime TF201 featured a Super IPS+ display that was much brighter. However, at 1280 x 800 (149 ppi), the resolution of both the devices is the same.

If you notice the bottom of the frame, you’ll see a tiny downward pointing triangle, which indicates the location of the proprietary connector. The dock’s holder too has the same triangle, but pointing upward. When the two triangles coincide, you know that the tablet will fit on the dock. Press the tablet down gently and you’ll hear a distinct click indicating it has been locked in place.

Slim at 9.9 mm and weighs 635 grams

Slim at 9.9 mm and weighs 635 grams

The dock adds the convenience of a laptop courtesy a physical keyboard and touchpad. It also houses a secondary battery, a USB port and a regular SD card slot. That’s a few additional hours of battery life right away. A good thing is that when the tablet is docked, the battery of the dock is used first followed by the tablet’s battery. This ensures you’ll have maximum battery life when you head out with only the tablet.

The keyboard is similar to that of a netbook with the exception that the topmost row of keys has shortcuts for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, brightness, web browser, settings, media playback, volume control and lock. You’ll find typing comfortable if you have tiny hands. Even if you have large hands or stubby fingers, you’ll find the keyboard more convenient than the on-screen keyboard. Not to mention, you also have a touchpad with left and right click buttons on a tiny chrome strip below. Note that the right-click functions as the back button.

The topmost row of keys offers useful shortcuts

The topmost row of keys offers useful shortcuts

The build quality of the dock isn’t at par with that of the tablet—it feels fragile and plasticky. The plastic used should have been of better quality.

Features

Like the Prime TF201, the Pad TF300TG too runs the Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC. Both models feature a quad-core processor Cortex-A9, but there’s a slight difference. Prime’s processor was clocked at 1.3GHz and the one used in Pad is actually a 1.2GHz part, but runs overclocked at 1.3GHz thanks to the Jelly Bean update. Combined with 1GB RAM, 32GB of onboard storage and provision to expand the storage by up to 32GB, it’s one of the most powerful Android tablets out there. A score of 106.95 and 3194 points in Linpack and Quadrant respectively clearly highlight the power of the Pad TF300TG. Nenamark 2 reported 56.4fps.

Concentric circle texture enhances the aesthetic appeal

Concentric circle texture enhances the aesthetic appeal

Media

The Pad TF300TG is a good entertainment device. Full HD videos played butter smooth and the built-in speakers are loud and clear. You won’t need to download a third party media player because the stock player supports commonly used audio and video formats including MP4 and MKV.

Connectivity

The Transformer Pad TF300TG offers much more than just Wi-Fi connectivity that most entry-level tablets offer. Here, you get support for Bluetooth v3.0 and 3G via SIM card (regular size). The 3G SIM can only be used for data—the tablet doesn’t support calling due to absence of GSM radio. SMSes can be sent using third party messaging applications such as Go SMS Pro.

Battery life

The battery life of the Pad TF300TG is impressive. We first tested the battery life of only the tablet by running our video loop—a single charge lasted for 9.5 hours. Next, we completely charged both the tablet and the dock and ran the same test again. This time the combined battery life was 14.5 hours, which was close to the claimed battery life of 15 hours. So, you can rest assured you’ll get at least 5 hours of additional battery life with the dock.

Verdict and Price in India

Priced at an MRP of Rs 43,999, the Transformer Pad TF300TG is cheaper than the Transformer Prime TF201 by a good Rs 6,000. What you don’t get are metal shell and Super IPS+ display, plus the Pad TF300TG is a tad heavier and thicker than the Prime TF201. On the other hand, the variant of the Prime TF201 being sold in India is 64GB, Wi-Fi only. The Pad TF300TG has half the amount of on-board storage and offers 3G support via SIM card.

32GB of on-board storage, Wi-Fi and 3G support via SIM card

32GB of on-board storage, Wi-Fi and 3G support via SIM card

So, if your priority is Android OS and you want a premium tablet with built-in 3G support, the Transformer Pad TF300TG is for you. If you don’t need 3G support, then we suggest you go in for the Transformer Prime TF201. If you ask us which tablet to go in for, our pick is the Apple iPad, which is more affordable than the Transformer Pad.

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