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Asus Transformer Pad TF300T review

Mahananda Bohidar July 10 | Updated on July 10, 2013

Asus Transformer Pad TF300T review

Asus Transformer Pad TF300T review

The very first of the Transformers I reviewed almost two years ago, was the first of its kind. It was a tablet but not quite, As it were to be Asus ended up being one of the first manufacturers to launch a portable hybrid in India. The original Transformer was compact at that point of time but still quite bulky. The new avatar, not so much.

Beginner’s guide

Asus has designed the Transformer TF300T to look like a duo-tone hybrid. The top of the tablet is matt, white, texturised with concentric circles. The bottom has a bit of sheen but is also matt ice grey and feels good to the touch. Carrying a laptop everyday to work can be a pain especially when a lot of portables don't stay true to their name. The new ASUS Transformer however, fits quite snugly in my satchel, although I always ended up carrying it in a second bag considering how much I’d stuffed into my satchel with already. It weighs in at almost 1.2 kg with the optional keyboard dock, which also I always carried along.

By default, I start using the Transformer docked in. I set up my Google account and catch up on a couple of emails and read some of my news feed on Flipboard. Thanks to the touchscreen, I almost never use the keyboard to navigate from one story to another. It was always a swipe or a touch. Unless I was chatting with someone or Googling something; those were pretty much the only times I used the keyboard dock. As was the case with the older Transformer Pads, the build quality on the new one too is anything but delicate.

Although I used it sparingly, the keypad was quite comfortable to use. Those used to more expansive laptop or PC keyboard might find this layout a bit ramped initially. But the island-type keys have decent travel and they seemed to be spaces just right for the form factor they belong to.

The virtual keyboard isn't much of a disappointment either as it comes with the super-efficient SWYPE installed with it. As long as I don't have to lift a finger to use the wide, virtual keypad, I am not complaining. However, it's much more comfortable to just use the physical keyboard while working on long documents.

Form factor

The 10.1-inch screen on the new Transformer Pad is a pretty decent size for most multimedia functions. The default home screen doesn’t have much clutter – the usual clock, weather widgets and a neat row of pre-installed apps at the very bottom. A right swipe takes you to more apps such as Google Services, MyCloud, File Manager and so on. The only pre-loaded productivity app is Polaris Office, which I could use to work on a document, spreadsheet or presentation when I want to create a new file. A small 3x2 matrix icon on the top right of the home screen takes to an exhaustive layout of all the apps available on the system.

For a compact portable, the Asus Transformer Pad TF300T packs in just about all connectors you need. On the left hand side of the tablet, there’s a micro-HDMI port, a micro SD card slot and the volume rocker. The Lock / Power button is a lone ranger at the top. The headphone jack is on the right side, so if you’re using the device solely as a tablet to read or browse (holding it vertically) it will poke you from the bottom. In the landscape mode, say when you’re watching a movie or a music video, then it will always stay out of your way.

Multimedia

In a lot of portable devices, we see the speaker grille located at the bottom, which ends up in a muffled audio quality, because the device is almost always resting atop something. With the Asus Transformer, the speaker grille is not at the bottom but at the rear, which seems almost as bad a location. More so, when you use it in the tablet mode, as the natural grasp will mean your fingers will probably clasp on top of the speaker grille. It helps the cause that the unit comes with Asus proprietary SonicMaster powering the speakers, so the volume levels are pretty loud and clear when the speakers stood unobstructed.

It had no problem running more than a handful of apps at the same time. Streaming high-def videos online was also not much of a problem. Powered by the NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor, the Transformer handled multimedia and graphics easily, freezing on us only once when the battery was really low. The tablet gave us almost 12-13 hours of battery life with an uninterrupted connection to the Wi-Fi network, a movie playback, occasional gaming and without having gone into sleep mode even once.

Asus was one of the very first players to introduce a detachable-tablet hybrid in the market. The first iteration didn’t garner much interest, but the current Asus Transformer Pad TF300T is a device that does deserve its fair share of attention and appreciation. Personally, I love the form factor and the fact that it gives me the flexibility of using just a touch interface or a keyboard-assisted one. These can be clinching factors for those who are looking at a lot of flexibility and portability rolled into one.

Rs 43,999

Love – Compact hybrid, long battery life

Hate – Average camera, badly placed speakers

>mahananda.bohidar@thehindu.co.in

Published on July 09, 2013

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