The Asus Transformer Pad TF300 packs a healthy punch and its optional keyboard dock -- which costs extra -- is a plus for many. But if you don't plan to spring for the keyboard add-on, competing tablets offer a nicer screen for near the same price.
The performance wows, the screen doesn't. The quad-core Tegra 3 processor proves incredibly fast and responsive in practice, with reviewers reporting that apps open quickly and games perform flawlessly. Despite the power, the tablet still packs in all-day battery life. However, the 1,280-by-800-pixel screen is a bit dim and not especially sharp on a 10-inch screen. The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 (*Est. $480 and up) offers similar performance and an aluminum design with a vibrant 1,920-by-1,200-pixel display featuring an optional, super-bright SuperIPS+ mode.
Just your type. (Get it?) The TF300's allure begins with the quad-core processor, but the optional keyboard dock (*Est. $150) is the real draw. It greatly extends the tablet's versatility and turns it into a productivity powerhouse among Android tablets. The slate comes with Polaris Office and other apps already installed to maximize its office-friendly potential.
The 8-megapixel rear camera takes crisp pictures, shoots 1,080p videos and features a panoramic photo mode, while the front-facing 1.2-megapixel shooter works well for video chats. On the downside, few of the 700,000-plus Android apps are optimized for tablet screens.
Don't take it outside! The dim screen doesn't look its best in outdoor settings, but the Transformer Pad TF300 performs well otherwise. The Android operating system is a bit more complex than the iPad with Retina Display's (*Est. $500 and up) iOS operating system, but reviewers say it isn't too difficult to navigate and learn.
Do you need a keyboard? If not, the Asus Transformer Pad TF300's value proposition isn't as solid as that of the 10-inch Google Nexus 10 (*Est. $400 and up), which delivers the same performance and a stunning 2,560-by-1,600-pixel screen. The more totable 7-inch Google Nexus 7 (*Est. $200 and up) delivers the same pixel density as the TF300 but costs substantially less.
Even if you do want or need a keyboard for the TF300, the extra $150 expense puts the total cost near that of the Windows-based Asus VivoTab RT (*Est. $600 and up) and the Microsoft Surface with Windows RT (*Est. $500 and up) with optional Touch Cover. Both offer superior typing experiences and the full-fledged Office 2013 RT app, although access to a much smaller -- at least for now -- app selection.
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The Transformer Pad TF300 might not offer the stunning screen or aluminum build of the Asus Transformer Prime or Transformer Pad Infinity, Kim says, but it maintains the screaming quad-core performance and still works with the excellent keyboard dock accessory for $100 less than its bigger brothers. All that earns the tablet an Excellent rating here.
Review: Asus Transformer Pad TF300, Eugene Kim, April 22, 2012
2. Laptop Magazine
Laptop Magazine gives the Transformer Pad TF300 3.5 stars out of 5. The keyboard dock and quad-core Tegra 3 processor make the tablet an excellent performer for the price if you can overlook the dim, lower-resolution screen, Smith says.
Review: Asus Transformer Pad TF300 Review, Sherri L. Smith, April 22, 2012
3. Computer Shopper
ComputerShopper.com loves the Transformer Pad TF300, giving it 4.5 stars out of 5 and a trio of awards including the coveted Editors' Choice award. "It's not just the best value among Android tablets to date, but it's also one of the best Android tablets, period," Harrel writes, although the slate was released before the Nexus 7's launch.
Review: Asus Transformer Pad TF300 Review and Ratings, William Harrel, April 26, 2012
4. Notebook Check.net
Notebookcheck.net sends the Transformer Pad TF300 through a long and complex series of benchmarks, and comes away impressed by the tablet's performance. "In our tests…we found almost no major flaws with the exception being how the browser handled complex websites," Afschar Kaboli says.
Review: Review Asus Transformer Pad TF300T Tablet/MID, Patrick Afschar Kaboli, July 17, 2012
Pierce says the Asus tablet delivers great bang for the buck. "At a slightly lower price point the Transformer Pad would be an incredible steal, but even at $379 it's a great deal for what is really a great tablet," he says, although that position has been affected by the recent flood of low-cost Android devices.
Review: Asus Transformer Pad (TF300T) Review, David Pierce, May 25, 2012
The Transformer Pad TF300 earns a rating of Very Good for its productivity chops and all-around performance. However, its more budget-friendly build quality and the dim screen's inability to function well outside prevent it from achieving a higher rating.
Review: Asus Transformer Pad TF300 Review (32 GB), Eric Franklin, April 22, 2012
Wollman loves the overall design and feel of the Transformer Pad TF300, but says Asus can't fix the tablet's largest stumbling blocks. "Our most serious complaint has little to do with Asus, and more with Android: Even with a state-of-the-art chip running the latest version of the OS, the tablet occasionally hiccups when launching apps and resizing web pages," she says.
Review: Asus Transformer Pad TF300 Review, Dana Wollman, April 22, 2012
Credibility: Very Good
At the end of a lengthy review that culminates in a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5, Morris says the reason to buy a Transformer Pad TF300 is better summed up by its negatives than its strengths: "Overall, the reasons for buying a TF300 are many and varied, but we struggled to come up with many reasons you shouldn't buy one," he writes.
Review: Asus Transformer Pad TF300T Review, Ian Morris, May 2, 2012