Asus Transformer Pad 300

Wednesday, 23 May 2012 0 comments


Asus Transformer Pad 300 review In the Android sphere, the Asus Transformer Prime is regarded by many as the best tablet, mainly because it flaunts some cutting-edge hardware and a killer industrial design. Well, if you prefer something a bit more easy on the wallet, you won’t need to look that far – that’s because the Asus Transformer Pad 300catches our eyes with its $399.99 price point. With the $100 difference in price over its renowned sibling, we’re not getting a tablet that’s skimping out on the goods, as the Transformer Pad 300 still features a mighty quad-core processor under the hood.



Asus Transformer Pad 300

Asus Transformer Pad 300 reviewFor the most part, the Asus Transformer Pad 300 doesn’t deviate from previous offerings, as it continues to employ the same design principles akin to Asus’ line of tablets. Overall, it looks almost exactly like the Transformer Prime, but it utilizes a lower quality textured plastic casing (available in blue, red, and white). Although it manages to retain a very similar streamlined construction (0.39” thick), its weight has been bumped up to 635 grams. Despite its all-too conventional appearance, we’re comforted by its comfortable feel in the hand and solid construction.

The Asus Transformer Pad 300 has a comfortable feel in the hand and solid construction

Asus Transformer Pad 300 Review

Tucked in its usual spot above the display, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera is there for all our self-portrait snapshots and video chatting sessions.

Front-facing camera

Along the left edge of the tablet, we find a handful of things such the microphone, microSD slot, and volume control. Meanwhile, the only things found on the top side are the narrow sized power button and secondary microphone. All by its lonesome self, the tablet’s 3.5mm headset jack is found on the right sideof the tablet. Lastly, the proprietary charging power and dock connection slots are lining the bottomportion.

Power button and secondary microphone (top) - The sides of the Asus Transformer Pad 300 - Asus Transformer Pad 300 Review
3.5mm jack (right) - The sides of the Asus Transformer Pad 300 - Asus Transformer Pad 300 Review
Proprietary charging power and dock connection slots (bottom) - The sides of the Asus Transformer Pad 300 - Asus Transformer Pad 300 Review
Microphone, HDMI port, and volume key (left) - The sides of the Asus Transformer Pad 300 - Asus Transformer Pad 300 Review
Power button and secondary microphone (top)
3.5mm jack (right)
Proprietary charging power and dock connection slots (bottom)
Microphone, HDMI port, and volume key (left)
The sides of the Asus Transformer Pad 300

Flip it around, there’s an 8-megapixel auto-focus camera that’s outlined with a chrome trim, while a narrow looking speaker grill is located not too far away.

Back                                                                     Rear camera


After being mesmerized by the stunning displays found with the new iPad (3) and Asus Transformer Prime, we find ourselves just being content with the one on the Transformer Pad 300. Specifically, it features a 10.1” WXGA (1280 x 800) IPS display, which is actually the same one used by the original Eee Pad Transformer. By today’s standards, its resolution is common amongst 10-inch sized tablets – thus, allowing us to make out fine text with little issues. Moreover, since it’s an IPS panel that we’re talking about, it exhibits all the pleasing qualities we expect to find, like having good viewing angles, a high-contrast appearance, and neutral looking colors.
Viewing angles

Interface and Functionality:

So what can we say about the experience? For starters, it’s actually the same one we already saw with the Transformer Prime, since it’s running a stock Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich experience out of the box. Knowing that, we’re treated with all of the wonderful features associated with the most up-to-date version of the platform – like access to the camera right from the lock screen. As much as some people will love the experience, especially with its wealth of personalization, it’s just beginning to be a bit boring as it lacks that fresh aspect.

The Asus Transformer Pad 300 is running a stock Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich experience out of the box

Spacious by nature thanks to the 10.1-inches of real estate that we have to work with, there’s not much of a problem when it comes to typing messages with its on-screen keyboards – mainly because they’re responsive. Between the Asus and stock one, we actually prefer using the latter, since the Asus one feels more cramped, though, it employs some familiar Swype-like features.

On-screen keyboards

There’s nothing out of the ordinary with the email experience on the Asus Transformer Pad 300, as we find that practical two-panel layout with both the Email and Gmail apps. Setup, as always is a painless process, since it only requires our email address and password.


Preloaded third-party apps are kept to a minimum with the tablet, as we only find apps like Amazon Kindle, Glowball, Polaris Office, and Zinio. For those cautious about what’s saved onto the tablet, you’ll be glad to know that 8GB of free cloud storage is available with the MyCloud app.


ASUS didn’t load up our tablet with GPU-hungry game demos, but we did grab a few titles optimized for the NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip just to see what it could do. As you can see from the screenshots, some of the game graphics are nice, but others are gorgeous--and that’s without talking about performance.

Tegra 2 Optimized: Glowball

Soulcraft THD

Galaxy on Fire 2 THD

Despite how overused the term is, we have to say it: this tablet offers an immersive gaming experience. There’s no identifiable lag in control response and no hiccups in the action, even when the fur is flying. The GPU’s performance, coupled with the tablet’s excellent sound quality, makes for a distraction-free gaming experience that’s a sight to behold and fun to play. (Having the big 10.1-inch screen doesn’t hurt, either.)

Gaming on a tablet--or for that matter, a phone--can already offer a good experience, but NVIDIA isn’t kidding when it claims that Tegra 3 can give consoles a run for their money.

Processor and Memory:

Emphasizing the fact that it doesn’t skimp out with the muscle power, despite being priced $100 less than the indomitable Transformer Prime, there’s a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor with 1GB of RAMfound stuffed inside of the Transformer Pad 300. As we’ve come to expect and actually witness, it enables the tablet to move almost flawlessly with most operations, as it seems untested with processor intensive tasks. Putting it through the paces, it’s still able to maintain an instantaneous performance while navigating across the homescreen with a live wallpaper. For those of you that aren’t sold just yet, the benchmark results paint a story of why it’s still a speed demon on its own. 

Quadrant StandardAnTuTuNenaMark 2
Asus Trasnsformer Pad 3003872955147,1
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.12341516720,6
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0)2750514430,2

In an era where 1080p video recordings can eat up storage quickly, we’re humble to find that the Asus Transformer Pad 300 is packing 32GB of internal storage – albeit, it’s technically 27.51GB out of the box. Nonetheless, it can be supplemented thanks to its microSD card slot.

Internet and Connectivity:

Knowing that it’s packing a powerful quad-core processor under the hood, we’re puzzled to find the web browsing performance to be less than stellar. Actually, we’re most annoyed by its randomized delayed response, as it seemingly comes and goes whenever it pleases. When it works find, we’re greeted with fluid navigational controls – even when Adobe Flash content is present. Conversely, when those bouts of delays chime in unexpectedly, we’re simply soured by the experience.
Web browsing with the Asus Transformer Pad 300

Being a Wi-Fi only model, it maintains a solid connection to a hotspot that’s located 30 feet away in another room. Thankfully, we didn’t experience any fluctuation or disconnects during our testing. In addition to Wi-Fi, it offers other connectivity features like aGPS and Bluetooth 3.0.

CPU and Web Browsing Performance:

Methordology: In all of our test vehicles for the following benchmarks, we ran each tablet at its performance optimized settings where available, with the exception of the Transformer Prime, which was tested with Normal and Balanced power profile settings, and the Transformer Pad 300, which was tested at Performance and Balanced power profile settings. Normal mode on the Transformer Pad 300 offers the full performance of its NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor (plus a .1GHz goose on core 1), whereas Balanced mode compromises performance a bit to conserve power, capping the CPU at 1.2GHz max frequency. Beyond that, each tablet was also connected to a wall power source to ensure full performance. Here's a quick spec rundown for each tablet tested.

  • Asus Transformer Pad 300 - NVIDIA Tegra 3 1.2GHz Quad-Core (+ fifth companion core)
  • Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime - NVIDIA Tegra 3 1.3GHz Quad-Core (+ fifth companion core)
  • Asus Eee Pad Transformer - NVIDIA Tegra 2 1GHz Dual-Core
  • Apple iPad 2 - Apple A5 Dual-Core
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet - NVIDIA Tegra 2 1GHz Dual-Core
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 - NVIDIA Tegra 2 1GHz Dual-Core
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 Plus - 1.2GHz Samsung Exynos Dual Core
In the following tests, we take a look at how the Transformer Pad 300 compares to other tablets by running a few common benchmarks that are currently available in the Android Marketplace. The first two tests are general purpose computing type benchmarks.
CPU Performance Testing
Android CPU Testing

Unfortunately, the Transformer Pad 300 fell behind the Transformer Prime in Linpack, though it bested the rest of the field. The difference between the two Transformers isn’t large, but the Transformer Pad 300 is certainly taking a backseat here. Note that because of difference between Linpack for Android versus Linpack for iOS, we had to omit the iPad 2 from our test results.

Web Browser Performance Testing
Android Browser Testing

The above two tests are browser-based benchmarks designed to determine a target device's performance with respect to Javascript processing and HTML rendering. Righware's Browser Mark specifically looks at browser performance, whereas SunSpider solely looks at Javascript. In general, these are lightly threaded workloads.

In the Rightware test, the Transformer Pad 300 in Balanced mode delivered a disappointing score, near the bottom of the pack. It’s especially disappointing as it’s one of only two Tegra 3-based tablets in our reference bank. In Performance mode, however, the tablet turned in the second-best score in the field, taking a backseat only to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 Plus.

SunSpider shows again the difference in performance between the Transformer Pad 300’s Balanced and Performance modes--and possibly the weakness of its Balanced mode overall. The tablet came in with a worse score in Balanced mode than the Transformer Prime; the difference isn’t large, but technically the newer tablet should offer at least a nominal performance boost. In Performance mode, on the other hand, the Transformer Pad 300 delivered a strong score, which was bested only (though significantly) by the iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus.


With its 8-megapixel auto-focus camera, the Asus Transformer Pad 300 takes some pleasant macro and outdoor scenery shots that look good from a quick glance. However, its details are a bit too soft to allow us to crop or blow them up for printouts. Unfortunately, low lighting performance stutters tremendously, as we’re repulsed by its grainy appearance, heavy instances of noise, and bland colors. Naturally, it doesn’t help when it lacks a flash to counteract its deficiencies.

Camera interface

Samples made with the Asus Transformer Pad 300

Strong                      Medium                        Low light
Indoor samples

Nothing gets better in the 1080p video recording front, since it produces the same results as its still shot quality. Meaning, details appear to be muddy at times, but overall, it’s decent to use for situations when lighting is optimal. Oppositely, we can’t recommend using it for low lighting scenarios because the results are pretty horrendous with its prevalent artifacting, pixilated looks, and noise.

Asus Transformer Pad 300 Video Sample:


Much like all other stock ICS tablets, we’re presented with that characteristic music player that’s been a staple with the platform since Honeycomb. Frankly, we’re still appeased by the nifty looking 3D carousel that it has to offer, even despite being a standard thing. As for the audio quality, it’s undoubtedly deafening at the loudest setting with a hint of strain, but brining it down a couple notches, combined with the correct equalizer settings, produces some pleasant tones.

The music player of the Asus Transformer Pad 300 

Hardly a surprise, the Asus Transformer Pad 300 handles high definition videos with no fluff whatsoever. In fact, it’s able to maintain a steady rate of playback with our test video that’s encoded in DivX 1920 x 1080. It might not be as charming looking versus other top-shelf offerings, but heck, we’re content by it nonetheless.

Video playback 

Luckily, there’s a microHDMI port on the tablet that allows us to quickly and easily share multimedia content – while also enabling us to get a mirrored experience on a high-def television.

Battery Life:

In an attempt to quantitatively measure the Transformer Pad 300's battery life in a controlled benchmark environment, we ran a test in which we set up a webpage with a mix of graphics and text. The page automatically refreshes every three minutes. This is a simple baseline test that measures up time with web browsing. 

Battery Life Tests
Untethered Up-Time Measurements

For this test, we set the Pad 300's display to 50% brightness, which is still plenty bright and easy on the eyes. We ran the test in Balanced modes, but note that in Power Saver mode, in which you'd still get plenty of performance for simple web browsing, you could expect longer up time. In Performance mode, of course, battery life would disappear more quickly.

Well, we suppose the battery performance could be worse. The Transformer Pad 300 did better than the Prime, but it didn't come close to the original Transformer, the Galaxy Tab 10.1, or the IdeaPad K1. Granted, the Pad 300 is running a more powerful quad-core processor, but it's disappointing to see that it falls so far short of its rated battery life. With the dock supplementing the tablet's battery, the overall battery life is much better--over ten hours. 


Interestingly enough, even with its non-stop always on quad-core processor, we’re smitten by the battery life we’re able to get out of the Transformer Pad 300 on a full charge. Setting its brightness on automatic, it’s able to get us through two days of normal usage – so yeah, even heavy users will be pleased by it.

The ASUS Transformer Pad 300 is hot tablet, offering excellent performance across the board; the only issue is that its predecessor, the Transformer Prime, actually performs just as well if not better. Further, the iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 Plus also bested the Transformer Pad 300 in some tests.

That said, the Transformer 300 offers just about anything you could want in a tablet and then some. The graphics capabilities are superb, and the Tegra 3 offers more than enough performance for any app available for the device. We were routinely impressed by how fast the tablet performed tasks such as Web browsing, app launching, and various mundane activities, and the display is as responsive and quick as we’ve seen. Gaming is great, with stunning visuals and smooth-as-silk gameplay. The Tegra 3 chip and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich deliver an overall terrific user experience.

The display wasn’t as bright as that of the Transformer Prime, but ASUS made up for it in other areas, most notably in the audio department. Despite some directional sound production, the stereo speakers outperformed what you’ll typically hear even in full-size notebooks.
The keyboard dock accessory for the Transformer Pad 300 complements the tablet very well, offering additional ports, sturdy support, and a well-designed layout that feels as comfortable as a tiny keyboard can and offers plenty of convenient dedicated keys.

Is the Transformer Pad 300 a laptop replacement tablet? No, but it’s darn close. It certainly obviates the need for any netbook, ever. There are still some limitations to content creation, including the slightly undersized keyboard and under-featured mobile versions of online tools such as Google Docs, but if you’re happy with the kind of productivity that apps offer, this is actually a good laptop alternative.

As always, we come down to the price. All too often, this is the part of the review where we have to temper our enthusiasm by noting that the product in question costs way more than most of us are willing to spend. However, this time around, we’re very glad to note that the Transformer Pad 300 is actually a nice deal--it’s $379 for the 16GB version and $399 for the 32GB version, and the dock will run you $150. At worst, though, that’s $550, which isn’t a bad sticker price for a superb tablet/netbook--especially considering that the Transformer Prime started at almost $100 more for the 32GB edition. All things considered, the Transformer Pad 300 is a sweet deal.


Obviously, we like that the Asus Transformer Pad 300 boasts a price point that’s $100 less than the cream of the crop Transformer Prime – without sacrificing on the hardware. Frankly, many people will find some value in that, especially when it packs the same Android experience and quad-core processor as its fully equipped sibling. However, if money isn’t a concern with your budget, we’d still recommend picking up the Transformer Prime either way, primarily for its impeccable design, and the fact that it’s still the benchmark Android tablet to beat. 



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