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Asus Transformer Pad 300 – Screen, Speakers and Performance

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



  • Editors choice
Asus Transformer Pad 300 13


Our Score:



Thankfully, we’re seeing high-quality IPS screens becoming the norm across all but the most budget 10in tablets, and the 1,280 x 800 panel used in the Transformer Pad 300 is pretty good. While it lacks the Transformer Prime’s incredible 600nits brightness and Super IPS Plus branding, at 350nits it’s still plenty vivid. The only practical disadvantage is that it’s no longer easily visible in direct sunlight.

Asus Transformer Pad 300 10

Colours were bright without significant oversaturation, viewing angles as good as ever, and no sign of nasty artefacts. Backlighting is also even, with only minor bleed at the left side and bottom right corner. This will vary from tablet to tablet, and again is a common annoyance. We also found contrast to be slightly poorer, with deep blacks but fewer dark details distinguishable. However, it’s still in line with most tablets and good enough for the majority of users.


Audio from the Pad 300’s SonicMaster stereo speakers is decent enough as tablets go, with good volume and clarity, plus just an extra hint of bass compared to the Prime. You’ll still want to use a decent pair of headphones if you can though.

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Performance is almost identical to that of the Transformer Prime running Android 4.0.3 (yummily codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich, or ICS for short), so have a read of that review to get all the nitty gritty. Otherwise, suffice to say it’s very good indeed. There’s the rare hiccup to remind you that you’re running an OS that’s been made to work with a huge variety of hardware configurations where Apple’s slightly more polished iOS runs on just a few iterations of a single platform, but overall everything ran quick and smooth on Nvidia’s Tegra 3 quad-core power.

Tegra 3 is a fully power-gated architecture with cores only active when they’re needed. In fact, all four primary cores can be switched off, as there’s a fifth, low-power ‘companion core’ integrated into the chipset for handling low-level tasks and idle updating. The primary cores also feature dynamic clocking to save energy when they are in use, and can clock anywhere from a few MHz to their full 1200MHz speed on this tablet. Incidentally, we wouldn’t be at all surprised if there was a hack released soon to take advantage of the 1.6GHz-plus speeds Tegra 3 is comfortable running at on other devices.

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Backed by 1GB of RAM, you rarely run out of memory even with fairly intensive multi-tasking, something Android does properly (unlike iOS, even demanding apps can continue running in the background rather than being paused). For storage the 32GB you get standard in the UK Transformer Pad 300, plus 8GB online for life via Asus WebStorage, should be more than sufficient for most - and if not it can be expanded by up to 128GB using the SD memory card slots; new iPad eat your heart out.

Graphics and Video

Finally, on the graphics front Tegra 3 isn’t as strong as its processor component. Its 12 GPU cores do provide some of the best performance in an Android tablet, but for sheer horsepower it can’t beat even the iPad 2’s A5 SoC, let alone the A5X in Apple’s third tablet. However, thanks to Nvidia’s close game developer relationships and sponsorship, you will find titles with added details, physics and effects, essentially giving you the best-looking mobile version of a multi-platform game. It’s also worth noting that Tegra 3 is the only platform so far with hardware support for PS3, Wii and wired PC/Xbox 360 controllers.

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Smooth-as-butter playback of the most intensive 1080p HD video you can throw at it is the final feather in Tegra 3’s cap, as long as you use a media player that supports its hardware acceleration.

David Horn

May 9, 2012, 2:51 am

I'm inclined to think that Asus have screwed up their tablet line-up for this year.

Having used an iPad 3 there's no way I'm going for a low resolution screen any more, but I'm equally aware that the Transformer Prime with a 1080p screen was announced over six months ago, and isn't due a UK release for several months still.

So at this point I'm now reluctant to buy a tablet which I know is significantly out-of-date at release. Asus should have played their cards closer to their chest and announced the 1080p version and released it shortly afterwards.

At least when Apple commit to a release date they mean it.


May 9, 2012, 1:59 pm

An intriguing logic. While you're right to criticise Asus' slow launches, the products themselves are still class leading - it's not like other products are superseding them in the time between announcement and launch. Also, with regard the screen, the iPad 3 is nice but I certainly wouldn't be dissuaded from another tablet solely because of it. Moreover, the 1,280 x 800 resolution used here means this tablet has a higher pixel density than the older iPads already. The iPad 2 is 132ppi, Transformer is 184ppi and iPad 3 is 264ppi.


May 9, 2012, 3:44 pm

While I see where you're coming from, having the only 10/10 scoring tablet out this year is hardly "screwed up".

Being a 'screen snob' myself I also regret the delay with the higher-resolution Infinity, but if I had to pick right now, I would go for the extra functionality, flexibility, connectivity, battery life, etc over the iPad 3's admittedly lovely high-rez display.

And the Transformer Tab Infinity WILL come out this year, so "for this year" might be overstating the case regardless.


May 9, 2012, 4:02 pm

I am surprised by this review. I used the Prime for a little while and really did not like it, although it is very fast. Side by side with an Ipad and Galaxy Tab the screen looks poor, highly reflective and lifeless colours. The dock connector also feels like it will break at any time. I can't see how this more basic one could be better.

Lee Marshall

May 9, 2012, 5:45 pm

I think the screen on my Prime is superb, yes it's not as sharp as the latest iPad but it is still incredibly bright, colourful and has good contrast. It's truly superb for movie playback.

The dock/power connector does not feel that strong but I haven't had any problems with either of them.


May 9, 2012, 5:46 pm

Thanks for your comment.
Regarding the Prime, it had by far the brightest screen and some of the best contrast of any tablet on the market when it came out, so not quite sure how you gained the impression of "poor [...] lifeless colours". Was the brightness set low?

As to the dock connector, I agree it does feel a little precarious especially in 'laptop mode', but I don't know anyone who has had issues with it yet, and if it were to break that would be covered under warranty.


May 9, 2012, 8:24 pm

As indicated by the review, quite a few people like the screen, but looking at them all side by side in the office doing similar tests, my preference would be for the Galaxy series screens. I definitely recommend people try to physically check out the differences before they buy.


May 9, 2012, 9:42 pm

I noticed the rather vague reference to the bundled word processor, Polaris Office.

To describe it as 'basic' is an understatement. Until Android Office software improves this is basically a decent tablet with a keyboard attached - any sub-laptop will beat it hands down even for occasional work.

Hans Gruber

May 9, 2012, 10:27 pm

I had the original Transformer 101 and whilst it had a lot of potential it was marred by some significant faults too.

There were fairly widespread problems with QC and a number of the tablets had severe backlight screen bleed issues, which affected my own tablet also.

The audio on my tablet was abysmal. Both the inbuilt speakers and headphone output were very underpowered. You had to use an amplifier just to get a decent level of audible sound.

As for the keyboard, that suffered greatly with input lag and was a common problem. You could improve its performance a little by turning off predictive text and things but it still sucked so much it meant you couldn't begin to type normally.

The things I really liked about the tablet were marred terribly by the issues I had. But there was no beating the device for responsiveness of google maps and the screen looked great (in bright light at least) where backlight bleed wasn't noticeable.

Anyway, my own tablet was lost in transit on it's second return to get fixed. So that was a blessing really. It was far from a useful or usable tool for inputting text so I don't really regret becoming tablet-less. I remain very sceptical of such devices to this day though I appreciate ASUS at least score points for trying to innovate. They apparently had a high level of returns of the TF101 too and weren't known for reliability so I hope this has since changed. Never had problems with the dock connector though (noted it might not give much confidence for durability as it looks, but with normal use you wouldn't accidentally break it).


May 16, 2012, 1:04 pm

I notice that Tesco are now selling the Sony Tablet S for £299...that changes the value stakes a little.


May 16, 2012, 3:08 pm

@Hans Gruber:
Yes, the original was more of a mixed bag, and though it was a revolutionary product, it did have some serious faults - though it's worth keeping in mind most of them were shared by other tablets of that time.
Low maximum volume from the headphone jack was still a potential issue on the Prime but appears to have been fully fixed on the Pad 300, and keyboard lag wasn't noticeable on either model.
I would definitely recommend giving the latest Transformer tablet a try if you loved the form factor :)

Thanks for your comment.
That's for the 16GB version. The 32GB version (which matches the Pad 300's native storage) is still £379 as mentioned in the comparison in my review.


May 23, 2012, 3:36 am

I'm not surprised by this review. The anti-Apple bias of this site is clear to even the most casual observer.

General consumers such as myself don't care about hardware features like connectivity with TVs, games controllers or keyboards on a tablet device - these are features of computers or games consoles.

Hardware features that do matter on a tablet, however, are the quality of the screen and the speed of the touch response. The superiority of Apple's offerings, on these counts, are immediately apparent to anybody who has tried them.

Hardware aside, what I really object to is the casual disregard of objectivity for the massive and obvious differences between the iOS and Android platforms on nearly every level, from speed, to ease of use, to the quality of the content available on their respective 'app stores'. No additional hardware 'options' can make up for the obvious superiority of iOS in this regard. Ignoring or downplaying this point in the manner that this site's reviewers do again and again borders on deliberate misrepresentation.

Please be objective when you review hardware - we, your readers, come to your site to help inform buying decisions, not be be misled by reviewers which display over-enthusiasm for some platforms/corporations and obvious distain for others.


June 11, 2012, 5:21 am

Great review. Before finding this review and after reading most other competitors reviews, I had come to the same conclusion. This looks like a good deal.

A few things: If I can buy an entirely new 3G phone (say, the Samsung Europa) with 3G & WiFi, then why are we still not seeing 3G & WiFi as standard in almost all tablets. It's not a cost or space limitation any more. The crazy £100 premium that most manufacturers charge for a 3G enabled tablet is borderline criminal!

If I was interested in making a purchase *cough* not that i'm seriously thinking of frivolously spending money on a tablet again *cough*, I would find it a photo finish between these three:

Acer Iconia A510
Toshiba Excite 10.1 / AT300
Asus Transformer Pad TF300

Tough call...if I was interested in buying :)


July 5, 2012, 9:08 pm

Glad you liked it!

Not that you're interested in buying of course, but if you had been, I would have to say TF300 out of those three. The keyboard dock/battery just adds so much...

If you had no interest in a keyboard attachment, the AT300 [http://www.trustedreviews.c...] might be the better bet due to its on-tablet full-size SD card slot and USB.


December 13, 2012, 2:16 pm

Asus rocks!


December 27, 2012, 5:36 pm

Is there a compatible HDMI to VGA adaptor for this tablet?


February 23, 2013, 12:02 pm

No longer supports flash player so what's the point!

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