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Asus Transformer Pad 300 – Software, Battery, Value and Verdict

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers


  • Editors choice
Asus Transformer Pad 300 13


Our Score


User Score

Review Price £399.99


While the Transformer Pad 300’s OS is mostly stock ICS (Android 4), Asus has thrown in a few handy apps. Primarily there’s Polaris Office, one of the better productivity suites for Android that includes basic Word, PowerPoint and Excel functionality. SuperNote combines no-frills painting and image editing with note-taking.

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App Locker lets you put passwords on your apps, particularly handy when kids have access to your tablet. Meanwhile App Backup, much as its name suggests, backs up all your apps and settings to external storage, very handy if you want to lend your tablet for a bit or even upgrade to a next model. Asus also offers its own Cloud service called MyCloud, which you can use in conjunction with your 8GB of web storage.


As mentioned, despite sporting a quad-core CPU Nvidia’s Tegra is fairly efficient, and the quoted battery life for the Transformer Pad 300/TF300 by itself is 10 hours, half an hour longer than the Transformer Prime. The keyboard dock actually packs a smaller-capacity battery though with 15hrs instead of 16, so expect around the same overall battery life for the two combined as with the previous champion. Indeed, for HD video playback at 50 percent screen brightness the Pad 300 lasted nine and a half hours, while with dock attached it managed 14 hours in the same scenario.

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Value Compared to iPad

The value situation has changed significantly from when we first looked at the Prime. Then, the market’s leading tablet was the iPad 2. A 32GB iPad 2 cost £499, while the 32GB Transformer Prime with keyboard dock (!) was only a few pounds more. You were essentially getting a piece of hardware that was faster, thinner, better connected, with a far superior screen and keyboard dock for only a little extra, leaving software as the only possible reason to go Apple. Now, though, the new iPad has an unmatched Retina display and the most powerful graphics chip of any tablet, and its starting price is the same £399 as the Transformer Pad 300.

However, if we’re comparing apples a 32GB iPad 3 will still set you back around £480. That’s £80 more for a heavier tablet with less battery life (remember, the Pad 300 comes with its dock by default here in the UK), far less connectivity, no expandable memory and no keyboard. Unlike with the iPad, the Pad lets you type in relative comfort, you can use the tablet for almost two full days before charging, you can output video to your TV/monitor and insert memory cards from your camera without expensive adapters, you can plug in USB memory sticks and peripherals full stop (even with its USB adapter the new iPad doesn’t recognise memory sticks), and you can play back all types of media.

If you’re after gaming or want the latest apps first the iPad is probably still the best choice, but if you want to use your tablet for work as well as play or you watch a lot of video, the Pad’s the way to go.

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Value Compared to other Android tablets

Compared to the Android competition, the situation’s even more straightforward. To mention but a few rivals, the 32GB Sony Tablet S, using a dual-core Tegra 2 SoC rather than the Pad 300’s Tegra 3, will set you back £380. Unlike its successor, Tegra 2 won’t run demanding 1080p video smoothly and won’t even give you a smooth in-OS experience. The tablet S furthermore doesn’t last nearly as long on a charge, doesn’t come close on connectivity, and obviously doesn’t give you a hardware keyboard.

Likewise for the Tegra 2-sporting Motorola Xoom 2 (£380, 16GB) and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (£390, 32GB). Considering how much that £20 extra gets you, the Transformer Pad 300 truly is a bargain, and remains unrivaled until other manufacturers bring out next-gen tablets. If you are on a strict budget though, it's worth remembering that some of the aforementioned tablets can be had in their 16GB incarnations for under £300.

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Closer to home, unless you must have the Transformer Prime’s metal finish and slim lines, or you desperately crave its sunlight-readable display, we see little reason to pay £100 more for it – especially since the 300 has a slightly nicer keyboard. Only the Transformer Pad Infinity with its 1080p screen and optional 3G might tempt us away.


With its Transformer Pad 300 - or TF300 to give it its model name - Asus has done it again. For under £400 you get a convertible 10in tablet with an IPS screen, Tegra 3 quad-core power, oodles of connectivity and battery life, and a keyboard dock that transforms (if you’ll pardon the pun) it into a genuine productivity tool and basic netbook equivalent. Essentially you get the same smooth 1080p video playback, console-quality gaming and great overall experience as with the Asus Transformer Prime for £100 less, making Asus’ latest convertible tablet an easy recommendation.

Scores In Detail

Battery Life
Screen Quality

Our Score


User Score

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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.com/...] 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!

David Kowalski

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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