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Asus Transformer Pad TF701T review

Andrew Williams

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Reviewed:

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Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
  • Asus Transformer Pad TF701T

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Pros

  • Super-sharp screen
  • Powerful processor

Cons

  • Chunky screen bezel
  • Slight occasional lag
  • Highly reflective screen

Key Features

  • Nvidia Tegra 4 quad-core processor
  • 5-megapixel rear-facing camera
  • 10.1-inch 2,560 x 1,600 pixel IGZO IPS screen
  • Aluminium rear
  • Manufacturer: Asus
  • Review Price: £430.00

What is the Asus Transformer Pad TF701?

The Asus Transformer Pad TF701 is an Android tablet that turns into a laptop-like device thanks to a clever keyboard base. And it’s much like the last Asus Transformer tablet we looked at, the Transformer Pad Infinity. The design is starting to look a wee bit dated, but some healthy techy upgrades will please those who are already fans of the series.

SEE ALSO: iPad Air vs iPad 4

Asus Transformer Pad 10

Asus Transformer Pad TF701 – Design and Hardware

Like all the other Transformer tablets, the Asus Transformer Pad TF701 package comes in two bits. There’s the tablet and the keyboard dock. One clips into the other to turn the thing into an Android-powered netbook of sorts.

First off, let’s start with the tablet part. Like other high-end Asus Ultrabooks and tablets, the Asus Transformer Pad TF701 has a snazzy brushed aluminium back, textured in concentric circles for a striking look.

Asus Transformer Pad

Almost the entire back of the tablet is made of this aluminium, aside from the plastic cut-out where the camera lens sits. When Asus started using this, rather than using a full metal jacket, it seemed a bit of a cop-out. But there’s a very good explanation for it.

A full metal back is not good for wireless antennas, and can cause reception issues for things like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and mobile internet. The Transformer Prime suffered from these issues. In our experience, the Transformer Pad TF701 does not – its antennas sit under the plastic cut-out.

Asus has improved the look of this cut-out since it was used in the Pad Infinity too – it’s no longer full-length, and is a bit more stylish-looking.

The Transformer look hasn’t really changed much in the past two years, though, and it is starting to age. The Asus Transformer Pad TF701’s screen bezel is super-chunky and the lack of any attempt to cover any ports looks a bit stuffy next to something like the Sony Xperia Tablet Z.

At 583g, weight hasn’t improved much either. We still think the tablet on its own is a bit too heavy to use in one hand, making it only semi-portable. This is the 'standard' weight for tablets of this size, though.

SEE ALSO: Best Android tablets

Asus Transformer Pad 8

Asus Transformer Pad TF701 – Keyboard and Connectivity

There is a reason for this lack of design innovation other than that Asus clearly thinks it has found a good blueprint – the Asus Transformer Pad TF701 needs to allow space for the keyboard.

The keyboard module uses a full Qwerty keyboard with keys just shy of those you’d find on a desktop keyboard, size-wise. The idea is that it more-or-less turns the Asus Transformer Pad TF701 into a small laptop.

Asus Transformer Pad 4

The clever hinge is the key part of this. It’s metal, it’s chunky, it’s strong and it lets you hold the tablet part at any standard laptop angle. When the first Transformer came out in early 2012, we were seriously impressed. But since then a few rivals have nicked the idea, including the Samsung Ativ Smart PC.

It works well, and typing on a desk is far quicker than with a touchscreen. Key action is shallow but firm and crisp, and you have control over a number of tablet functions as well as pure typing on the keyboard – you can alter screen brightness, switch things like Wi-Fi on and off, and you can control music playback.

For that final injection of laptop feel, the keyboard also incorporates a trackpad. It’s small and made of plastic rather than the textured glass used in top-end laptops, but works reasonably well throughout given Android isn’t really designed for use with a cursor.

SEE ALSO: iPad Air hands-on review

Asus Transformer Pad 6

We did find the mouse buttons a bit lacking, though. They’re built into the mouse pad and there’s a giant dead zone in the middle that’s not signposted at all – it takes a bit of getting used to.

The keyboard also offers its own battery that charges the tablet’s unit – which we’ll get onto testing later – and adds a bunch of connections.

On the tablet part of the Asus Transformer Pad TF701 you get a microSD card slot, a microHDMI video output and the obligatory headphone jack. It doesn’t use a standard microUSB socket to transfer data or charge the battery, but a proprietary one that lives on the bottom by the hinge stabilisers.

The keyboard bit adds a full-size USB 3.0 port and a full-size SD card slot – handy if you want to plug in your own mouse or a favourite keyboard.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Best tablets

Asus Transformer Pad 18

Although made of plastic rather than metal, the keyboard does add a fair bit of weight to the tablet. The whole bundle weighs 1.16kg – the weight of the lightest Ultrabooks, so it's hardly a porker.

The Asus Transformer Pad TF701 is light enough to carry around in a bag all day, but there is a weight balancing issue here. Put it on your knees while seated and it will topple over unless you have the screen in a very upright position – you need to hold it in place with a hand or two.

This is one reason why the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 and its kickstand design is more practical in certain situations.

Alex Walsh

September 6, 2013, 8:58 am

If it's priced as much as an i5 laptop I'd have to say, what's the point? I've got an Asus Vivo i3 11inch touchscreen laptop, and that only cost £400...

tmc8080

September 6, 2013, 12:00 pm

I agree, this is likely to be laptop range pricing but the big caveats are things such as the ability to get android to support all the usb drivers ( and hardware) that windows does and the android OS needs an update to allow multiple apps to run on the main screen in true multi-tasking capability (not just background OFFscreen). No matter what specs they increase the hardware to, if these new updates to the software aren't enabled & developed, it's just a fancier version of the old o/s & hardware which has no significant added value and laptops become the better value. Think of having a quad core computer using the base version of windows 95... it's about the same lack of features in the OS that detracts from the value of better specs. Google can't update Android fast enough to get these features people will demand of $400, $500, $600 tablet hardware out there fast enough!

lemonlion

October 14, 2013, 11:59 am

Higher resolution screen, far better battery life, near instant on, ability to be used as a tablet without keyboard. Also Android games are designed for much lower specs, but windows games will only work on high end laptops. Plus many people don't like windows 8 and developers are slow to develop for their metro interface so not nearly as many apps (I mean the metro tablet style apps - obviously desktop applications there's plenty of).

Alex Walsh

October 14, 2013, 1:53 pm

in that case, I'm happy with my tf300 Transformer that cost £225 last month ;-)

lemonlion

October 15, 2013, 1:18 pm

Right, so the difference is this has a way higher screen resolution, longer battery life and a processor 4 times as fast, so less lag and better for playing games. You get what you pay for, if the tf300 is good enough for your needs then stay with it!

eaz

October 23, 2013, 3:43 pm

Now ship a version with Ubuntu touch and we have a real winner

andyvan

October 23, 2013, 4:41 pm

Interesting idea, that. Would be nice to see Asus take a risk on this format. Android doesn't really play that nicely with the whole 'mini laptop' vibe.

pikachu

October 23, 2013, 5:40 pm

Personally, I would like to see them reduce the bezel by increasing the size of the display, and implement some front facing stereo speakers. It is not pretty, like an iPad, but at least it would be a lot more practical if changes were made.

Marc Gennaoui

October 23, 2013, 8:09 pm

Asus has added floating widgets. As the name implies you can add almost any app in a smaller window that sits on top of your main home screen or running app for that matter. You can open as many floating widgets as you like. Look it up on you tube. In truth I haven't tried it myself yet. Maybe someone has got a user opinion of this functionality.

Raymond Duke

October 24, 2013, 1:53 pm

I still use my TF101 several times a week. It's one of my best purchases. I've been keeping up with all the Transformer new updates, including this one. I don't any reason to upgrade. All of the updates seem minor for my needs (reading, writing, Google Drive stuff, messaging etc.)

Mark Colit

October 24, 2013, 8:50 pm

I'm still using my TF101 as well. It'd be nice if the web browsing experience could match that of a desktop or laptop, but it's adequate most of the time. The 701 is tempting, but I think I'll keep using my TF101 till its run into the ground.

Raymond Duke

October 25, 2013, 3:42 pm

Same here. I thought it died last month when it wouldn't turn on or charge. Turns out the charger was just broke. I think I paid $15 for a new one, and now everything's fine.

pablouk

October 26, 2013, 8:13 pm

I have the TF700T with keyboard which I use everyday, picture is perfect for movies and TV shows but speed is poor due to only 1gig of RAM, I also have a Microsoft Surface pro. The ASUS is by far the better of the two machines and I can only assume that this new one has more memory fixing the speed/LAG problems.

How_delightful

October 29, 2013, 2:06 am

Maybe the keyboard area could be made heavier with a bigger battery all along under the touchpad front area AS AN OPTION to also top-up the power of the tablet `screen`. This would help it to not tip backwards if you lean the screen back a little (due to the weight of the screen currently being heavier than the keyboard).

I like giving away `free` ideas sometimes.

Edit;
Some jack-orf gave me a down arrow for helping.

How_delightful

October 29, 2013, 2:07 am

2Gb.

Edit; after down-arrow appeared.
Some jerk-off gave me a down-arrow for going to the site and finding that it is advertised as having 2Gb and confirming it here.

How_delightful

October 29, 2013, 2:09 am

Some people have big thumbs; some people use them in tablet-holders for hanging on the back of vehicle headrests for the kids movie. A very small edge would reduce that part of the market; unless you thought of a back attatchment method that I just thought of?

Edit;
Some jack-orf gave me a down arrow that wasn`t warranted.

Samus Arin

October 29, 2013, 8:15 pm

Tegra 4 too.

pablouk

October 30, 2013, 7:16 pm

Amazing, replies from TWO idiots who haven't read my post a seen that I'm talking about the previous model.

But then one is troll and the other an American so that explains the idiotic and pointless comment.

FYI spec on the TF700T
1.3GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 Quad-Core Processor
1GB DDR2 RAM

Specs on the TF701T
1.9Ghz NVIDIA Tegra 4 Quad-Core
2GB DDR3L RAM,

plunder

November 8, 2013, 4:53 pm

I bought a TF300T in March 2012. It has been a little flaky, but updated firmwares improved that. The drop in connector, within the join for the keyboard dock can cause problems. Occasionally I need to clean it carefully with contact cleaner on a cotton bud. Ironically, the Keyboard dock is also the main reason to consider this design. I use it for hours every day, almost like a net book; for Email, web access, iPlayer, podcasts, Skype etc.

I just wish the screen was better and it was a bit more stable. However, I seriously do not know what to replace it with. Nothing better offers the same form factor. You end up choosing between a proper compact laptop, or MacBook Air. No other "Tablet" does THIS specific job as well, so you end up with a device at twice the price that lacks the Transfomer flexibility.

Provided you understand the limitations and get it for a good price; the TF701T could be a very good choice. The concept and packaging NEEDS a proper update - not just a specification jump. ASUS just will not do it; they can't sell enough of them to justify the work. This is a pity, because it IS a good format.

plunder

November 8, 2013, 5:19 pm

The basic design needs a re-think, to make it properly stable and more reliable. Something like the Psion series 5 hinge; or the new Nokia 2520 tablet design.

I think many users like this format a lot. But they want it lighter and more compact. OR they want a full capacity touch screen Ultrabook; designed as a productivity tool from the ground up. ASUS have interesting ideas, but they don't finish designing them properly before launching them.

plunder

November 8, 2013, 5:34 pm

So you have both Alex - that's interesting. I may end updoing the same. I love the compactness of the TF300T (with the keyboard); but I end up working around it's limitations. I use Photoshop a lot, so a proper PC or Mac is essential; but 70% of the time a huge power hungry lump is painful.

Take a look at the new Samsung Note 10.1sometime. 10 inch Tabs are now smaller and lighter. That huge leap from a Nexus 7, is a bit smaller now.

Nick Bailey

November 10, 2013, 4:51 pm

Am I right in thinking that you can't import photos from a memory card onto this without connecting the keyboard?

Zeshan Choudhry

November 17, 2013, 11:33 pm

Actually, the American (Samus Arin) was saying that the Tegra 4 soc in addition the extra gb of RAM should help with the speed/lag problems.

P.S. This clarification comes from an American

Heilman

November 24, 2013, 3:52 pm

I believe the tablet itself has a micro sd slot

Bgrngod

December 1, 2013, 1:11 am

The TF700 is 1.6ghz, not 1.3ghz.

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