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Asus Transformer Pad TF701T - Screen and Software

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Asus Transformer Pad TF701T

Summary

Our Score:

8

Asus Transformer Pad TF701 – Screen

The Asus Transformer Pad TF701 has a 10.1-inch screen just like every Transformer tablet. However, unlike early models in the range, its resolution is very high indeed.

With 2,560 x 1,600 pixels spread across 10.1 inches, its pixel density is 299ppi. That’s higher than the iPad 4 and upcoming iPad Air. Image sharpness is immaculate, giving text a crispness that’s much easier on the eye than former Transformer hybrids.

SEE ALSO: iPad Air vs iPad 4

Asus Transformer Pad 15

The Asus Transformer Pad TF701 uses an IPS-type screen – Super IPS-plus – the same basic type used in Apple’s tablets.

It’s not fundamentally different from other IPS screens in the way it works – it uses a backlight and RGB-based pixels – but it does have a super-bright mode designed or outdoors use. It’s significantly brighter than normal, but not recommended for normal use as it’ll eat through your battery in no time.

That extra brightness mode is needed because the Asus Transformer Pad TF701’s screen is highly reflective. Even at top brightness, reflections are a bit of an issue in strong sunlight.

There is an automatic brightness mode that uses a sensor on the front to determine the backlight level needed. However, its execution is a little clumsy – flicking up and down in obvious increments rather than doing so smoothly.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Best Android tablets

Asus Transformer Pad 14

We also found that the colours of the tablet are ever-so-slightly muted by default – reds are slightly subdued. However, this is most likely deliberate as the Asus Transformer Pad TF701 gives you full control over the display’s character.

It’s through an app called Asus Splendid, seen in other Asus tablets including the cheapo Asus Memo Pad HD 7. You can choose how saturated you want colours to be, the colour temperature and even the hue. Go extreme with Asus Splendid and you can make the display black and white, or truly horrible-looking. But you can also make those reds a little more vivid if it looks better to your peepers.

This is a very strong screen, aside from those screen reflections. And it also implements IGZO tech too – a new-ish Sharp screen type designed to use less battery power. It helps provide the Transformer's strong stamina, but more on that later.

Asus Transformer Pad TF701 – Software

The Asus Transformer Pad TF701 is an Android tablet, and it currently runs Android 4.2.2, one update away from the newest Android 4.3 version.

There is a custom interface at work here, but it’s not all that different from vanilla Android. The most obvious change is the arrow button in the shortcut bar that sticks around throughout the system.

It brings up a tray of utilities that can be used as widget overlays – you can run a bunch of them at once and resize them as you please. Here’s what’s on offer there:

  • Calculator
  • Audio settings
  • Dictionary
  • Video player
  • Unit converter
  • Countdown
  • Stopwatch
  • Compass
Aside from the dictionary, video player and unit converter, we can’t imagine all that many times when these would come in handy. But they're inoffensive extras.

The Asus Transformer Pad TF701 also has its own quick-launch bar. Hold a finger down on the Home button and a little circular gesture pad pops-up. This lets you access things like the browser, apps menu and a bunch of favourite apps very snappily.

It's so low-key we imagine many won't even realise it exists, but it is a handy way to get where you want quickly.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft Surface Pro 2 review

Asus Transformer Pad 7

Asus Transformer Pad TF701 – Performance

The Asus Transformer Pad TF701 is one of the first tablets we’ve seen to use the Tegra 4 processor. It’s the successor to the Tegra 3 chipset widely used in tablets of 2012, but this new one is somewhat less-used because it’s more expensive to implement than the Snapdragon varieties – so we've heard.

Performance is very good indeed, although the Transformer Pad doesn’t have the smoothest, most glitch-free implementation of Android we’ve ever seen. There are some occasional, minor jaggedy moments in screen transitions and there’s an irritating pause before the tablet comes out of standby that's been an issue with some previous Asus tablets, but otherwise this is a super-fast tablet.Asus Transformer Pad 12

In benchmarks it performs at the same level as the Snapdragon 800 chipset – currently the favourite for top-end Android phones.

In the Geekbench test it scores 2,894 points, against the 2,797 achieved by the Snapdragon 800-powered Sony Xperia Z1 phone (/small tablet). In 3DMark, a test of gaming-like 3D powers, the Tegra 4 also performs at similar level to the Snapdragon 800, scoring 15,492 points to the Xperia Z1's 17,256. You might have expected more from the Tegra 4 chipset given its impressive sounding '72-core' GPU, but it's really just a good, solid high-end chipset.

Asus Transformer Pad TF701 – Apps and Games

Nvidia does a reasonable job of showing off the Tegra 4's powers, though. Tegra Zone comes pre-installed on the Transformer Pad, and it's a portal that highlights the games that have been optimsied for the Tegra processors. It ends up directing you to the standard Google Play app store, but is a neat way to avoid having to laboriously trawl through the main Android app store's shelves.

Tegra 4 easily has enough power to handle all of Android's top-end 3D games, although far from all of them have been optimised for the top-end hardware of the Transformer Pad. For example, the 'jaggies' in Real Racing 3 show that the game doesn't run at the full 2,560 x 1,600 resolution of the tablet. It plays like a dream, though.

Asus Transformer Pad 11

A trip to Tegra Zone shows you what a Tegra 4-level processor gets you – namely things like more advanced lighting effects, more complicated textures, improved shadows and more 'particle' effects.

These effects can feel a little tacked on at times – let's not forget that mobile games are not made with $200 million-plus budgets like GTA 5. Still, there are some gorgeous games out there. Although we imagine most of you will spend more time playing casual games than Tegra 4-straining 3D action titles.

When put under pressure, the Asus Transformer Pad naturally gets a little warm, but Asus does its best to keep it away from your fingers. The top-left of the tablet's rear seems to take most of the heat hit, far away from where your fingers naturally rest when holding the tablet in landscape orientation.

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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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