Just as you wouldn’t expect a Toyota Camry to outclass or outperform a Lexus ES350, you wouldn’t expect a company’s midrange tablet to outclass or outperform its high-end one. And yet, that’s exactly what happened with the $399.99 Asus Transformer Pad TF300, an Android tablet with a 10.1-inch screen. Compared with the company’s flagship model, the $499.99 Eee Pad Transformer Prime (which is, without question, drop-dead gorgeous and has one of the best-looking screens we’ve seen), the Transformer Pad TF300 is, in terms of performance and connectivity options, an all-around better device.
Before we go any further, though, we should note that we also liked the Transformer Prime—so much so, in fact, that we gave it our Editors’ Choice award. However, despite the fact that the Transformer Pad TF300 has a slightly slower processor (more on that in the Performance section), it scored better on most of our benchmark tests. On the surface, this doesn’t seem to make sense, but processor speed isn’t the only performance-impacting factor. Specific operating system and firmware tweaks, as well as different types of memory chips and other circuitry, can also make a slate run better. For example, Asus used DDR2 for the system memory in the Prime, but stepped up to DDR3 memory for this model. Little changes like these can make significant differences in performance.
As of late April 2012, these two slates are the only ones we’ve seen built around the Nvidia Tegra 3 processor. In addition to performing better on several of our tests, the Transformer Pad TF300 also provides support for 3G and 4G cellular Internet connectivity. The Transformer Prime supports only Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. That said, as of this writing, 3G and 4G service for this tablet were not available in the United States, and we can’t say when it will be. (Asus would not discuss its ongoing negotiations with cell-service providers.)
The Transformer Pad TF300 comes in two versions and three colors. You can buy a 16GB model for $379.99 and a 32GB version, the one we review here, for $399.99. (Paying $20 more for twice the storage seems like a no-brainer to us.) As shown in the image below, you can take your pick of red, white, or blue chassis—eventually. Only the blue model will hit the stores in spring 2012; you’ll have to wait until June to get a red or white one.
See the full review at Computer Shopper.