Holy crap it's been a while since I last did a hardware & software review. So now that I'm back to reviewing hardware, I'll start off by review Asus' TF300t Android tablet. Now Asus has been the top dog when it comes to Android-based tablets and I'll point out MY reasons as to why I consider them the best in the market for Android tablets (hell I love their tablets more than Samsung's.)
Asus entered the Android tablet market with their first Transformer (model TF101) which was based on Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Now before they introduced the TF101, there were other companies introducing their tablets (Samsung's Tab 10.1, Toshiba's Thrive, Motorola's Xoom, Apple's iPad, etc.) However, what set Asus apart from these companies was their tablet's ability to "transform" into netbooks with optional keyboard docks. With these keyboard docks, not only did you get a fully functional keyboard + trackpad but you also had additional i/o ports and an extra battery pack built into the dock (thus extending your battery life.) Fast forward a year after and Asus announces the successor to their popular TF101; the Transformer Prime (model TF201.) This model was more than just a cosmetic change to their Transformer line. The TF201 introduced the first quad-core SoC using Nvidia's Tegra 3, also utilized a metal backing (opposed to the plastic back on the previous model), and introduced a Super IPS display mode. The TF201 was a huge hit among the fans but there were 2 huge issues: GPS and WiFi reception was horrendous due to the metal backing. To combat this, Asus releases the TF300. This new model is more of a cheaper re-hash of the TF201. Gone now is the metal backing and is replaced with a plastic back, thus improving GPS and WiFi reception. Also gone is the Super IPS and is now a normal IPS display and the glass used on the TF300 is hardened glass rather than Corning's Gorilla Glass used on the Prime. Now, several months after the release of the TF300, Asus releases their flagship tablet: the Transformer Pad Infinity TF700. This is essentially the Prime but with a true 1080p display and a beefier SoC. The WiFi and GPS problems are also addressed. The TF700's price tag starts at $499 for the 32gb model.
You're probably wondering why I decided to put the history lesson behind Asus' Transformer line. Well, I believe the history lesson will kind of help me reinforce my opinions about the TF300. For someone who's a HUUUUUGE advocate of the Android OS, the Asus TF300t is a very well-balanced tablet in terms of price and performance. One of the key things I look for when looking for an Android-based device is how "moddable" the device is in terms of software. Asus has been very lenient with their tablets and even more so since they released an app that unlocks your bootloader. Now the only bad side to this is that it voids your warranty (but then again, you guys know me....) and you won't be able to download stock OTA firmware. Another thing that Asus has done such a nice job on is releasing the source code to their firmware's kernel. This is key because it helps the developers over at XDA create custom ROMs. And finally, Asus has all their OTA firmwares available for download from their website. This helps flash-addicts like me return to stock should I ever feel the need to start from a clean slate. So when it comes to firmware, Asus is totally ahead of the game.
As for the tablet itself, I'm extremely pleased with it. Now, you might think that the Prime would've been a better choice for me compared to the TF300t but my reason for going with the TF300 is mainly the price point. For a 32gb tablet, a price of $399 is a tremendous deal (not even Samsung's Tab 2 10.1 is that cheap and that thing's a dual-core with only 16gb of storage!) Most Android tablets have a starting price of $499 and higher (depending on storage size mostly) and with the saved $100, I can use that to purchase the optional keyboard dock. However, I do lose out to a metal backing (meaning durability is somewhat lost), Gorilla glass display (again, durability), and the Super-IPS display (great for outdoor use.) For someone like me, the difference between a metal backing and plastic backing isn't much at all. I take extremely good care of all my electronic devices so I don't worry too much about it. Same goes for the lack of Gorilla glass. I also have a screen protector + case with my mobile devices so that's additional care. And finally, having a regular IPS display is more than enough for me because I don't plan to use my tablet outside (my phone does some of the stuff I do on my tablet; if not all.) So, do I lose out on much? For me, not at all. The TF300t is a fantastic tablet for the price and is a modder's dream in the tablet world. Right now, my tablet is running a custom version of Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean and I have yet to experience lag. Swiping homescreens is melted buttery smooth (Google wasn't joking with their claims of Project Butter with Jelly Bean) and with the lack of bloatware, it's just icing on an already delicious cake.
To summarize this review, the TF300t is fantastic for those of you who want to get into the Android tablet world. The price is very generous for what you're getting in terms of a full 10.1" tablet. A 4+1 processor with a 12-core Nvidia graphics processor, 32gb of storage, beautiful 1280x800 IPS display, and the ability to unlock the bootloader to flash custom ROMs. All this is available for $399, which is a fantastic price in terms of tablets. However, if you do plan on getting this tablet, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND getting a screen protector + a durable case. The build quality doesn't seem as durable as most of the metal-backed, Gorilla glass displayed tablets. My other recommendation is this: if you plan on getting the keyboard dock, do get it when you purchase the tablet. That way, you save money on buying a case. Instead of buying a case just for the tablet, you'll have to buy a case that can support both the tablet and dock. Asus did a fantastic job not only with the TF300t but with all their Android tablets (TF101, TF201, TF300, and TF700) in terms of support and innovation and I highly recommend going with the TF300t if you're wanting a 10.1" Android tablet without breaking the bank.
- Asus' support in terms of firmware and source codes
- Optional dock for additional battery life as well as a full QWERTY keyboard and I/O expansion
- Easily moddable in terms of custom ROMs
- Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC is damn fast!
- Price is amazing for what you get with the TF300t
- Plastic backing with lack of Gorilla glass drops durability down a little bit
- Lack of tablet-based apps on the Play Store
- Lack of Super IPS might be a con for those wanting to use their tablet outside in the sun
Overall score: 9.0/10.0
"People say that time flies but you keep breaking its wings..."
Last edited by DimSumGuy83 on 29 Aug 2012 19:23, edited 1 time in total.