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February 22, 2014

ASUS Transformer Pad TF701T Review

The ASUS Transformer Pad TF701T, is a device that aims to turn a powerful Android slate into a productivity notebook with its full sized keyboard, touch pad, USB port and extra battery. So far it has left us with good first impressions, now let’s find out what it has to offer in full by reading our review.

transformer pad tf701t_1

Design and Construction

At first glance, the new Transformer Pad looks like a normal small-sized notebook. It’s good-looking, well-built, and feature-packed as well. Like what was mentioned in our first impressions, the Pad is made from aluminum and high-quality plastics. The result is a device that is both durable and attractive.

transformer pad tf701t_2

Like a regular notebook, the Transformer Pad comes with number useful ports like the micro HDMI, headphone jack, microSD card slot, USB 3.0 (dock), and SD card reader (dock). It comes with a couple of cameras too – a 5 megapixel on the rear and 1.2 megapixel front-facing which are good for making Skype calls.

transformer pad tf701t_3

Open the Pad and you’ll be greeted by the high-resolution 10.1-inch screen and its full sized keyboard with track pad. The keys are made of plastic with a matte finish to it. Its springiness is a bit on the soft side but it’s responsive, quiet and feels durable. Those who are used to typing on larger laptops might find the keyboard size on the new Pad to be cramped. Thus, it might take some getting used to but it can still get some work done.

transformer pad tf701t_6

Although the design is great, there are a couple of drawbacks that we noticed on the device. The first one is the uneven weight of the Pad and its dock. A slight push on the screen and you’ll see the keyboard lift along with it. If you prop it on your lap it would feel like it could easily topple over. Second is the docking part where the Pad connects to. It’s not exactly snug and wobbles a bit which is evident when you adjust the angle of the display.

transformer pad tf701t_4

On the bright side, the pros outweigh the cons. One wouldn’t be disappointed with the Transformer Pad’s build and hardware quality.

Display

Another strong feature of the Transformer Pad is its 10.1-inch Super IPS+ display with WQXGA (2560 x 1600) resolution at 299ppi. It’s denser than the iPad Air’s 264ppi and only equaled by the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition. Users won’t be disappointed with the Pad’s display quality as it is vibrant, sharp, bright, and has very good viewing angles. You can also activate the Super IPS+ (Outdoor mode) inside Settings to give the display an extra boost for better legibility outdoors.

OS and Apps

transformer pad tf701t_ui1

The Transformer Pad comes with an older Android 4.2.2 Jellybean out of the box with slight customization from ASUS. We were expecting at least 4.3 given its powerful specs. ASUS hasn’t rolled out an update for it yet during the whole review period but we’re hoping that it will be updated to 4.4 Kitkat in the near future.

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ASUS has preloaded the Pad with apps like the SuperNote, AOLink, App Locker, App Backup, Flipboard, Dictionary, Instant Dictionary, MyBitCast, ASUS Story, Splendid, Mirror, Polaris Office, and Tegra Zone. It’s a good thing that the Pad left a large usable storage of 25.27GB as none of these apps can be uninstalled.

transformer pad tf701t_ui2

Camera

The Pad is equipped with a 5 megapixel rear camera and a 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera. Although 5MP seems underwhelming, it is capable of producing very decent photos. In addition, the camera comes with a number modes like HDR, Beautification, Panorama, Night, Smart remove, All smiles, and GIF animation. There’s also burst shooting mode called “Turbo” that lets you shoot capture 100 2MP images in under 5 seconds.

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Take a look at the sample pics below:

The camera can also record 1080p videos at 30fps. There also a few modes available like High speed, Slow motion and Time lapse.

Multimedia

Handling multimedia is no problem to the Transformer Pad. Aside from having a gorgeous display it also has a very loud speaker that’s perfect for watching movies and videos. You can also take advantage of the Audio Wizard to pick the right audio setup optimized for your multimedia needs.

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Performance and Benchmarks

Running under the hood of the new Pad is a powerful NVIDIA Tegra 4 Quad-Core CPU clocked at 1.9GHz and 2GB of RAM. As expected, it’s very zippy when it comes to handling basic tasks and resource-heavy apps and games. However, we noticed that the upper left backside of the tablet gets really toasty especially when you’re playing 3D games. It’s understandable since the Pad is pushing a lot of power given its specs but not exactly a comfortable experience if you like holding the tablet on that part.

transformer pad tf701t_ui6

In addition, there are moments when transitions and animations seem to stutter a bit but returns back to normal after a few seconds. There’s also a very noticeable delay when locking and unlocking the device which would sometimes take a full 2 seconds. We also experienced a few random reboots (three in total) during our 2 weeks of use. We believe that these are just software issues that can be addressed with an update.

The Transformer Pad went through our usual series of benchmark tests and here are the results:

* AnTuTu – 31,977
* Quadrant – 13,401
* Vellamo – 2,763 (HTML 5) / 1,217 (Metal)
* NenaMark2 – 58fps

Battery Life

The Transformer Pad’s Li-polymer battery claims 13 hours worth of juice on the tablet and an extra 4 hours on the dock. True enough the Pad was able to achieve that kind of result with minor differences in our battery test: 12.5 hours worth of playback on the tablet and an extra 4.17 hours from the dock. In total the Pad should give you 16.67 hours playback which is really good.

Conclusion

To conclude the TF701T is ASUS’ best Transformer Pad yet. It’s got a good set of specs partnered with a good build and design. In addition to being a full-blown tablet, it is also a very capable productivity partner thanks to its long battery life and keyboard dock. The USB 3.0 port is also a treat since we can easily connect any USB-compatible device like a mouse or a flash drive.

transformer pad tf701t_5

However, the new Transformer Pad is a bit on the expensive side. At Php27,995 one might just opt for the Windows 8-powered Transformer Book T100 which is less premium-looking but more affordable and better equipped for productivity. Another option is the Transformer Book Duet that runs on both Windows and Android but we’re yet to find out if it’s going to land here in the Philippines. To sum it up, if you have extra money to burn and an Android slate with a keyboard dock is your thing for productivity, then the new Transformer Pad is the device to get.

ASUS Transformer Pad TF701T specs:
10.1″ WQXGA (2560 x 1600) Super IPS+ display, 299ppi
Scratch-resistant glass w/ Anti-Fingerprint coating
NVIDIA Tegra 4 Quad-Core, 1.9GHz
2GB RAM
32GB eMMC
microSD up to 128GB
5 megapixel AF rear camera, 1080p video
1.2 megapixel front camera, 720p video
Micro HDMI
2-in-1 Audio Jack (Headphone / Mic-in)
USB 3.0 port (dock)
SD Card Reader (dock)
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth V3.0+EDR
Miracast
GPS & GLONASS
Premium Speaker with SonicMaster technology
Android 4.2.2 Jellybean
13 hours; 31Wh Li-polymer Battery (tablet)
4 hours; 16Wh Li-polymer Battery (dock)
263 x 180.8 x 8.9 mm, 585 g (tablet)
Php27,995 SRP

What we liked about it:
* Great display
* Premium build
* Good hardware specs
* Great performance
* Loud speakers
* Good keyboard with extra battery
* Good battery life

What we didn’t like about it:
* Expensive
* Top-side heavy when docked
* Rear part of the tablet heats up
* Performance issues like occasional stuttering and random reboots

ASUS Transformer Book Trio now officially available
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