Sunday, March 31, 2013

Anniversary of a tablet, Or one year with Asus Transormer tf300t.

Love from the First Sight

     Three Hundred and Sixty Five days ago I was roaming about my local Best Buy with a desperate need for a replacment of my computer, which kissed this earthly world good-bye after a failed overclocking attempt. Back then I had close to no idea why anyone would need a tablet. Slow, clunky interface of Android or very restrictive iOS didn't appeal to me in any manner. Of course, it was all about to change. After walking around the computer section of the store for what seemed to be ages, my eyes fell upon this little thing:

Image taken from:

"What is this" was my initial thought. a laptop? a tablet? It was the best of both. After messing around with it for about twenty minutes, the decision was made, and I bought one right there on the spot. It was not what  came for, but as I later realized, it was worth it. (Beware, lots of pictures and traffic)

Fast Forward. Present Days.

      To put it shortly, over the year, the tablet took a beating. The dock-station (by the way, do not get this or any other tablet from the transfromer series without a it, the dock-station is what makes the device so useful), that is supposed to like this:

Now looks like this:

Just joking of course, however, it did suffer some minor\intermediate damage:

The shine wore-off the middle key, which is made out plastic. Furthermore, the backspace key can do a magic dissaspearance trick, which it learned after I accidentaly droped it on concrete:


     Aside from that, however, the keyboard is in pretty good condition, the extra batteries still hold the charge, not as well as they used to of course, but the tablet can last about 6-7 hours on one charge, if connected to the dock.

     Now, lets talk about the hero of this review, the tablet itself. It is worth mentioning that the successor, the tf300t, of the Transformer Prime was made out of cheaper materials, to address the issue of poor Wi-Fi reception (WiFi works incredibly well, by the way) and to reduce the price of the tablet itself. For example, the screen of the device is not made with the Super IPS+ technology that Prime had, but is as glossy as the more expensive ancestor. This basically means that the tablet is useless outdoors, unless it is very cloudy day. The resolution of the screen is 1024x768, which used to be average ahen tf300t first came out, and is not at all impressive now, in the era of Full HD screens.
     The tablet is made out of plastic, not aluminum, and the Gorilla Glass that covered the screen of the previous model has been replaced with scratch-resistant plastic covering (but not smudge resistant, so prepare for some good ole' fingerprints all over the glossy front). Scratch. Resistant. Plastic. Yep. So, umm, Not good:
Scratches. Gotta love 'em.
Oh, and on about the 6th month the afore-mentioned plastic, (which, as I found out, was basically just glued to the frame), popped-off on one side, and it took some effort to put it back where it goes. It should be said that the issue did not occur again, but the unpleasant memories are still there.
More scratches.

No more flaws have been uncovered so far, except for maybe the fact that the 3.5mm audiojack is a little loose, but it seems like all the Transformers have that problem.
     So, let us turn the sucker on:

The tablet welcomes us with a list of applications. Asus's launcher sports 5 different screens which can have widgets, shortucts, anthing you like. The screens can not be removed or added, which may be a little frustrating, I still have one empty screen.
     The newest version of anrdoi that the device supports is 4.2 jelly bean. The perfomance of it is very smooth, thanks to the powerful proccessor  mentioned above. I have not noticed any lags or glitches while playing games, everything runs perfect. However, there is a flaw in browser performance. While infrequent, a message sometimes poppes up during browsing that  indicates that the browser froze. It doesn't bother me too much, but it can be a little annoying. 
Just some stats. As you can see under "Kernel Version", the device sports a custom kernel
Now, let's take a look at the benchmark results:

As you can see, with the perfomance mode turned on, the device is almost as powerful as the more expensive Prime. Of course, today both of these tablets are on the low side of the perfomance slope, but as far as gaming and browsing experience goes, both are incredibily smooth and no lags\glitches have been spotted yet.


Transformer tf300t is amazing. I mean it. Although the tablet cannot (yet) completely replace a laptop, this is as close as you will get. With the dock that provides some kind of sensory feedback, a USB port (on the dock) where an external mouse can be plugged in, this thing is as versatile as any low end laptop or netbook. There are newer models in the series with a better screen, more powerful proccessor and a better battery that are probably worth checking out, but I think I will stay true to this little device for a little longer.

Rating: 11 Androids out of 10.

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