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Asus' new tablet offers 10.1-inch display at budget price

Consumer Reports News: April 24, 2012 05:08 PM

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Asus yesterday released the latest in its line of tablets, the Transformer Pad TF300. At $400, it's $100 cheaper than Asus' Eee Pad Transformer Prime. But beyond the price and the name, most of the features remain the same.

The 10.1-inch Transformer Pad is just a bit heavier at 1.4 pounds than the Prime, which weighs in at 1.3 pounds. The Pad is also a bit thicker, due to its plastic back, but that should alleviate the Prime's issue with GPS sensitivity. Like the Prime, the Transformer Pad is available with 32GB of storage. There's also a 16GB version (there's no 16GB Transformer Prime, but there is a 64GB model of that tablet available). And as with the Prime, you can buy an optional keyboard dock for $150.

Both tablets run on Android 4.0, with quad-core processors. Both have micro-HDMI, microSD, Bluetooth, and an audio jack. Neither is available with broadband access.

My first look at the Transformer Pad revealed no reason to choose the more-expensive Transformer Prime. I liked how the speakers sounded on the newer tablet better than the Prime, and the on/off and volume buttons were much easier to press. The plastic case is textured on the back, making it less slippery than the Prime's aluminum case.

Anytime you're considering buying a tablet, you should include Apple's iPad in the mix. The closest iPad to the Transformer Pad is the iPad 2, which you can pick up with 16GB of storage for $400, just $20 more than the 16GB Transformer Pad. That's enough storage for many people, and unless you must have an Android-based tablet or can't live without Flash video, GPS and the ports built into the Transformer Pad, the iPad 2 is still a better choice with its excellent app store. We'll let you know how the Transformer Pad stacks up as far as battery life, display, and more with our next Ratings.

Donna L. Tapellini

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