The Transformer Pad TF300T has launched in Australia with a starting price of $499, which is only a couple of hundred dollars less than its highly rated big brother, the Transformer Prime. ASUS has sacrificed a few things to squeeze it into the sub-$500 category, but the Transformer Pad still has plenty to brag about.
The Transformer Pad has a lot in common with the slightly older Transformer Prime — both have NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processors, 1GB RAM, an 8MP rear camera (but not flash), a 1.2MP front camera and an optional keyboard dock for an extra $100. While the guts remain largely the same, the screen on the 10.1-inch 1280×800 Transformer Pad has been downgraded to an IPS panel, storage is limited to 32GB, and the metallic finish has been swapped for plastic.
Despite losing some of the high-end features, the Transformer Pad has plenty of other things going for it. It’s a little fatter than the iPad 2 but weighs a little less at 635g. The battery is also a bit smaller than the one in the Transformer Prime, but it still claims a run of 10 hours, or 15 hours if you stick it into the dock. It comes with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), 12-core GeForce GPU, full HD 1080p video playback, SonicMaster audio technology and your choice of red, white or blue finishes.
The only potential dealbreaker is that it’s Wi-Fi only. ASUS said earlier this year that the rise of tethering doesn’t justify the adoption of a second 3G device, but it seems to have changed its mind with the release of an LTE version of the Transformer Prime. The odds of a 4G Transformer Pad appear to be pretty slim though, so if you want a quad-core Android tablet on a budget, this is about as good as it’ll get for now. ASUS says the Transformer Pad will be available this week from the usual retailers. Who’s keen? [ASUS]