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 1280x800 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]