Transformer Pad 300 debuts at $400


— 2:47 PM on April 23, 2012

Asus' Transformer Pad 300 made its official debut yesterday. The tablet arrived in our labs late last week, but we've been busy with Ivy. It'll take some time to run the new Transformer through its paces and generate a full review. Since Amazon is already selling the tablet for $400, I thought I'd give you a quick preview of what it has to offer.

An upgrade to Nvidia's Tegra 3 SoC defines the new model, which has a thinner profile than its Tegra 2-based forebear. The Transformer Pad 300 isn't quite as skinny as the Transformer Prime, and its Tegra chip runs 100MHz slower than Asus' current flagship. However, it feels every bit as smooth when navigating the Android UI—and costs much less. The Transformer Prime was supposed to sell for $500, but it rings up at $550-560 right now.

Gone is the Prime's brushed aluminum exterior, which has been replaced by a ribbed plastic case that's both attractive and impervious to fingerprints. The only glossy surface is the 10" screen and its surrounding bezel. Sorry, no high-DPI love here; the new Transformer has the same 1280x800 display resolution as Asus' other 10-inchers. The rear-facing camera has been updated to an 8MP unit, if you care about that sort of thing.

All the hallmarks of the Transfomer series remain, including the optional keyboard dock, which sells for $150. Unfortunately, there's no cross-compatibility between Asus' various tablets and keyboard docks. You'll need the one that matches the Transformer Pad 300. Fortunately, the dock still still comes with a USB port, an SD slot, and an integrated battery. (Our sample doesn't have the double-height enter key shown in the stock picture above.)

The unit currently testing in the Benchmarking Sweatshop is a blue 32GB model. White and red versions will be available in June, and there's a 16GB version due to sell for $380. We'll have an in-depth look at the new Transformer soon. Stay tuned.

   
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