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Asus Transformer Pad TF701T review

Tom Morgan
23 Nov 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
503
inc VAT

A seriously powerful tablet with the added benefits of a keyboard dock

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Specifications

10.1 in 2,560x1,600 display, 585g, 1.9GHz Nvidia Tegra 4, 2.00GB RAM, 32GB disk, Android 4.2

The Asus Transformer range is no stranger to innovation, being one of the first Android tablets to come with a detachable keyboard. The latest model, the TF701T, is no exception, marking several firsts for Asus as well as for us as reviewers - chief among them an Nvidia Tegra 4 chipset and an IGZO display.

Asus Transformer Pad TF701T

DESIGN AND DISPLAY

Until you switch it on, the TF701T looks strikingly similar to any other 10in Asus tablet, with a plain black front, but a brushed aluminium finish adding a touch of class to the rear. The screen bezels are thick enough to leave ample room for your fingers and thumbs, whether you’re holding the tablet in portrait or landscape, although the fingerprint-resistant coating Asus has applied to the Gorilla Glass display didn’t last the length of our review before we had to reach for the screen cleaner.

Asus Transformer Pad TF701T

With a massive 2,560x1,600 screen resolution, the 10.1in screen is absolutely stunning to look at. That equates to a pin-sharp 298.9 pixels per inch (ppi). The visible detail in high-resolution images can be striking, especially with the vibrant colours created by the IGZO panel. It covers a wider colour gamut than traditional LCD, even while being more energy efficient, and gives still photos and videos plenty of pop on the TF701T. In-plane switching (IPS) technology means fantastic viewing angles too, with barely any discolouration at more extreme angles.

Asus Transformer Pad TF701T

CHIPSET

The Transformer has no trouble driving so many pixels thanks to the Tegra 4 chipset. Nvidia’s latest mobile System-on-a-chip (SoC) has four high-performance cores and a fifth power saving core, which should help keep battery drain to a minimum when in Standby mode. Running at 1.9GHz and paired with 2GB of RAM, it renders Android smoothly and absolutely stormed through the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark with a 638ms overall score. That puts it among the fastest tablets around when it comes to web browsing.

Tegra 4 also has a 72-core GeForce GPU, which can play the most graphically intense games available on the Google Play Store smoothly. On paper, Tegra 4 is slower than the Adreno GPU found in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 chipset, only scoring 15,197 compared to the Sony Xperia Z1’s 17551 in 3D Mark’s Ice Storm Unlimited benchmark, but this is virtually impossible to detect when playing games like Real Racing 3 or Shadowgun.

ANDROID

Android feels silky smooth in part because Asus hasn’t added a resource-hungry custom UI on top of the standard 4.2 Jelly Bean interface. The only additions are a skin for the notification drawer, which puts several Asus-specific app shortcuts underneath the regular system toggles, and a fourth icon next to the Home, Back and Recent Apps soft keys. Tapping it opens a list of small floating apps, which sit on top of any full screen application. It can be handy to have instant access to a tiny web browser, timer or calculator, but even if you never use the feature it doesn’t appear to impact performance at all.

Asus has even managed to dial down the number of superfluous pre-installed apps for the TF701T. There are still a few, some of which mimic existing Google features, including Supernote, Tasks, Asus Story, Amazon Kindle and Zinio, but there are nowhere near as many as there were on the MemoPad 10 FHD. Several apps make a more welcome return, including the Asus Splendid utility which lets you tweak colour hue, saturation and temperature to your own personal preference if you find the IGZO panel a little too vibrant out of the box.

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