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Asus has been fairly successful in recent years with its Transformer line, producing tablets that seamlessly transform into fully capable laptops with the addition of a keyboard dock. At least, that’s how it works in principle.
The newest addition, the Transformer Pad TF701, looks disappointingly similar to other Asus tablets on first glance, but it has plenty to offer nonetheless.
With its uninspired design and chunky front bezel, you’d be forgiven for confusing the Asus Transformer Pad TF701 with one of its now-ancient ancestors. The brushed aluminum back and plastic cut-out along the top have now been used for several generations, and the extra-thick bezel just seems antiquated.
At 10.35-by-7.12-by-0.35 inches, the slate is about average compared to tablets like the ASUS MeMO Pad FHD 10, though it’s considerably larger than the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. At 1.29 pounds, it’s also heavier than the others.
Asus has gone for a slightly unusual layout with the Transformer Pad TF701, placing the power button and volume rocker on the back panel near the top left corner. It takes some adjustment compared to tablets with more standard button placement, but it’s not a deal-breaker.
A 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, micro-HDMI port and microSD card slot are arranged along the slate’s left edge, while the bottom sports a proprietary docking socket and connectors.
Resolving the Details
One of the more significant upgrades the Transformer TF701 received is a razor-sharp 10.1-inch, 2,560-by-1,600 pixel IPS display. It’s every bit as sharp and attractive as you’d expect, though it can’t quite match up with the Galaxy Note 10.1’s superlative display in a tablet comparison.
It’s very bright and features good contrast and superb viewing angles, though the color balance seems to be slightly off. The panel is also exceedingly glossy, which can make viewing outdoors more difficult than it should be.
Under the Hood
Compared to tablets like ASUS’ own MeMo Pad FHD 10, the Transformer Pad TF701’s quad-core 1.9-gigahertz Nvidia Tegra 4 processor and two gigabytes of RAM delivers an impressive amount of raw computing power.
Other than the occasional software-related glitchiness, performance is smooth and strong. Even high-end games generally run without a hitch, and there’s plenty of horsepowers available for productivity-related tasks. The TF701 employs a custom version of Android 4.2.2, but the changes are fairly minimal and unobtrusive.
Although it’s a beefy, antiquated-looking slate compared to tablets like the sleek Galaxy Note 10.1, the Asus Transformer Pad TF701 is still a pretty impressive piece of hardware. Its display is superior to the MeMO Pad FHD 10, and it can very nearly hold its own against the Galaxy Note 10.1 in a tablet comparison.
The Galaxy Note’s octa-core Exynos 5420 processor should provide even more power than the TF701, but real-world results are essentially a wash.
What Customers Say
For many customers, the Transformer Pad TF701’s biggest selling point is its versatile, well-made keyboard dock. Combined with the reasonable price, many customers consider the TF701 a viable alternative to a full laptop.
The display also receives high praise, though some have complained about the questionable color reproduction compared to the Galaxy Note. Some customers also find the TF701 to be too bulky and poorly styled.