Look and feel
With its sleek Asus design, the Transformer Pad TF710T feels solid and looks shiny. You get plenty of ports, although adding the dock makes this a chunky and heavy device.
Ease of Use
The keyboard dock makes a refreshing change from on-screen tappers, but the dinky board might feel awkward to anyone used to spacious desktop keyboards.
You get plenty of storage, and the dock adds a secondary battery as well as USB and SD card ports. A supremely sharp HD screen rivals Apple’s Retina display and is perfect for design software, high def movies and everything inbetween.
We saw the odd little stammer from the Transformer Pad, but the quad-core Tegra 4 processor kept things running smoothly for the most part, and we had no trouble playing games.
You can get over six hours of video streaming from the tablet alone, extended by three to four hours with the dock’s second battery.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,10/23/2013 4:57:27 PM
Ease of use
Sharp 10.1-inch screen;
Great battery life;
Plenty of storage
Windows has better productivity suites;
The Asus Transformer Pad TF710T is a business tablet that converts into a mini laptop courtesy of a handy keyboard dock, and with a quad-core Tegra 4 processor and Full HD screen to rival Apple’s Retina display, it’s certainly stacked enough to keep you productive on the go. Not everyone will get on with the dinky keyboard, however, and some will prefer Windows’ selection of business suites.
Slot me in
In its standard tablet form, the Asus Transformer Pad TF710T is a premium piece of kit. From the front it’s a typical 10.1-incher with a black border surrounding the screen, but flip it over and you’ll be presented with a sleek brushed aluminium surface, rocking Asus’ trademark ‘swirly etched design’. It feels solid and looks pretty damn snazzy, refreshing after a slew of plasticky tablets. You get a microSD slot as well as Mini HDMI for hooking up to a TV or work monitor, but sadly the charging port is proprietary, so a standard micro USB cable can’t be used to charge the device. You’ll need to lug the Asus cable around. We also found the Transformer Pad wouldn’t charge when hooked up to a PC, so you’ll need to find a spare mains socket if you run low on juice.
The stand-out feature of the Transformer Pad is the ‘trans-cover’ keyboard dock, which the tablet slots into quickly and cleanly. In this mode, it resembles a mini laptop, like those netbooks which were popular three years ago. The dock doesn’t just add a physical board, however. You also get an SD card slot to further boost the 32GB of internal storage and microSD slot (giving you a potentially massive amount of space for files, apps and media), and a secondary battery that extends life by up to four hours. The tablet still operates as a touchscreen, and you can fold it down over the board to hibernate the device and carry it around.
With the cover attached, the Transformer Pad becomes a pretty damn chunky and heavy device – almost 16mm thick and over a kilo in weight. However, remove the dock and it’s a more respectable 8.9mm thick and 585g. It’s still a bit too hefty for one-handed use but perfectly portable.
Asus’ keyboard is a refreshing change from virtual boards, and the raised keys give a more natural typing action than the Surface Tab’s felt effort. Whether you get on with the keyboard depends on your personal typing style. We personally had no problems typing at regular speed on the dinky board, but we’re used to running our fingers over tiny Bluetooth keyboards and the like. If you’re more accustomed to big old desktop keyboards, chances are you’ll need some time to adjust – we recommend giving it a bash in-store before committing, just to be sure.
That said, Asus has done a commendable job with the compact space. Each key is isolated from its neighbours and in general a good size, although things get a little cramped in the bottom right corner, where the arrow keys have been squeezed in. We found the Shift keys were too narrow and in an awkward place, leading to regular mis-keys and typing rage. That said, there’s plenty of Android shortcuts, including home, search and app buttons. Asus has even slipped in a miniature touchpad, although we found it too tiny and annoying, opting instead to prod the screen. Occasionally this also proved fiddly, especially with tiny links and menus, but was still our favourite option.
While most business tablets rock Windows 8, Asus has slapped Android 4.2 onto the Transformer Pad. The downside is that you can’t simply download and install any productivity software that you find online, but these days Google Play has plenty of good suites for all of your office needs. You get the likes of Polaris pre-installed, although we did have some issues when our first draft of this review corrupted, and proved unrecoverable – hopefully a one-off disaster that we won’t see again...
A quad-core Tegra 4 processor keeps things ticking over nicely, and we only saw the odd tiny bit of lag or stuttering when playing around in Android. Games ran well and Nvidia’s Tegra Zone gives you a good selection of the latest graphically intensive action titles to download. Battery life is also great, helped by the secondary battery built into the dock. Even without the dock, we managed just over six hours of video playback from a single charge, a commendable effort given the power on show.
One of the Transformer Pad’s highlights is its crisp 10.1-inch screen, which rivals the iPad’s Retina screen for sharpness. That excellent level of detail is perfect for professional design packages, or simply kicking back with an HD movie. While it’s not the brightest tablet screen around, it impresses with vibrant colours that help to bring images to life, and you can even manually tweak colour richness in the settings.
Rounding up the Transformer Pad’s features are the dual cameras. On the back you’ll find a five-megapixel snapper that proves perfectly capable for a tablet lens. You can manually focus with a tap of the screen and take one or multiple photos in quick succession. You get tons of tools to play around with, including Panorama and Smart Remove modes (the latter disappearing pesky photo bombers), as well as a cool Gif creator. You can also shoot HD video. At the front of the tablet you get a simple 1.2-megapixel lens for chatting online or simply snapping a selfies. Our self portraits came out pleasingly bright, although rather grainy.
If you’re after a portable device for staying productive, with the flexibility of a tablet but the usability of a laptop, the Asus Transformer Pad TF701T is a good compromise. As a tablet, it’s solidly designed and packed with power, with a commendably crisp display. Slip it onto the dock and it transforms into a mini laptop, although the compact board won’t suit everyone and we personally prefer Windows office suites.