Asus Transformer Pad TF300T Review: Tegra 3, More Affordable

Scaling Tegra 3's Performance Back

For a quick refresher on Nvidia's Tegra 3, the recent Transformer Prime review includes an excellent summary comparing it to the competition.

The Transformer Pad TF300T is quite clearly being positioned as a less expensive derivative of Asus' Transformer Prime TF201. In addition to its ABS chassis, the Transformer Pad TF300T features a lower-clocked Tegra 3.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Android ICSPower ProfilesTransformer Pad (T30L)Transformer Prime (T30)
Power Saving Mode1 Core Active1 Core Active: ≤1.0 GHz2 Cores Active: ≤1.0 GHz3 Cores Active: ≤0.72 GHz4 Cores Active: ≤0.6 GHz1 Core Active: ≤1.0 GHz 2 Cores Active: ≤1.0 GHz 3 Cores Active: ≤0.74 GHz 4 Cores Active: ≤0.6 GHz
Balanced Mode2 Cores Active1 Core Active: ≤1.2 GHz 2 Cores Active: ≤1.2 GHz 3 Cores Active: ≤1.2 GHz 4 Cores Active: ≤1.2 GHz1 Core Active: ≤1.3 GHz 2 Cores Active: ≤1.3 GHz 3 Cores Active: ≤1.3 GHz 4 Cores Active: ≤1.3 GHz
Performance Mode3 Cores Active1 Core Active: ≤1.3 GHz 2 Cores Active: ≤1.2 GHz 3 Cores Active: ≤1.2 GHz 4 Cores Active: ≤1.2 GHz1 Core Active: ≤1.4 GHz 2 Cores Active: ≤1.3 GHz 3 Cores Active: ≤1.3 GHz 4 Cores Active: ≤1.3 GHz

Beginning with Android 4.0, Google introduced vendor-configurable power profiles that facilitate more granular control of battery life and performance. Within each of these profiles, the TF300T's Tegra 3 operates at specific clock rates depending on the number of active cores. Voltages correspondingly scale up and down as well.

Asus chose to arm its more mainstream TF300T with a slightly slower bin of Nvidia's Tegra 3 called T30L. This helps drive the tablet's price down without affecting performance too significantly. In Balanced and Performance modes, the Transformer Prime's full-speed T30 only operates 100 MHz faster. In Power-Saving mode, the clocks are almost identical.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
GeekBench v2.2.7Power-SavingBalancedPerformance
OverallTF201: 834TF300T: 839TF201: 1445 TF300T: 1272TF201: 1632 TF300T: 1534
IntegerTF201: 655 TF300T: 684TF201: 1110 TF300T: 994TF201: 1399 TF300T: 1380
Floating PointTF201: 1217 TF300T: 1169TF201: 2334 TF300T: 1881TF201: 2554 TF300T: 2231
MemoryTF201: 785 TF300T: 839TF201: 1068 TF300T: 1190TF201: 1100 TF300T: 1214

Performance under Android's Power-Saving mode is fairly similar. The Balanced and Performance profiles show Asus' Transformer Pad TF300T operating slightly slower than the Transformer Prime, though. Then again, we're doubtful those differences are detectable in the real world. An application that takes three seconds to execute on the TF201 takes the same amount of time on TF300T.

The Transformer Pad TF300T does enjoy a notable memory speed advantage. The flagship TF201 employs 1066 MT/s low-power DDR2 memory, while the newer TF300T features low-power DDR3. In adopting low-power DDR3-1333, Asus empowers its latest tablet with additional memory bandwidth across each power profile in GeekBench.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
GLBenchmark 2.1.4Transformer Pad (TF300T)Transformer Prime (TF201)
Egypt Standard5752 frames (51 FPS)5720 frames (51 FPS)
Egypt Fixed62.768 s (45 FPS)65.250 s (45 FPS)
Egypt Offscreen (720p)7178 frames (64 FPS)7122 frames (63 FPS)
Pro Standard2796 frames (56 FPS)2744 frames (55 FPS)
Pro Fixed22.982 s (54 FPS)23.599 s (53 FPS)
Pro Offscreen (720p)4006 frames (80 FPS)3827 frames (76 FPS)

Results from GLBenchmark suggest that the TF300’s higher GeekBench memory score doesn't yield a noticeable overall performance advantage. That might simply be a reflection of GLBenchmark, though. The metric isn't considered CPU-bound, but we've also heard Nvidia argue that it doesn't tax an embedded graphics subsystem particularly intensely.

The company won't comment as to whether the T30L's graphics component operates at a lower frequency than T30, you'd have a hard time discerning the difference in a real-world game. We have a hard time telling one apart from the other in a synthetic benchmark, even. Shadowgun and Riptide GP appear to run just as smoothly on the Transformer Pad TF300T as they do on the Transformer Prime TF201.

  • samuelspark
    Yay. Excellent price/performance tablet. :D
  • burnley14
    Looks like a great tablet. The screen could use a little work, especially the resolution, but everything else checks out well. I too will be interested to see a tablet like this one running Windows 8, could be a game-changer.
  • netadmin
    "Fortunately, Asus is sticking with $149 as the price for TF300T's complementary accessory."

    Maybe it's just me, but I don't see anything fortunate about paying the same price for an inferior product. Based on reviews at other sites, the keyboard dock for the TF300T has a 16 Wh battery compared to the 22 Wh battery for the Prime dock. Is it being suggested that 27% lower battery capacity does not make any difference in price? I understand that ASUS has to make a profit, but would it not be reasonable to lower the price a little bit, at least?
  • vicsrealms
    Looks like a great tablet, but I can't even find the Asus Transformer Prime anywhere. Maybe it the availability is good I may try to manage to pick one up, but i have given up on the Prime.
  • halcyon
    I really would like to see a successor to the Transformer Prime with a display with the same or higher resolution as the 3rd gen iPad. That'd be quite something.
  • xkche
    3 weeks ago i buy a TF101 :( for just $10 less than this price....
  • frabber
    it's 80 euros below retina, it would be a bargain if it had a retina display
  • Stardude82
    Oh... you're in Bakersfield... I'm sorry. :-P
  • mobomofo
    How come no one has pulled the "Does it play Crysis?" yet.
    That joke can't die. We gotta keep it alive people.

    +2 for the Bakersfield joke. Good eye.
  • everygamer
    Anyone get a PS3 or other mainstream game controller paired with the Transformer via bluetooth without rooting?