The Transformer Pad runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, which is the last but one version of Google's mobile operating system, behind the recently unveiled tablet has only just updated to 4.3, so I wouldn't hold your breath for a 4.4 update any time soon, if at all.. The
Not that you'd particularly notice anyway as the 4.3 interface on the tablet is simple and easy to use and 4.4 doesn't bring any major new features you'd really miss. It has the standard Android layout of five homescreens, with eight app icons sitting in a dock along the bottom for quick access.
The app menu can helpfully be organised to show only apps you've downloaded, frequently used apps, or all apps arranged alphabetically. Asus hasn't done much to the interface, but it has thrown in some software extras including a password protection tool for apps, a screen colour balance optimiser and various other little bits and bobs. There's nothing that you can't already find on the Google Play store, but you might find it handy to have them on board as standard.
If you want to use the Transformer for work, you'll almost certainly need office apps like Google Drive or OfficeSuite. I used both and found they worked well for word processing. Using large spreadsheets could be trickier though -- poking at small cells on screen is difficult with your finger -- and if you need to use VPN software then it's not going to suit. If you're after a dedicated office machine to use day in, day out, you should still look towards regular laptops.
Processor and performance
At the core of the tablet is the latest Tegra 4 processor from Nvidia. It's a quad-core affair with a nippy 1.9GHz clock speed. The Tegra 3 chip on its predecessor, the Transformer Prime, achieved the best results I had seen so I had big expectations from the latest silicon.
With an impressive score of 4,062 on the Geekbench 2 benchmark test, I wasn't disappointed. That score puts the slate right up alongside the other top performers like the Galaxy Note 10.1, theand the .
Benchmark scores certainly aren't everything, but I'm pleased to say that in my own use, I found it to be an extremely capable bit of kit. Navigating around Android and flicking between open apps was very slick, while opening menus and apps was performed with no discernible delay. Playing back Full HD video was easily tackled, as was editing high-resolution photos in Snapseed. For everyday tasks, there was very little I could throw at the tablet that would slow it down.
Gaming was handled with aplomb too. Zombie shooter Dead Trigger 2 played with high frame-rates, resulting in very smooth gameplay. The same was true of Riptide Gp 2 and Asphalt 8, both of which had their graphics quality set to the highest available. Whether you're looking for a slate to tackle office work, or wanting something to keep you entertained on long journeys, the Transformer Pad has plenty of power to satisfy.
Asus reckons you can get around 13 hours of use from the tablet section of the Transformer, which is a healthy figure. Save on Laptops, however, reckon it's more like 8 hours. Asus' figure is likely achieved under absolute best-case scenarios, so probably isn't going to reflect how you'd really use it. From my own use, I'd side more with Save on Laptops.
It holds its charge quite well when not in use and lightweight tasks like Web browsing don't drain the battery too much. Once you ramp the screen brightness up you'll quickly see the power ebb away though, particularly if you start playing demanding games or streaming video. If you're careful, you shouldn't struggle to get a day of use out of it.
The keyboard dock adds an extra 4 hours of battery life too, so if you're working through the day on the tablet, make sure they keyboard is charged up and you won't need to worry too much about dashing to a plug socket.
The Asus Transformer TF701T certainly doesn't come cheap, but it does pack a punch for the price. Its screen is extremely high definition and looks great, while its processor offers more than enough grunt for anything you're likely to throw at it. With the keyboard dock attached, it's a good choice for getting some work done.
It's big, heavy and not particularly pretty, however, so if you want a slate to always have with you in meetings, on the bus or on your aeroplane carry-on, Apple's skinny new iPad Air might be a better choice.