The Asus Transformer Pad TF701T continues the tradition of Android hybrids - it's a 10.1" tablet, but the Mobile Dock transforms it into an ultrabook. The Transformer family was doing this before the Windows 8 devices picked it up.
It really feels like an ultrabook - the TF701T has a metal back with the circular brushed metal look that Asus has used on previous iteration of the device and weighs 585g. Obviously the keyboard dock adds to that weight, but you're still in ultrabook territory.
The beautiful back of the Asus Transformer Pad TF701T
Without the dock, the new Transformer Pad measures 8.9mm thick, a hair thicker than the TF700T but you wouldn't feel it. We'll cover the dock in a minute.
The screen is quite impressive - it's built on the power-efficient IGZO tech with IPS for great viewing angles. The sharpness is great too - 2,560 x 1,600 resolution and a hair under 300ppi pixel density. That's not a record or anything (the Nexus 10 has the same resolution), but it still looks great. The white balance and saturation of the screen can be tuned to your liking thanks to Asus modifications.
Sharp 10.1" IGZO IPS screen with 2,560 x 1,600 resolution
The Asus Transformer Pad TF701T is powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 4. That chipset isn't as popular as Tegra 3 was, but the four Cortex-A15 cores and 72-core GeForce GPU offer heaps of power and the Android 4.2 ran smoothly. Better still, the chipset is powerful enough to render and output UHD (3,840 x 2,160) video over HDMI - and most people don't even have a UHD TV yet!
The back camera on the Transformer Pad is a 5MP shooter with F/2.4 aperture and 1080p video recording. Not that we condone using tablets to take photos. So, the 1.2MP / 720p front-facing camera will be of more use for video chat apps that support HD video (like Skype).
The 5MP camera on the back is on a plastic strip (the RF window as the metal blocks signals). Also on that strip is the power button - the placement is a bit awkward since it's on the sloped back, but you can still press it fairly easy. The button has a charging light.
5MP main camera, power button and plastic strip
Anyway, also on the back is the single Sonic Master speaker. This was a little disappointing - the other tablets Asus showed today had two speakers, some of them on the front too. That beautiful screen would make for a great movie watching experience but the sound is pointed away from you.
Two holes at the bottom of the Transformer Pad are used to mate it to the Mobile Dock. The dock features a full size QWERTY keyboard and a big touchpad. Polaris Office (compatible with Microsoft Office) is pre-installed, of course, so you get to document editing as soon as you pull the TF701T out of the box.
Transformer Pad TF710T with the Mobile Dock
The Mobile Dock is 7mm thick (sort of) and weighs 570g. That means that when you plug in the Transformer Pad TF701T the total weight becomes 1.15kg and the thickness becomes 17.9mm - about the same as you would get from the top Windows 8/x86 ultrabooks. The bottom of the dock has four rubber legs that add to the thickness but it's well worth it as it makes the device very stable on a table.
The attachment mechanism • the rubber legs
The dock also packs an extra battery - a 16Wh Li-Po battery that adds 4 hours of battery life to the 13 hours provided by the 31Wh battery in the Pad itself.
There's a full-size SDXC memory card slot in the dock to further expand the storage and a full-size USB 3.0 (support for the new standard is rare on mobile devices).
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