The Asus Transformer Pad is launching into a world that is very different from the one that its transforming predecessor did. The likes of the iPad Air, Xperia Tablet Z and Microsoft Surface 2 have all stolen portions of the tablet spotlight.

Being an iterative update, this is the fifth version of the half-tablet-half-netbook device, Asus has taken the best of previous versions and tweaked them to make them better.

We liked

The addition of a dedicated keyboard dock was always going to be something I'd like. It comes packing four hours extra battery life, full SD card slot, USB port and a fully equipped keyboard. The trackpad is also really easy to use, and saves constantly prodding at the screen.

Asus has taken a look at the screen and given that another boost. I really liked the Full HD screen that sat on the face of the Transformer Pad Infinity, so adding extra pixels was always going to help.

Battery life is another area that the Transformer Pad excels in, not least because it comes with the ability to add a further four hours with the dock connected. 17 hours of use meant that I easily went through three days of light web browsing and document creation.

We disliked

It seems odd to say that I disliked the software that came bundled on a device, but it seems that Android is holding the Transformer Pad back. It doesn't come with the same capabilities for productivity that Windows 8.1 provides, and the lack of customisation from Asus does nothing to remedy the situation.

The Transformer Pad also seems heavy, especially after using the iPad Air. At 585g undocked, it is 132g heavier than the iPad (that's another 30%). This meant that it was a lot less comfortable for using one handed, or without the support of a table or cushion.

The cameras are also particularly poor. I won't knock the rear sensor too much because if you use the Transformer Pad to take photos in place of a compact camera or smartphone there is something wrong. The 1.2MP unit sat on the front seems particularly poor though, despite matching some mid-range smartphones.

Verdict

For those looking at a dual-purpose device, something that can be used on the morning commute to watch movies and play games with an easy switch to the creation of a word processing document for work, there is little that the Transformer Pad can do wrong.

At least, that was a few years ago. The sheer power that is inside the iPad Air, with its 64-bit A7 chip, means that it runs exceptionally smoothly and the base model matches the Transformer Pad for price. The Microsoft Surface 2, and touch-enabled netbooks and laptops, also give the Transformer Pad a lot of competition.

As an Android tablet, there is little that the Asus Transformer Pad can do wrong, but the competition from the Nexus 10 and Sony Xperia Tablet Z is extremely fierce - and that isn't a battle I can see the Transformer winning.