For all intents and purposes the Asus Transformer range has achieved its goals over the last few years, but despite all we loved with the Transformer Pad Infinity it still felt like there was work to be done to refine the series. So has Asus gone one better with the new Transformer Pad TF701T?
The tablet made a sort-of appearance back at Computex but Asus has re-revealed it in its final form with all the concrete details. Step back to observe the specs and it's clear that this is a top-tier Android slate.
On paper, there's certainly enough to get people talking and Tegra 4 is without a doubt the headline act. The new CPU runs at 1.9GHz with 2GB of DDR3L RAM and the leap in speed was immediately noticeable from the moment we picked up the device and started jumping around the Android home screen.
Aside from a bit of slowdown when switching between tabs in the Chrome browser we also found it just as zippy when opening apps and booting up games.
To let us fully appreciate the smoother user experience, Asus has crammed a resolution of 2560 x 1600 density into the tablet's 10.1-inch display. The sharpness is significant and the 178 degree viewing angles help make that even better, as we found.
4K is also high up on the bill, offering native playback to your Ultra HD TV via the Transformer's HDMI output. Although we were unable to test this, it's one of the tablet's features we're most pleased to see here.
Which brings us to one of our first major gripes with the new Transformer Pad - the screen. Not that the picture is bad at all - quite the contrary - but it's just not big enough. The culprit? Bezel overspill.
Pick it up and that wide border makes the tablet feel bulkier than it actually is and really dominates when you hold the slab vertically. It makes the tablet feel long and even just shaving half an inch would have made a lot of difference.
Yes OK, it's a similar story to the Transformer Pad Infinity, but we thought that Asus might realised that more screen and less bezel is a better way to go these days.
We also have a bit of beef with the consistency (or lack of) in the Pad's design. The keyboard is still plastic while the tablet chassis is built from aluminium. This disconnect of design still feels a bit weird - why not just keep them both the same?
Of course, the Transformer Pad's mobile dock doesn't just offer a keyboard but also a built-in battery and a USB 3.0 port to really turn this into a proper two-in-one experience.
Asus says we'll get 17 hours of battery life with the tablet in the dock. Again, we weren't able to put this to the test but we look forward to checking its accuracy in our full review.
When the Pad arrives it will be available in 32GB and 64GB variants. Asus hasn't given us a price yet but this is what it will come down to for most people. Yes it's a top Android device but on the face this looks almost identical to the Infinity, so Asus needs to find other ways to convince buyers that two's company. Maybe 4K will do the trick?
Those who have been holding out for Asus to unleash its new Transformer for some time shouldn't be disappointed by what's on offer here. Tegra 4 was the only logical next leap and now we've seen it in action it feels like this will really rock it when it hits market.
If you weren't sold on the design of the Transformer Prime then the bad news is that not much has changed in that department. But with that rich HD screen and smoother user experience you might find yourself forgetting the these flaws. Let's just hope it comes in at the right price.