The Asus Transfomrer Prime currently retails at £500, so the first question to consider is how has Asus come to market with a tablet that matches the Prime for speed and performance, still packs a keyboard dock, and costs £100 less.

The answer is build quality.

The textured metal back adorned with concentric circles has been unceremoniously axed, and in its place appears a plastic panel. It's still textured, but flexes when gripped, and doesn't ooze anywhere near the same class and quality of the Prime, or indeed the new iPad.

Asus Transformer Pad 300 review

The drop in build quality is carried into the keyboard dock as well. The finish to the body and keys is noticeably inferior when compared to the Prime, and we found a lack of tactility when typing. The middle of the keyboard had a fair amount of flex, something that's not so noticeable on the Prime.

Asus Transformer Pad 300 review

The mouse, however, is a triumph. It's generously sized, and supports multi-touch gestures, which enable you to navigate the multiple screens of the Android home page with ease.

A major compliment to the Transformer's usability was how we returned to the tablet mode time after time, which was fast, responsive and silky smooth, in no small part due to the quad-core Tegra chip.

Asus Transformer Pad 300 review

While the build quality has been sacrificed in an exercise of thriftiness, we're not too concerned. The Transformer Pad 300 is still streaks ahead of the Android tablet competition, and there has been a move towards other manufacturers dropping their own build quality as well, specifically on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1.

The screen has also been downgraded in the move to cut costs, and the 1280 x 800 IPS panel is lacklustre. It's noticeably inferior in comparison to the Super IPS panel on the Prime, and pales next to the Retina Display of the new iPad.

Asus Transformer Pad 300 review

Colours were generally represented, but the screen wasn't as sharp as the new iPad or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and we found the screen to be very reflective.

When playing Temple Run and Riptide GP and looking closely at HD content, blacks were distinctly blue, and noticeably noisy. If you're looking for the best visual experience, you should get the new iPad or wait for the Infinity 700.

Asus Transformer Pad 300 review

While corners have been cut and savings made on the exterior of the Transformer Pad, Asus haven't scrimped on the inside, and if you want to get the most bang for your buck, the Asus Transformer Pad 300 comes to life under-the-hood.

The Nvidia Tegra 3 processor that powers the Asus Transformer Pad 300 is one of the best you'll find, with quad-core power, and an extra one in reserve for taking over when you need maximum power efficiency, enabling the ARM Cortex A9 cores to power down. Nvidia calls this 4 PLUS 1 core technology, and while it sounds like a gimmick, we found the Transformer Pad 300 marries excellent performance and long battery life.

We were also pleased to see 1GB of system RAM and a healthy 32GB of storage in the TF300 that adds to the strong value argument posed by this new Transformer. The £399 iPad only features 16GB of storage, which for media and app hungry users will be quickly filled. Many apps are now in excess of 500MB, and that space fills up quickly, so getting double the storage for the same price will be a key buying decision.

Asus Transformer Pad 300 review

The Transformer Pad 300 ships with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sanwich as standard, and it takes full advantage of all the new features in the range. You can read our full run down of the features here.

Elsewhere there's a 2200mWH battery, which can't be removed, unlike laptop batteries, but there's a second cell in the keyboard dock, which takes battery life up to a stated life of 15 hours.

There's also an SD card reader in the dock, microSD expansion on left-hand side of the tablet, and a Micro HDMI port for connecting to external displays. This is an excellent array of connectivity, and really helps to maximise the potential of the Transformer as a tool, rather than a toy.