Performance Benchmarks and Conclusion
The TF701T is powered by NVIDIA Tegra 4 quad-core 1.9GHz processor and 2GB RAM. Touted as "the world's fastest mobile processor" in January, we had two previews of its capabilities at CES 2013 (web browsing and computational photography) and MWC 2013 (benchmarks and low power consumption).
We'll be comparing the TF701T against the latest crop of 10-inch tablets with high resolution displays such as the Apple iPad Air, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, Sony Xperia Tablet Z and Toshiba Excite Write
Quadrant is an Android OS benchmark that evaluates a device's CPU, memory, I/O and 3D graphics performance.
The Android 4.3 update gave the TF701T a huge boost in the Quadrant benchmark, ranking it second behind the Snapdragon 800-powered Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition. Its score put it at a huge lead over the similarly-spec Toshiba Excite Write. To illustrate the disparity in benchmark performance, the TF701T had an initial score of 14,278 when it was running on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.
Originally developed as a PC benchmarking tool, 3DMark is now expanded to support multiple platforms including Android OS. The Ice Storm benchmark is designed for smartphones, mobile devices and ARM architecture computers.
For an in-depth understanding of 3DMark for Android, do head over to our article, "3DMark - Android Device GPU Performance Review." In a nutshell, 3DMark consists of two test sections:
3DMark now consists of three test sections: Ice Storm, Ice Storm Extreme and Ice Storm Unlimited. Most recent flagship devices easily maxed out the score on Ice Storm; as such, we will focus on Ice Storm Unlimited.
3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited uses off-screen rendering resolution at 1080p, higher quality textures and post-processing effects to create a more demanding load for the latest smartphones and tablets. It also disables vertical sync, display resolution scaling and other operating system factors affecting the result, thus making it ideal for chip-to-chip comparisons of different chipsets.
The TF701T held its own against the A7-powered iPad Air and the Snapdragon 800-equipped Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition.
The imaging capability has always been a key feature of its flagship tablet devices since 2011 when the Eee Pad Transformer had the best camera among tablets of its time with an 8-megapixel rear camera with CMOS sensor and F2.4 aperture lens.
The TF701T is no different; it comes with a digital still camera class sensor with three lens element on the front and four rear lens elements and F2.4 aperture lens (for its rear camera). It has a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera which supports still and motion picture recording. Here's how how the rear camera of the TF701T performed in our standard imaging test:
Our standard battery test for tablets includes the following parameters:
• Looping a 720p video with screen brightness and volume at 100%
• Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on
• Constant data streaming through email and Twitter
The TF701T lasted 9 hours and 19 minutes in our standard battery test (without its keyboard dock), which places it as the undisputed leader of its tablet category. It's rather impressive considering that the iPad Air and Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition have larger batteries that theoretically should give them longer battery mileage. Why isn't that the case?
Taking a look at the Power Consumption chart, you can see that the iPad Air and Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition have higher power consumption than the TF701T. ASUS managed to achieve this low level of power consumption because it uses an IPS screen that's based on an IGZO-TFT manufacturing technology. We reported ASUS using this display technology in a recent news piece. The other comparison tablets still use conventional display technologies and thus you can see most of them sip power at a similar level.
In our Portability Index where where each device is assessed on its ability to balance battery mileage against its size and mass, the TF701T did not clinch top spot even though it has the longest battery life. It is mainly bogged down by its thickness and weight, which puts ASUS in an unfavorable position when compared to the likes of the iPad Air and Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition when it comes to general handling.
Where does the TF701T stand in the crowded tablet space filled with equally powerful competitors? Well, ASUS did a pretty good job with the TF701 although there is room for improvement if it wants to maintain its relevance in the near future.
What we like about the TF701T are its solid design, good build quality, great display, functional keyboard dock which also doubles as an extra battery pack, an almost stock Android interface, smooth performance and long battery life. Good camera imaging performance is a bonus too, although it's a seldom used feature on tablets.
However, we felt that ASUS could have made more improvements to the design of the TF701T in view of increasing competition from Apple, Samsung and Sony. These three companies have made great strides in designing their tablets this year, and ASUS lagged slightly behind in this aspect. The TF701T is heavier and thicker than most 10-inch tablets, although people who focus on premium build and finish will have no qualms about the TF701T.
Having said that, the TF701T is in the running for the best productivity tablet as its keyboard mobile dock remains one of the key selling points. At just S$749, it is hard to find any other tablet that can rival its overall package and strong suite.