Review: Asus Transformer Pad TF103C

All up, it’s an excellent interface, and offers a slightly lighter shade of what Google is trying to offer, which also matches the widgets Asus has packed in for checking the time and weather on the Transformer Pad.

Moving on from the look of the TF103C, you have the performance, and unfortunately, that’s where the tablet gets a little hit and miss.

Despite grabbing some impressive benchmarks, the system performance struggled, with a few tabs open in Chrome running alongside a few apps seeming to break the back of the TF103C.

We’re not kidding when we say that, as around four internet browser tabs slowed this budget Transformer to a crawl, with clicks not registered, flicks on the screen to move up and down a web page, and a general sluggishness as we tried to multitask.

Even when you close several apps and run the tablet without a lot going on at the time — because Android multi-tasking makes that a cinch — you may find a reasonable amount of lag and slowdowns as you perform actions on the tablet, with a pause of a second or two or three as the tablet waits to perform what you asked of it.

That’s not a positive experience for us, and we think much of the blame lies in the lack of memory for the tablet, which sits at a piddling 1GB for the entire device, well below the Android sweet spot of 2GB.

That low-end spec setting isn’t great, but neither is the terrible selection of cameras, with a useless 2 megapixel camera on the rear, a camera your smartphone could easily beat and a feature that doesn’t bother us terribly (because seriously, why would you need to take pictures on a tablet?), but the 0.3 megapixel shooter on the front is a little weak.

That’s 640×480, and a shooting size we thought we were well and truly over. Seriously.

We get that this is a Transformer for a budget, but even the lower priced 7 inch MeMO Pads produced by Asus have better front-facing cameras, rated at 1.2 megapixels last year and 2 megapixel this year.

Also not helped on this tablet is the lack of a battery in the keyboard dock, which might not seem like a big deal, except that previously, Transformer computers from Asus have normally featured a second battery to keep the tablet section charged, providing even more life out of a hybrid.

But here on the TF103C, there is no extra battery, and that’s not good, especially if you’re keen to get more than 7 or 8 hours, which seems to be the rough feeling we had from our time playing with, reviewing, and typing our review of the machine on.

Typing on the keyboard is also a hit and miss affair. For the most part, it’s quite comfortable, if not a little too soft, but the layout of the right shift key, which can be a pet peeve of ours, is a touch frustrating, especially if you’re reliant on typing it with your right hand, which is something the small bunch of lefties in the world are likely to do (this writer included).

As such, this keyboard places a rather small right shift key next to the arrows, specifically the up arrow, making it likely you’ll accidentally hit the up key for a while until you manage to memorise this placement.


As far as budget tablet options go, people have quite a few. Seven and ten inch bodies alike have been out for a while, and so it’s not as if it’s hard to find something for a price point, but packaged with a physical keyboard, well that’s a different story altogether.

But while the Asus Transformer does manage to provide the combo for a price point, it’s not the best you can get, not by a long shot.

Given the $429 price point, there are probably better tablets you could find without the keyboard, and we’d probably look at these, factoring an extra hundred or so for a decent set of keys.

If this is a must-hit price, fine, but once again, we’d probably see if anything else fits the bill, because with less expensive and better performing Chromebooks out there, as well as more capable tablets without keyboards, we’ve probably choose those instead.


Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
A relatively inexpensive hybrid tablet notebook; Despite the mediocre resolution, the IPS screen is actually very nice; Upgradeable storage via microSD; Nice version of Google Android tweaked by Asus;
It can be very, very slow; Keyboard has a small right shift key, which could pose some problems for lefty typists and those reliant on the right key; No battery in the keyboard dock; Only one USB port, and it's on the keyboard dock; Very low-end cameras on both the front and the back; Plastic on the back can be a little flimsy;