UI Tweaks and Camera Performance
The home screen is well-organized, with pertinent information such as the time, date, and weather prominently displayed, and there’s just a lone row of frequently-used apps at the bottom, including Browser, YouTube, Camera, Gallery, SuperNote, Music (Google), the Google Play Store, and Gmail.
WiFi and Bluetooth, the screen’s auto-rotate, silent mode, and auto sync can all be toggled on and off, and there are brightness controls and notifications of various items such as whether or not the tablet is docked.
The Settings area features a nice data usage app, which will of course be more handy if and when ASUS packs in 3G or 4G capabilities. ASUS put in its own Customized Settings section within Settings, which includes controls for a variety of features such as screenshots, performance modes, touchpad and mouse functions, and battery options. There are plenty of other goodies onboard, too, including MyNet, AppBackup, MyLibrary, MyCloud, TegraZone, AppLocker, and Movie Studio.
Thanks to Ice Cream Sandwich, the Transformer Pad 300 also has better overall responsiveness than previous Transformers, some font improvements for more pleasing Web browsing, and WiFi Direct, which enables content streaming between your devices.
The 8MP camera is about what you’d expect at this point in time from a mobile device’s camera: it’s good--very good, actually--but not great. Images are excellent with natural light and slightly less impressive indoors. Indoor shooting is made more difficult by the absence of a flash, which is a feature that was present in the Transformer Prime.
The camera interface is nominally different from what we saw on the Transformer Prime--the look of the shutter button has been tweaked and the settings and options are organized a little differently--but it’s largely the same. Probably the most notable difference is in how the zoom control works; the Transformer Pad 300 has a neat half-moon slider on the right side of the screen that fits the thumb’s arc perfectly.
The UI offers a thumbnail of the last image you took at the top of the screen; below that is the focus control and shutter; and below those are buttons for selecting between the camera, camcorder, or panorama feature. There are myriad settings you can play with, including different lighting situations, white balance, dynamic autofocus, and a slew of different scene modes. Further, you can incrementally adjust the exposure settings, choose between 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios, adjust the ISO (up to 800 maximum, it appears), and more. Also note that there are plenty of editing options in the Gallery app when it’s time to work some magic on your images.
When in camcorder mode, the setting options change a bit. You can shoot in 1080p, 720p, or 480p, adjust the time lapse interval, and opt for a variety of wacky in-camera effects and backgrounds. If you have kids, the camera app alone is something they could become obsessed with for an entire weekend.