Asus tf201, a powerful Android gaming tablet with Tegra 3 SoC

Written by B Johnson January 04, 2014
Asus tf201
When it comes to gaming performance, Tegra 3 tablets excell in that department. Asus tf201 is also the tablet that comes with this powerful chipset. But the question is, is this tablet still great for gaming today?
Just a while ago, i showed you one of Asus tablets, which i think is a good gaming tablet, if not great.

That one is called Asus Transformer Pad TF300T.

This 10.1-inch tablet is released under the flag Asus Transformer series and similar just like its fellas, this tablet is equipped with its keyboard dock that is designed, engineered and manufactured by Asus itself.

Asus tf201

Today, i want to recommend you another great tablet under the same series, Asus Transformer, but in different series, Asus Transformer Prime.

It is called Asus tf201.

Similar just like the recent tablet that i just showed earlier, this Asus tf201 is also armed with Tegra 3, which makes it a good gaming tablet, again, if not great.

This tablet actually shares the similar type of specs just like Asus Transformer Pad TF300T, like a 10.1-inch 720p display, Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of RAM, 8MP camera, the official keyboard dock and many more.

So i think it’s not that hard to recommend this tablet to you, especially if you’re in the mood to purchase a productivity tablet running Android with pretty good hardware, of course, that is affordable than any today’s 10-inch tablets with keyboard dock.

Okay then, if you’re interested to know more about this tablet, including its design, performance, screen, gaming capability and more, then be sure to check out my personal review of this tablet.

But as usual, before you go straight to this review, please allow me to give you the brief introduction of this tablet.


Ever since Asus launched its Asus Transformer line to the tablet market, this company suddenly became so popular as the manufacturer of keyboard docked Android tablets.

Asus tf201 is one of Asus’ pride that is prepared to achieve that goal, which is to make more sales on both tablet and netbook markets.

And apparently, that goal is not that impossible to reach given that this tablet is packing some great quality specs that are considered as powerful, of course back in the year of 2012, the time when this tablet made its first debut.

However, spec sheet is not the only thing that Asus wants people, especially consumers, to see from this tablet.

Asus wants tablet shoppers to see Asus tf201 as a good replacement for their old netbooks.

And that’s showed by how the design of this tablet, and especially its keyboard dock really resemble the design of netbook, either from outside or inside.

Despite not running the full-fledged Windows, just like those netbooks, Asus believes that in the future, Asus tf201 will be a good, or even much better choice for productivity device than netbooks.

Besides, with more and more productivity apps like Office Docs and other serious computation and editing apps getting released for Android devices, then it’s just a matter of time before people finally see that Asus tf201 is a good netbook replacement.


In terms of design, Asus tf201 looks so gorgeous and really resembles with the design of laptop, especially from the outside of tablet and inside the keyboard dock.

Asus definitely does a really great job in designing this tablet as a premium looking laptop, despite running the Android OS, not the full-fledged Windows OS.

On the back side of tablet, i’m really impressed by how Asus designs this part with the brush metal finish, making it really look so professional and elegant, just like laptop, or even more elegant than laptop.

The “ASUS” logo on the back of the tablet, which is positioned in the middle area and in landscape mode, really makes this tablet look even more awesome and professional, kind of reminds me with the Apple logo on the back of Macbook laptops, which is the main selling point of those Apple laptops.

Asus tf201

Asus tf201

Meanwhile, on the keyboard dock side, Asus is using the full-fledged QWERTY keyboard keys just like the ones found on the laptop keyboard, of course with the absence of some laptop-dedicated keys.

This is definitely great because this is gonna be the main selling point of this tablet in front of netbook or even notebook shoppers around the market.

On the low area of the keyboard dock, there is the well-known touch pad, which is gonna be so useful to control the screen when used in a laptop mode.

And just like any other Asus Transformer tablets out there, the tablet can attached and detached from the keyboard dock whenever you want to use it either as a normal Android tablet or a laptop running Android.

The great thing about this device than any laptops on the market (with the exception of Chromebook Pixel) is, you can still operate the touch screen with your fingers even though it’s docked with keyboard, which is great and makes the experience of using this device even more awesome.

To be honest, i do really think that the design of this tablet is really amazing.

It just looks gorgeous and premium in many ways.

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  • No SIM
  • Released December, 2011
  • 10.1 inch Super IPS+ LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 1280 x 800 pixels (~149 ppi pixel density)
  • ASUS Waveshare UI
  • Android OS, v3.2 Honeycomb, upgradable to v4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Nvidia Tegra 3 Quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU
  • ULP GeForce GPU
  • 1 GB RAM
  • microSD card slot for up to 32 GB
  • 32/64 GB Internal storage
  • 8 MP rear-facing Camera, with LED flash
  • 1.2 MP front-facing camera
  • No GPRS
  • No EDGE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth
  • GPS
  • Java
  • HDMI port
  • USB
  • No Radio
  • 25 Wh Non-removable Li-Po battery
Released in December 2012, Asus tf201 packs some specs that were considered great that time.

This tablet comes with a 10.1-inch display sporting the resolution of 1280x800 pixels, making it huge when held in hands but enjoyable to use given its huge real estate and pretty sharp 720p resolution.

So it’s not necessary anymore to do zoom in/out so often because text on the screen can be red nicely and the images just look sharp and clear in naked eyes.

In the performance sector, this tablet is powered by NVIDIA’s homemade Tegra 3 processor clocked at 1.2GHz per core (quad-core), accompanied with the 1GB of RAM and 12-core of GeForce ULP GPU.

With these goodies, no doubt that Asus tf201 can be really awesome for watching HD movies and playing Android games, even the most graphically demanding ones, thanks to its 12-core GPU.

Other standard features are equipped on this tablet, like a 8MP camera on the back with LED flash, Java, GPS, Bluetooth, WiFI or microSD card slot for up to 32GB.

However, if you want to connect to the internet world, you’re only blessed with the WiFi connectivity, without any SIM cellular ability just like on Samsung GALAXY Tab.

However, if you have a WiFi rooter, you can combine it with your SIM card or you can also use your laptop with tethered WiFi in order to connect the internet on this tablet.

Overall, i’m really impressed with the whole thing found on this tablet, of course as a 2012-released tablet.


Compared to other Android counterparts in the market, Asus tf201 may not have that insanely sharp 1080p display or even 2.5K display found on recent 10-inch tablets, like Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1, Google Nexus 10 or even the new player, Kobo Arc 10HD.

However, that doesn’t instantly make this tablet horrible in the display quality.

720p or 1280x800 pixel resolution on a 10.1-inch display is still considered as pretty good though, if not great, and perfectly readable for human eyes, although the zoom in/out gesture will always need to be implemented if the text or image looks so small on the screen.

But still, given that this tablet is packing a huge 10.1-inch screen, then the chance for users to read the text or see the images in normal view is still huge.

Besides, compared to other 10-inch rivals like Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1, Google Nexus 10, iPad Air or Kobo Arc 10HD, these competitors don’t have that official keyboard dock like Asus tf201 has, which is tailed perfectly with the tablet and has dedicated features for its keyboard dock.

And then again, if you’re looking for a much better version of this tablet, with much powerful hardware and 2.5K display (2560x1600), then you can choose Asus Transformer Pad TF701T (with Tegra 4) instead than Asus Transformer Prime TF201.

User Interface

One of the best things that can be had on Asus tf201 that can’t be found on any other regular Android tablets or even the iPad is the productivity-related features and apps found on this Asus Transformer Prime TF201 out of the box.

Given its official keyboard dock, then it’s not weird if Asus puts some great efforts to provide more productivity-related features on Asus tf201 than its other Android tablet line, in order to optimize the use of that keyboard dock to the tablet.

Asus tf201 comes with the UI called Waveshare UI, which is specifically designed for Asus Transformer line.

So don’t be shocked if all of Asus Transformer tablets deploy this same UI.

This specific piece of UI features some of core productivity functions that are synchronized together with the keyboard dock and the tablet, making the tablet more like a laptop than just a normal Android tablet.

However, even though this tablet has some specific productivity features, don’t expect this tablet to be like a full-fledged laptop because it is running Android, not Windows OS.

So you won’t be able to run any legacy Windows software on this device (duh!).

The good news is, you can still find the replacements of those Windows software on Google Play Store.

Of course, in the form of apps, either from other 3rd party developers or even the official developers of those software, like Photoshop, Adobe Flash Player, Office docs, and many more.


Frankly, Asus doesn’t disappoint users through this tablet, in terms of performance.

As a productivity-categorized tablet, Asus tf201 is packing some awesome powerful specs on it (which were considered as powerful back in the days of 2012), like:
  • a quad-core Tegra 3 processor (the same one found on Microsoft Surface RT tablet, Tegra 4 for the Surface RT 2 tablet),
  • 1GB of RAM,
  • 12-core of GeForce ULP GPU,
  • an 8MP camera (which is impressive!)
  • and a 1280x800 pixel Super IPS+ display (considered as good in 2012).
With these goodies, then Asus tf201 deserves to be called as a good productivity tablet given that its hardware are the same ones found on Surface RT tablet, which also is a keyboard-docked tablet made by Microsoft but it’s running Windows RT OS, the simplified or the tablet version of Windows Pro OS.

So either if you’re using this tablet as a regular tablet or a productivity tablet with its keyboard dock, this device will run so smoothly and fast, thanks to its powerful internal hardware and medium quality 720p screen.

As a matter of fact, these specs can be a great couple because with that medium 720p display, it doesn’t ask too much of pixels and powers from the Tegra 3 processor.

The story would be different if this tablet used Tegra 3 processor but a with a much higher 1080p (1920x1280) display or 2.5K (2560x1600) display.

The performance would be laggy and much even worse, that higher resolution screen would drain the battery life much even faster than the lower 720p display.

So with that being said, as a 2012 tablet, Asus tf201 is a good quality tablet with great specs.

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Besides great for watching HD movies, reading books or magazines and browsing the web, Asus tf201 can also be a good gaming tablet. Yup, that’s true actually.

In fact, i’ve already seen many Tegra 3 devices like Google Nexus 7 or Acer Iconia B101 capable to handle many heavy games so smoothly.

So if you’re going to use this tablet for playing games, then you’re in good hands.

With the goodies like a quad-core Tegra processor, 1GB of RAM and 12-core of GeForce ULP GPU, plus a medium resolution 720p display, this tablet is more than great for playing any games on Google Play Store, even the most graphically demanding ones, like Asphalt 7: Heat, Modern Combat 4, Dead Trigger 1, Horn (which is a masterpiece RPG in my opinion), GTA Vice City or ShadowGun, all in buttery smooth performance and in full graphics.

Unfortunately, for the latest games released around the Q2 of 2013, like Asphalt 8: Airborne, GTA San Andreas, Dead Trigger 2 or GT Racing 2, this tablet will absolutely struggle when running these heavy games, even in medium graphics setting.

I’ve actually already seen Tegra 3 tablet, Google Nexus 7 really struggle to run Asphalt 8: Airborne, even in medium graphics setting.

And given that Asus tf201 is packing the same exact internals like Google’s tablet (i.e., Tegra 3, 1GB of Ram, 12-core GPU, 720p display, etc), then the same thing will happen to Asus Transformer tablet.

I know - Asphalt 8 can be played on this tablet, but it will not run smoothly, even in medium graphics setting.

Meanwhile, the latest gen Google Nexus 7 (the one with Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset) really struggles when playing GTA San Andreas in full graphics (but smooth in medium graphics setting).

So with that being said, then it’s really clear for us to see that GTA San Andreas will run much even worse on Asus tf201, even in low graphics setting.


Just like its counterparts, the rear-facing 8MP camera can be found on Asus tf201.

This is definitely a great news because you would never know that the camera on this 10-inch tablet could be so useful whenever you forgot to bring your digital camera or smartphone at your disposal.

Besides, according to many reviews from CNET and PhoneArena, the camera on a cheap $150 Asus Memo Pad 7 HD is able to take some great shots, despite having a much lower 5MP sensor than Asus tf201.

So with that being said, then the 8MP camera of Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF201 will be more than capable to take much even better photos and videos than the cheap $150 Asus Memo Pad 7 HD.

Battery Life

Battery is the most important sector when Asus designs this tablet.

And as a productivity-categorized tablet, then without a doubt Asus tf201 must be equipped with the right battery capacity if it wants to provide users a much longer battery life.

Frankly, Asus tf201 is powered by a 25Wh power battery, meaning that this tablet is capable to last in a solid day in one full charge.

However, if you’re gonna use this tablet in heavy mixed tasks, like for browsing the web, reading books or magazines, watching movies, doing homework, typing, checking emails, playing games, all combined with mixed screen on and off, then you can only expect this tablet to last in around 7 to 10 hours.

And the battery life will be much even shorter if you’re planning to use this tablet in heavy intense usage without resting the screen, like for playing games in the row or watching HD movies in marathon, probably around 5 to 7 hours.

But considering that this tablet is intended mostly for doing productivity tasks like for typing, editing computation work, checking emails or reading, then the battery life will last much longer for this type of tasks.

User Opinions

Similar just like other Tegra-powered Asus Transformer tablets that i’ve been reviewing lately on this website, i think Asus tf201 is not going to disappoint users, especially the ones who’re using this tablet solely for some productivity-related needs, like typing or editing Office docs or computation works.

However, that doesn’t mean that this tablet will only be great as a productivity tablet.

As a matter of fact, Asus tf201 is still a good and solid tablet for media-consumption purpose, like for watching movies, reading books, listening music or even playing games.

With Tegra 3 equipped, accompanied with 1GB of RAM and 12-core of GeForce ULP GPU, all of these media and entertainment tasks can all be executed perfectly in smooth performance and satisfying results.

As for gaming, i think the gaming performance of this tablet will be similar with Google Nexus 7 (2012 edition) given that they both are packing some similar kind of specs, like from a 720p display, Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of RAM and 12-core GPU.

And the gaming power of this tablet will be even better if you upgrade it to the latest Jelly Bean software, meaning that you can even play almost every game on Google Play Store, even the most graphics intense games, of course the older ones, like Asphalt 7: Heat, Need for Speed Most Wanted, Modern Combat 4, Dead Trigger 1, ShadowGun, Horn or even GTA Vice City.

However, for latest games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, GTA San Andreas or Dead Trigger 2, i think this tablet will suffer a lot in handling these games given that they are much heavier and more sophisticated than 2012-released games, in terms of graphics and visual effects.

Asus tf201 can play Asphalt 8: Airborne and GTA San Andreas, but these games must be set in low graphics setting in order to run smoothly and perfectly on Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF201.

So overall, i really like Asus tf201, especially its hardware and keyboard dock, not to mention its 8MP camera, and then its huge screen, and then its gaming performance, and then its software, and pretty much everything of this tablet is good, if not great.

This tablet can be a great choice for those of you who’re only looking for a productivity tablet with great performance, but good gaming capability.

However, if you want to buy the similar productivity tablet from Asus that is also great for gaming, i strongly suggest you to pick up Asus Transformer Pad TF701T with Tegra 4 instead.

It has a 2.5K display (2560x1600 pixels), Tegra 4, 2GB of RAM, 72-core of GeForce ULP GPU, keyboard dock, great software, and the most importantly, WAY MORE powerful gaming performance than Asus tf201.
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