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ASUS Transformer Pad refreshed with front speakers, lighter keyboard

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It's been a while since we last heard about ASUS' Transformer Pad series, so today's announcement of two new 10.1-inch models was a nice surprise. Starting from the higher end, we have the TF303CL, which not only features Intel's 64-bit, 1.86GHz quad-core Atom chip (Z3745), but also supports LTE for Europe and Asia-Pacific. Otherwise, the plastic tablet packs the usual set of goodies for a decent Android tablet: a 1,920 x 1,200 IPS display, 2GB of RAM, 16 or 32GB of storage with microSD expansion, 5MP/1.2MP cameras (a downgrade from the old 8MP main imager) and a 25Wh battery. The TF303CL is also enhanced with stereo front-facing speakers, as opposed to the old single-channel speaker (but with two drivers) on the back.

Gallery: ASUS Transformer Pad TF303CL hands-on | 8 Photos

A less obvious change is the removed battery in the new keyboard dock, which is for both reducing its weight -- from 546g to 505g, so just 1.1kg when docked -- and also for keeping the price competitive; though there's no pricing info at the launch event. As with most ASUS tablets, this one seems to have a solid build quality, and we dig its textured shell that deters fingerprints. ASUS' Zen UI is also a nice touch on Android 4.4 -- elegant and not too heavy. Expect this device to arrive in Q3 with blue and gold color options.

ASUS also announced the WiFi-only TF103C as the entry-level refresh of the Transformer Pad line. Apart from the processor and the microSD expansion, pretty much everything else has taken the cost-down route: 1,280 x 800 IPS display, 1GB of RAM, 8 or 16GB storage options, 2MP/0.3MP cameras and a 19Wh battery. This will arrive in the coming weeks with white and black options, followed by a 3G version (TF103CG) due July. Again, no prices for now, but they will no doubt be very attractive.

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