It may not quite be Black Friday yet, but some technology deals are already beginning to crop up. In my search for a new laptop, I’ve been considering the new Chromebooks from Google because of their cheap price, but today a deal on the ASUS Transformer TF300 tablet with the keyboard dock included has me reconsidering.
Available from Woot, the deal offers an ASUS Transformer Pad TF300 convertible tablet with the keyboard dock for only $299. The TF300 is admittedly one of the lower end ASUS tablets, but with a Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 8MP camera, and 1280 x 800 display, the tablet is still a fairly decent piece of hardware. Usually, the 16GB version costs around $350 for just the tablet, so the inclusion of the $99 keyboard dock in this sale really makes it a deal. It should be mentioned that the tablet is refurbished and not new, although I’ve never had trouble with refurbished products in the past.
As I mentioned before, the reason that I’m considering the TF300 when I usually overlook 10-inch tablets is that I may purchase it instead of a new Chromebook. The new Samsung Chromebook is based on the same ARM architecture as the TF300, and runs ChromeOS instead of a full Windows or Linux operating system. Because of this, the Chromebook’s features are limited mostly to browser based applications or apps from the Chrome Web Store, which means that it doesn’t have much more functionality than an Android device. In fact, it probably even has fewer available apps, and at this point less developer support.
I like ChromeOS and used the CR-48 for quite a while when it first was “released,” but now I’m beginning to agree with critics who say that the niche OS has little place in a market filled with powerful Android tablets. When presented with a choice between hardware that is more similar than many think, why not choose additional tablet functionality over being restricted to only a laptop? Perhaps if I end up buying the TF300 in the next few hours I’ll find out for myself which approach works best.