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HDMI Output And Camera Image Quality

Asus Transformer Pad TF300T Review: Tegra 3, More Affordable
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HDMI Output

We've already criticized Android's inability to support HDMI output while Asus' Transformer is docked and closed. This is a limitation of the operating system that requires a display be mirrored, causing Nvidia's Tegra 3 to work harder than it needs to driving two screens simultaneously.

Almost humorously, you can enable HDMI output to an external display with the Transformer closed using an attached USB mouse or game controller, which basically wakes the system up. This isn't a workaround, though. If you lift up the display to peek, you see that it's already turned on.

We'd like to see something similar to the monitor management capabilities of Windows and OS X.

Camera Quality
(Click to enlarge pictures and browse our gallery)

The Transformer Prime shares its predecessor's front-facing camera, delivering acceptable image quality for VoIP-based communications. The Transformer Prime featured a rear-facing camera with an 8 MP sensor, F2.4 lens, and built-in LED flash. The new Transformer Pad’s rear-facing camera employs the same 8 MP sensor, and trades the LED flash for a slightly faster lens with a F2.2 aperture.

Although this enables slightly faster shutter speeds from the Transformer Pad's camera, most of the image quality shortcomings of the Transformer Prime are shared by Asus' latest tablet, including poor low-light performance and excessive lens flare. Both weaknesses are really evident in high-contrast scenarios.

These aren't Asus problems, though. All CMOS sensors in smartphones and tablets face the same challenges. The photosensitive surface is small, imposing a limit on the amount of light it's able to gather, resulting in poor image quality under certain conditions.

In strong light, the 8 MP photos are acceptably sharp with good contrast. In low-light situations, however, the rear-facing camera shares the same noisy, grainy, fuzzy, and blurred image output as Apple's tablets. Quality seems to be roughly on par with entry-level point-and-shoot cameras from several years ago. With that said, it's perfectly acceptable for snapshots.

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