By Adrian Diaconescu April 11, 2012 7 33 4 1 If you like the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet, but the gadget is just a bit over your budget, you are probably eagerly awaiting for the Transformer Pad 300. Looking almost identical with Asus’ current number-one slate, the Transformer Pad 300 is rumored to come with the same winning hardware under the hood and Android Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box, but with a plastic exterior rather than the aluminum body of the Prime.Advertisement We suspected for a while that the cheaper build materials will take about 100 bucks off the tablet’s price, and today we have the first (sort of) official confirmation. The Transformer Pad 300 has gone up for pre-order in France and has also been spotted listed at US retailer J&R. Neither of the two mentions should be taken too seriously right now, though, because we know from experience that retailers sometimes let certain gadgets “slip”, even though they are still some time away from actually shipping. However, if these unconfirmed price tags stick, the Transformer Pad 300 should start selling at around $379 in the United States (the 16 GB model). In France, Tablette Store doesn’t have the 16 GB version on pre-order, but only the 32 GB model, supposedly going for 499 Euro, or around 650 bucks. Of course, that 32 GB variant of the Transformer Pad 300 will probably not cost $650 in the US, being expected to actually go for about $480 or $500. The guys at The Verge have done some digging after picking up the two online mentions of the Transformer Pad 300 and have supposedly gotten confirmation of the device’s pricing from J&R officials. Moreover, according to a firm’s sales representative, both the 16 and the 32 GB versions of the gadget should be in stock “in about a week”. While I’m still not fully convinced of the story’s credibility, it’s starting to seem very likely that we will be seeing the Asus Transformer Pad 300 selling in the US and Europe before the end of spring, which is earlier than we expected a while back. That’s good news, though, because the 10-incher is set to be powered by a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and to feature a 1280 x 800 pixels resolution IPS display, as well as 1 GB of RAM, and an 8-megapixel rear-facing shooter. All that might be available for less than $400, which, at least in my view, should be a pretty great deal. There should also be an optional keyboard dock released at the same time with the actual tablet and designed to make the 10-incher behave like a netbook. That could cost $149, according to another J&R listing, but, once again, this is not official. If you are the least a bit intrigued about the Asus Transformer Pad 300, make sure to keep in touch over the coming few weeks, because we should find out more details about the device’s pricing and availability soon enough! 7 33 4 previous postA phone that can scream for help? Only from T-Mobile and Lookout Mobile Securitynext postFour times the strength of regular aluminum. Or not, HTC?