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Asus Transformer Pad Infinity Review

transformer pad infinity

Asus is back this month with another Android tablet entry that looks to build upon their ever-expanding line. This new release is called the Transformer Pad Infinity, a slightly beefed up Transformer Prime-esque device with an incredibly high display resolution of 1920×1200, newer NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, and a revised 8MP camera. It still runs Ice Cream Sandwich with Asus’ minimal tweaks, docks in the same keyboard dock as the Prime, and even lasts about as long on a single charge. Is it a big enough jump from any of their other tablets to stand out though? Let’s talk about that. 

The Good:

  • Specs:  The hardware and specs of the Transformer Pad Infinity are about as good as it gets for the tablet game. With its new Tegra 3 T33 processor clocked at 1.6GHz, there aren’t many devices that can keep up with it. It also packs in a 1920×1200 display which is only matched by the new iPad, leaving every other tablet in the dust. Along with processor and display, the Pad Infinity rocks 1GB of DDR3 RAM (clocked at 1600MHz), Bluetooth 3.0, micro-HDMI out, Gorilla Glass 2, an 8MP rear camera with new F2.2 aperture, 2MP front camera for HD chatting, expandable microSD card storage, a 25Wh battery that lasts about 8 hours, and is only 8.5mm thick. It’s a beast, people.
  • Display:  The display on the Transformer Pad Infinity is the big selling point here and it delivers. Not only has the resolution been bumped to 1920×1200 to give you full HD fun, but this sucker can be cranked up in the brightness department (600 nits) to give you a great outdoor experience. The viewing angles at almost 180 degrees are impressive, it has Gorilla Glass 2 for extra protection, and weighs in at 224ppi. It has 11% more pixels than a 1080p display, which should give you sharper text and beautiful photos, assuming you can take them. Check out the screen tech comparison below to understand exactly what we’re talking about.

  • Design:  In terms of design, the Transformer Pad Infinity is close to being on the same level as its predecessor, the Transformer Prime. Asus kept the same color options – Amethyst Gray and Champagne Gold – along with the circular, metallic finish to the back side. The only difference is a plastic housing up top that holds the camera and switches, which we aren’t the biggest fans of, but wouldn’t call this area a deal breaker by any means. It’s still crazy thin, has enough bezel to make it easy to hold without accidental screen presses, and only weighs 1.31lbs. It also looks killer in the keyboard dock.
  • Benchmarks:  The new Tegra 3 T33 processor inside packs a punch. Below, we ran the standard benchmarks to give you an idea of the performance jump that you will see even over the previous Tegra 3 chipset that was in devices such as the HTC One X and Transformer Prime. In some of the benchmarks it clearly outperforms, while in others it falls back a bit. The dip in scores likely has to do with that crazy high resolution, so to think that it surpasses some of these other devices in a few should impress you.

  • Performance:  And speaking of the new NVIDIA chipset inside, we need to talk about actual real life performance and not just numbers. When you put a finger or ten on this display and move around or attempt to accomplish anything meaningful, you will be blown away at the speed and responsiveness. Part of that amazing performance is the display tech used, but after jumping from apps to games to home and back again, it’s clear that we should thank both the Super IPS+ display and the processor, together. I have spent some quality time with almost every major tablet that has been released over the last 2 years, and this easily felt the smoothest.
  • Accessories:  To us, Asus has been the king of Android tablets for some time now, but I don’t know that we have ever mentioned why we believe that. Oh who am I kidding, it’s obvious, isn’t it? It’s the keyboard dock coupled with cutting edge tablet tech. For those not familiar, Asus created this amazing mobile keyboard dock that feels as good as any netbook out there with one of their tablets docked into it. Couple that with all of the performance that we saw on the Transformer Pad Infinity and you almost can’t beat it as a mobile powerhouse. For me personally, it would be tough for this to replace a laptop as a daily driver, but it certainly works wonders in a pinch. Oh, and let’s not forget that the Transformer Prime’s dock works flawlessly with the Pad Infinity, so for those upgrading from a Prime, you do not have to go out a buy a new dock.
  • Battery Life:  While I have to admit that I have yet to fully put the Pad Infinity through any serious battery testing, I will say that after 4 or 5 days, today was the first day that I had to slap it on a charger. Now, that’s not from steady use by any means, but it is with a little play time here or there followed by a bunch of idle time. Asus is claiming that it can last up to 9.5 hours on a single charge, with real time usage at around 8.5 hours. If you want even more, you can dock the tablet into the keyboard dock to tack on another 5. Thanks to the NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor inside, battery life isn’t much of a concern. Through some of their custom software tweaks, Asus also threw in 3 different power management modes:  Power Saving, Balanced, and Performance.

  • Gaming:  Since the Pad Infinity is a Tegra-powered device, the gaming experience will be unlike any other Android device. NVIDIA and the crew have partnered with numerous gaming companies to create special edition titles with better graphics and experiences, built specifically for devices like this one. Games like Shadowgun THD and Riptide GP have extra PC-like polish that most devices can’t take advantage of. If you are a serious mobile gamer or simply want the best experience, devices like the Pad Infinity should be topping your list.

  • Price:  At $499 for the 32GB model and $599 for the 64GB model, you are looking at identical price points to the Transformer Prime. At those prices though, you are getting a revamped camera, faster processor, faster RAM, and a screen with an unmatched resolution. We hope this means that the Prime will drop to an even lower price point, but this is quite the deal for an Android tablet that few compare to.
  • Software Tweaks:  Normally we aren’t fans of tweaks to stock Android, but Asus seems to know how to improve upon certain things while leaving the core alone. One example would be the control panel that you can get to by tapping on the notification area. Asus added shortcuts to their performance modes and better brightness controls without mucking things up. They also let you take screenshots by long-pressing the recent tasks button and manage to show you which screen you are on through a slight UI tweak at the top of home screens. What’s even better is the fact that most of this stuff can be turned off to give you a fully stock experience if that’s what you would like.
  • Availability:  Asus is expecting the Transformer Pad Infinity to be available around the week of July 16.

The Not-so-Good:

  • Build:  I don’t have a ton of negative things to say about the Pad Infinity, but one that has stood out from the minute I unboxed it was the build quality. The device looks almost identical to the Transformer Prime aside from the top back piece which seems to be made of a cheap plastic. It houses both the lock switch and volume rocker which are also made of some type of cheap plastic. You’ll notice in the unboxing video below that I couldn’t even get the volume rocker to adjust the volume after pressing it numerous times. The lock switch feels similar and often takes a couple of presses in order to get a reaction out of it. I don’t know that the cheap feel of either of these should deter you from purchasing this device, however, I can’t imagine they would be easy to replace should one break or stick permanently. Also, I somehow managed to add a handful of tiny scratches to the back of the device and can’t recall it ever being in a situation over the last few days that would warrant them. This tablet has gone from my wooden coffee table to my wooden desk to the couch, none of which have ever scratched any other device of mine.
  • Android Tablets in General:  Look, we review Android tablets all of the time and with each new one, we find it harder and harder to do. There just aren’t things that really make you say, “Wow! That’s so awesome!” anymore. The Pad Infinity has a great screen, is ultra-powerful, very thin, and is the top dog in the Android world at this time, but the software experience is exactly the same as you would get on every other Asus tablet which will likely be priced lower. OEMs and chipset manufacturers continue to innovate on the hardware front, when that hasn’t ever really been an issue to begin with. It’s the software experience that sucks on Android tablets, and when we say that, we are admitting that it’s no different here on the Pad Infinity. The total package isn’t bad, but again, why is this one better than the Prime? Is it the slight uptick in processor? Is it the higher resolution screen that nothing has been built to take advantage of yet? Is it the revised camera that people still won’t use since taking pictures and video with a tablet looks ridiculous? You tell me.

 Unboxing:

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Overview:

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Gallery:

Verdict:

The Pad Infinity is a solid tablet. It has the best display of any Android tablet around and probably crushes all of them in performance thanks to its shiny new Tegra 3 processor. Couple it with a keyboard dock and you essentially have a device that can embarrass most netbooks as well. So it’s a dream device, right? Eh, maybe. It’s still an Android tablet, which for many, still means it lacks something. What exactly that “something” is, I can’t pin point, so I’ll simply throw out a few scenarios that may help you decide if the Pad Infinity is for you.

If you are a serious tablet gamer, this is your best option on Android. If you need a tablet that can act as a laptop in sticky situations, this would meet your needs. If you want a device that can give you a stunning media experience thanks to a gorgeous display, then you can’t lose here. If you have yet to purchase your first Android tablet and are looking for an all-encompassing piece of tech, this may be it.

  • Ganeshan Nadarajan

    The new release is called the Transformer Pad Infinity, a slightly beefed up Transformer Prime-esque device with an incredibly high display resolution of 1920×1200, newer NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, and a revised 8MP camera.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.roinick John Roinick

    I bought an Infinity past 3 weeks ago. I like everything about it with small exceptions. so far, the only video chat program that will work with it is Skype…no Gmail/Google Talk video chat or Facebook video chat. Also general printing is problematic. I have an HP printer and an app to go with it, but only prints photos & pdf’s. No printing to my Canon pixma printer.

  • Androidfan 4 life

    Quit bitchin about everything there people get over it Or stop buying tablets

  • http://twitter.com/rschleg rschleg

    The major difference between this and the Prime is the plastic strip you dont like. The Prime has GPS and WiFi problems due to its all aluminum backing. I own the Prime and I really like it for the most part. It does replace my desktop and laptop except for a few rare situations. My major beef is the constant ANR warnings in the browser (all the time, and the main use of this thing is to browse…), and I got some wierd little bright spot on the screen. I would upgrade to this if I thought they fixed all those problems, but Im not sure Id buy an Asus product again to be honest.

    • Lambo_21

      wait, i have a bright spot on my TF101… weird man, is yours in the bottom right corner?

      • http://twitter.com/rschleg rschleg

        Yep, about an inch above the clock….

        • Lambo_21

          Yup same spot on mine

  • New_Guy

    I love you Kellex, but let’s put a hush on the “It’s lacking something” because it’s an Android tablet stuff. This is likely my next tablet. Was actually about to buy the TF 300 and now I am going to wait for this to come out. Unless something blows this thing away in the next month or two, I’ll be unboxing one myself.

    • angermeans

      Why? It’s the truth the android experience on tablets is very lacking and ignoring it won’t help the situation.

  • Greyhame

    can anyone comment on how the graphics card compares to the card in the ipad? thx

    • New_Guy

      Unfortunately, it’s the one hardware spec that the iPad actually beats it. Edge goes to Infinity just about everywhere else.

      • Greyhame

        That’s what I was thinking too. May just have to wait to check out Windows 8 Pro Tablets, and for the GPU to get the bump up to Adreno 3xx or better. DAMN!

        Thanks.

  • Mack

    YOU DIDN’T SAY “PEACE” AT THE END OF THE VIDEO……….

    Come on man it’s not Droid-Life if you don’t say “peace”. Why must you keep leaving that out?!?

  • Greg

    On the official Asus web site for the Infinity it says “The Transformer Pad Infinity mobile dock is compatible with the Eee Pad Transformer Prime”, and then right below that it says “The Eee Pad Transformer Prime mobile dock is NOT compatible with the Transformer Pad Infinity”. (Check out: eee.asus.com/eeepad/transformer-infinity/specification/Default.htm)

    In the video above, I do see the box label says the mobile dock is model TF201, but at the bottom of the label it also says “TF700T Mobile Dock/US/Gray”. Whereas the label on the box for my Prime mobile dock does indicate the same at the top, though the bottom of the label says “TF201 Mobile Dock/US/Gold”.

    I also read a comment on another website where someone said that the Prime’s dock is compatible with the Infinity if the dock has firmware 207 on it. (Check out: ritchiesroom.com/2012/06/12/asus-transformer-infinity-first-look/) But, is there a way to upgrade the firmware on the mobile dock if you don’t have 207 on it?

    When I called Asus and asked about compatibility they told me the prime keyboard would not work with the Infinity, and that is what their website indicates too. But I am hoping that is really not the case…

    I wish someone would actually test a TF201 keyboard that was originally made and sold for use with the Prime and let us know for certain that it will or will not work with the Infinity.

  • MKader17

    Dang, it’s the same price as the Prime? I wouldn’t mind the upgrade if I could get a descent price for my Prime.

  • http://twitter.com/OreWaZero Christopher Zoellner

    And this is why I unfortunately went with an iPad.

  • http://twitter.com/ajkowal Allen Kowal

    I want that background! :O

  • rizzell

    For some reason ASUS doesnt impress me. I’ve had the prime and the tf300 i like the accesories of both. But the frequent foreclose seem to out weigh all of that for me.

  • Bauce40

    I think ICS looks great on a tablet and runs very well, my biggest complaint about Android on tablets is simply the apps. I picked up my brothers iPad and just used a few apps that I use on Android almost daily (ESPN Scorecenter, Slacker Radio, Tune-In Radio, Facebook) and the iPad versions of these blow away the Android versions. Why can’t ESPN make a tablet version of Scorecenter for Android? Slacker supposedly announced they were making a tablet version for Android, but we’ve heard nothing since then. There are a few good tablet apps for Android, but it is way behind iOS. In fact I think ICS as a OS looks better and functions better on a tablet than iOS, yet the apps are way behind. If Android wants tablets to succeed, they don’t need a Nexus (there are already stock or very lightly skinned tablets), they simply need Apps. The system is only as good as the the apps that run on it.
    Rant over.

    • palomosan

      Agree, what people and the tech world complains the most is the lack of apps for the Tablets, in the phone area is fine, Google needs to sit down with the devs as Apple does and facilitate a way for them to update the apps fast and easy.

      And the best stage for that is this week at Google IO.
      Just come out and release 100 apps for tablet, the most used apps, plain and simple.

      • Droidzilla

        Since they’re releasing a tablet, I’d be very surprised if there weren’t tablet optimised apps. Also, since I/O is home to a ton of top-level devs, I’m sure they’ll be handing out Nexus 7 Tabs like candy. I’d expect a much more robust tablet ecosystem by the end of the year (though, honestly, I haven’t found Android’s tablet ecosystem lacking; maybe I’m just using the right apps).

      • nwd1911

        I have high hopes for I/O regarding tablets. I think with the release of the Nexus Tablet, Google will focus more on the tablet arena and make a real run at iPads/Netbooks.

        • juliog

          keep dreaming

          • michael arazan

            There are tons of dev conferences going on at the i/o if you read the i/o app, i’m sure some of them will have to focus on tablet apps. W/o tablet apps there isn’t a tablet market.

    • http://twitter.com/gotteric Eric Gottlieb

      Another important, and VERY easy thing to do, would be make a tablet section in the store! I have a TF Prime and for the most part, I really enjoy it. The MOST frustrating part of using it is finding apps that are made for tablets. Most of the time I end up having to search online, find a name of an app, search it in the store, and finally download it. It’s just obnoxious to go through.

      • Chihova

        They actually have this. Staff picks for tablets.

        • http://twitter.com/gotteric Eric Gottlieb

          Staff picks is just is just that… Staff picks. That is very different than an actual tablet specific part of the market.

      • will bartlett
      • Boswd

        tablified.com or the tablified HD app in the Play Store. It doing what Google should be doing. Created a tablet optimized dedicated section. It’s wonderful.

  • bchampnd

    This looks like just another Android tablet. They can beef up the specs all they want but until the software catches up to the hardware, these devices just don’t stack up to the iPad in terms of overall experience. They can do more than the iPad but run any app available on both iOS and Android side by side and it will run far smoother on the iPad, with the possible exception of a few Tegra optimized apps on devices with Tegra processors.

    I have a Galaxy Tab 10.1 and like it but it’s definitely held back by software. Part of that is being stuck on Honeycomb (no excuse why a WiFi only device shouldn’t get an update more than 6 months after ICS was released) but the overall app experience is subpar since very few apps are optimized for tablets. Hopefully that will change once the Nexus tablet line comes out.

    • SD_Scott

      Throw AOKP on it… Used to have that tab and AOKP was a life saver. Unleash it’s true potential.

    • angermeans

      I agree Samsung and Motorola are the worst and don’t care to update their products if ever. It will be the downfall of android as a whole. Companies just getting ICS (and more still waiting) when jellybean will be here this week and phones like many different Razr and gs2 devices will never get it. It’s a joke.

      • bchampnd

        I wish there was some kind of middle ground. Give people the option of updating to stock [insert new android version] and then when the skinned version is released give an option to then upgrade (or downgrade as most people feel when it comes to manufacturer skins) to Touchwiz/Blur/Sense when the skin is ready and, if necessary, carrier approves.

  • http://twitter.com/Bateluer Robert Boluyt

    I believe that plastic band along the cameras also houses the wireless antennas. Should allow the TF700 to actually have working GPS and WiFI, unlike the Prime.

  • Nicholas Tino

    The plastic is to solve the antenna/GPS issues… thats fairly obvious.

  • Mordecaidrake

    I’ve been trying to figure out do I want to buy this or give up and buy an iPad. This article doesn’t convince me android is ready for my tablet money yet :(

    • JoshGroff

      ICS is a very solid OS, and with the new Nexus tablet coming out, we should be receiving a nice crop of tablet optimized apps fairly soon. I don’t really use many apps as it is, so I’m not one to say how good the selection is, but most apps/games I use on my phone also work on my tablet without much noticeable difference.

      I know plenty of people who love their iPads that have android phones. If you want a solid ecosystem now, I’d say go for it as you can always sell it later to fund an android tablet once the ecosystem starts expanding as iPads tend to hold their value fairly well in the secondhand market.

      • Mordecaidrake

        My only concern is splitting up the money I spend in 2 different ecosystems. I’ve spent a few bucks on the Play store and then I’ll be rebuying some apps it seams. But then again it’s not like it’s a couple hundred dollars. I find myself leaning more and more towards the iPad for the ecosystem.

        • JoshGroff

          As much as I hate to say it, the iPad is probably the best choice at the moment, but hopefully later on this year, before the world ends, we should get more tablet optimized apps for android.

    • angermeans

      If you want an opinion from an android enthusiast. I have owned the Xoom and Prime and I sold both when I got the new iPad in march. Although I liked android for tablets they are light years behind iOS. I love my new iPad and nothing compares to that screen. Not to mention app selection and quality is much better on iOS. Apple is doing more than just making media consumption devices. I will probably still pick up a nexus tablet because of the price, but the new iPad is near flawless in my opinion and will only get better when the new iOS launches in the fall especially with Siri and all it’s new features (I can’t tell you ow many times I have wished I could ask the sports scores etc on my iPhone 4s or Galaxy Nexus. I hope the new nexus tablet launches with Majel. Anyways I hope this helps and good luck.

      • Mordecaidrake

        It does, I think I’m gonna end up getting the iPad. As much as I love android and my rooted Galaxy Nexus, tablets just aren’t there yet :/

    • Greg

      Personally, I’ve been waiting to buy the Infinity so I can dump my iPad 2. I like the iPad 2, but the Infinity meets my needs better. The only drawback for me is that one app I use a lot is better on iOS (for now) than it is on Android.

      But if I were recommending a tablet to my mom (or someone else that does not grasp technology that well), I’d tell them to go for an iPad.

      I’ve had Android tablets and phones for a long time, and I feel like the Android OS and apps have come long way and constantly getting better. I used to see a lot more reason (stability) to consider iOS over Android, but iOS does not have much advantage anymore, and even lacks in some areas.

      So… There are pros and cons with either one. Try them both and pick the one that is best for you!

      • Mordecaidrake

        There indeed are, I wanted a tablet for emulators and what not. But I can just hook up my Galaxy Nexus to my tv and use my tablet as my portable computing device. I wanted the Transformer Infinity so bad, but the lack of development for tablets is a problem. Another reason I wanted a tablet was for comic book reading, and there are no good comic book readers on android.

      • robocop

        i got my mom the Nexus7..this is the same person who asked me how to tell if her phone was on, how to text using a full slider keyboard phone, how to listen to voicemail, how to answer email, and how to turn the phone off….she read a few little “how-to” guides and played around…she loves it…like is addicted to it…she said its super simple, really smooth, and she wants to take it everywhere.

    • JimJ

      buy an ipad. ios is no better than android but the hardware seems to always be about a year ahead of the android tablets. Plus the app selection is better.

      I just bought an ipad and it performs great, but i didn’t miss itunes.

  • LordStickMax

    I don’t get it. I love ICS on my Xoom. The only thing it needs is more apps.

    • JoshGroff

      My only complaint is the browser occasionally crashes with 4.0.4 on the LTE version, might go back to AOKP until Motorola sends out a patch.

      • LordStickMax

        yeah, you try the chrome browser? i only use the stock one when i need to go on a flash site. its great that my bookmarks are synced on all of them.

        • Towelie420

          Chrome browser is amazing, but I love flash way too much and find myself never using it. Maybe Google will be able to talk adobe into doing flash for it.. Who knows?

        • JoshGroff

          Of course I tried chrome, most of the crashes are on flash sites, but when it happens i have to force close the browser or reset the tablet to get it back in working order. Going to see if AOKP remedies the problem, stock is overrated anyway.

          • LordStickMax

            idk dude, take it easy. i got the wifi version anyway. flash has always been clunky but that really is adobe’s fault. they suck as a software company, if i can use a third party i usally will.

          • JoshGroff

            I guess I’ll try a factory reset first, just in case something updated incorrectly. ~3 browser crashes in 2 weeks isn’t horrible, but it does get annoying.

  • http://twitter.com/GasaiYuno 我妻由乃

    It has 11% more pixels than a 1080p display, which should give you sharper text and beautiful photos…

    Seriously, what the hell are you smoking, Kellex?

    Can you please explain how is text on a 16:10 display “sharper” and the photos are more “beautiful” compared to a 16:9 screen? There’s more screen space, sure, but sharpness?..

    • NicholasMicallef

      Derp, pixels arent’ PPI xD. It is the ideal resolution (for now) if you ask me though.

      • http://fujibayashi.jp/ Gasai Yuno

        I love 1920×1200 and 16:10 in general, I just don’t understand why would you say that text at the exact same DPI setting would look crisper on a display that is a little bit larger by one side.

        • NicholasMicallef

          It won’t, not unless one of them is pentile anyway…

    • Raven

      Also, when you take into account that the action bar and status bar take up space, the usable photo/video display area is probably about 1920×1080 anyway, so you don’t get to use that extra 11% anyway. But, I do think that this is the perfect resolution for a tablet. Perfect for HD video and gaming. Anymore pixels is just a waste of GPU processing power.

  • http://www.drupal-web-designers.com/ Drupal web design

    The tablet look awesome and good wi-fi network.I think the tablet will be very good to use net in it.

  • socalrailroader

    Wait, smoochie? LOL

  • Dave

    I think it looks great. Makes for an excellent netbook of sorts (although I’d personally would love to have Windows 8 on this kind of form factor…not sure how I feel about the Surface). I wonder if the Nexus tablet is going to change the game at all this week. Only a few more days till we find out.

  • darryl

    When does this come out or is it out already?

    • Dave

      It says in the review….week of July 16th

  • socalrailroader

    Wow, somebody forgot about the Acer A700, maybe late night brain blips? ;)

  • socalrailroader


    It also packs in a 1920×1200 display which is only matched by the new iPad,”

    It’s also matched by the Acer Iconia Tab A700. :)

    • AdamSchuster

      I was gonna mention the same thing. The A-700 is available to order now, too. Since I already have an A-500 that my wife has decided to take over as her own, I was going to order an A-700, unless Asus gets this out for sale within the next few weeks. Acer has been relatively good with the updates, and I’ve never had an issue with my A-500. Asus has been better with the updates, though.

  • Trevor

    Nice wi-fi network.

  • evltwn
    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      Padfone likely not coming to the States for a long, long time if ever. Carriers hate it. They want to destroy you on a phone and tablet plan.

      • Raven

        That may have been true, but with Verizon’s new data sharing plans and free tethering you think they would be for anything that increases your data consumption and sets them apart from their competitors.

  • http://thebeeobee.com/ thebeeobee

    Yeah, the android tablet experience needs an overhaul. :/

  • evltwn

    Wow I think someone has a little case of insomnia going on.

  • http://twitter.com/mfg68 MFG

    Android tablets are so screwed… :(

    • http://thebeeobee.com/ thebeeobee

      Very anxious to see the Nexus 7/jellybean next week and hoping for the best.