Asus has done a superb job of exploring different form factors of late, with its Taichi dual-screen laptop, PadFone phone/tablet device and Transformer tablet/desktop combination. But it’s the Transformer Pad range of tablets with keyboard docks that has proven most enduring.
The weightily named Asus Transformer Pad Infinity is the latest in the Transformer Pad range, we'll call it the Infinity for the rest of this article just to save on keyboard wear and tear. Asus is positioning the Infinity as the "media tablet" and has worked with Nvidia - makers of the popular Tegra 3 CPU powering the device - to insure that media consumption is the focus of the tablet.
To this end, the Infinity has a Full HD IPS+ screen, with a 1920x1200 resolution, a 16:10 aspect ratio, a 178 degree viewing angle and 600nit brightness. Ignoring the specs and focusing on the experience, we were impressed by both the clarity of an HD video and the speed of which we could track through to later section. The sound was also more than tolerable for a mobile device.
Gaming is another focus of the Infinity and an Nvidia rep was able to demonstrate the gaming potential both on the device itself and when the Infinity was hooked up to a larger screen via the Micro HDMI cable. In both cases the action was crisp and clear, with no noticeable stutter and some liquid and lighting effects that were, when seen on a tablet, quite amazing.
Impressively, Asus have shrunk the Infinity down from its predecessor the TF300T, shaving off 37g and 1.4mm of width. This brings it more in line with the TF201 and the two devices can actually share the same keyboard battery dock.
That said, we're not talking about a lightweight device. The Infinity weighs in at 607g and is 8.5mm thick. Add in the dock and that bumps up to 1.114kg and 16.5mm which is edging into Ultrabook territory. Or at least that's what we think the dock's specs were - at the event where we were able to get hands on with the Infinity all the docks were labelled as TF201 docks. The Infinity dock, according to Asus reps, should weigh a little more, but the official documentation gave the Infinity dock as 537g, which is the same as that given to the TF201 dock by the Asus website. Confusion reigned and Asus is getting back to us to confirm the specs for the Infinity dock.
Battery life is solid at 9.5 hours of continuous use for the tablet itself, up to 14 hours when you include the dock. This is down from the TF201's reported 18 hour combined battery life but still excellent when you take into account to differences in processing power - the Infinity runs its Tegra 3 at 1.6GHz compared to the 1.3GHz of the TF201 - and the additional draw from the IPS+ panel.
Finally, Asus has added some proprietary apps of varying usefulness. The winner for use was the app locker that allows you to password protect any installed application - a nice security touch if you intend on lending the Infinity to friends and family or even if you want additional protection for your personal information.
But all of this comes at a cost - the Infinity is $999 for the 64GB model. This is a premium price and while the Infinity can definitely fulfil some of the functions of a notebook, it's not quite able to take its place, meaning you're looking at a thousand bucks for what is definitely a third device alongside your laptop and smartphone.
We'll have a proper review looking at how the Infinity stacks up given its price in the near future.
Specs: Asus Transformer Pad Infinity (TF700T)
Screen: 10.1in IPS+; Full HD; 1920x1200; 16:10 ratio; Gorilla Glass 2, with 178degree viewing angle and 600nits
Processing : Tegra 3 1.6GHz; 12-core GeForce GPU
Camera: 8MP back-illuminated CMOS (back); 2MP (Front+
Battery: 9.5 hours battery of continuous usage; 14 with dock connected
Ports: Micro HDMI and Micro SD; USB 2.0 and SD with dock
Weight: 607g (tablet); +537g with dock