Review Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700

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The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 is poised to start another feeding frenzy. While the Prime has its problems, the Infinity TF700 is everything the Prime should have been, and then some. Wireless radios work perfectly, ports and controls are more robust and the 1920 x 1200 HD display is one of the best we've seen on a mobile product. The rear f/2.2 camera with BSI sensor and 5 element lens likewise is the best tablet camera on the market. Granted, that might not say much given the state of tablet cameras, but the TF700 really does take excellent photos and 1080p video that far surpass the mediocre Transformer Prime and Asus Transformer Pad TF300 camera.

Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700


Specs

The tablet runs on the newer and faster 1.6GHz NVidia Tegra 3 T33 quad core CPU with 1 gig DDR3 RAM and 32 or 64 gigs of storage. It feels fast and is fast running Android OS 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and we can't wait to see how much snappier it gets with Android 4.4.1 Jelly Bean and its touch of Project Butter (Asus has said the TF700 will get Jelly Bean, and knowing them, it will be sooner rather than later). The tablet has Wifi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 and a GPS (that works). It has a front 2 megapixel video chat camera and a rear 8 megapixel camera. Ports include micro HDMI, the usual Asus proprietary charging/docking/USB port, USB host via the optional keyboard dock or Asus USB host adapter and a 3.5mm audio jack. The Infinity has a full HD Super IPS + capacitive display and a 25Wh Lithium Ion battery. The 32 gig sells for $499 and the 64 sells for $599. It's available in amethyst gray and champagne silver, similar to the Transformer Prime.

Display

Like the new iPad with Retina display, colors are lush and detail is extreme. Images look much more real and text is superbly sharp. Unlike the iPad, the Asus Transformer Pad TF700 has one of the brightest mobile displays available. The Super IPS + display reaches over 600 nits of brightness. That certainly helps outdoor viewability, though the glossy Gorilla Glass 2 clad front reflects plenty in sunlight.


Wireless

The Transformer Infinity has single band WiFi 802.11b/g/n. Asus really worked hard to improve wireless performance compared to the Prime, and the Infinity has very good WiFi performance in terms of reception and speed. In fact, it managed -5db better signal than some of our laptops, and notebooks generally have better reception than tablets thanks to higher powered radios and longer antennas.

The TF700 has Bluetooth 3.0 + HS for wireless headphones, speakers and Bluetooth keyboards among other things. It worked reliably in our tests, though we did note occasional audio track delays when watching streaming videos (a common problem with single chip WiFi/Bluetooth equipped smartphones and tablets). Video didn't stutter and audio didn't sputter as a consolation.

The tablet has a GPS and digital compass that work well. Even with WiFi turned off, our TF700 found 8 satellites in the first floor of a two story home 15 feet from the nearest window, and it got a location fix with 8m accuracy. Nice. It took 20 seconds to get that indoor cold fix with WiFi off, and it took only a few seconds with a warm start and with WiFi on. Outdoor performance when driving was very good.

Camera

Tablet cameras generally stink. The HTC Jetstream was an exception, but the rest didn't take photos or video that motivated us to wave a 10" camera around. The Infinity TF700 changes all that: it takes photos that are so good I don't care if I look like a dork waving it around. Images are crisp, colorful and lifelike. The camera has some trouble with extreme outdoor contrast, but it's much improved over the Prime and to be fair, many high end camera phones have problems with this. The camera has touch to focus, and autofocus times are good.

Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700


The 8 megapixel rear camera has a flash, BSI sensor and a fast f/2.2 five element lens. It shoots very sharp and smooth 1080p video at 30 fps that's good enough to capture special moments and share them with friends on-screen or over HDMI or dLNA to an HD TV.

Battery Life

The Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 has a 25Wh Lithium Ion polymer battery that's sealed inside. Asus claims up to 10 hours use, and so far we've managed 9 on average with a mix of email, web, YouTube short clip playback and Polaris Office use. If you use the GPS heavily or game, expect shorter battery life. Video playback times are good, and we got through 3 feature length movies at 50% brightness with power to spare. The optional keyboard dock extends runtimes since it has a 19.5 Wh battery, and Asus claims 14 hours which seems on target in our tests with the TF201 dock that has a 22Wh battery. As with previous Transformer models, the battery in the dock charges the tablet and Asus includes a widget that displays both tablet and dock battery levels.

Software

The Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 ships with Android OS 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. Asus has stated that the Infinity will get the update to 4.1 Jelly Bean, and they've been good about offering OS updates reliably and quickly so we hope it won't be too long.

Asus doesn't muck much with Android's UI, so you're getting a fairly pure experience. They do add their selection of useful applications. These are the same apps that are bundled with the Transformer Prime and TF300 and they include Polaris Office (view, edit and create MS Office compatible docs), Splashtop HD remote (remotely access your PC or Mac's desktop), an app backup utility, App Locker (prevent the kids from running specified apps), SuperNote (rich notes with text and drawing support), Zinio, Press Reader, dLNA, a decently featured but slow ePub ebook reader and Asus Cloud Storage.


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Price: $499 for the 32 gig and $599 for the 64 gig model
Website: www.asus.com
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Specs:

  • Display: 10.1" Super IPS + capacitive touch screen. Resolution: 1920 x 1200, supports both portrait and landscape modes.
  • Battery: 25Wh Lithium Ion rechargeable. Battery is not user replaceable.
  • Performance: 1.6GHz NVidia Tegra 3 T33 quad core CPU with 12 core GeForce graphics. 1 gig DDR3 RAM, 32 or 64 gigs storage.
  • Size: 10.35 x 7.12 x 0.33 inches. Weight: 1.32 pounds.
  • Cellular: N/A. WiFi-only in US.
  • Camera: 2MP front camera and 8MP rear camera with LED flash, F/2.2 lens. Can capture 1080p video.
  • Audio: Built in speaker, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack.
  • GPS: Has GPS and digital compass.
  • Networking: Integrated single band WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0 + HS.
  • Software: Android OS 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. Full suite of Google apps: search, voice search, Maps, Navigation, Places, Gmail, Email, web browser, Market, Gtalk with video chat, Books (Google ebook reader), Gallery, YouTube, Music, Clock, Calculator, Contacts, Calendar and Latitude. Asus and third party apps:MyNet dLNA, MyLibrary ebook reader, Polaris Office (MS Office suite), MyCloud (cloud storage and PC remote control software by Splashtop) and file manager.
  • Expansion and Ports: 1 SDHC microSD card slot, micro HDMI, 3.5mm audio and USB host via optional USB dongle adapter or optional keyboard dock.

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