Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 – Review
by Patrick O Sullivan | on August 19, 2012
The new iPad kicked off the resolution race and now Asus have produced a high pixel-count device with the new Transformer Pad Infinity TF700, priced at $500 for the 32GB version and $600 for the 64GB version. The new tablet was first announced at the Mobile World Congress trade show, sporting a 1920 x 1200 pixel display. Maybe not quite equalling the iPad’s 2036 x 1548 pixel tally but behind that screen the TF700 packs punchier internals – a quad-core processor with a faster base clock and a higher- resolution camera for starters.
The TF700 measures 26.3cm x 18cm x 8.4mm, so it’s quite a slender slate and weighs 613 grams, ever so slightly less than the new iPad. Its aluminum shell is well-constructed, decorated with the same concentric circles as the other members of the Asus Transformer family.
A light tapering on the left and right edges give the TF300 an easy-to-hold wedge shape. The TF700 will be sold in iether Amethyst Gray or Champagne Gold. The Power and Volume controls are relocated to the top edge of the tablet, and the microHDMI, microSD card slot and headphone socket onthe left edge.
The base of the TF700 incorporates the docking connector for charging or hooking up the keyboard, an optional extra carrying a surcharge of $149. Actually the Transformer TF700 can be used with the same keyboard dock as the TF201, though it isn;t compatible with the TF300′s dock. The only internet connectivity supported by the TF700 is through 2.4GHz WiFi or Bluetooth 3. A GPS sensor is also present.
That $500 32GB sports twice the storage space of the new $499 iPad, and unlike Apple’s iconic slate storage capacity is expandable via the microSD card. The $600 64GB version compares favorably with the $700 64GB iPad.
An 8MP rear-facing camera is complemented by a 2MP front-facer, and the rear camera produces sharp shots with accurate color fidelity and impressive focus, although indoor shots were slightly muted. If anything the rear sensor tends towards under-exposed dark areas, but that’s only really noticeable when shots are compared with photos from other devices. The front-facing snapper is decent enough for video calling. 1080p footage captured with the rear camera at 30fps suffered from camera shake somewhat but quality overall was acceptable.
The same Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich OS found on the TF201 and TF300 features on the new TF700, but now Asus has overlaid a quick-setting control in the standard notification bar, allowing users a fast-track route to changing WiFi, performance mode or brightness.
Pre-installed apps include Netflix and Kindle in addition to Asus cloud storage app. But the main selling point of the TF700 over the other Transformer models is its 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 res IPS+ panel, which translates to a jolly crisp 224ppi. Not quite the 264ppi Retina display of the 2048 x 1536 pixel iPad screen, but no different to the naked eye in use. And that pristine display is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2, thinner than the original Gorilla Glass for better responsiveness but just as strong.
The Super IPS+ screen pumps out a brilliant 600 candelas of brightness, far brighter than the iPad’s screen, and IPS+ means viewing angles are effectively perfect across a full 180-degree spectrum.
One thing the new iPad and the Transformer TF700 have in common is that for the time being only a handful of apps are actually optimized to take full advantage of the higher res display. Not to worry – the prospect of differentiating their apps from the hundreds of thousands of low-res apps on the market (whether in Apple’s App Store or in Google Play) will spark a frantic race amongst devs to beautify their offerings. In the meantime, browsing the web is a rich, colorful experience, even if games such as Shadowgun look indistinguishable on the low-priced
ASUS Transformer TF300, which starts at $374 and the premium TF700.
Angry Birds Space is ahead of the game, with markedly sharper feathered fowl when fully zoomed than on the TF300′s more standard resolution. Optimization amongst Android apps has been lagging, with many games still not reworked for standard res slates, but the boost to the tablet market by the likes of the Nexus 7 and Samsung Tablet 2 range, as well as the budget TF300 from Asus, should make it worthwhile for app providers to up their game.
Until now the far larger smartphone market has skewed the focus for apps, but we reckon that’s a-changing. Obviously tablets equipped with the internal components to service all those extra pixels will spur devs on – the TF700 packs the touchstone NVidia Tegra 3 quad-core chip, now supported by 1GB of DDR3 RAM, a small improvement on the old DDR2 RAM found in the TF300.
And that Tegra CPU is now clocked at a blistering 1.6GHz across all four cores, next to the TF201′s 1.3GHz base speed. As a result, the AnTatu benchmark sees the Transformer TF700 beat the Toshiba Excite 10 hollow. Jumping from app to app is virtually instantaneous, and navigating around the OS is quick and slick. Games run fluidly, and just as briskly as on the Transformer TF300, which is remarkable for a slate needing to service more than twice as many pixels. And media playback in a wide variety of formats is smooth at 1080p, helped by not needing to scale full HD footage down to a smaller resolution display.
The 25 watt battery delivered 7 hours 17 mins of WiFi-enabled video-looping, outperforming even the iPad (5:33). All-day duty guaranteed. And the keyboard dock will boost that by another five hours. The Asus Transformer Infinity TF700 offers a stunning user experience – brilliant high-res display, quadcore CPU performance, excellent image capture. Just sit tight while the Android software catches up.
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