At Computex a few weeks ago ASUS gave us exactly what we had been hoping for: a Transformer-style tablet running Windows 8. In fact, ASUS gave us a bunch of options as far as Windows 8 tablets go. The two we've been asking for are the Tablet 600 and Tablet 810, running Windows RT and Windows 8, respectively. They feature standalone tablets with detachable keyboard/mouse docks, giving you the best of both worlds.

ASUS wasn't the only one to bring this sort of flexibility to Windows 8. Acer showed off a similar design with its Iconia W510, as did Samsung and more recently, Microsoft. With the Surface tablets Microsoft actually went a step further and tried to integrate the keyboard into a lightweight cover rather than an external dock. It remains to be seen just how well these approaches will work, but it's clear there's a trend for the first generation of Windows 8 tablets.

We can't forget however what started this all. Much like Apple with the iPhone and iPad, ASUS picked an intersection of functionality and technical feasibility with the introduction of the first Eee Pad Transformer. For the first time we had silicon capable of running for hours in a small form factor tablet, as well as a touch-enabled OS that could run on it. Previous attempts at hybrid tablets often tried to shoehorn a desktop version of Windows into a device that was too clumsy. ASUS' Transformer series was the start of something new.

Since the release of the first Eee Pad Transformer (can you believe it's only been about a year?), ASUS has released several members of the Eee Pad and Transformer families. We got a slider, a thinner version called the Transformer Prime, as well as a refreshed entry level Transformer Pad 300. ASUS' experimentation and learning will pay off later this year as it ships the first Windows RT/8 versions. Until then however ASUS isn't done iterating. Today it's officially announcing the final configuration of the Transformer Pad Infinity, the first member of the TF series with a 1920 x 1200 display. It also happens to be the first tablet we've tested to use NVIDIA's higher binned Tegra 3 T33 SoC.

ASUS Tablet Specification Comparison
  ASUS Eee Pad Transformer ASUS Transformer Pad 300 Series ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity
Dimensions 271mm x 175mm x 12.95mm 263 x 180.8 x 9.9mm 263 x 180.8 x 8.3mm 263 x 180.6 x 8.4mm
Chassis Plastic Plastic Aluminum Aluminum + Plastic RF Strip
Display 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 IPS 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 Super IPS+ 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 Super IPS+
Weight 675g 635g 586g 594g
Processor 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 (2 x Cortex A9)

NVIDIA Tegra 3 (T30L - 4 x Cortex A9)

1.3GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 (T30 - 4 x Cortex A9)

1.6GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 (T33 - 4 x Cortex A9)

Memory 1GB 1GB 1GB 1GB DDR3-1600
Storage 16GB + microSD card 16GB/32GB 32GB/64GB + microSD slot 32/64GB + microSD slot
Battery 24.4Whr 22Whr 25Whr 25Whr
Pricing $399 $379/$399 $499/$599 $499/$599

Despite early indications of $599+ pricing, the Transformer Pad Infinity comes in at $499 for the 32GB model and $599 for 64GB. The Infinity is compatible with the Transformer Dock ($149) from the TF Prime as long as your dock has firmware 207 or later on it. The dock is what gives the Transformer Pad its name as it allows the Infinity to be converted into an Android netbook complete with QWERTY keyboard, trackpad and additional battery. The Infinity and its dock are available in the same two colors (amethyst gray and champagne gold) as the TF Prime was at launch. The Infinity dock doesn't appear to carry a separate part number, it's literally the same dock that was used with the Prime.

The chassis hasn't changed much since the introduction of the Prime. It is one-tenth of a millimeter thicker to accommodate the higher-resolution display and backlight assembly, but battery capacity remains at 25Wh. The Infinity is a little heavier and its edges are squared a bit instead of being perfectly rounded. The port configuration remains the same (micro HDMI, micro SD, headphone jack), although redistributed around the chassis. The power and volume buttons are now both located along the top of the unit, with the switches themselves more integrated with the tablet.

Although official reviews of the Infinity hit today, availability isn't scheduled until around July 16th. Quantities are unknown at this point and will likely be gated by panel availability.

The Display
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  • carneyjo - Monday, June 25, 2012 - link

    I love the newest iPad, but I cannot deny this product looks amazing. I may just have to own both an Android and iOS tablet! On a side note, the two aforementioned tablets both blow away Surface. Not impressed with it at all.
  • MichaelD - Monday, June 25, 2012 - link

    1. "It doesn't run Windows 8", but will it run Win7?

    2. The durability of these tablets concerns me. What kind of material covers the screen? My Adroid smartphone (Motorola Atrix) has Corning Gorilla Glass over it and after more than a year there's not a scratch on it. You would think tablet manufacturers would want to make them as durable as possible...this Gorilla Glass is really awesome stuff.
  • DeciusStrabo - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - link

    It's covered by glossy Gorilla Glass, like 90% of mobile devices with a big exposed screen.
  • crankerchick - Monday, June 25, 2012 - link

    Wow, I don't take Anand for an iPad fanboy in the least. Perhaps this article lacks the zeal of the iPad review, but that alone doesn't make someone a fanboy. I think he still presents balanced reviews of other devices, even if his preference is to the iPad.

    Don't act like the display on the iPad isn't amazing. The results right in this article show that the new iPad display bests the TF Infinity display in color gamut and color accuracy, and other reviews of the TF Infinity (there's aren't many yet of course), say that display also goes to the crapper outdoors.

    I have the new iPad as I was tired of waiting for the TF Infinity, but I am still anxiously awaiting the TF Infinity release as I would very much like to leave the walled garden land of no external storage, more costly devices that do less, 4:3 silliness, and no background updating of apps. But I won't do that if the browsing experience isn't improved in Android between Jelly Bean and the hardware of the Prime--especially not when the tablet app space on Android is awful (compared to iOS) so more time is spent on the browser.

    Perhaps some of you with the TF Prime can weigh in, but my experience with the browser for scrolling and entering text in forms (like typing in forums) has been less than stellar on my XOOM, slightly improved with Chrome and Android 4.0, but still not as smooth and fluid as the iPad even with the TF Prime.

    Everything about Android is better for me, but first and foremost I use the tablet to browse the web, play an occasional game, and waste time with social networking. It's not a business tool for me--that's what my laptop and/or desktop is for and I don't desire to have my tablet take it's place. Right now, the iPad works better for me at delivering a consistently smooth vehicle for media consumption but I really want the TF Infinity to take this title because I so want to come back to Android even with it's crappy tablet appspace.

    A video review (or even text comparison) of the browser and text input experience on the TF Infinity versus the new iPad would MUCH APPRECIATED. *ahem* Anand are you listening? I will pay money for this since it saves me from having to BUY both and return/sell one!
  • smartypnt4 - Monday, June 25, 2012 - link

    I am right there with you. I went ahead and got an iPad 3 because I was tired of waiting for this to release.

    I would VERY much like to had expandable storage on a laptop, and a wider screen for watching the videos on said expandable storage. And I want widgets. I have a Nexus One and the widgets on it are wonderful.

    That said, the iPad 3 is a GREAT device for stuff like internet browsing and especially reading. I'd be interested to see if the apps for reading like Kindle and Nook have gotten good enough to be as fluid as iBooks on the iPad.

    And yes, a video review or a regular review comparing the finer points between the two would be so incredibly helpful.

    In essence: +1 to everything you said.
  • dwade123 - Monday, June 25, 2012 - link

    Performance: slower than iPad
    Screen: worse than iPad
    Software: less than iPad
    Overall: inferior to iPad
  • andrewaggb - Monday, June 25, 2012 - link

    lol. Well when you put it like that :-)

    The argument over the the screen is that ipad3 screen is overkill and you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between 1920x1200 and 2048x1536 in a 10" device.

    And software is debatable :-). I don't think there is much remarkable about iOS ... or Android. I think Win8 has the most interesting software stack, but surface is already behind on the hardware curve and app selection will be low initially. And if you go x86, then you might rather just get a win8 ultrabook.

    The Transformer also has connectors though, like hdmi, usb, sd. And a real keyboard dock, (if you can find a use for it).
  • Belard - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - link

    True... to some extent. But Apple wanted to keep the aspect ratio a standard... It makes things easier for their developers. still, the screen resolution isn't as good.

    A more complete list:

    CPU Performance = Worse than iPad 2 / 3
    Screen resolution = Worse than iPad3
    GPU performance = Worse than iPad3 / 2 (Which is over a year old)
    Battery life = Worse than iPad3 / 2
    Software = Worse than Worse than iPad3 / 2 /1
    Price = No better than iPad 3.

    Runs Android = WIN!

    So far, it looks like the Windows8/RT whatever will also be WORSE in all areas.
  • Lepton87 - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - link

    CPU performance = better than iPad
    GPU performance = worse than iPad
    Screen= you if like 4:3 than Ipad but if you like 16:10 than definitely TPI

    Personally I prefer 16:10 to 4:3 aspect ratio because of that I would prefer TPI screen to the ipad screen
  • Belard - Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - link

    Er... no. The browser test was faster on the ASUS... not by much. The spider test hits the CPU harder.... and the iPad 2 & 3 were easily faster.

    Yes, I and others prefer the 4:3 screen. I tend to use it in portrait mode, like a book... rather than watch videos. Again, if you are INTO videos... and you need a VIDEO player... then you DON'T need a full blown OS to watch videos, play music and browse the web.

    Hence, the $1000 over-priced slate-thingy will crash and burn like it has for the past 12 years.

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