The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700 is the next stage in the evolution of the Transformer Prime, offering an improved screen, physical improvements to avoid GPS issues and a slightly altered name.
It will be coming in 3G and WiFi versions, which annoyingly offer different processors -- the 3G version is dual-core and the WiFi quad-core.
There's no word on pricing yet, but we don't expect it to cost any less than than the €600 (US$785) asking price of the Prime, so prepare to shell out a fair chunk of cash.
We went hands-on with the Infinity at recent Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, so stay tuned for a full review soon.
In terms of looks, the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700 doesn't deviate much from the original Transformer Prime blueprint, which we're pretty pleased about.
The Prime managed to look supremely sleek while also being sturdy enough to beat someone half to death with!
The Infinity seems no different.
It keeps the same metal construction, which is satisfyingly free from any flex or creaking when we poked it with all the strength our tired, conference-chafed hands could muster.
The chassis of both the tablet section and the keyboard dock are all metal, so when it's folded together like a laptop, it feels extremely secure.
It's been given the same spun metal finish as the Transformer Prime as well, which we personally think looks beautiful.
If you prefer something a bit more angular and jagged, you won't be so keen.
The keyboard layout on the dock hasn't been changed either, which is great, as we found the Prime surprisingly comfortable to type on.
You'll normally find keyboards of this size on netbooks and they can often be extremely awkward, requiring you to squash your fingers in in order to hit the right keys. The Prime was much better, and it seems the Infinity offers a similarly comfortable experience.
The only real difference you'll notice from the Prime is on the back of the tablet.
The outer casing has been altered in response to numerous claims that the Transformer Prime suffered from GPS and WiFi issues due to the case design.
One of the key areas that's been given a tweak is in the screen.
The 10" Transformer Prime packed a 1,200x800-pixel resolution display that was both extremely bright and very vivid.
The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700, however, has upped the stakes to include a 1,920x1,200-pixel display. That's more than Full HD.
We were generally very impressed with the updated display, but we were looking at it in a dimly lit Asus showroom in Barcelona.
We'll make sure to give it the full eyes-on when we get one in for review soon.
Android Ice Cream Sandwich
The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity ships with the latest version of Google's Android, known as Ice Cream Sandwich.
The Transformer Prime can be updated to Ice Cream Sandwich, but it ships with Android Honeycomb, so the true software junkies among you will be satisfied that you won't immediately need to install new stuff on the Infinity in order to get an up-to-the-minute experience.
We used the Honeycomb version on the Transformer Prime quite a bit and have only had a relatively brief play with Android Ice Cream Sandwich, and we're not entirely sure the update adds much at all.
The interfaces look identical and operate in the same way, which is no bad thing at all, as we found operation on the Prime to be enjoyable to use and fairly simple.
WiFi = quad-core, 3G = dual-core?
The Asus Transformer Tab Infinity 700 comes in three varieties - a 4G version, a 3G version and a WiFi only version.
Basically, if you want Internet on the go, get the 3G model and shove a SIM card in it.
If you'd rather rely on WiFi networks, grab the one without 3G.
The problem, though, is that the WiFi model comes with the Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core chip that provided some stonking power on the Transformer Prime, whereas the 3G model forces you to use a dual-core Snapdragon chip.
We questioned Asus as to why this is, and was given a rather vague response about the 3G working better with a dual-core rather than quad-core chip.
The spokesperson was unable to give any more technical information about this, so we're not sure whether this is accurate.
More alarm bells rang, however, when we checked out the cheaper Transformer Pad 300, which comes in 3G and WiFi varieties with quad-core chips in both.
We asked why it's fine for the 300 to use quad-core in both, but the premium model can't.
We were met with an awkward silence followed by an admittance that they didn't know.
You're either being forced to have a lower-power processor for no reason with the Transformer Infinity, or have poor performance due to incompatible hardware on the 300.
Stay tuned for more on this.
We had our hands on the quad-core version, which was exactly as nippy and swift as you'd expect a supercharged tablet to be.
There was no lag when swiping between home screens and opening apps was satisfyingly immediate. How it performs under the intense pressure of a benchmark tests remains to be seen.
The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity provides some slight tweaks to the already excellent Transformer Prime in the form of a higher resolution screen and an altered chassis that promises to fix the GPS issues that some found on the first iteration.
While it still may be the best Android tablet available, its bizarre processor options will leave many frustrated.
- Full HD resolution screen
- Sturdy design
- Keyboard dock handy for typing long emails
- Lower-powered processor on 3G version
- Likely to be pricey