Real World Reviews: The ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity

One thing I’d like to feature going forward with My Brain On Android is what I’m calling “Real World Reviews”.  If you want to see every little tech spec and performance benchmark you can check out any one of the many professional Android or Tech blogs out there and I’m pretty sure they do a much better job of it than I can do.  If you’re reading this blog my guess is that you value my opinion and so I think that is all I’m probably qualified to offer.  These real world reviews will be much shorter and straight to the point, what’s good, what’s not as good, and what the companies can do now to improve on the released device.  So without further ado let’s get to the first of what I hope to be many Real World Reviews!

The Good

  • The Infinity has the best design of any tablet out right now!  The aluminum body gives it a look of sophistication while also giving it a very premium feeling.  The body doesn’t have any flex to it and it is probably only second to the Nexus 7 in how good it feels in your hand.
  • Despite the premium materials ASUS managed to keep the Infinity light and thin enough for more comfortable one handed use than I’ve experienced with other 10” tablets.
  • The signature Transformer Keyboard Dock is just as awesome as ever, the newer model seems to have more key travel than previous models.  It is also slimmer and lighter.
  • The keyboard dock feels a lot more stable and solid than the original transformer.
  • The new 1920×1200 display is gorgeous! It is second only to the 3rd generation iPad in raw amount of pixels. Combine this with the Super IPS+ for outdoor viewing and you have what I consider to be the best and most versatile display available on a tablet right now.
  • Battery life is great!  I was originally worried that the higher performance necessary to push the higher number of pixels on the display would result in lower battery life but battery has been just about on par with the Transformer Prime.
  • Standby is great, I’ve left the tablet sitting for a week or so in standby and still had plenty of juice left to use it when I needed to.
  • The plastic strip on the rear means Wi-Fi and GPS signals come through without a hiccup!
  • The moved audio jack is much less awkward when using the keyboard dock.
  • Micro-HDMI is a great improvement over the Mini-HDMI found in the original Transformer.

The Not So Good

  • Despite higher processing power from the Tegra 3 T33 chip clocked in at 1.6GHz (1.7GHz in single core mode) and Tri-Channel RAM it doesn’t feel as fast as the Nexus 7 which is more than likely a software issue.
  • There are still software hiccups and instances of perceptible lag when launching applications.  Once applications are loaded up they are extremely smooth but initial reaction to launching apps seems slightly delayed.
  • When using the Super IPS+ mode at full brightness some darker colors can become a little washed out but that is a trade-off for the 600 nits of brightness.
  • Some 3D games do not render properly as they have not yet been updated by the developer for the higher res display.
  • The $150 price point for the dock will still be hard for some to stomach.
  • The $500 asking price for the Infinity may be difficult to justify for some with the release of the $200 Nexus 7.  The two are very different devices with the Nexus 7 targeted more at media consumption and the Infinity for productivity.

What Can ASUS Do Now?

  • The biggest thing with the Infinity is how fast can ASUS push out an update to Android 4.1 Jellybean?  The device launched with Ice Cream Sandwich but ASUS has had a great record in the past with providing updates launching the ICS update on the Transformer Prime less than two months from the ICS announcement.  With ASUS working closely with Google on the Nexus program we would be led to expect that would translate to faster updates for the entire portfolio of devices.  I am fully confident that with the Jellybean update combined with the power of the Infinity’s hardware it will remain a force to be reckoned with even as newer tablets come around.

Overall I am very impressed with the Infinity and I’ve actually chosen it over the Nexus 7.  I foresee using it everyday in my classes and at work because of its versatility and portability.  It’s understandable that some may be concerned about the price when comparing it to a tablet like the Nexus 7 but for those people who think they can achieve their desired level of productivity on a 7” tab then a Nexus 7 may be great, otherwise I think the Infinity will be much better.  It is by far the best 10” right now and rest assured when Jellybean is released there isn’t a doubt in my mind that it will smoke everything else in its path and with ASUS’s proven track record it’s only a matter of time!