When Apple's iPad first hit the market, the entire computing world was turned upside down. How could something come out of nowhere, and on its first go, get it so right? The tablet market was created virtually from a single product, but we all know that competition is what the world needs - and more important what you and I need - the consumer.
Since then, we've seen two more iPads, a slew of Galaxy Tabs (when they're not banned from sale thanks to Apple's relentless patent lawsuits), and ASUS' popular Transformer range of tablets.
I personally owned the original ASUS Transformer, and while the hardware itself was really nice at the time, the software wasn't. It shipped with Android 3.0 Honeycomb which was the first tablet-orientated mobile operating system from Google. Since then, Google have come a long way with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which can slide onto smartphones as well as tablets, and still feel like a great OS. Honeycomb was a quick release from Google, as they hired a new guru to work on their UI.
Since then, we've seen Google's mobile OS grow into something more powerful than Apple's iOS, and it is on far, far more devices - from low-end feature phones, right up to the top-of-the-line tablets such as the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity which we are taking a look at here today.
ASUS positioned themselves quickly when the tablet market opened with the first Transformer, and have grown into these shoes very quickly - without losing its stepping. This is something that is not easy to do, especially when you're releasing more than one product. ASUS have plenty of tablets on the market, all competing with their competitors at different price points.
ASUS' Transformer line has grown considerably since the first generation, in build quality, specifications, and style, making ASUS one of the biggest tablet threats on the market today. ASUS' new Transformer range has a few different models, but we'll be looking at their super-duper high-end Transformer Pad Infinity today.
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
I hope you're sitting down for this one, because you should feel a little woosh of air as I explain the specs to you - that's just you getting blown away. ASUS' Transformer packs in NVIDIA's Tegra 3 quad-core SoC running at 1.6GHz, an absolutely gorgeous 1920x1200 Super IPS+ panel, SonicMaster audio technology, 1GB of DDR3 RAM, 32 or 64GB of on-board storage, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera backed up by a 2-megapixel front-facer.
Expandable storage is an option on the Pad Infinity, just in case that 32 or 64GB of internal storage isn't enough. Micro HDMI is on offer, as well as the usual 3.5mm audio jack. One of the standout features of this tablet, is ASUS' offering of their Mobile Dock. Most dock's act as a pure keyboard, while the tablet stays docked on top. ASUS' dock is much, much better.
ASUS' Mobile Dock offers up a 19.5Wh battery that provides up to 14 hours of battery life for your Pad Infinity when docked. It also offers an SD card reader, a chiclet keyboard, USB 2.0 port, and a multi-touch pad turning your Pad Infinity to a near-notebook. All of this is done with the 40-pin connector port on the bottom of your Pad Infinity. The dock itself features a docking latch, so that your tablet won't just fall out, it's physically locked to the Mobile Dock - a very nifty feature.
As you can see, the specs are quite astonishing. Apple's third-gen iPad has a higher-resolution screen at 2048x1536, but the Pad Infinity's screen is just as gorgeous, if not more than the iPad, in some cases.
Pricing on the Transformer Pad Infinity is not too bad at all with Newegg selling the 32GB for just $499.99. The Mobile Dock is $134.99, but Newegg have a combo special at the moment where they're selling the Infinity 32GB model with the Mobile Dock for $594.98 - a $40 discount, which is a great deal as far as I'm concerned.