Asus Transformer Pad Infinity - Apps, Games, Camera and Verdict
Asus hasn't as drastic changes to Android in the Transformer Pad Infinity as, say, Samsung has with its TouchWiz UI, but it does offer a handful of pre-installed apps. Most are not essentials.
App Backup lets you easily move apps to an SD card, App Locker lets you password protect some or all of your apps - a handy way to keep the kids out of things they shouldn't be touching. Asus@Vibe is a half-hearted apps, books and music store from Asus. It seems a little pointless when Google Play is right by it on the apps menu.
Other preinstalled apps are more useful. MyCloud is an app that lets you access your Asus Cloud-stored files, and as a Transformer user Asus gives you 8GB of storage to play with.
MyNet is a neat-looking DLNA interface. DLNA uses a Wi-Fi connection to stream media between compatible devices. As there's an HDMI video output on the tablet, there are other ways to get video piped out to a TV, but it's good to have a wireless option on-hand.
Last, but perhaps the most useful of the lot, is Polaris Office. This has been used in Transformer tablets since the beginning of the series, and lets you create and edit Microsoft Office documents. As perhaps the best Android tablet for doing actual work on, an Office suite like this is a must-have.
Want more? The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity has full access to the Google Play app store and its hundreds of thousands of apps, and both the 32GB and 64GB editions have plenty of room for hundreds of the things.
However, as yet not a great many apps have been optimised for the "ultra resolution" screen.
Due to the Tegra 3 processor used in the Pad Infinity, games support is relatively good. The tablet comes with the Tegra Zone games portal, which acts as a showcase for games optimised for Tegra 2 and Tegra 3 devices. It's a hall of flashy 3D games, basically.
There were 49 downloads available at the time of writing. Yes, it's not an endless treasure trove of entertainment, but it is very useful as a way to circumvent all the garbage of the Google Play app store.
How good are Tegra 3-grade graphics? They're impressive, comparing pretty well to the best the iPad has to offer - partly because pretty most of the Tegra Zone games are available on iPad too, and they represent some of the Apple tablet's prettiest picks. When you've run out of Tegra 3 games, there are dozens - if not hundreds - of games worth checking out in the Google Play store.
To add some drama to your games and movies, there's an internal speaker, whose grille is drilled into the metal rear of the tablet. Firing away from you and with a mono driver rather than a stereo one, speakers are clearly not much of a priority, and it shows.
The sound is not ugly or distorted, but doesn't go hugely loud and doesn't have much warmth or low-end presence - a bit thin. Our tip is to use external speakers or headphones for a proper movie session.
As it runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich rather than Jelly Bean, the Asus Pad Transformer Infinity comes with the stock Android web browser - Google switched to Chrome in the Jelly Bean edition os the OS. However, Asus has thoughtfully installed Chrome too for good measure. It's another sign that Asus likes to cater for the enthusiast.
As feature-complete as the Prime, the Asus Pad Transformer Infinity has two cameras, one in the centre of the plastic strip on the rear, and one a little off-centre in the front screen surround. Let's start with the rear one.
It uses a 8MP sensor, and has an LED flash for low light photography. It's also equipped with a good number of features. There's touch focusing, manual ISO, a panorama mode and the usual selection of scenes, exposure compensation settings and white balance modes.
Video fares even better, including the fun face-distorting active effects that arrived alongside Ice Cream Sandwich. And unlike some tablets, the Pad Infinity can grab video at 1080p resolution.
Photos captured are a little noisy and look sharpened, but are surprisingly good for a tablet, when tablet cameras often appear to be little more than afterthoughts. Pick the right mode to shoot in and colours are pretty accurate and vivid, with a good amount of detail rendered. Well done, Asus.
Close-up performance isn't great, though. The Infinity often struggles to focus on anything closer than 20-30cm away.
Although the front camera is rather more basic, it's a good example too with solid motion handling and decent colour reproduction. It's a 2MP sensor that can capture 480p video, and can also make use of the fun distortion effects of Android.
Now that Asus has released its own low-cost model in the Transformer range, the Pad 300, the Infinity absolutely seems like an ultra-premium option. It costs £600, which is £200 more than the 32GB Pad 300.
Can the Infinity possibly be worth the extra? Well, you do get a fair bit for your money - a much higher-resolution screen, a metal bod and a faster processor. For the less picky, the 50 per cent price increase will be just too much. Even the previous top dog Transformer Prime is a full £120 less these days.
However, until the Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 reaches our shores, the Transformer troupe is the only bunch of keyboard-ed Android tablets we can wholeheartedly recommend.
The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity is a fantastic Android tablet. It has tweaked the design of its predecessor the Prime, upped the clock speed and shot the screen's pixel count into the stars. There's very little to dislike about this tablet, even if it does trade in a few hours of battery life for its upgrades. The price is high but, for now at least, it justifies the premium.
Scores In Detail
- Battery Life
- Screen Quality