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New iPad vs Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700

Andrew Williams by

New iPad vs Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700

Read more about the Apple launch event

The new iPad is here, and packs many of the features we predicted ahead of its launch. But how does it compare to one of the most anticipated Android tablets of 2012, the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700? We take a closer look at the specs to see what’s what.

Form and design nous

New iPad – Well, it’s an iPad, isn’t it?

Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700 – Metal finish, great keyboard base/dock

The new iPad looks and feels a lot like its predecessor the iPad 2. It uses an anodised aluminium back, is pretty thin and is designed to be used as-is, while you’re parked on the sofa, in bed or bored on a train. You really need a case if you’re planning on the latter, though.

Without the keyboard base, the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700 is much the same. Glass front, metal-coated back and slick-looking. It really comes into its own when the keyboard dock is plugged-in, though. Although the key action’s a lot shallower than that of the original Eee Pad Transformer, the typing experience is great, and the dock protects the screen while not in use – it feels just like a diddy laptop or ultra high-end netbook. There’s no first- or third-party iPad accessory that can match it.Asus Transformer Infinity

Dimensions and chub factor

New iPad – 9.4mm thick, 652g (Wi-Fi model)

Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700 – 7.6mm thick, 586g (sans keyboard)

Although the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700’s footprint is larger than the new iPad thanks to its 10.1in screen, Asus’s latest is significantly thinner and lighter than the new iPad. At 7.6mm thick, the Infinity is ridiculously thin.

Oddly enough, the new iPad is actually a bit thicker and heavier than the iPad 2 – flying in the face of the trend for slim and light devices. It has made these body sacrifices for good reasons, though, packing-in a larger battery to keep stamina at a rock-solid 10 hours.New iPad

Slim, but not as slim as the Transformer Infinity

Battery life

New iPad – 10hrs, 9hrs with 3G/4G use

Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700 – 10hrs, keyboard sock provides extra 6hrs

Quite how the Asus Transforer Pad Infinity 700 manages to provide great battery life while being so thin and so light is something of a miracle. If anyone believed in witchcraft any more, Asus might be in trouble.

With a thicker body and slightly heavier frame, the similar performance of the new iPad starts to look less impressive. Maybe Apple should apply to join the Asus coven. That said, 10-hour battery life is great for any tablet, outclassing virtually all laptops and providing day-long usage.

Asus Infinity keyboard

Processor power

New iPad – A5x with quad-core graphics

Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700 – quad-core Tegra 3 1.6GHz (Snapdragon S4 in Wi-Fi only model)

Here’s a tricky one. The Apple A5x appears to be a bit like the iPad 2’s A5 dual-core processor, but with a much beefier quad-core GPU. The Tegra 3, on the other hand, is quad-core all the way. We’re not yet sure which will prove to be more powerful in real-world terms, but Apple claims its chip is twice as capable for graphics. For everything else? We’re not so sure.

To Apple’s credit, gaming is one of the few areas that can, and does, make the most of top-end tablet processors at this point. And while odd-n-interesting tasks like video editing, photo editing and music-making will suck up plenty of power, the iOS app scene is the only one vibrant and lucrative enough to make use of this potential.

Storage

New iPad – 16/32/64GB non-expandable

Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700 – 16/32/64GB, expandable via microSD

Apple kept the internal memory options of the iPad 2, failing to bring us a gigabyte-tastic 128GB version or a cheapo 8GB version. The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity mirrors these choices, with one essential difference - you can expand upon the memory with microSD cards.

Slap a fingernail-size card into the slot and you have up to 32GB extra. Simple. Transferring files is also a lot easier. Running Android 4.0, you can drag and drop files with the Asus, but with an iPad you're stuck with iTunes. That's fine for some, but an unforgiveable annoyance for others.

Screen skills

New iPad – 2,048 x 1536, IPS display, 9.7in

Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700 – 1,920 x 1,200, IPS , 10.1in

Here, we’re pitting two demi-gods. Both these screens are, by any metric, pretty fantastic. The iPad has higher pixel density, giving slightly more intense sharpness and “pixels? You can’t see ‘em” quality, but in normal use both will impress unequivocally.

The most important differences are in size and aspect ratio. Widescreen and big or squat 4:3 and a little smaller? It’s a point of preference, but we tend to favour the squat aspect. It’s slightly less unwieldy. What about IPS versus IPS "plus"? The plus bit supplies an extra hit of brightness when needed, which is useful when trying to use a tablet outdoors.

A glossy screen finish makes top-end tablets like these very prone to reflections, making the screen less visible unless the backlight is really cranked up. We’ll have to see how the new iPad’s non-supercharged backlight compares when we get one in to review.

Camera cred

New iPad – 5MP, autofocus, no flash, 1080p video

Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700 – 8MP, autofocus, LED flash, 1080p video

Specs-wise, the Asus camera thoroughly outperforms the new iPad. It has a higher-resolution sensor and – most importantly – an LED flash. Without one, you’re stuffed once the sun stops shining (unless you carry around studio lights wherever you go). new iPad

No flash? No way.

However, we weren’t hugely impressed with the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime’s similarly-equipped snapper, and if it uses the same model, the iPad may be able to grab superior shots in perfect lighting conditions. As we live in the UK, though, the Asus camera will be much more useful to most people.

And yes, we’ve banged on about it before but we still don’t think that rear cameras are particularly important for a tablet. Video call cams are fine, but going out taking shots with a 10.1in device makes you look like a plonker.

Connected-ness

New iPad – Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n, 3G and 4G LTE options available

Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700 – Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n, 3G and 4G

Both these tablets offer excellent wireless connectivity. The most impressive of the lot, 4G LTE, is of pretty much no use to us yet, though. Elsewhere, mobile phone networks have their own LTE networks up-and-running, but in the UK you’ll have to wait at least until next year to try it out. By which time, we’ll all be talking about the “new iPad” again, except it won’t be this one. Why couldn’t Apple just call it iPad 3? Answers on a postcard.

4G is the future, though, offering speeds up to a ridiculous 73Mbps in the new iPad. Of course, you’d never see these sorts of speeds once a small horde of gadget hunters was hogging up all the bandwidth, but any upgrade is an upgrade, right?

In terms of non-wireless connectivity, the Asus wins out. Although it uses an annoying proprietary socket like the Eee Pad Transformer and Transformer Prime before it, rather than a microUSB, there’s a microHDMI video output for easy piping-through of video to a TV. Boy, would we have loved to see one of those on the new iPad.

Software slickness

New iPad – iOS 5.1

Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700 – Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

It’s the eternal question of this mobile tech age – iPhone or Android? It’s not an easy one to answer. Ice Cream Sandwich is much more flexible, letting you customise the look a bucketload. It also looks pretty good – much better than Android 2.x did on the first Android tablets. iOS is less buggy, offers smoother operation and much better apps. There are 200,000 iPad apps, but few Android apps have had lots of effort put into tablet optimisation. At present, iOS has the edge - although we're sure plenty of people would disagree. Do you? Let us know in the comments.

Go to comments

ShelinaP

March 8, 2012, 6:18 pm

This is great...really good comparison. I personally think Asus are taking the pad thing to a whole new level. I have a Prime myself, and found that it superceded the iPad 2, which I have tried out, so the Infinity must surely be better than the "new Ipad" which apparently isn't an iPad 3....whatever. Not to mention Andriod:Rules!!

Nahum

March 11, 2012, 2:37 am

Now this is the perfect example of a quality article! :) Remember that the Transformer will have the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Krait Dual-core(4G/3G) option as well, so it will be blistering fast. Benchrmarks are here: http://www.droidforums.net/for...

http://androidcommunity.com/qu...

Larce5401

March 15, 2012, 9:59 pm

At this point Apple just has to keep doing what they do best and that is producing better and more apps (1st or 3rd party). All the Android tablets are just talking about their hardware specs because they really don't have any software to talk about. Even the Ice Cream Sandwich OS is buggy that's why so many hardware makers are taking a long time to release it. @ShelinaP you mentioned you have a Transformer Prime. I heard it is horrible when trying to acquire a GPS location and a Wi-Fi signal because of its aluminum chassis (Asus has since dropped the feature on their website). I don't understand how Asus would duplicate that problem with the Infinity. I understand this tablet is fast and I like the dock/keyboard attachment but Apple is by far shipping the best overall tablet at the moment.

NLS (NULUSIOS)

April 17, 2012, 5:18 pm

Not a bad comparison.
There are some details that need clean up though.
For example I think you mention Infinity's CPU's the other way round.
The 3G/LTE is getting the (dual-core yet a power monster) Snapdragon.
Interesting that nobody trusts the Tegra 3 for 3G/LTE (although it does have the capability).

Also you say that front cameras are actually an acceptable feature (in contrast to back cameras), yet I don't think you mention the front camera specs. 2MP for Infinity and... 0.3 (VGA) for "new for the fanboys" iPad.

The new screen of the new erm... iPad is actually revolutionary. That's pretty much, more resolution most of us have on our DESKTOP systems. We'll see how this backfires to the industry in general (I mean, a mobile GPU capable of 3D in such resolution should make desktop GPU makers rethink much of their strategy... OR -hint- maybe Apple is now saying the whole truth).
On the same, Infinity with it's monstrous 1920x1200 is nothing to be ashamed. And does use the GPU of a well known (or the best known) GPU brand.
DPI-wise I think on both devices you cannot see the pixels (you cannot see the pixels on my 5.6" 1280x800 Galaxy Note either), so more DPU than that, is actually useless, power-hogging marketing trick.

Also thank you I hate iTunes (esp. on PC).

NLS (NULUSIOS)

April 17, 2012, 5:27 pm

Or so you say.
First of all who is saying that Android doesn't have software?
All well known "hits" are available for both.
This is software that is IOS only, but also there is software that is Android only too.
ICS is fine. No more buggy than IOS. IOS is much more limited after all (I can write pages about that) making it easier to be stable.
Apple is not shipping (not by far or by any generic measure) the best overall tablet.
You want to believe that, feel free.

TimH

May 1, 2012, 2:02 pm

This is a brilliant review. I am and android fan, and will be buying the Infinity when it comes out. I don't see the limited android market as a downside, some of the quality apps on the ipad don't really have equals on android. however. with only 64gb, the new optimised apps for the new ipad take up so much room that it will only store a handful of hd films and what about music/games/etc? Thats why asus (android) tablets have the edge. expand up to 32gb microSD in the tablet, then chuck a 32/64gb SD card in the keyboard dock and you are looking at a 100gb+ tablet/netbook. I can't wait to see the full hd screen when it comes out, so Apple fanboys can't gloat as much. I just can't wait to get my mits on one. However, there is not much point putting more than full HD on the screen because there is limited content higher than full HD. There is increasing 4K content around but not enough to warrant a really high screen. Unless you are looking at a picture taken by a pro DSLR camera, Golden rule: 'the picture will only look as good at the camera you took it on. I dont think the camera on the ipad will take good enough photos to get the full potential of the screen. Also, bring up bugs in the Prime (wifi/gps). How many bugs have cropped up on the new Ipad (heat/battery/wifi), even some people who were queuing up for the new ipad, couldn't tell the difference between the ipad 2 and new ipad. Every new technology has problems, it just depends how liveable they are. I do like the ipad, it may be best in some departments, but it's not the best. If you want a tablet to watch a couple of films, listen to music and play games (and do this while being seen in starbucks doing it) then buy and Ipad. If you want a tablet to use everyday and is much more versatile, then buy a Prime/pad 300/infinity.

NLS (NULUSIOS)

May 10, 2012, 1:46 pm

Let me add to my original content. I've seen the new iPad screen. As you can see from m0y original comment I expected to be shocked by the screen. It is indeed great. The thing is, that it is not as great as I expected. A great 264 PPI screen. Then I realized my Galaxy Note has 1280x800 5.4" SuperAMOLED screen that is 285 DPI. Yes iPhone has even greater DPI... but a stupidly small 3.5" screen (the inches my PocketPC 2002 device had eleven years ago - no thanks). As I said in all the aforementioned devices you CANNOT see the pixels, so who cares a little bit more and a little bit less PPI in those scales?
Anyway, I waited for ONE thing to shock me on new iPad and it didn't. So...

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