Asus Transformer Infinity First Look

We’ve been following the Asus line of Transformer products ever since they were released, from the first Honeycomb tablet to include a keyboard dock, to the Slider, and then to the Transformer Prime, which set new benchmarks for the Google OS line of tablets. Now, we have the latest model - the Asus Transformer Infinity.

Asus Transformer Infinity Tablet
Anyone up for a quad core high definition super bright super-slim tablet?

 

This release is an important one, not just for Asus, who have been flexing their innovative muscles in the Android tablet domain since the introduction of the category, but for the tablet market as a whole. Why? The Asus Transformer Infinity can truly go up against the new iPad, the incumbent market leader in this category, and offer a substantial answer to all of the iPad’s propositions.

As you’ll see in the following videos, the Asus Transformer Infinity has great hardware, software, a robust operating environment and is supported by a maturing app store in the form of Google Play. Asus have addressed areas like wireless connection issues and GPS performance to produce a tablet all-rounder.

Asus Transformer Infinity GPS
The Asus Transformer Infinity has a plastic strip on the top rear to maximise GPS performance.

 

The hardware component of the Asus Transformer Infinity is far from flimsy, with a metal casing ensuring no flexing or bending on any part of the device. Despite the screen upgrade (which we’ll get to in a moment), the tablet on its own does not gain any weight, staying at 586 grams, exactly the same as its Prime predecessors.

The Asus Transformer Infinity also retains the ports that made the Transformer series so attractive, with Micro-HDMI and Micro-SD slots on the tablet body, and a further full size USB port and SD Card slot on the keyboard dock component.

Asus Transformer Infinity with keyboard
The usefulness of a tablet with a keyboard cannot be fully appreciated until you have to type an full length article about one.

 

Inside the Infinity is an upgraded quad core Tegra 3 chip, quoted at 1.6GHz but benchmarked at 1.9GHz. The OS is snappy, with Android functions and App commands all working unhesitatingly.

Just in case we thought we were being a little biased because of our fondness for the Transformer line up, we thought it prudent to quantify this and to see just how the Asus Transformer Infinity could handle the pressures of the job compared to another fairly popular tablet… say, the iPad?

This is where we became REALLY intrigued. Not only did the Infinity beat the iPad in many benchmark tests, but some by a huge margin. The graphics test, which saw the Prime pale beside the iPad in our earlier experiences, still showed Apple to have a command in that particular area. When it came to browsing, Java script handling and computational processing, the Asus Transformer Infinity swept the field.

The other big news was the high definition display. The big visual test was to see (literally) if there was a marked difference in the Infinity’s screen and the iPad’s highly praised display. And yes, there was a huge difference – the Asus Transformer Infinity was way brighter. Other than that, at normal viewing proximity, both screens delivered great detail and clarity. At massive zoomed enlargement, the iPad didn’t stray from its perfected image, and the Infinity showed some signs of pixelation. But that’s not how we view a tablet in normal circumstances.

If we seem a little lathered up in our praise of the Asus Transformer Infinity, it’s because this release shines a bright light to a competitive market across ecosystem platforms, where hardware vendors are creating innovative new products. As we always say, competition is a great thing for the industry and the smartphone, tablet and Ultrabook markets are hotbeds of design and technology fusions.

Asus Transformer Infinity lid closed
The future of mobile computing in our hands?

 

If you have any questions, please leave them below and we’ll find out the answers for you.

Until next time!

Asus Padfone, Padfone Station and Stylus – First Look

Ever since the first Transformer was unleashed to an unsuspecting Android community, we’ve been keeping an eye on the innovative releases from Asus. We’ve seen the Eee Pad Slider, the Transformer Prime, and have seen the TF700 in its prototype format at the CES earlier this year. Now, this Asus Padfone first look is another feather in the cap for the Taiwanese PC company as it ramps up its tablet range.

Asus Padfone - the smartphone that transforms into a tablet, which then transforms into a keyboard driven mobile product. No shortage of innovation here.

As part of the Asus Padfone first look, we have an unboxing video, which shows all the gear that comes bundled with both the Padfone and the large screen Padfone station - come back to see this in a few hours.

For those familiar with the delicious family feast consisting of a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed into a turkey, the Asus Padfone does feel a little like a technology turducken. Each added element adds a little more functionality but also obviously pads out (forgive the pun) the Asus Padfone’s dimensions and weight. Here’s the overview segment that we think gets across all the cool things about the Padfone:

As you could see, the Padfone is a pretty stock standard ICS build in a nice Ultrabook/Transformer Prime style case. The more I use the native Android 4 environment on mobiles, the more I like it, and the same applies to the Asus Padfone, which is light, comfortable in the hand and should have enough grunt to run whatever Android apps you throw at it, courtesy of the Snapdragon dual core 1.5GHz processor.

Then we have the Asus Padfone Station, which is the 10.1″ inch screen that comes to life when you insert the Padfone into the cradle in the back. The screen looks just like any other Asus ICS tablet product with the familiar home page graphics and Asus-specific widgets. The trick here is to remember that this isn’t a tablet, it’s just a screen displaying the output from the Padfone, which has all the grunt.

The next trick up the Padfone’s sleeve is to then connect the Padfone Station to the Asus Padfone Dock, which is essentially the keyboard dock that we have come to know and love from Asus. With all the same Android shortcuts as on other Transformer keyboards, a second SD card slot after the Micro-SD slot on the Padfone, and the ability to pump out well-typed messages and documents, you can see that Asus have pulled no punches to take this concept as far as it can, including a stylus that doubles as a bluetooth headset.

The Asus Padfone is a superb example of an idea that could well have stayed in the design and R & D labs. Kudos to Asus for showing just what is possible in the Android environment. Without taking away anything from this concept, one must be wondering what wonderful toys are lurking in their Windows 8 testing room.

Our local contacts have left the Asus Padfone with us for a few more days, so there is an opportunity to test or demonstrate a few more things for you and create more content around your feedback. Let us know what other details you’re interested in and we’ll come up with a few more segments around your comments.

Look forward to hearing from you!

Asus Transformer Prime Bootloader LOCKED!

We’d like to welcome our first guest writer, Andy Stetson, to Ritchie’s Room. Andy has been a frequent contributor to the comments section of the Transformer Prime articles, and when he offered to contribute more formally to the site after he received his Prime, we were very excited to have Andy on board. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of Andy’s articles in the future. In the meantime, Andy will be here to discuss and reply to your comments in the spirit of our website. Enjoy!

If you recently purchased the Asus Transformer Prime, and are eager to start loading some custom ROMs on it, grab a Snickers, because it may be a while. Some developers over at XDA have found the bootloader to be locked and encrypted with 128-bit AES Encryption.

What this means to the development community is that only firmware that has been signed by Asus will be able to be installed, that is until the bootloader is unlocked, or a backdoor has been found, like 2nd-Init for some Motorola devices. No overclocking, No Ubuntu, No possibility of Windows 8.

You may be asking, “What can we do about this?”. If you recall a while back, there was an uprising toward HTC for unlocked bootloaders, and it worked, as they now have a tool for unlocking bootloaders for all devices released since September, as well as a few older devices. Below are a few places where you can voice your opinion to Asus.

Sound off on their Facebook Wall
Assault with Tweets
Email Customer Support

And finally, Sign the “Asus: Unlock OUR Bootloader Transformer Prime” Petition

Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think!

Multiple Sources: Rootzwiki, AndroidPolice, Engadget, Gizmodo

Sliding Into the Tablet Market

I’m a big fan of Wired Magazine, and recently enjoyed their article on the annual coffee bean competition in Columbia to decide the winner of the awesomely named Cup of Excellence. Each of the judges approaches their task with a mixture of clinical, calculated scoring and a needle-sharp reliance on their finely-tuned nostrils and tastebuds to choose the year’s champion coffee bean grower.

Coffee Beans

What makes a good coffee bean? I'm not sure, but I do take a closer look at the ASUS EeePad Slider, click on the link at the bottom to see a review I did for CarryPad.

When my new friends at Carrypad asked me to compose a detailed review on the yet-to-be-released Asus Eee Pad Slider, I thought about the judges in Columbia and their fastidiousness… would I be required to display the same resolve and cast a cold, critical eye over design elements, functionality and performance?

As it turned out, the best way to review the Slider was to look at it from a user’s perspective – the tactile feel of the case and keyboard, the responsiveness of the touch screen, the sound piping out of the speaker slots, and the quality of the images on the Gorilla Glass screen.

Once I began my journey looking at details that might normally be glossed over, I gained a real appreciation for the engineers and designers who had to work together to come up with a product that stood out in both form and function. Being one of the few tablets with actual moving parts, I spent an inordinate amount of time opening, sliding and closing the keyboard component, almost to the point of obsessive compulsion.

The end result was a 2,500 word exploration of the Asus Slider that was worth every moment spent on it. It’s exciting to see innovation right before your eyes, and having the platform to share my thoughts and photos (captured on my trusty DSLR) is a real privilege.

So if you are interested in what makes the Asus Slider a worthy entrant to the competitive tablet market, here’s the article along with images and performance benchmarking. Feel free to leave your thoughts on the Slider below.

For the full article displayed on one page, please click here.

Thanks again to Ben from Carrypad for the opportunity to contribute.