After showing off its high-end Transformer Prime at CES, the wait for the newest Asus tablet is nearly over: The renamed Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 launches in the U.S. the week of July 16, says The Verge, and will cost $499 for a 32 GB model or $599 for a 64 GB version. Like the old Transfomer Prime tablets, a $149 dock option adds a keyboard mousepad, ports and additional 5-6 hours of battery life.
Current Transformer Prime owners looking to upgrade will be happy to know the old keyboard dock accessory works with the new Pad as the dimensions of the 10.1-inch Android slates are nearly identical. The big upgrades include a quicker Tegra 3 processor (1.6 GHz), 1920 x 1200 display, and faster RAM. Initially, the device will ship with Android 4.0 as Android 4.1 hasn’t yet officially been announced, although that’s likely on Wednesday of this week.
Here’s a look at a marketing video for the new device:
My look at the Pad’s predecessor showed a very capable Android tablet, especially when paired with the keyboard dock. I enjoyed the performance, portability and long run-time between charges. With the new hardware upgrades, the Pad appears even more capable and a few reviewers have already had their first looks. Here’s a sample of what folks are saying about the new Transformer Pad Infinity tablet:
Engadget notes that the better performance is welcome but comes at a cost of battery life over the initial Transformer Prime models:
[T]he TF700 doesn’t offer many reasons for Prime owners to upgrade, given that the battery life is actually longer on the original, and given the similar camera performance. Unless your Prime has signal reception issues, or you just have to have that higher-quality screen, you’re better off sticking with what you already own.
CNet likes the overall hardware package although it suggests that few Android apps are utilizing full HD screens and quad-core processing:
Compared with the Prime, the TF700 has a sharper screen, faster games performance, and improved front and back cameras. Text looks just as sharp as it does on the iPad, but unfortunately, as of now, a very, very low number of Android apps take advantage of the increased pixel count. The faster CPU and RAM translate to speedy app launch times, but similar to the dearth of apps that make full use of the TF700’s screen, Tegra 3 has yet to get anywhere near the level of app support it deserves, a full six months into its life.
Lastly, PC World generally likes what Asus is offering and says:
You get high performance mixed with high style, and you don’t have to make a lot of sacrifices to get both. Other tablets–including the Prime, which is expected to drop in price once this model gets into the market–may provide better value, but no other Android tablet will give you the full package that the Infinity does.
I recommend reading the full reviews for all of the nuances, likes and dislikes found. Based on initial impressions, I’d likely hold on to the current Transformer Prime if I owned one. Yes, you gain a higher resolution display on the new Pad, but with few apps that can readily use all those extra pixels, you won’t yet gain a huge benefit. Perhaps when I get a review unit, the software situation will be different.