Asus Transformer Infinity Review
Asus knocks it out of the park with the Infinity Tablet.
Meet the Asus Transformer Infinity, Asus' flagship tablet for 2012. Absolutely loaded with hardware, the Transformer Infinity is impressive in its own right. If you buy the optional keyboard dock, you will also gain an extra battery, a USB port, and the ability to turn your tablet into a laptop.
Design & Usability
A metal back and the option to use a keyboard dock makes for a versatile tablet.
Much like the Transformer tablets before it, this thing is big. On top of that, it's very awkward to hold with only one hand, so the optional keyboard dock may be a little more necessary than it was on older models. Thankfully, there wasn't a dramatic increase in weight from the older models of Transformer tablets, so it's still manageable, though you're likely to notice arm fatigue over time. The metal back isn't terribly slippery, but could cause problems for holding in one hand.
Because there are so very few physical controls on the Asus Transformer Infinity, you can expect virtually all of your interaction with the tablet to occur through the capacitive touch screen. Though it's possible to augment the tablet by purchasing the keyboard dock, users that eschew this capability will be quite at home with the responsive touchscreen.
The tablet currently runs Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich), although it's not unreasonable to assume that it will be in line to get an update to Jelly Bean in the future. Both operating systems are very fluid and attractive, but Jelly Bean will really give this tablet a huge upgrade in baseline performance. For more on the operating system, check out our Android Explored article.
One of the best things about Asus' line of Transformer tablets is their connectivity options, and the Transformer Infinity gives you the premium package. Sporting an 802.11n wireless card, GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, a microSD card slot, micro-HDMI out, and the ability to connect to Asus' attachable keyboard, the Transformer Infinity is extremely versatile.
Very high pixel density, but also high reflectivity
The Asus Transformer Infinity is built around an 8.5625 x 5.325-inch LCD IPS display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels, one of the largest resolutions in the realm of Android tablets. To control it, there is a capacitive touchscreen overlay that allows very responsive operation of the device. With an exceptionally brilliant screen, the Transformer Infinity does combat bright lighting conditions outdoors, though the screen itself is very reflective.
Because the screen is very reflective, you will notice that bright light sources will obscure your view of the screen, but this is combated fairly well by the high screen brightness. Still, it's best to avoid direct sunlight, as it has a tendency to make LCD screens look "washed out."
As it is with most tablets with a huge, bright screen, the Transformer Infinity has some battery issues. In our testing, it was able to read an eBook for 4 hours and 34 minutes with the backlight set to full, and all wireless turned off. Additionally, it was able to play one of the worst movies of all time for 5 hours and 19 minutes straight before going dark. Overall, this is a fairly poor result for the tablet, especially when you consider that its predecessor, the Asus Transformer Prime, outlasts it by a huge margin in the video test specifically. We had to run these tests several times, and it really seems that the battery of the Asus Transformer Infinity struggles with keeping a charge.
A very solid tablet, the Transformer Prime offers users power and versatility, although the battery life isn't great.
Despite the promised dramatic boost in tablet performance, the Transformer Infinity falls short in some areas. Now that the newest generation of tablets are starting to have better screen and battery performance, it's a little perplexing to see a tablet with so much hype from the Android community fail to dazzle, especially when another tablet also made by Asus makes waves in many respects for less than half the cost.
That's not to say that the tablet is bad—far from it. The processor and internal memory are allegedly the best Asus has to offer at this point. The ability to add a keyboard dock with additional battery and USB ports is pretty huge, and it definitely gives the tablet a massive upside if you're looking for a little more brawn and flexibility.
If you like the Android experience, are looking for raw power, and think you could benefit from the Transformer Infinity's capabilities, the price tag is absolutely worth it. Keep in mind, however, that the Infinity fills a niche use for a tablet, so if you're primarily looking for a media consumption device, you may want to look elsewhere.
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