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News

Asus Transformer Pad Infinity vs new iPad

The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity is the best of the new wave of Android tablets. But can it mount a challenge to Apple's new iPad? Read on to find out how they match up.

The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity is the most exciting new Android tablet on the way, with its better-than-HD screen and superfast processor. But how does it compare to the new iPad from Apple? We’ve taken a look at the specs to find out.

Size

Transformer Pad Infinity: 263 x 180.8 x 8.5 mm, 586g
new iPad: 241.2 x 185.7 x 9.4 mm, 652g

The size differences are mostly accounted for by the different aspect ratio of the displays (Transformer Pad Infinity is 16:9 while the new iPad is 4:3), although the new iPad is almost 1mm thicker. The new iPad is also more than 10% heavier than the Transformer Pad. Without the keyboard dock, that is – with it the device adds another 10.4mm at its thickest point.

Speed

Transformer Pad Infinity: NVidia Tegra 3, quad-core 1.6GHz CPU, 12-core GPU
new iPad: Apple A5X dual-core 1.5GHz CPU, quad-core GPU

On paper the NVidia Tegra 3 in the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity is way out in front of the new iPad, with its quad-core CPU (with extra fifth core to handle low power tasks in order to extend battery life) with faster clock speed, and 12-core graphics. Yet Apple has claimed that its new A5X chip outperforms the Tegra 3, something which NVidia has unsurprisingly questioned. We’ll have to wait and see the benchmarks for this, which will no doubt be tweaked by all parties to show that they are indeed the fastest. Either way, it’s unlikely that either tablet will be wanting for power.

Hardware features

Transformer Pad Infinity: 8MP rear camera, 2MP front camera, optional keyboard dock, microHMDI and microSD card slots; USB port and SD card slot on the dock
new iPad: 5MP rear camera, 0.3MP front camera, HDMI-out via Apple connector

The one area where Android tablets will always trump iPads is in specs. The Transformer Pad Infinity is packed cutting-edge hardware and support for expansion, while the optional keyboard dock (which, it’s fair to say, everyone will buy it with) only serves to add more functionality in the form of a USB port and added battery. The Asus also has a better front facing camera and a higher resolution rear camera – although we’d expect the iPad’s 5MP shooter to have the edge there.

Screen

Transformer Pad Infinity: 10.1″, 1920×1200 pixels, 224ppi
new iPad: 9.7″, 2048×1536 pixels, 264ppi

The main selling point of the new iPad is the 2048 x 1536 pixel display. Apple is still calling it a Retina Display even though it had previously said a Retina Display was a screen with over 300ppi – the new iPad has a pixel density of 264ppi. The Infinity’s display is not too shabby though, with it 1920 x 1200 pixel display (at a widescreen ratio rather than 4:3 on the iPad) putting it well above HD level. Its 224ppi density will be equally impressive on the eyes.

Software

Transformer Pad Infinity: Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
new iPad: iOS 5.1

The main difference between the two devices is the software they run. The core experience is level, with Android having a superior web browser and native apps that match those on iOS, while the new iPad is a little more polished and easy to use. The key difference is in apps, where the iPad’s App Store has significantly more options – and better quality options at that – than you’ll find for Android tablets. The new Garageband and iMovie versions only help it pull further ahead. That said the flexibility of the Android OS is its biggest strength. While it may be designed for use as a basic tablet, add the keyboard dock, plug in a USB key and the device will be far closer to the useability of a laptop instead.

Price

Transformer Pad Infinity: £599, available from 31 August 2012
new iPad: from £399 for 16GB + Wi-Fi

Apple has kept the prices the same for the new iPad as they were for the iPad 2, and this is the price that the rest of the industry is trying to match of beat. The Transformer Pad Infinty fails in this regard, coming in at a whopping £599 for a 64GB version. This risks pushing the device well into niche territory, especially given the pricing of the Nexus 7 which, while a different device in many regards, as reset many people’s expectations with regards to how much a tablet should cost.

Availability

Transformer Pad Infinity: August 2012
new iPad: 16 March

Availability could be the deciding factor if you’re ready to buy a tablet right now. The iPad will be on sale from 16 March, while the Infinity will finally make its entrance at the end of August.

The iPad is well established as the market leading tablet and that’s unlikely to channge any time soon. Yet Android tabs are catching up fast, and as you can see from the comparison there’s actually precious little between them in terms of core functionality. Likely to be priced around the same level the Transformer Infinity has its innovative keyboard dock – which changes the devices from tablet to laptop and back again – expansion options and superfast processor as its key attraction, while the new iPad is part of a far stronger ecosystem that will deliver a ready stream a high quality apps.

Check back for our full Asus Transformer Pad Infinity review soon.

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