At Computex a few weeks ago ASUS gave us exactly what we had been hoping for: a Transformer-style tablet running Windows 8. In fact, ASUS gave us a bunch of options as far as Windows 8 tablets go. The two we've been asking for are the Tablet 600 and Tablet 810, running Windows RT and Windows 8, respectively. They feature standalone tablets with detachable keyboard/mouse docks, giving you the best of both worlds.

ASUS wasn't the only one to bring this sort of flexibility to Windows 8. Acer showed off a similar design with its Iconia W510, as did Samsung and more recently, Microsoft. With the Surface tablets Microsoft actually went a step further and tried to integrate the keyboard into a lightweight cover rather than an external dock. It remains to be seen just how well these approaches will work, but it's clear there's a trend for the first generation of Windows 8 tablets.

We can't forget however what started this all. Much like Apple with the iPhone and iPad, ASUS picked an intersection of functionality and technical feasibility with the introduction of the first Eee Pad Transformer. For the first time we had silicon capable of running for hours in a small form factor tablet, as well as a touch-enabled OS that could run on it. Previous attempts at hybrid tablets often tried to shoehorn a desktop version of Windows into a device that was too clumsy. ASUS' Transformer series was the start of something new.

Since the release of the first Eee Pad Transformer (can you believe it's only been about a year?), ASUS has released several members of the Eee Pad and Transformer families. We got a slider, a thinner version called the Transformer Prime, as well as a refreshed entry level Transformer Pad 300. ASUS' experimentation and learning will pay off later this year as it ships the first Windows RT/8 versions. Until then however ASUS isn't done iterating. Today it's officially announcing the final configuration of the Transformer Pad Infinity, the first member of the TF series with a 1920 x 1200 display. It also happens to be the first tablet we've tested to use NVIDIA's higher binned Tegra 3 T33 SoC.

ASUS Tablet Specification Comparison
  ASUS Eee Pad Transformer ASUS Transformer Pad 300 Series ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity
Dimensions 271mm x 175mm x 12.95mm 263 x 180.8 x 9.9mm 263 x 180.8 x 8.3mm 263 x 180.6 x 8.4mm
Chassis Plastic Plastic Aluminum Aluminum + Plastic RF Strip
Display 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 IPS 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 Super IPS+ 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 Super IPS+
Weight 675g 635g 586g 594g
Processor 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 (2 x Cortex A9)

NVIDIA Tegra 3 (T30L - 4 x Cortex A9)

1.3GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 (T30 - 4 x Cortex A9)

1.6GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 (T33 - 4 x Cortex A9)

Memory 1GB 1GB 1GB 1GB DDR3-1600
Storage 16GB + microSD card 16GB/32GB 32GB/64GB + microSD slot 32/64GB + microSD slot
Battery 24.4Whr 22Whr 25Whr 25Whr
Pricing $399 $379/$399 $499/$599 $499/$599

Despite early indications of $599+ pricing, the Transformer Pad Infinity comes in at $499 for the 32GB model and $599 for 64GB. The Infinity is compatible with the Transformer Dock ($149) from the TF Prime as long as your dock has firmware 207 or later on it. The dock is what gives the Transformer Pad its name as it allows the Infinity to be converted into an Android netbook complete with QWERTY keyboard, trackpad and additional battery. The Infinity and its dock are available in the same two colors (amethyst gray and champagne gold) as the TF Prime was at launch. The Infinity dock doesn't appear to carry a separate part number, it's literally the same dock that was used with the Prime.

The chassis hasn't changed much since the introduction of the Prime. It is one-tenth of a millimeter thicker to accommodate the higher-resolution display and backlight assembly, but battery capacity remains at 25Wh. The Infinity is a little heavier and its edges are squared a bit instead of being perfectly rounded. The port configuration remains the same (micro HDMI, micro SD, headphone jack), although redistributed around the chassis. The power and volume buttons are now both located along the top of the unit, with the switches themselves more integrated with the tablet.

Although official reviews of the Infinity hit today, availability isn't scheduled until around July 16th. Quantities are unknown at this point and will likely be gated by panel availability.

The Display
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  • rickcain2320 - Monday, June 25, 2012 - link

    And thus, Microsoft completely misunderstands the tablet market by even considering it could be a laptop. Reply
  • jmhart - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - link

    Too bad MS has yet to build an OS that bridges the PC/laptop gap yet. Maybe they'll pull it off with WinRT, but to date that haven't so their "understanding" means nothing. Reply
  • DeciusStrabo - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - link

    This might be the case some day, but WindowsRT won't be a laptop any more or less than the Transformer, thanks to internals being even weaker than this tablet shown here and its limitation to Metro (and Office Home version).

    Only Windows 8 Pro will be really trying to bridge the gap, and then you get the usual Ultrabook issues (fan noise, heat, shorter run time, weight). So while I would love a real tablet-laptop hybrid, I'm afraid it won't be before we see Broadwell released that this dream comes true. The best are compromises (either like the Transformer here at tablet with a keyboard attachment or like the Windows 8 Pro thin a Ultrabook with a touchscreen).
    Reply
  • kpopat - Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - link

    The question is, how will you type on the Surface tablet, if you do not have a table?

    (BTW - Reader of Anandtech since I think 2000 and this is the second or third times I have posted on this site - after a very long break :-D)
    Reply
  • B3an - Monday, June 25, 2012 - link

    And you dont seem to understand anything. Surface already looks vastly higher quality than this, and already has FAR more interest than any Android tablet will get. Many people dont want gimmicks, they want a real PC the size of a tablet thats actually useful.

    "Plus how are you going to use the kickstand+touch cover on your lap?"

    And what kind of stupid question is that?? You simply dont. But it's there when you need it, for things like actual work/typing.

    When Surface is released and sells far more than any Android tablet i cant wait to laugh at people like you.
    Reply
  • 3DoubleD - Monday, June 25, 2012 - link

    The question still stands though... how do you use a surface tablet on your lap with the softcover keyboard?

    You can't unless you brought a hard surface to prop it up on.

    An ultraportable laptop/netbook/tablet that can't be used while traveling is probably the most useless thing I've ever heard of.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Monday, June 25, 2012 - link

    Tray table? That's where I use my laptop on trains/planes/whatever... Reply
  • 3DoubleD - Monday, June 25, 2012 - link

    That works on planes, but what about when you are waiting to board a plane?

    Not all trains have the trays (I'd say most don't have them).

    Bus? Car? Bench in a park?

    I don't see the point of an ultra-portable that forces you to look for a tablet to use it!

    The ASUS concept for the Transformer is by far the better design.
    Reply
  • french toast - Monday, June 25, 2012 - link

    You don't have to use the keyboard if you don't want to, perhaps on a plane you could use the tray? Use on screen keyboard? Or perhaps by a mini Bluetooth foldup keyboard? ..

    I think it's great to see some innovation going on, nothing will ever suit everyone..it can't..if you don't like it..don't buy it.

    Despite that it looks like a high end device imo.
    Reply
  • Belard - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - link

    You know 3DoubleD... you have some issues. We get it, you don't like or need mobile devices.

    I rarely use my notebook... but I do use it. It works in cars, hotels. its a portable computer. Nothing more. Go out of town, need to do articles, print reports, etc... notebook is easier to carry than a 25lb box!

    I use my iPad more than my ThinkPad... I use it on the can, use on the sofa, use on the train... I can prop it or hold it in my hand... it gets about 8 hours of use... something my notebook CAN'T do.

    What works for you, might not work for someone else.
    Reply

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