Asus Transformer Pad Infinity: 6-Month Ownership Review

This is my 2012 Asus Transformer Pad Infinity. I bought it as a replacement for a 13-inch Macbook after an accident; these are my thoughts, and a technical description, after owning it for the last six months.

 

 

 

DRY TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION  

The Transformer has:

10.1-inch, 1920×1200 screen

Nvidia Tegra 3 processor

1 GB of RAM

1 USB 2.0 port

1 speaker jack

1 micro-HDMI port

16-64GB harddrive

1 Micro-SD slot

1 SD card slot

Dual batteries (one in the tablet, one in the keyboard.)

front and rear cameras you probably shouldn’t use. Seriously, taking photos with tablets is for idiots. Especially one with a keyboard dock attached.

This is why.

 

The Transformer comes in two color options-champagne, which is sort of golden, and silver, which is actually more purple, as you can see with mine.

 

Daily Usage

  

The Transformer’s keyboard makes using it somewhat different from your average Android tablet. It both extends useful battery life to the neighborhood of fifteen or so hours, and also obviates a lot of the touchscreen’s uses. From the keyboard, you can go to the home page, launch a Google search, adjust volume/brightness, turn on and off bluetooth and wifi, lock the device, go back to your last location, take screenshots, and control media playback. It also features a type to launch feature-start typing the application’s name, and it’ll auto-universal search for it and launch it, both of which I use often. The keys themselves are pleasantly responsive. 

The screen is also very good. I can angle it back to nearly flat and have it still be perfectly viewable; likewise, viewing angles to the sides are excellent.

 

Below are images of the Transformer from various angles.

 

Front of the device. A magnet keeps it shut.

 

 

 

Transformer with the tablet portion detached. I occasionally set it up like this next to my desktop to watch Netflix or HBO. I wish there was some way to keep using the keyboard undocked via bluetooth/etc, but there isn’t.

Rear of the Transformer; there’s a three-piece clamp inside the docking hinge that locks the tablet into place, as shown below:

 

I want to take a minute here and talk about bloatware. The Transformer Prime comes with a lot of junk people just don’t plain use, and it makes the entire device laggy, slow, and prone to make applications you are using crash repeatedly, especially as the Transformer has only a gigabyte of RAM and doesn’t handle that gig especially well to begin with.

 

DISABLE IT.

Bloatware is what the inbred software guys at Asus and most other OEMs think is stuff you’ll want. Hint: You probably don’t. Fortunately, Android provides a fairly easy way to turn it off: Most Android applications now have a Disable function. I’ve disabled about fifteen applications I was never using and it was like getting a new device. Below are the specific apps I targeted for silencing:

 

I might have been a bit overzealous in labeling a general email app as ‘bloatware’, but, y’know, I use Gmail. Like most people do.

 

Portability And Battery Life

The Transformer is 10.35×7.5×0.33 inches and weighs 1.5 pounds. It can easily be stowed in a small backpack; I’ve routinely done this since I’ve owned it. Battery life is up to the task of being away from an outlet all day as well; officially, if you use it nonstop, it’ll go dead at seventeen hours, which for me translates to about two days between chargings. A 3G or LTE antenna would be nice, but with the proliferation of public wifi and my phone’s hotspot its not an absolute necessity.

Google’s Cloud Print and Drive applications and the built-in Polaris office suite (about the only OEM software I have not disabled as its excellent) make for a handy light productivity machine. I My current workflow involves using the SD card port to directly move photos from my DSLR camera to Google Drive. There are of course other ways to use a device like this, but that’s my preferred means of using it for productivity.

 

Gaming

Mobile gaming has been a massive growth market since tablets appeared in 2010; the Transformer is well-equipped to handle games of its era. I have NOVA 3 currently installed, which is compatible with a MOGA Pro controller:

 

The Moga Pro is designed specifically for use with Android devices; indeed, I’m not sure whether you could use it with a PC or console at all. It’s a solid device that feels good in the hand and is as responsive as a Xbox controller, which it’s obviously modelled after.

 

Conclusion

The Transformer Pad Infinity is an excellently built device with a bloatware problem that can be fixed.

Three sustains for the design (as there’s a 2013 Transformer coming out in a couple months):

-Excellent design work. The screen, keyboard, and ports all function well.

-Adaptability. It can be used as a media consumption device, light productivity machine, and gaming console, which is not bad at all.

-Battery life. It does cheat a bit by having two batteries, but nothing I’ve owned comes close for going without being charged for long periods of time.

 

And three improvements:

-RAM. It needs more, to be frank. Android IMO is a PC operating system that happens to be running on mobile devices and can happily utilize an extra gigabyte or two of RAM; I understand that the 2013 model is a 2GB device, so kudos to Asus for that.

-Bloatware. There’s frankly no reason for it-nobody gets excited over OEM software. They never have. Put something like CyanogenMod, or stock Android, onto the device and give the end user a more consistent experience.

This is a personal opinion, but ditch the outward-facing camera. There’s no reason to have it on there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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