Asus makes some of the most popular Android tablets out there, part of their Transformer Pad line. Their latest releases, the mainstream Pad TF300 and the premium Infinity TF700, are some of the best in their classes right now.
But many of you looking to buy an Android slate this year will eventually compare the two in order to decide which one is better for what you need from a tablet.
To put it bluntly, the Asus Transformer Infinity 700 outmatches the Pad 300 at pretty much every aspect, but it’s also significantly more expensive. And while it lacks the style and some of the extra features of the premium version, for most users the TF300 will just get the job done.
In this post we’re going to compare the two and tell you a bunch of things about each of this tablet’s particularities. And by the time you reach the end, hopefully you’ll know enough about their similarities and differences so you’ll be able to make an informed decision on which one to buy.
First though, a quick comparison between the specs of these two.
|Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700||Asus Transformer Pad TF300|
|Screen||10.1 inch, 1920 x 1200 px, 16:10, IPS+, with Gorilla Glass||10.1 inch, 1280 x 800 px, 16:10, IPS, without Gorilla Glass|
|Hardware||Nvidia Tegra 3 T33 1.6 GHz quad-core CPU, 12-Core GPU||Nvidia Tegra 3 T30L 1.3 GHz quad-core CPU, 12-Core GPU|
|Memory||1 GB RAM||1 GB RAM|
||Wireless N, Bluetooth, GPS, 3G/4G-LTE (some versions)||Wireless N, Bluetooth, 3G (some versions)|
|Sensors||accelerometer, compass, gyroscop, light sensor||accelerometer, compass, gyroscop, light sensor|
|Ports||micro-HDMI, proprietary docking port, microSD card reader, 3.5 mm jack||micro-HDMI, proprietary docking port, microSD card reader, 3.5 mm jack|
|Cameras||8 MPx back camera with Flash, 2 MPx front camera||8 MPx back camera without Flash, 1.3 MPx front camera|
|Battery||25 Wh||22 Wh|
|OS||Android 4.0 IceCream Sandwich||Android 4.0 IceCream Sandwich|
|Size||263 × 180.8 × 8.5 mm (10.35 x 7.12 x 0.33 inches)||263 × 180.8 × 9.9mm (10.35 x 7.12 x 0.39 inches)|
|Weight||586 g (1.3 pounds)||635 g (1.4 pounds)|
|Others||Asus SonicMaster speaker; available in two colors; optional docking station with keyboard, USB, SD card||Asus SonicMaster speaker; available in three colors; optional docking station with keyboard, USB, SD card|
And there’s a video review that will take you through the important aspects.
Design and exterior
From starters you’ll notice that the Asus Transformer Infinity is sleeker and more stylish than the TF300 Pad. While the first is covered in metal, the latter offers a plastic body, both with a circular textured finishing.
The TF700 will be available in Amethyst Gray and Champagne Gold, while the TF300 is already available in more ordinary White, Red or Blue.
The Infinity feels more solid in hand, as the Pad’s plastic case does bend and squeak when grabbed a bit tighter.
The TF700 is also lighter and slimmer, but not by a lot. In practice, you won’t really feel the difference, although I’m sure we’d all pick the more compact option if it wasn’t for the other criteria as well.
Ports and connectivity options
The two tablets are basically the same in terms of ports and connectivity options.
Both offer a micro HDMI and a micro SD card reader on the body, plus the standard charging port. Both offer Wireless N and Bluetooth, but the antennas on the TF700 seem to be better, as the Infinity gets better results in our Wireless Speed tests and also manages to handle the connection better in difficult conditions (50 feet away from the router, with multiple walls between).
GPS is also present on the two, but once again the TF700 is by far the first to catch Full Signal.
Finally, both tablets will come with cellular enabled versions, but only the TF700 will be available in a 4G/LTE version as well, while the TF300 only sticks to 3G speeds.
You get matching docking stations for the two tablets and they are pretty much the same, with an SD card-reader, a full-size USB port, a keyboard, a trackpad and a battery inside.
Yes, the Infinity’s docking is slimmer and lighter, while it packs a more comfortable and better finished keyboard and a bigger battery. It’s also made from metal, while it’s TF300 suited counterpart is made from plastic. But that doesn’t make the TF300′s docking less useful.
In both cases the docking units sell for about $150, with the TF300 docking being able for a bit less online.
Here’s where the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 clearly outmatches the TF300, as it features an IPS+ 600 nits Full HD 1920 x 1200 display. In comparison, the IPS HD Ready 1280 x 720 px screen on the TF300 just seems from a different league.
The contrast and brightness levels are better on the TF700′s display and the colors seem more real as well. It’s not that the screen on the TF300 is bad, not at all. It’s in fact an above average display, but the one on the Infinity is just superior in every way.
And there are two more differences. First, on the TF300 Pad, the screen is protected by a layer of hardened glass, but it’s not the tough Gorilla Glass offered by the premium Infinity Transformer.
And second, the TF300′s screen is a bit more reflective, thus will be more difficult to use in direct light, that’s because the distance between the outer protective surface and the actual display’s panel is smaller on the TF700.
Hardware and performances
Both tablets are built on Nvidia Tegra 3 platforms, with 1 GB of memory and run Android 4.0 IceCream Sandwich operating systems. However, the Tegra T33 we get on the TF300 is clocked higher than the Tegra T30L on the TF300 and as a result, the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity manages to get better scores in most synthetic tests, as you can see below.
|Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700||Asus Transformer Pad TF300|
|Quadrant||4718 pts||4254 pts|
|Antutu||12078 pts||9988 pts|
|CF-Bench – Overall score||4674 pts||12024 pts|
|Nenamark 1||59.9 fps||60.2|
|Nenamark 2||39.9 fps||53.3|
|Sunspider 0.9.1||1773 ms||1950 ms|
However, you should be aware that the Asus TF700 I’ve tested was a prelease version with still immature software. Thus, as Asus releases a better optimized version of Android 4.0 for their premium Infinity, I expect this one to become even faster.
Software and everyday experience
Of course, how the two devices perform during everyday use it’s actually a lot more important than some numbers scored in synthetic tests. And for the moment, the TF300 is just snappier and smoother than the Asus TF700. But like I said, that’s probably a software issue that will get solved by the time this slate hits the stores.
In terms of apps, both tablets are packed with the same bundle, including a couple of nice pieces of software complimentary offered by Asus, like Polaris Office for instance. Of course, the Asus TF700 has a potential advantage: apps can look way better on the higher resolution display, but for the moment there are little to no apps optimized for it. And that includes most of the core apps as well.
So for the moment, the HD display will be greatly appreciated when dealing with texts: browsing, reading books, magazines, social feeds, in which case the writing will look a lot smoother and cleaner. And that’s for sure a great aspect, but it might not be enough for customers to actually want to but the more expensive Infinity TF700. Of course, the issue will be addressed in time, but it will for sure take longer than an early adopter might want.
You should also be aware that the Asus Transformer Infinity 700 runs hotter than the TF300. The back aluminum shell can get a bit too warm, especially when you’re setting the display towards maximum brightness levels. But that was in fact to be expected from a powerful machine in such a compact body and as log as you’ll stick a leather jacket on your Infinity, you’ll have no issue with the extra heat whatsoever.
You get slightly better cameras on the Asus Transformer Infinity Pad and and the resulted images and clips are a bit better as well. You also get an LED Flash on the back on the premium version, which will help with low-light shots.
In the end though, none of the two can actually shoot amazing stills or videos. But that’s not an issue, tablets are not meant for such activities anyway. Have a look at the pics below so you’ll know what to expect from the two.
First, some Asus Infinity 700 shots.
And then, some shot with the Asus pad 300.
There’s a slightly bigger battery on the Asus TF700, which features a 25 Wh battery, as opposed to the 22 Wh one on the cheaper TF300. But in the end, since the Infinity is faster and has a brighter screen, the Transformer Pad TF300 offers marginally better battery life on a charge.
Both will last for about 7-8 hours during everyday use and a bit more for watching videos. The TF300 can even get to 10 hours of 720p looping with the screen dimmed at 30%.
In both cases the docking stations will provide extra life, about 4-5 hours in each case, and the battery inside the docking will actually automatically charge the tablet when the two are connected.
Prices and availability
Here’s where the Asus TF300 wins, as it starts at $379 for the 16 GB version, while the 32 GB Wi-Fi only model goes for $399.
In comparison, the Asus TF700 starts at $499 for the same 16 GB Wi-fi only version and you’ll have to pay 50 bucks extra for the 32 GB and 100 bucks more for the 64 GB options.
In the end, it’s pretty obvious that the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 is the better tablet here, and by quite a significant margin. However, with Android lacking proper apps that will truly benefit from its extra power and Full HD display, I feel like this comparison ends in a tie, at least for the time being. As time passes by and the issues will be addressed, the scales should lean towards the Infinity Pad.
But for the moment, the two devices are actually very close. The Asus Transformer Pad 300 is way cheaper than the TF700, offers slightly better battery life and right now offers a more consistent experience in daily use, with less occasional hiccups and sluggishness.
The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700 on the other hand is sleeker, thinner, better looking, faster and offers a better display. For the moment, the speed and the apps aren’t yet where they should be, but don’t forget that we’re talking about a tablet that was just officially announced today (June 24th 2012), while the TF300 has been available in stores for a couple of months now and had time to maturate.
If you’re reading this comparison a couple of months from now, than the conclusion is pretty simple. If you want a good Android tablet for a decent price, the Asus TF300 Pad will do the job. If you want more, the best Android tablet money can buy these days and don’t care that much about the budget, than go for the Asus Infinity TF700 and you won’t be disappointed.