After the success of its dual-core Transformer Pad tablet (named so because of the ability to switch between a tablet and netbook mode), ASUS released the world’s first quad-core (Nvidia Tegra 3) Android 4.0 tablet last year, the ASUS Transformer Prime.
ASUS followed up with a very impressive showing at the MWC 2012, featuring a lineup of “two and a half” tablets – the ASUS Padfone, Transformer Pad Infinity, and the Transformer Pad 300. After we got news about the pricing of the Padfone in Taiwan, we finally have some information on the European release dates and pricing of Asus trio’s of shape-shifting tablets. All the devices have been priced in Italy, and will likely get their price tags across all EU nations soon. Let’s take a look.
ASUS had been toying with the concept of a phone within a tablet within a netbook (Inception?) for over a year. But only with the seamless transition from portrait to landscape mode provided by Android 4.0, has this concept become a reality, in the form of the ASUS Padfone. The phone is comparable to other high-end Android device, with the added benefit of fitting into a tablet dock, now known as the Padfone Station, giving you the complete features of a tablet. The addition of the standard ASUS keyboard dock makes the tablet work as a netbook. While it might seem like you have two devices, this is not actually the case, as the “tablet” works only when the phone is docked.
The specifications of the Padfone are:
- 4.3″ Super AMOLED capacitive touch screen, 10.1″ tablet multi-touch tablet screen
- 960×540 resolution, 1280×800 tablet resolution
- 1.5 Ghz dual core Qualcomm SnapDragon S4
- 1GB RAM
- 64 GB internal storage, expandable via microSD
- 1500 mAH battery in phone, 6547 mAH tablet battery (which also charges the phone)
ASUS Padfone Release Date and Pricing – The Padfone, priced at €699 (approx. $915), is quite expensive. This also does not include the €149 ($195) keyboard dock. The device(s) will be available in stores by the end of May, with an LTE capable product available by September.
ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity
ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity was first seen at CES as the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF700T (and I thought the new name was long). This device is ASUS’ flagship tablet, with very impressive specs, including:
- 10.1″ multi-touch capacitive Super IPS+ display
- 1920×1200 resolution
- 1.5Ghz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor(for 3G/4G LTE), 1.6 Ghz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 (WiFi only)
- 16/32/64GB internal storage, expandable via microSD
- 25Whr (6757 mAH) battery
- 8MP rear camera, 2MP front camera
Release Date and Pricing – The Transformer Pad Infinity will be priced at €599 (~$780) excluding the keyboard dock, for the Wifi-only 64GB variant. This flagship tablet will be available from June 10.
ASUS Transformer Pad 300
The Transformer Pad 300 is the most budget-friendly ASUS tablet available. The price cut did not require too much of a compromise on specifications, which include:
- 10.1″ super LCD multi-touch capacitive display
- 1280×800 resolution
- 1 GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor
- 1GB RAM
- 16/32GB internal storage, expandable via microSD
- 8MP rear camera, 1.2 MP front camera
- 5946 mAH (22Whr) battery
Release date and pricing – The Transformer Pad 300 will be priced at €399 (~$519) for the Wifi-only and €499 (~$650) for the Wifi+3G version. It will be available mid-May in Europe. The 16GB variant of the device will be releasing in the US on April 22. There has been no official information on the pricing of the US release but is expected to be $399.
Sticker shock, anyone?
The Padfone and the Transformer Pad Infinity are clearly the cream of the crop, but they also comes with a hefty price-tag. With most consumers looking for easy-on-the-wallet options, the Transformer Pad 300 might likely be the best-selling option of the three. But can it compete with the slate of high-spec’d but budget-friendly ($250 – $500) tablets due to arrive in the market this summer?
What are your thoughts? Which of these three devices would be your choice? Is the high cost of the Padfone worth it?