Asus Transformer Prime TF700T vs iPad 3: Battle of the Best

February 14, 2012
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You thought 2011 was going to be the year of the tablets, but ended up disappointed with the showing of tablets in 2011? I don’t blame you. Both Google and the initial tablet manufacturers screwed up with the launch of the “real tablets” with Android 3.0x Honeycomb. Google did it with the half-baked Honeycomb, and it was obvious it was rushed with Motorola scrambling to release it before the iPad 2, with features that weren’t even ready for launch.

Little good did that do for them, when they released the Xoom with a starting price of $800, which brings me to the failure of the manufacturers to release a tablet at a competitive price with the iPad. Specs are almost irrelevant if you can’t compete on price. It’s even worse when you offer less value for a higher price. Even though I knew the botched Honeycomb and Xoom launch would set Android at least 6 months back in the rapidly growing tablet market, with such lost momentum, I was still rooting for the Xoom to be a failure. But why? I wanted manufacturers to learn a lesson – price matters.

The reason for this is because I felt that the carriers were trying to standardize tablets as 3G devices that you can either buy for $800 unlocked, which would’ve been a standard price in the future if they succeeded, or $500 – with a 2 year contract. In other words, they wanted to transform tablets into just bigger smartphones, and to gain control of that market.

Fortunately, if I can even say that, the initial Android tablets failed, so the standard price didn’t become $800 and 3G tablets didn’t become a standard either. This was better for the Android ecosystem in the long term, but it wasn’t much better off, because the Android tablets market still took a big hit because of lost momentum. It wasn’t until the launch of the first Asus Transformer and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 that things started picking up a bit. Then, the Kindle Fire showed everyone that there can be a huge market for inexpensive tablets.

Where is the market heading now? 

I believe the momentum for Android tablets will really pick up in 2012 thanks to the much improved Android 4.0 OS, the more powerful quad core Cortex A9 chips, dual core and quad core Qualcomm Krait chips, and Samsung and TI’s Cortex A15 chips, plus all the Full HD and Ultra-HD displays. This seems to start once again with Asus and their latest Transformer tablet, this time dubbed the Asus Transformer Prime TF700T, which will be just one of the competitors for the iPad 3.

Here’s how both tablets should complete on specs:

Asus Transformer Prime TF700T

Asus Transformer Prime TF700T specs

  • Processor: quad core 1.3 Ghz Tegra 3
  • Display: 10.1″ SuperIPS+
  • Resolution: 1920×1200 (224 PPI – 50% higher PPI than original Prime)
  • Storage: 32 GB
  • RAM: 1 GB RAM
  • Cameras: 8 MP rear camera, 2 MP front-camera
  • Video:  1080p recording
  • Body: aluminum
  • Weight: 586g
  • Battery: ~7000 mAh
  • Connectivity: Wi-fi only
  • OS: Android 4.0.3 (or slightly newer)
  • Price: $600

iPad 3 Specs

iPad 3 speculated specs

  • Processor: dual core A5X chip
  • Display: 9.7″ IPS panel
  • Resolution: 2048×1536 (264 PPI – 100% higher PPI than original iPad)
  • Storage: 16 GB
  • RAM: 1 GB RAM
  • Cameras: 2-5 MP rear camera, 2 MP front-camera
  • Video:  720p recording for both cameras
  • Body: aluminum
  • Weight: 652 g
  • Battery: ~12000 mAh
  • Connectivity: Wi-fi/4G
  • OS: iOS 5.1
  • Price: $500 (wi-fi only)

Processors

I’m going to say from the start that I don’t think the Asus Transformer Prime TF700T will be competitive with the Apple iPad 3 spec per spec or spec per price. The TF700T may get an upgraded processor by the launch time in Q2, whenever that will be (either way later than iPad 3), but the quad core Tegra 3 1.3 Ghz processor is most likely going to be slower than the Apple A6 (and other chips by then for that matter).

Apple will most likely have either a quad core 1.5 Ghz Cortex A9 processor, or a dual core 1.8 Ghz one, with increased single-threaded performance because of the higher speed per core. There’s also a small possibility they will have a Cortex A15 processor manufactured (once again) by Samsung, but somehow I doubt Samsung is giving them their processor this time, and I doubt Apple will be ready with the Cortex A15 so early.

Either way, I’m expecting their chip to be faster in benchmarks and in real world tests. Tegra 3 shouldn’t be as competitive by then, and Krait chips, OMAP 4470, and new Exynos chips, all should be better than Tegra 3 by then, and I’m also assuming the Tegra 3+ will launch sometime before summer or in early summer.

Display

Again, I’m expecting Apple to take this one from Asus, if only by having a higher resolution and PPI. The difference won’t be that big though (18% higher PPI), and it will also be mostly pointless for movies, because all that extra resolution will be part of the iPad’s huge letterboxes, because of its 4:3 aspect, as opposed to the Transformer Prime’s 16:10 aspect, which is much closer to a movie’s ratio. They will both be able to run 1080p movies at 1080p resolution, no more, no less. But again, if we’re talking display quality, Apple should beat Asus by a hair on this one.

I think it’s also worth mentioning that these kind of resolutions will be overkill for many people, because the price difference will not be worth it, and they would rather get a cheaper tablet instead, than one with a resolution that is equal or higher than their 22″ PC monitor.

Price

It’s very possible that Apple may finally break the $500 price point for the entry level iPad, because the new high PPI displays will be very expensive for both manufacturers, and since it’s even higher PPI, the iPad 3’s display may be even more expensive. However, considering Apple’s aggressive negotiations with suppliers (which often forces them to pay very low wages, like they do with Foxconn), it’s also very possible that the iPad 3 will remain priced at $500.

It also needs to remain at that level, in a year when I expect a lot of $100-$200 decent Android tablets to appear as well. They will do this by keeping the storage the same ( a pretty expensive component), so Asus will win with 32 GB vs 16 GB internal storage here, but again the iPad 3 should be $100 less as well. I think a lot of people don’t care about the difference in storage that much, and will just want the cheaper version, if they have that option.

Other specs

Battery life between the two devices should be fairly similar. This year, Android devices will start having very high battery life. Manufacturers are learning how to build very efficient devices, so now they will be just as efficient or even more so than an iPad.

Cameras, as always, won’t be such a big issue, because not too many people use them on tablets. However, I do think that every single high-end smartphone or tablet needs to offer HD recording for the front-camera, and the same should be true with most laptops by now. I still can’t believe they are making them with VGA cameras like it’s 2005.

Conclusion

As always, the Asus Transformer will have something no other tablet has right now (unfortunately), and that’s the integrated keyboard dock, which I think is a huge plus. Personally, I can’t see myself buying a tablet without a keyboard dock like the Transformer. It makes it useful to take it with you and write on, and it makes it useful to watch movies on it, without having to keep it for 2 hours in your hands. I really believe it’s the future for both tablets and laptops. It’s the best of both worlds – with no compromise. As a competitor to the Apple iPad 3 however, the Asus Transformer TF700T is a little too expensive at $600, and they’ll have to make it $500 by the time it launches, which they might.

I’m hoping that soon we’ll also start seeing 11.6″ Transformer devices, because although the tablet will be slightly bigger (maybe too big for some), it would make it more useful as a laptop replacement, better for movies, etc. I’m also hoping that Samsung starts making them like this, too. I think Asus is definitely a great manufacturer, but we need more choices, and Samsung, which is also a laptop manufacturer like Asus, should start making these as well. We had some hands on time with Lenovo’s K2010 Tegra 3 10 inch tablet, which had the added benefit of a keyboard dock as well, so perhaps we are seeing a coming trend here.

Video: 

In the end, you’re more likely to choose the ecosystem than the tablet per se, even if it happens to have slightly better or slightly worse specs. The choice is really about deciding whether to be in the Apple ecosystem, with the iPads and iPhones, with the iMacs, iTV’s and so on, or in Google’s ecosystem, with Chrome, Gmail, Maps, Navigation, and future Google/Motorola products like the rumored HUD glasses, and last but not least, the many choices between devices from manufacturers.

With that in mind, dear reader, we have thrown together a nice infographic comparing the best Android tablets of 2012, here. We’ll be taking a look at other upcoming tablets that are likely to go head to head with the iPad 3 in the coming months.

And what do you think? You are reading an Android website after all, but the iPad 3 is likely to a be blockbuster success. Is there enough there to draw you into Apple’s walled (and expensive) garden of vertically integrated freedom? Or do the the promises of Android 4.o Ice Cream Sandwich, the versatile battery-life extending keyboard dock appeal enough to you? Either way, as always, consumers will vote with their dollars. Judging from the fact that ASUS is not able to keep up with the demand for the current Transformer Prime, I think it’s safe to say that the Transformer Prime TF700T will be a huge success too, if they price it right.

Comments

  • Emj2676

    I’m definitely thinking about taking the plunge into the apple ecosystem. I just returned my Transformer Prime to Best Buy do to horrible GPS, weak WiFi, and the Gorilla Glass screen being loose on the metal casing. I love the customization and freedom that comes from android, and if the TF700T actually PROVES to be a solidly built, functional, piece of hardware I may check it out. But overall I was disappointed with the lack of apps available that actually took advantage of the primes awesome specs, and disappointed in the lack of Android Tablet apps in general. I’m seriously going to look at IPad3 next month, and if Apple nails it in the Software/App department with ACTUAL APPS that take advantage of the powerful specs, I fear I may be forced to sell out my fellow Android loving Brethren. Sorry, just being honest.

    • Anonymous

      I’m on the opposite end, I am sick of daddy Apple controlling what software I use on my own hardware. App after useful app banned because Apple want to feature it as part of a later iOS update. Complete ban on useful programming languages, emulators, web browser engines, USB, HDMI… FFS its a bad joke… CYA Apple, hello Android.

      • tallenglish

        Agreed, I got sick of Apple keep deleting all my jailbreak apps on my phone every update. When I buy something I SAY what is installed on it not the manufacturer. I also like the fact if you dont love Android you can install full fat Ubuntu on th TF – try doing that on an iPad and Apple will likely want to sue you like everyone else that they don’t agree with. For all those reasons and others mentioned above, I will never buy Apple crap ever again – no matter how nice it looks which is a shame as they do make some good hardware and IOS is pretty well thought out with some good apps as well.

    • VegasDude73

      http://www.tablified.com my friend. I’ll never switch to the iPad, no sd slot? not quad core? not 1080p video recording? crappy front facing cam, until supposedly iPad3? naw, I’m good with the Transformer. No issues. Not even with the wifi gps.

    • RyAn34

      No of fence anyone can tell your a apple fanboy. Poser

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Woodhouse/625245319 James Woodhouse

    No. Not unless iOS becomes an enjoyable OS to muck around with.

    The interesting thing about the iPad3/TFP discussion is quite similar to the iPhone4S/SGS2 discussion: non-Apple products have now set the benchmark for Apple to beat rather than vice versa as has traditionally been the case.

    At the moment that seems to be looking like a six – eight month ‘catch-up’ for Apple in 2012. However, given how Apple’s business model requires that they time updates for their hardware and software to sell as many of any one given product line as possible, the plurality of manufacturers using Android (and competing hardware upgrades) means that the catch-ups are likely to get further and further apart.

    Thankfully they scroll smoother…

  • owned

    apple ipad 3 is not going to be a huge sell like the iPad 2 because they have bigger computation bawd with Android. but I think there oRB will sell like crazy

    • Anonymous

      Also the fact that Apple already has millions of people out there that have an Ipad or and Ipad 2… They are going to have to do something amazing with the Ipad 3 to get people to want to get rid of their old Ipads and drop several hundred dollars on a newer version. Apple has made them selves into the “every body” brand so everyone has one… and the odds are the majority of that customer base are not the type to “have to have” the newest model. In contrast the Asus 700 model is absolutely worth the jump in performance, screen res, and functionality from the the previous models. As well as their target market are usually us “tech” people that love the newest most beautiful hardware… like this Asus tab…. *drools* …..

  • Anonymous
  • Mr_Jelly

    I could never buy a tablet-only device, so that excludes the whole market, except for the Asus Transformer.

    Once you one one, everything else, well looks shit by comparison.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/William-Cousert/1590154177 William Cousert

    The Tegra 4 is scheduled to be released this year and it is supposed to be twice as fast as the Tegra 3. I would suggest doing some research before getting one of these. The replacement may be just a few months away.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XFKXMIWOSW6Z7RFEYVLSF2S4DY Jim

    Hmmmm, Apple introduced the ipad3, Both use Cortex A9’s. The Asus a 1.3 Ghz quad core cpu and Apple has an unspecified A5x dual core that would appear to have a quad core gpu. The nVvidia gpu has 12 cores, who knows how fast any of these gpu’s are. I think for pure processing power, if the A5x is the same A5 dual core, there is no way it’s going to multi-task with the same silicon in a duad core. We’re talking the same chip. So where could differences be ? the main board they are on ? Memory ? Are the benchmarks optimized for the quad core Tegra 3 or is the software simply not using all of the cores ? Test results are showing that the Transformer loses and by a huge margin. Somehow in the middle of the night, Apple became guru’s to nVidias chipset and gpu capability ? I think this is more smoke & mirrors by Apple. The same nonsense they pulled with the G3, G4 & G5 in the notebooks. In the end any hardware advantage in that is a 3 month headstart agreement with Intel to provide Apple with the fastest cpu bus speeds. Don’t even know if that applies anymore, but yeah, Apple Intels are 1600 Mhx bus, while PC’s get a 1333 Mhz bus that can easily overclock to and above & beyond 1600 Mhz. At any rate if Apple were superior in gpu chips, why wouldn’t they simply make them for their computers too ? I’m suspicious because when Apple made such claims before, Jobs was the schill. Post Jobs, we’re expected to believe it all again, just because Apple says it’s so ?

    • KevinW42

      3 out of 4 benchmark tests between the A5X and Tegra 3, the Tegra 3 kicked the A5X bootie all the way to Paris and back. Not to mention the same games on iPad 3 and Prime Tegra 3, the Tegra 3 has way more effects, maybe the A5X can do effects in the future. Right now the Tegra 3 makes Apple look like a wanna be. Not to mention the iPad 3 is technically NOT a Retina Display, its a FFS display, they have problems manufacturing Retina displays in the size of an iPad screen. They throw big words around but cant back it up. Sharp, LG and Samsung make iPad 3s screen.

      • An0nym0usC0ward

        IMO there’s one more aspect to consider: iOS has bad support for real, preemptive multitasking. Android OTOH builds on the Linux kernel, which provides excellent, carrier-grade multitasking, so you should be able to properly load all cores of the Tegra 3 on Android, but even if the A5X had 32 cores, due to the construction of iOS there wouldn’t be much benefit from it, I believe.

  • EmmaVL

    Hei can someone telll me watsh better Asus eee pad transformer tf700t or ipad 3 or Laptop? pls answer :D

  • Yusuf-1898

    i think asus can be more usefull than ipad 3

  • Cliff Loehr

    All the screens in the Transformer line have an aspect ratio of 16:9 where the iPads are all 4:3. Doing the math, 25% of a 4:3 screen is lost when displaying HD videos (with black strips showing above and below the video). This makes the iPad’s 9.7” screen more like a 7.275” screen when watching HD videos (if i calculated that right) . The Transformer’s 10.1” screen is also a 10.1” screen when watching HD videos.

  • Asdw

    I’m going to say from the start that I don’t think the Asus Transformer Prime TF700T will be competitive with the Apple iPad 3 spec per spec or spec per price. The TF700T may get an upgraded processor by the launch time in Q2, whenever that will be (either way later than iPad 3), but the quad core Tegra 3 1.3 Ghz processor is most likely going to be slower than the Apple A6 (and other chips by then for that matter).

    Apple will most likely have either a quad core 1.5 Ghz Cortex A9 processor, or a dual core 1.8 Ghz one, with increased single-threaded performance because of the higher speed per core. There’s also a small possibility they will have a Cortex A15 processor manufactured (once again) by Samsung, but somehow I doubt Samsung is giving them their processor this time, and I doubt Apple will be ready with the Cortex A15 so early.

    Either way, I’m expecting their chip to be faster in benchmarks and in real world tests. Tegra 3 shouldn’t be as competitive by then, and Krait chips, OMAP 4470, and new Exynos chips, all should be better than Tegra 3 by then, and I’m also assuming the Tegra 3+ will launch sometime before summer or in early summer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michaelgonzalez2012 Michael Gonzalez

    The only thing the new iPad has over the TF700t is its screen, when you compare the two ASUS clearly wins the match in all other categories.

    – Longer battery life
    – Larger display size
    – Higher resolution camera
    – 5 Processors
    – Support for USB peripherals (ie XBOX 360 or PS3 controllers)

    Even when we look at the screens, the New iPad boast’s a 264 PPI, while the TF700t has 224 PPI. So we are only talking about a measily 40 PPI. That’s not a significant difference. Personally I’d rather have a slightly lower screen and have a bigger 10.1″ display.

    • Dvboy

      Actually the iPad has a bigger screen if you look at total square inches,and that’s most important

      • An0nym0usC0ward

        The Asus also has 5 cores, not 5 processors, but for me the fact that the iPad is not able to record HD video is a dealbreaker. And of course, right now Android beats iOS in any regard except smooth scrolling.

  • guest

    Still no USB connector ? sad very sad.

  • Chad

    I see no reason to upgrade from my Transformer TF101. More than anything else, I use it to RDP into one of my Win7 or OSX machines in RDP or VNC at 1280X800 fullscreen or 1280X752 (with statusbar). Even that with 1:1 pixel mapping on a 10″ device is very high res (any more would be too much) to do real work in. I run excel, photoshop, lightroom, dreamweaver, indesign, etc. and it’s faster in RDP browsing and running all of this software than my previous 4GB core2duo laptop running windows 7. JumpRDP supports both mouse buttons, dragging windows, scrolling, etc. It’s truly a perfect setup. My Mom has an ipad2 that I jailbroke for her so she could hook up a mouse and that setup with an external bluetooth keyboard is nothing short of pathetic compared to the transformer experience. The problem with the TF700t and ipad 3 is the screens are now too high res (too high dpi) for 1:1 pixel mapping for RDP/VNC and forces scaling (blah) or scrolling (worse).

    • sandnessen

      Are you using excel, photoshop, lightroom, dreamweaver, indesign, etc on your Transformer TF101? If so, that pleases me to hear!

  • Mlangroudi

    all that is good but you can’t even get a 700 but ipad is out there. unfortunately i have to wait it out because ipad does not give me what i want and 200 and 300 are limited in what they can do. anyone has any ideas where can one get an asus 700?

  • Steve

    I am a fan of Android after my first Samsung Galaxy 10.1 which I returned because the battery failed after 9 months! I am waiting not too patiently for the Asus tf700t. I will be really disappointed if I end up buying an i pad as a replacement because the Asus price is too much.

  • Doug

    This is a very good article. Though I am coming to it late, it is the same conclusion that I have come to. The specs mean very little. Maybe its my age (60 and a software engineer), but the saving of, say, 1 second during boot up time seems a little ridiculous. I am going the transformer route. The main reason is the eco system. I develop on linux systems and prefer the openness. I choose not to have to go to a single source, be it apple or microsoft. As far as specs, the keyboard is a strong pull, and the screen dimension for movies is the other.

  • Robb

    Some of these specs are wrong

  • Robb

    It records 1080p

  • Robb

    And it runs ios 6 & has 4g lte not 4g

  • POOP110

    I HATE IPAD 3 THEY ARE WAAAAAAY OVERPRICED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND THEY OVERHEAT!!!!!!!!GRRRR

  • GetReal

    The price difference is NO argument. Asus gives you twice as much memory and twice as may processors. That, alone, is worth every cent of the $100 difference, without even going into the fact that whatever apps you decide to acquire, stay on your system. I don’t appreciate any company removing anything that I have acquired simply because they don’t agree with the political correctness of it.

  • Scanner

    Will the docking station for the TF101 work on the TF700T? Don’t wanna buy another docking station