Asus Transformer Pad Infinity set for £600 launch next month

With a powerful chip and incredibly high-res screen, the Infinity is Android's apex predator. But can it kill the snappy little Nexus 7?

The Transformer Pad Infinity, the latest in Asus' tip-top line of tablets with click-on keyboards, will be out in the UK at the end of August for £600.

With a gorgeous spun-metal finish and highfalutin componentry like a Tegra 3 quad-core processor and a mighty 1,920x1,200-pixel 10-inch screen, the Infinity is the apex predator of the Android ecosystem.

The only problem? There's a smaller, nippier beast in the jungle, a raptor to the Infinity's T-Rex, and that's the Nexus 7 . It might have a 7-inch 720p screen and no expandable memory (or fancy keyboard dock), but the Nexus 7 has the same powerful chip and it's a third of the price.

It's built by the same company, Asus, but the Nexus 7 is subsidised by Google to the extent that it's losing money on the £159 8GB version . The Big G wants Android to be taken seriously as a tablet platform, so it needs great-looking full-size apps -- and to get those it needs a thriving user base so developers know they'll make money.

The Nexus 7 also comes with the latest version of Android, Jelly Bean, while the Infinity's Ice Cream Sandwich software will be updated at some point in the future.

The Infinity is altogether a more meaty proposition, however, much better suited to doing serious business than tapping on a touchscreen. But I can't help feeling that if the keyboard is important to you, you'd be better off with a small-screen laptop running Windows, such as the £850 Asus Zenbook , or the bigger and cheaper Toshiba L830 or Asus U36JC.

It's also fair to mention that some Transformer models had problems with Wi-Fi earlier this year, with one online retailer pulling the Transformer Prime from sale . Asus was adamant that there was no widespread fault.

Initially available from Amazon, the Infinity is coming to the UK in a £600 Wi-Fi-only 64GB model, with no other memory or 3G versions on sale. When my colleague Andrew saw the Infinity at Mobile World Congress in March, a 3G version bafflingly had a weaker dual-core Snapdragon chip, compared to the high-end Tegra 3 in the Wi-Fi unit, so perhaps that's why there's only one model here.

Would you hunt down this formidable Android animal? Or are you leaving the big game to others and chasing the more humble Nexus? Take a shot in the comments, or track me to my natural habitat -- the lush, verdant CNET UK Facebook page.

Update 2pm: Added detail from Asus on model available.

 

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