While launching its new iPad, Apple has delivered its best on most counts while missing out a few expected features. The ultra-high resolution Retina Display, four times faster (than Nvidia's Tegra 3) A5X processor with unassailable quad-core graphics support, snappy camera filled with revolutionary technology and the 4G LTE capability truly make the device appealing.
On the downside, the lack of microSD card slot for memory expansion, absence of an 8 megapixel camera, keyboard and the vital quad-core processor technology could prove a costly mistake for Apple, as the battle heats up with its Android rivals.
Let's shift our focus towards Apple's arch nemesis Samsung and upcoming rival Asus. Samsung has unleashed the Galaxy Note 10.1, which we have already reviewed. Meanwhile Asus is expected to release its flagship Transformer Prime TF700T tablet in a few months.
Welcome aboard the Asus Transformer Prime TF700T, which packs Nvidia's latest quad-core Tegra 3 processor. The quad-core Tegra 3 processor boasting a clock speed of 1.3GHz could give the New iPad's A5X dual-core processor (clocked at 1GHz) a run for the money. Besides, the ability to dock into a slick keyboard accessory that turns the Asus tablet into an absolute laptop clearly makes it more desirable.
Apple may still manage to add an external keyboard case kit, yet Transformer Prime's tablet-cum-laptop feel and experience is incomparable.
Let's take a look at the features of Asus Transformer Prime TF700T in comparison with Apple's New iPad:
Display: Transformer Prime TF700T tablet sports a 10.1-inch Super IPS - LCD capacitive display with Corning's Gorilla glass protection. The display flaunts a resolution of full HD (high-definition) 1920 × 1200 pixels at 224 pixels per inch (ppi) density with 178 degrees ultra-wide viewing angle.
In contrast, the Retina Display on the New iPad features full HD 2048 x 1536 pixels resolution, 44 percent greater colour saturation, and 3.1 million pixels - across the 9.7-inch screen. In other words it accounts to 232ppi (pixels per inch). That's four times the number of pixels in iPad 2 and a million more than an HDTV, according to Apple.
Verdict: Apple's New iPad is the clear winner with superior display resolution, improved colour saturation and higher pixel density than any of its competitors.
Dimensions: The New iPad is 9.5-inch tall, 7.31-inch wide and 0.37-inch thick, the Wi-FI model weighs 652 grams, while the Wi-Fi +3G model weighs 662 grams.
In comparison, the Asus tablet is 10.3-inch tall, 7.1-inch wide and 0.32-inch thick, and it weighs 586 grams.
Verdict: The Asus tablet, therefore, comes with a bigger screen, but it weighs less than the New iPad. Moreover, the tablet wins the title of thinnest tablet beating both the New iPad and Samsung Galaxy 10.1.
Memory: The ASUS tablet ships with 1GB RAM and inbuilt 32/64 GB storage capacity. It also adds a microSD card slot for storage expansion up to 32GB. In contrast, the new iPad also sports 1GB RAM and will be available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models. But, it lacks an external microSD card slot.
Verdict: Asus transformer Prime is the clear winner with an external microSD slot for storage expansion that's missing on the New iPad.
Operating System: The Asus tablet runs on Google Inc's Android OS 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) with the skin of latest Waveshare UI. On the other hand, the New iPad gets the iOS 5.1, an incremental update to the iOS 5.
Verdict: The slick and fast Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade on the Asus Tablet holds all the aces for sublime performance, while Apple's iOS 5.1 provides rock-solid stability with new bug fixes and feature enhancements. There is no clear winner in this category, we call it a draw.
Processor: Asus TF700T Transformer Prime features Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU, ULP GeForce GPU. With due credit to its powerful processor and slick Ice Cream Sandwich OS the tablet's performance is both zippy and seamless.
On the other hand, the new iPad is powered by a dual-core Apple A5X custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-chip with quad-core graphics. The quad-core graphics chip will boost performance with video playback, gaming and other graphics applications.
Verdict: Asus Transformer Prime clearly outperforms the New iPad with the introduction of a powerful quad-core processor running at 1.3GHz in terms of raw speed. In contrast, Apple 's new iPad holds all the aces in the graphics department with a quad-core GPU onboard that can clearly outclass the Asus counterpart.
Well, for raw processing power sans graphics Transformer Prime stands out, but if you tread into graphics territory, then Apple's new iPad will set the stage ablaze with awesome quad-core power. No winners in this category, we call it a draw.
Connectivity & Network: Asus TF700T Transformer Prime supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 2.1 version with EDR, and USB 2.0 version while the new Apple tablet comes with Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 version technology, and 4G LTE for both AT&T and Verizon models. Below are the specifications:
Wi-Fi + 4G for AT&T model: LTE (700, 2100 MHz); UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
Wi-Fi + 4G for Verizon model: LTE (700 MHz); CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz); UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
Verdict: Riding on the waves of super-fast 4G LTE, the New iPad is the clear winner in this category. The absence of both 3G and 4G capability is crippling for Transformer Prime.
Camera: Apple has done a remarkable job in introducing an enhanced 5 megapixel camera and borrowing the optical sensor from the iPhone 4S for the New iPad. Such a camera enhancement is a far cry from the paltry 0.7 megapixel rear camera that drew much flak for the iPad 2.
Apple retained the same secondary VGA camera from the iPad 2, which is the sole drawback. The New iPad makes up for lost ground with a rich assortment of features including iSight and CMOS sensor setup, auto-detection, flash, HDR and face detection and a host of other improvements coupled with video capabilities of 1080p at 30fps and video stabilisation.
In contrast, the Asus tablet flaunts an 8 megapixel (3264x2448 pixels) camera with LED flash, autofocus, geo-tagging and 1080p video recording. It also boasts of a 2 megapixel secondary camera on the front, that clearly outshines the VGA camera of the New iPad.
Verdict: A user yearning for better performance irrespective of special adjustable functions should opt for the Asus tablet with 8MP rear camera and 2MP front camera for video chatting. Otherwise for someone who prefers better camera features for adjustments should go for the New iPad. There is no clear winner in this category, it is a draw.
Battery: In terms of battery life, Transformer Prime TF700T includes a 7,000 mAh Li-polymer Battery while the new iPad comes with 12,000 mAh rechargeable Li-polymer Battery producing up to 10 hours of juice.
Verdict: Boasting a bigger battery, the New iPad clearly wins the battle in the battery-life contest.
Applications: The Asus tablet comes with 400,000 apps in Marketplace while the new iPad comes with more than 200,000 dedicated iPad apps and a total of 585,000 in App Store.
Verdict: Android is known to give you more choice with new apps, while iOS gives you quality apps with sheer performance. So, we let the users decide the winner here based on their needs. We call it a draw.
Pricing: Asus Transformer Prime TF700T is likely to cost $499 for the 32GB version and $599 for the 64GB version.
Coming in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB variants, the pricing for Apple's new iPad starts at $499 at the base model and the 4G iPad model prices range from $629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB, or $829 for 64GB units. While the device will go on sale March 16, preorders are already available.
Verdict: When it comes to price, the Asus Transformer Prime (Wi-Fi only) is the best bet unless you want the superior 4G or 3G features. Even if the New iPad is coming with the 4G LTE connectivity, the price of the device is set exorbitantly even for the diehard Apple lovers. To add that feature to your existing iPad, you need to shell out extra $130 to the price of any iPad model, plus the expense of the data plan.Overall, the budget user should prefer the Transformer Prime and for the power hungry users especially gamers and professionals, we recommend the New iPad.
MUST READ: Apple iOS 5.1: Top Ten Reasons to Upgrade