Temperature Analysis With A Thermal Camera
Tablets and smartphones are touch-based devices, which means you're going to have a lot of physical contact with them. If you do a lot of gaming on an iPad 3 with its brightness cranked up, the device can get quite hot, making it uncomfortable to hold. On the other hand, we found that Asus' Transformer Prime stayed nice and cool, even under similar loads. Although the TF201's aluminum body created problems for GPS reception, it does a great job of dissipating heat.
The Transformer Pad's plastic doesn't fare quite as well. In the shot below, after browsing the Web for 30 minutes with the display calibrated to 200 nits, the tablet remains relatively cool. Aside from a few warmer spots, the maximum temperature is only 86o F.
Cranking the brightness up to 100% results in a slightly higher surface temperature. If you look closely, the temperature increases along a single edge where the LCD's backlight circuity resides.
Tablets always seem to dissipate the most heat while gaming at maximum brightness. As you can see in the shot below, the Transformer Pad's hot spots get larger, particularly in the upper right-hand corner on the back side of the tablet (naturally, where the Tegra 3 SoC is located). The surface temperature isn't a uniform 100o F; however, this picture shows that Asus' TF300T can still get pretty warm. A plastic body benefits GPS signal reception, but it also acts as a heat insulator.