Asus Transformer Prime

The Good
  • Thinner than iPad 2
  • Fastest tablet on the market (Quad-core Nvidia Tegra3 processor)
  • MicroSD and Micro-HDMI for expanded storage capabilities
  • 8mp Camera for best detail and colour
  • Optional keyboard dock
The Bad
  • When connected to the keyboard dock, tablet is top-heavy and easy to flip over
The Verdict
★★★★☆

The Asus EEE Transformer Prime is the best Android tablet currently available. It combines a sexy design, with an impressive camera and superfast quad-core processing power.

R6,699.99
Buy Now

Asus Transformer Prime [Review]

Since the release of iPad 2, there hasn’t really been a tablet available that could compete with Apple’s benchmark tablet. However, with the arrival of the Asus Transformer Prime, we could finally have a robust, powerful and sexy Android tablet that can challenge the iPad 2.
Being the only tablet to currently feature a quad-core processor and an industry first 8 mega-pixel camera, it certainly has the potential to shake things up a bit.

Design & Features

The Asus Transformer Prime comes in two colours, amethyst gray (gray and purple) and champagne gold (silver and gold). We got the champagne version of the tablet and whilst some say the metallic spun finish is reminiscent of kitchen pots, we liked the real metal feel it gave to the tablet. It’s also not as prone to finger print smudges.

The Asus Transformer Prime is thinner than the iPad 2 and weighs in at roughly the same. The screen is very similar to most touchscreen tablets, with a minimalist design & branding, high gloss surface and a tiny dot at the top for the 1.2 megapixel camera. The edges on the back of the Prime are smoothly rounded and sit comfortably in your hand. On the left hand side, the device incorporates a microSD slot, a Micro HDMI port as well as volume controls and the microphone jack. The right side contains the speakers as well as the headphone jack. A 40-pin connector port for data/power is located on the bottom.

On the back of the Asus Prime, we find the 8 megapixel camera which can also record video in 1080p resolution. As the only tablet to currently offer an 8 megapixel camera, we found the shutter speed to be nearly instantaneous and the 2.4f aperture of the Prime’s camera produced welcome additional detail in low-light situations.

Another area where the Prime over delivers is in outstanding sound quality – the tiny speaker carried ample bass and surprised with an overall impressive clarity. A slightly higher volume would have been nice, as the iPad 2 easily comes out top in this regard.

Battery life was comparable to other Android tablets, and we were able to use the Transformer Prime continuously all day without needing a charge.

One key feature that distinguishes the Transformer Prime is its optional keyboard dock. This nifty little gadget transforms the Prime into a stylish, ultra-slim Android laptop and includes a touch pad, a 40-pin data/power connection port on the left, and a full-size SD slot and USB port on the right. The process of attaching the two devices has received a major upgrade with the release of the Transformer Prime and the tablet now clips in easily into the dock. Whilst the keyboard dock is totally optional, it does add up to 18hrs of battery life to the Asus Transformer Prime. The only downside is that the tablet/keyboard combo is somewhat top heavy and can easily tip over.

Hardware

With the Nvidia Tegra 3, the Prime is the first android tablet to include a quad-core processor and thus makes it the fastest tablet currently available in South Africa. The Prime is available in both 32GB and 64GB models and also comes standard with 1GB of RAM. Additional features include 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi support, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, a gyroscope, and GPS.

The Prime can connect to an HDTV or monitor via its Micro-HDMI port and you can play Android games with Xbox 360 or PS3 game pads.

Software

The Transformer Prime ships with Honeycomb 3.2.1. but can be upgraded to the latest Android OS Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). ICS 4.0.2. is the latest version of Android and this is the first time ICS is available on tablets (having previously only been available on smartphones).

If you register at Asus WebStorage you will qualify for 8GB of free cloud storage courtesy of Asus MyCloud for the lifetime of the Prime.

You can access the Prime’s root directory easily via the The File Manager, which provides easy navigation of all files stored on your drive or expanded memory. MyNet lets you stream content to DLNA-enabled devices on your network, and you can purchase and read books with MyLibrary, Asus’ e-reader software.

You can directly control at what speed your CPU is running from the Android interface. This can save on battery life, as you can switch between Normal Mode (CPU runs at full speed), Balanced or Power Saving mode.

Asus also adds a Super IPS+ (In-Plane Switching) mode, which boosts the tablet’s screen brightness, making reading in sunlight a bit easier. There’s also a feature that lets you take screenshots using the Recent Apps button.

Display

The boost from Asus’ improved Super IPS+ mode on screen brightness was immediately noticeable – the screen is clear and sharp, and screen transitions are extremely smooth and responsive. The resolution and overall contrast on the IPS display are impressive, and with Super IPS+ the display offers the highest brightness we’ve yet seen on a tablet. However, both the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9 seem to better capable of rendering dynamic colours.

Conclusion

The Asus Transformer Prime is the best full-featured Android tablet yet. It combines refined design and looks just as good as the iPad 2 or Galaxy Tab 10.1, and its standard list of apps and software makes it one of the most user friendly tablets available. It expands its core offering with great video playback, impressive sound and an industry leading 8 mega pixel camera. Whilst game developers are still catching up to fully exploiting the processing boost of the quad-core processor, overall game performance on the Prime is easily comparable of not better than on the iPad 2.

The optional keyboard dock provides useful additional features and transforms the Asus Prime into a super thin, super stylish ultrabook.

The Asus Transformer Prime will be available in South Africa from mid-Feb 2012 at R 6 368 for the 32GB version and R 7 719 for the 64GB version [check latest prices]. The dock/keyboard is sold separately and will set you back an additional R 1 500.

The Good
  • Thinner than iPad 2
  • Fastest tablet on the market (Quad-core Nvidia Tegra3 processor)
  • MicroSD and Micro-HDMI for expanded storage capabilities
  • 8mp Camera for best detail and colour
  • Optional keyboard dock
The Bad
  • When connected to the keyboard dock, tablet is top-heavy and easy to flip over
The Verdict
★★★★☆

The Asus EEE Transformer Prime is the best Android tablet currently available. It combines a sexy design, with an impressive camera and superfast quad-core processing power.

R6,699.99
Buy Now

Comments

  1. Bought this tablet early last year and can only recommend it! Loving the solid aluminium feel – only recommendation is to make sure you get some sort of cover for it when you order – these are a must and a bit hard to come by in SA.

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