By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
The ASUS Transformer Prime is the best 10.1 inch Android Tablet in the market today.
It is currently the only tablet in the market that natively runs Android 4.0 (ICS) and it is also the first quad-core tablet in the market, it also features stunning and game-ready graphics. Extremely thin and with a quality grooved metal case, the Transformer Prime ($499 for the 32GB WiFi model) is a statement product in the crowded tablet space.
Tale of the Tape
The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime features the following specs.
What the specs don't tell you is just how thin and light yet sturdy the Transformer feels. In terms of design and features, it is hard to look at the slew of mostly plastic Android tablets in the market and not realize that ASUS has really upped it's game in terms of materials, build and features.
I like that ASUS managed to include HDMI-out, a MicroSD card slot for expansion and an 8 megapixel rear camera plus a 1.2 megapixel front facing camera.
Designed from the ground up to serve as either a standalone tablet or in tandem with the Keyboard accessory (which makes it into a fully functional notebook replacement), the Transformer Prime seems geared towards productivity, business users and for text input.
The keyboard accessory is an additional $115-$120 but increases the stock 12-hour battery life to a whopping 18 hours total, ideal for students or note-taking office people. Docking the tablet into the keyboard is a fast process and you can go from tablet to notebook in less than 5 seconds.
The inclusion of the a quad core Tegra 3 processor plus 1080p HD video recording and playback capability gives the Transformer Prime great potential for graphics intensive games. This LCD display is bright, well balanced and does a superb job of playing back videos. Some films looked to be on the dark side but I attribute that to the source file.
The 10.1 inch IPS LCD display (1280 x 800), has a great viewing angle and is clear and bright. It is also covered in sturdy Gorilla Glass.
Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) on a tablet is a far better experience than Honeycomb. The newest version of Android does support multi-core processors so navigation is smoother and transitions are better. Apps, however, have not yet been tweaked to take advantage of the OS and this is still coming. Some graphics intensive games do feel snappier and generally more responsive.
Being a WiFi only device, the Transformer Prime feels limited in terms of connectivity options. This would be a perfect candidate for a high speed LTE variant for serious on-the-go users that don't want to sniff out free WiFi connections and who want fast connections wherever they go.
Perhaps the upcoming revision to the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime (named Transformer Prime Infinity) will bring this much needed feature to the line.
For most tablet users, however, the Transformer Prime is pretty future-proof until Google releases the next big tablet OS (and since they are taking their time rolling out ICS to the dozens of devices waiting for an upgrade, this is probably going to happen mid 2013).
We respect ASUS' decision to push hard and offer only the very best software and hardware for its users (and at a decent price for a 32GB tablet) and make this available. Sure there have been delays and sporadic GPS issues but the Transformer Prime is readily available and worth checking out.
Who will want this? Users who want a tablet that can easily double as a notebook and still feel natural. We think this is definitely the Android tablet for the business class, the frequent flyers and mobile mavens that make their office wherever they can find a hot cup of coffee and a steady WiFi connection.
It is easy to believe that ASUS thought about their end users when they conceptulized the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime. They really dug deep and thought how best to make this a useful and fun device.
Looking at some of the older 10.1 inch and 8.9 inch Android tablets in my office for comparison, they mostly feel like lazy me-too concoctions offering the bare minimum in terms of features and functionality and very little creativity.
The Transformer Prime is just better in nearly every aspect
Rating: 4.5 out of 5