Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime first look [Video]

by , Technology Researcher Tablets 16/12/2011
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime

What is the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime?

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is a powerful tablet that comes with a keyboard dock, giving it the portability of a tablet and the productivity of a laptop.

It’s the first device to run on a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, which in every day parlance means it should provide speedy web browsing, seamless multi-tasking and competently playback HD video without any stutters or glitches.

What makes the Transformer Prime stand out from the crowd?

The Transformer Prime has a 10.1-inch display and runs the Android Honeycomb (version 3.2) operating system, but that’s hardly unique. What’s different about this tablet is the high-spec camera and the new, quad-core processor.

The front-facing camera for video calls provides a decent 1.2Mp of resolution, while the rear-facing camera has a class-leading 8Mp sensor. What’s more, it has a larger aperture than many other tablets’ cameras, which means it should deal with low-light conditions all the better.

The bundled keyboard dock is also a boon. There are keyboard docks available as additional extras for other tablets, but this neat dock comes supplied and, unlike the others, it folds back on the screen like a laptop’s keyboard.

Not only does the keyboard dock make typing lengthy documents or emails easier, it also adds further connectivity, in the form of a Micro HDMI connection, a USB port and an SD memory card slot – something that many tablet users lament. It’s worth noting that a microSD memory card slot is present on the actual tablet itself.

What else do I need to know?

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime has 1GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal memory. Asus claims that the battery on the tablet will provide up to 12 hours of HD video playback, or 18 hours of HD video playback when docked with the keyboard.

It’s a shade slimmer than both the Apple iPad 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and at 586g it’s slightly lighter than the iPad but a touch heavier than the Galaxy Tab 10.1.

The Eee Pad Transformer Prime is available for pre-order today for around £500.

How does it compare to the original?

The Transformer Prime is the successor to the original Eee Pad Transformer. We reviewed the original Asus Transformer earlier this year, and were impressed with the quality of the screen but were less enamoured with the sound from the speakers.

Sound quality from the built-in stereo speakers isn’t very good, but the 1280 x 800 screen is much better. It’s detailed and colours are rich and detailed. In bright light, the screen isn’t as clear, but the image holds up better than many other tablets we’ve examined. Continue reading the full Asus Eee Pad Transformer review

We’ll be testing the new Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime in our labs early next year, and we’ll be closely monitoring the picture quality from the impressive-sounding camera, and looking to see if the sound quality has been improved. In the full review we’ll also give you the definitive verdict on the following:

Screen quality – A good quality on-screen image is vital to how a tablet performs. We examine every facet, including the viewing angle how reflective the screen is, its ability to resist fingermarks, display colour fidelity and the amount of fine detail shown or lost.

Battery life – After first conditioning the battery as per the manufacturer’s instructions, we test the battery life on wi-fi and watching HD video. We also test how long it takes to charge.

Usability – There are so many things that comprise a tablet’s usability. We test the touchscreen response, ease of typing on the virtual keyboard and the accessibility of connections as tablets are often used in conjuction with other devices.

This is just a flavour of the type of testing we do to examine tablet usability. For more detail, read our detailed how we test tablets page.

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7 comments

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Chris Owen

At first glance, this looked like an ideal iPod alternative for me, with the added versatility of the keyboard dock. Then I realised there’s no 3g capability and, apparently, no plans for a 3g version in the UK. That’s a real deal breaker for me. If I can’t connect to the internet wherever I happen to be, its appeal to me is severely compromised.

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Carter

Chris,
Regarding the lack of 3G, I would recommend any android phone, which can act as a mini wifi hotspot, or even beter a ‘mifi’ device that your cam buy from any of the mobile providers which is a tiny battery powered gadget with a mobile SIMM in that does the same job.

Personally, I would never pay the premium for a dedicated 3G-enabled device.

I hope this helps.

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KJMorgan

I second Chris’ comment, would never pay the premium of 3g when my HTC sensation xe android phone let’s me set up a portable WiFi hotspot that my iPad can connect to.

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Paul

Unfortunatly, no Android device I have seen so far will use a proxy, making them usless in school to access the internet.

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LJ

I can set a proxy on my original Asus Eee Pad – long press on the network name in Settings and select Modify Network – you can then enter Proxy details…

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snowdin

I don’t think there’s an ethernet socket which can be a problem travelling if the wifi is poor or non-existant but there’s an ethernet link, so I’m sticking to my “old” netbook to maintain versatility.

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LJ

The speakers of the original version however have been replaced by a single speaker grille on the back rather than on the sides. If you use it in portrait mode the grille is at the bottom, but if you have it docked it’s on the right. Apart from the speaker, the Prime version is much nicer than original – slimmer, faster…

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