Asus Transformer tablets compared – what’s the difference?

Asus is one of many companies that sells tablets based on Android, the operating system made by Google. Its first tablet was the Asus Eee Pad Transformer – an innovative tablet that supported an optional keyboard dock. It went on sale in Spring last year, but earlier this year Asus launched an updated version, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime.

But what’s the difference and is it worth buying one over the other?

Looking for a tablet but don’t want an iPad? Check out our guide to the best iPad alternatives.

1) Prime is more expensive

As you might imagine given it’s the newer tablet, the Transformer Prime is more expensive. The 16GB Asus Eee Pad Transformer 16GB is on sale on Amazon for £285 without attachable keyboard, or £398 with the keyboard. The Transformer Prime is £100 more expensive – it costs £499 for a 32GB version with the keyboard, which comes as standard.

The keyboard offers a boost to battery life and some extra connectivity options, though if you’re only concerned about the ability to type faster other tablets do support keyboards. The Apple iPad 3 and Android tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Motorola Xoom 2 can all work with wireless keyboards.

The svelte Transformer Prime

2) Prime is thinner and lighter

The Transformer is relatively chunky tablet – without the keyboard it weighs 695 grams and is 11mm. The Prime weighs just 598 grams, 100 less than the Transformer and 50 grams less than the iPad 3. The Prime is also 2mm slimmer than the Transformer, with nicely tapered edges that make it more comfortable hold.

3) Prime has a better camera

Asus has really tried to raise the game with the Prime’s rear-facing camera. Not only does it have it a useful 8Mp, up from 5Mp, but it also adds an LED flash and a wide maximum aperture for sharper low-light photos. It also shoots 1080p video. Not only are these upgrades on the original Transformer, the Prime has an advantage over the iPad 3 thanks to the LED flash, a feature missing on the iPad.

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer is thicker and heavier than the Prime – it has square edges that are less comfortable to hold.

4) Prime has a quad-core processor

The original Transformer has the same Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor that powered a lot of rival tablets in 2011. The Prime moves things on. It’s the first tablet to use the quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor. It promises better multi-tasking performance, which means apps that load faster, and better quality graphics in games.

But is the Transformer Prime a Best Buy?

Did these improvements add up to Best Buy performance? In our tablets reviews we give the definitive verdict on:

  • Screen quality – 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, see our how we test tablets page.

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One reply

  1. I have had the transformer for about a year now and in that time have had only one upgrade. The camera does not work now and without the keyboard attached I can not charge the battery. For the price I paid I feel that the quality is pretty dismal.

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