A couple of weeks ago I was granted the joy of reviewing ASUS' higher-end Transformer Pad Infinity tablet, which is the biggest, baddest version of ASUS' Eee Pad range. Today we have the pleasure of looking at the slightly less powerful Transformer Prime.
ASUS have done a great thing in its Eee Pad range, not just offering a single model like the iPad, which gets refreshed every year, or every six months now with the fourth-generation iPad, but offering a bunch of Eee Pad slates.
This comes in the form of two models that we've reviewed now, the Transformer Pad Infinity, which sports a 1920x1080-pixel display, which we reviewed glowingly. ASUS also have the Eee Pad Transformer Prime, which sports the same SoC, NVIDIA's Tegra 3, but ramps down the 10.1-inch screen resolution to 1280x800.
ASUS' Eee Pad Transformer Prime was the world's first Android-based tablet to be released with a quad-core processor inside, which is quite the achievement. It was released in Taiwan in early December 2011, and reached the US later in the month.
There are a few more Transformers in the wild, too, but today we're going to look at the Transformer Prime.
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
Being the world's first quad-core tablet, it feels like so long ago that we were hearing about quad-core tablets on the horizon and now the market is filled with them. Even for a tablet that is close to twelve months old now, the Transformer Prime is still specced quite well. We're looking at a 10.1-inch Super IPS+ 1280x800-pixel screen sporting Corning's Gorilla Glass, NVIDIA's Tegra 3 quad-core SoC, 1GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of internal storage all wrapped up into a device with 12 hours of battery life on a 25Wh Li-polymer battery.
The model we received was the 64GB variant, which goes for $599.99 on Newegg. It's not bad considering the specs, but this all comes down to just how much built-in flash storage you want.
Availability on the Transformer Prime shouldn't be a problem, but the best bit of the Transformer Prime is its guts. The heart and soul of the slate itself, and it's quite powerful, even to this day.
ASUS' Transformer Prime also includes the usual 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with flash, f/2.4 aperture, a 1.2-megapixel front facing camera and runs Android 3.2 Honeycomb out of the box (when released). The unit I received had been updated to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which was a pleasant surprise.
Next up you can see all of the connectors, buttons and goodies that the Prime has to offer. We have a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera for self portraits and Skype calls, a 3.5mm audio jack on the side for headphones or speaker out. Volume rocker, micro HDMI and microSD card slots are on the left side of the Prime, with the power button nestled in the top left hand side of the tablet itself.
On the rear we find an 8-megapixel camera with LED flash, which is actually quite a good camera, as most 8-megapixel tablet cameras are. ASUS have chosen to use the 40-pin connector port for connecting it up to your PC, or for charging.
Above is a picture of the Eee Station and all of its features. We talked about this in our Transformer Pad Infinity review, and not much has changed with the Prime. It still docks in at the rear of the Station, including a docking latch, sports the same 254mm Chiclet keyboard, multi-touch touchpad and an included 22Wh battery that will provide up to 18 more hours of battery life. An SD card reader and USB port are also included with the Eee Station.
This is really something that sets the Transformer range of tablets apart from the competition, the Eee Station. ASUS are onto a real winner here, and I don't see them changing direction any time soon. I loved being able to use the Transformer Prime as a quasi-netbook, with the ability to disconnect the 10.1-inch tablet from the Station and use it as a normal tablet. This is why I love ASUS' use of the "Transformer" name, because the Transformer range of tablets really do transform into different products when used differently.
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