Asus Transformer Prime (with ICS) first impressions, hands on


Asus dropped by our office today with a particularly nice surprise: their Transformer Prime tablet topped with the delicious cherry that is Ice Cream Sandwich. Though we only got a few minutes to play with the device (Asus wouldn’t let us have it for a proper review, no matter how much we begged them to) we went away with the sneaking suspicion that it’ll be getting high marks from us once we get it back for a proper review. The reasons?

It’s thinner and prettier than last year’s model

We’re not saying that the original Transformer was ugly. It’s just that the new Transformer Prime is just so, so much nicer to look at. Asus took the whole look of the Zenbook and applied it to the Transformer Prime and the results are fantastic. Build quality is top notch, and with an overall thickness of just 8.3mm (tablet only), it’s one of thinnest tablets out in the market today.

Faster than the competition

While the Transformer Prime won’t be the fastest Android tablet in the block in a few months time, it’s still currently the fastest Android device right now, thanks to its Tegra 3 processor. Don’t believe us? Take a gander at the benchmark we took of the device while it was in the office.

Ice Cream Sandwich looks better than Honeycomb

Coincidentally, the Asus Transformer Prime is our first taste of Ice Cream Sandwich, as we haven’t gotten hold of a Samsung Galaxy Nexus yet. Our verdict? It’s so, so pretttyyy. Seriously. The transitions are beautiful and the screen! Oh the screen. It’s simply glorious.

Okay, we’re done gussying up to the Transformer Prime. With that out of the way, here’s some of the things we didn’t like about it:

It’s going to be a bit expensive

Asus’ rep today told me that unlike the original Transformer, the local version of the Transformer Prime will only be available with the dock, meaning you won’t be able to buy just the tablet itself. With taxes and all we estimate the Transformer Prime to retail at around 31-33K by the time it gets released, which should be next month.

It has GPS issues

Early adopters are reporting that the Transformer Prime has GPS issues, mainly stemming from the metal design of the device. Asus has already acknowledged the problem and are working on a redesigned device for better GPS performance, though it’s still up in the air when that new version will come out (or if that’s the version of the device coming here).

That’s it. We’re expecting the unit to come back next week, so watch out for our review. Until then, enjoy some of the pictures of the device below.

[album: Transformer Prime/]