Around this time last year, there were few options to choose from if you wanted a tablet that didn’t bear an Apple logo. Since then, Android tablets have literally exploded in both number and form factor, and now you can get anything from a compact 7-inch tablet to a full sized 10.1-inch deal from a variety of manufacturers. To get noticed in a market that’s fast getting crowded by a flood of devices, a tablet needs to have something special up its sleeve.
Asus’ newly released tablet, the Eee Pad Transformer Prime has that special somethin’ somethin’. Powered by NVIDIA’s newly released Tegra 3 processor and featuring a thinner, sleeker chassis than before, it’s currently one of our favourite tablets yet.
The overall aesthetics of the Transformer Prime is a marked departure from the look of the original. Instead of a textured, plastic back, Asus decided to drape the Transformer Prime in aluminium, which makes the tablet look a lot like their ultrabook offering, the UX21. Not that that’s a bad thing – we absolutely adored the overall design of the UX21, and it’s safe to say that we like how the Transformer Prime looks like too.
The front of the device is dominated by the 10.1-inch Super IPS+ LCD screen that’s capable of 1280 x 800 resolution. The left side holds the volume rocker, while the power button is located on the upper left corner of the tablet.
The device also has an 8-megapixel camera, as well as a smaller, 1.2-megapixel secondary camera located on the front. The bottom of the tablet holds the charging port, as well as the necessary holes to lock the tablet in the accompanying keyboard dock.
Like the original Transformer, the Transformer Prime also has a keyboard that also acts as the device’s secondary battery. The keyboard also features a USB slot and an SD card reader. The keys are a bit small for our liking; though to be honest people with regular sized digits would probably be able to type on it just fine.
Possibly the biggest ace in the hole that the Transformer Prime has over other tablets currently in the market right now is it’s heart – it’s powered by NVIDIA’s quad-core Tegra 3 processor running at 1.3GHz, which undoubtedly makes it the fastest tablet currently out in the local market. Nothing else comes close. There’s also going to be two versions of the Transformer Prime shipping – a 32GB version and a 64GB one.
While the Transformer Prime shipped with Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) when it first came out, an Android 4.0 (ICS) update has already been pushed to the device which our demo received near instantaneously when we first took it out of the box and connected it to the internet.
Our time with the Asus Transformer Prime mirrored our experience with another, ICS powered Android device, as far as navigating the UI is concerned.
Like we said earlier, the Transformer Prime is the fastest commercially available tablet out in the market today, and the synthetic benchmarks prove it. The test scores has already been making rounds on the internet as early as November last year, but it always bears repeating. As you can probably see, the Transformer Prime absolutely demolishes the competition by a fairly large margin.
Since the device is thinner (8.3 vs. 13mm) than the previous iteration, it’s also a bit lighter which makes it easier to use as an e-reader, for example. Also, all that raw horsepower running under the hood translates to an overall smoother user experience both in playing games, browsing the net and running applications.
Battery life for the Transformer Prime clocked in at around 10 hours of moderate use, which pretty much puts the Transformer Prime in the same running with the iPad 2 when it comes to consuming juice. With the keyboard dock attached, the Transformer Prime managed an astounding 17 hours throughout, which is pretty crazy, if you ask us.
Of course, there’s a catch. If you’re the sort of person that just wants the main tablet without the keyboard, you’re out of luck – Asus has said that they will only be offering the 32GB version of the device with the keyboard, which should be hitting retailers now at around Php 32,999. There will be no tablet only bundles available.
That doesn’t mean that that should stop you from buying it of course. It’s design, performance and longevity is an excellent trifecta of features that most tablets can’t match, and for the moment, the Asus Transformer Prime is the king of the hill as far as Android tablets are concerned.
Thin and light design
Excellent build quality
Long battery life
Only tablet and keyboard bundle is available locally, no tablet only option
Asus’ Transformer Prime is currently the best Android tablet that you’ll be able to buy.
Operating System: Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
CPU: NVIDIA Quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A9
LCD size: 10.1-inch Super IPS+ LCD
Physical Dimensions: 263 x 180.8 x 8.3 mm
Internal memory: 32GB/64GB