"Transformer Prime Extensive Review"5.0 starson by DonaldMSmith
Pros: Sleek, elegant design, small, fast five core processor, packed with Android goodness, excellent keyboard dock, dock can charge the prime or even other usb devices. good wifi in strong to medium wifi hot spots. Excellent bundled apps.
Cons: If you use the dock you are going to loose the rubber/plastic grommets covering the small slots that go into the dock. GPS not very strong.
Summary: The device itself is utterly beautiful, a far cry from it's predecessor. The original Transformer, despite being popular and incredibly useful, was a bit of an ugly duckling being heavy and a little on the fat side. However, with the Prime, Asus appear to have truly found it's feet with design. Measuring and weighing in as thinner and lighter than tablet design benchmark, iPad 2, the prime sports a combination of spun aluminium and high quality polymer materials, giving a sturdy build and inspiring looks. The Prime comes in two colours, a dark grey with a hint of purple and a silver with a hint of gold (which Asus appropriately calls the "champagne" colour). If you admired the build quality, weight and thinness of the iPad 2, then you're going to be gobsmacked by this; the first ten minutes of my time with the Prime was spent literally caressing it, I almost licked it. If I had done that with a living being, I'd have probably been arrested. The ring spun aluminium finish on the back, when it has light shone on it, gives a beautiful array of concentric circles as they reflect off the brushed finish. the Asus logo in solid Aluminium dominates the center of the back of the tablet, but tastefully. Directly above the Asus logo, towards the center-top of the back is the 8MP camera with single LED flash. The camera has a 2.4 aperture, a significant upgrade from the usual 2.2 apertures seen on consumer devices. This will lead to a high quality camera experience (which is somewhat lost on a tablet).
On the front side of the tablet, you are greeted by a beautiful, sturdy slab of Corning's Gorilla Glass. Not only this, but Asus have followed suit with Apple by using a hydro-oleophobic coating on the glass so that fingerprints and smudges are somewhat mitigated (though not fully). Aside from the screen itself, the front side only sees the Asus logo used once again in the top left section of the bezel. Also housed in the bezel is the 2MP front facing camera which is situated just right of center-top and the photometer for adjusting screen brightness. Physical connectors and buttons are fairly par for the course for a high end tablet such as this. The left section of the top edge holds the power button, the upper section of the right edge holds the 3.5mm audio jack. The left holds the following in top-to-bottom order, volume rocker, micro-HDMI port, Micro-SD card slot and microphone. The center of the bottom edge houses the 40-pin proprietary connector Asus uses to connect the tablet to the dock. It is also the connection used to hook it up to your PC, so this is somewhat bittersweet but is forgiven when considering the kind of functionality it brings in the form of the dock.
On the inside the Prime sports some beefy specs. First up and most notably, the Prime is one of the first tablets in the world to hold Nvidia's brand new Tegra 3 quad core processor. Sporting 4 ARM Cortex A9 cores clocked at 1.3GHz and a fifth, ultra power efficient, "companion" core clocked to a maximum of 500MHz, the Prime isn't lacking in processing grunt. Now, now, I hear you all clamouring in unison, "but what about battery drain?!1'. Fear not, children, as the Tegra 3 actually, according to Nvidia, has less power drain than the Tegra 2. This works through the companion core with it's ultra efficient architecture keeping the tablet ticking over with menial tasks, with the four big boys only turning on when some serious work needs to be done. This combination makes power efficiency shoot through the roof compared to Tegra 2 who only had it's two equally clocked 1GHz cores to provide processing power which would have been less power efficient. Paired to these beastly cores is a 12 CUDA core (or 48 stream processor) GeForce ULP GPU. Nvidia has its expertise firmly set in graphics and 3D rendering with it's successful consumer and enterprise graphics solution business. This translates over to developers wishing to make games or other 3D applications utilising some of Nvidia's special API's like Physx for greate realism in games, or CUDA for more efficient floating point calculation. So these two major processing centers are paired to 1GB LPDDR2 RAM which gives ample memory for apps to play with.
The Prime also comes with the usual gamut of radios like Wifi b, g a & n, A-GSPS and Bluetooth 3.0. 3G is not included in the Prime and there is not a 3G model. So if you were absolutely banking on your tablet having 3G then this isn't for you, lest you use your Android smart phone as a wireless hub for the Prime to utilise you phone's 3G connection (something available on all Android phones from 2.2 onwards). The screen is a 1280 x 800 Super-IPS display. I'm not sure what the "Super" in Super-IPS actually means or does; but it seems that these screen manufacturers like to put an endless amount of prefix names to denote a new iteration (see also Samsung's Super-AMOLED display). Like the iPad 2, this display of the Prime's is a full RGB array, which means absolutely nothing. This endless tussle between full array and PenTile is ridiculous as 99% of users don't tell the difference and that 1% are usually tech-nerds who deliberately look for the difference just to rant about it on XDA or somewhere else. In short, the display is beautiful. Bright and vibrant, viewing angles are excellent and outdoor reading in sunlight is actually do-able to a nice degree. All this beautiful tech wet-dreamery is powered by a 22Wh battery that gives the Prime, on a full load torture test, 10 hours 17 minutes battery time (according to Engadget). The battery in the dock extends that to (what Asus claim to be) 16 and a half hours. So, with moderate use, you don't need to worry about running out of juice throughout the day.
The keyboard dock is as beautiful as the tablet itself, being incredibly thin and light. It has the same colour as the tablet, so you are perfectly colour co-ordinated. Dominating the top of the dock is the keyboard itself. Black chiclet keys were Asus' choice and they were a good once, giving a demure and understated look. Asus have made a number of changes to what you'd be used to on a standard PC keyboard, replacing the top Function keys with shortcuts to many things like turning Wifi on or off, adjusting screen brightness, accessing the browser app, skipping or pausing music etc. There is a button for "Home" where the Windows or Apple key would be and left Alt is replaced by a Search key which takes you straight to Google's integrated search functionality in Android. Overall, the layout and innovative alterations seen on the keyboard are fantastic, the only gripe is that the layout is a little compact (but what do you expect on a 10' form factor) and that the keys themselves have shallow press distances, so initially you're not overly confident when pressing keys but it is something that mitigates itself over time. The trackpad, while small, is very nice. It supports multi-touch gestures (two-finger movement will enact a scrolling action in whatever you're doing) and is accurate. Integrated into the track pad are both left and right clicks. Left click sends a touch instruction over the thing you have the cursor over and right click opens the context menu for that item that will often be brought up when touch-and-holding.
The left side of the dock holds another 40-pin connector, the same one on the bottom of the tablet, that can be used to connect the dock to the charger or a PC. Note that charging the dock while the tablet is connected to it will also charge the tablet in a one-two fashion. The front side of the dock tapers into a very thin front finish reminiscent of ultra books. The right side of the dock holds a full size SD card slot that can take up to 32GB and a full size USB port that can be used to connect to a phone or other device. The connection onto the tablet itself is very secure. It takes some force to clip the Prime onto the dock, there are two spring loaded clips that load into little slots found on either side of the 40-pin connector on the tablet. The connector slides into place and you will hear both clips click into place. The Prime will make a little "bing" noise to let you know it is connected, and the black status bar at the bottom of the screen will bring up a little icon to let you know it is connected. To disconnect, there is a little spring-loaded latch toward the back of the dock which dis-engages the two clips and allows you to pull the tablet off the dock. Some force is required to do this, which is only a testament to how well Asus have engineered the tablet to stay sturdy on the dock. When connected, the cradle section of the dock that holds the prime creates a natural lift at the back end of the dock. This tilts the keyboard and screen ever-so-slightly towards you, which helps with ergonomics. Asus have seriously done their homework with the design of this. Capping things off are four rubberised feet at the bottom of the dock to keep it gripped on whatever surface you put it on.
Overall, the Prime looks and feels the part. It performs lightning quick, the quad core Tegra 3 providing ample grunt to sweep through any and all that gets thrown at it. Physically, you're not going to be embarrassed by being seen with this, it's something you're definitely going to want to show off. The keyboard, while providing some gripes regarding the keys and its compact nature, allows you to really step up the work you can get done if you need to do an extended typing session. ICS on tablets is just as it is on phones, but for the bigger screen (so it's lovely, in short). If you want a bottom line about the Prime, it's this: the Prime is the best Android tablet out now, and is probably the best tablet out now, depending on your perspective.
P.S. If you're will buy this ASUS Transformer Prime, I suggest you have to compare for best prices before you decide at: Prices-comparison.info/Transformer-Prime/
Thank for reading!