Asus Transformer Prime Review
Taking it out of the box for the first time, the tablet was running Honeycomb, but after installing a software update, we’re quickly presented with Google’s most up-to-date platform – Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. Initially navigating across its homescreen, there is very little evidence of ICS, and to tell you the truth, it didn’t look any different from stock Honeycomb. However, it’s abundantly clear that it’s ICS because of the app panel, as we’re greeted with the familiar paper stacking animation while moving between menus. Moreover, when we meticulously look at it, there are a few new widgets on board – such as the weather, email/date, MyZine, and One-click Clean widgets. As a whole, it’s nothing terribly different from what we saw already with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, but still, it boasts plenty of customization aspects to tailor uniquely to each individual user.
For those of us that experienced ICS on the Galaxy Nexus, there isn’t a whole lot new when peering over some of the organizer apps on the Asus Transformer Prime – and in fact, their presentations are similar to their Honeycomb counterparts. Actually, there’s nothing different with things like the Calendar, which sports that all too characteristic two-panel layout that we’re familiar with. Again, the same goes with the People app as it details most of the information for each individual in the main panel on the right side – while our scrollable contacts list is found on the left. As for the rest, like the clock and calculator, they’re nothing else more than stretched out versions that we find on the Android smartphone platform.
on-screen keyboards very easy to use. On top of that, it sports a very responsive rate to keep up with all of our movements, which is attributed to its quad-core CPU. Between the stock ICS and Asus keyboards, we actually prefer the stock one for the simple reason that its buttons are larger and much more manageable to press. With the Asus keyboard, it mimics the Swype method of inputting text, though, we’re still able to type letters individually – but we’d recommend taking a slow pace with it because being too fast results in swipe gestures.
Emailing is an integral part of any mobile device, and not surprisingly, the Asus Transformer Prime adheres to our needs perfectly – albeit, it’s the same experience we find with any other Honeycomb flavored tablet. In actuality, there’s no upgrade with either the Gmail and email apps, since their presentations are similar in the fact that they utilize that familiar two-panel layout. As for setup, it’s a painless process that basically requires our email address and password for automatic setup.
Processor and Memory:
Nonchalantly setting the benchmark for all things coming out this year, the Asus Transformer Prime sets the bar in terms of performance with its quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, which is comprised of a 1.4GHz ARM Cortex-A9 multi-core processor with 4 cores, 1 extra low power “companion” core, and 12 graphics cores. Talk about fast, but this takes everything we’ve seen with Android-based tablets to a whole new level! Effortlessly accomplishing all bask tasks without any fluff, we’re astounded by the fluidity that it exhibits while maintaining a tight tracking of our finger as we flip through its homescreen. Even more, it doesn’t seem tested whatsoever with processor intensive tasks – such as navigating with a live wallpaper activated or playing graphically superior games. Amazingly, it produces close to the same level of responsiveness found on the iPad 2, which is something that warrants a round of applause. Do you want fast, insanely fast actually? Well, this is pretty much as good as it gets on an Android tablet – bar none!
Normally, most people would tend to agree that at $500, you’re getting something with 16GB of memory, but in fact, the Transformer Prime is graced with an even more generous 32GB of internal storage, which can be further supplemented by adding a microSD card of some sort.
Internet and Connectivity:
We’ve always been favorable with the web browsing experience on most Honeycomb flavored tablets, but for some, the experience is marred by choppiness and sluggishness. Well folks, that’s not the case with the almighty Asus Transformer Prime, as it represents what a flawless web browsing experience should be like. Not only is it able to load complex web pages very fast and accurately, it doesn’t flinch whatsoever when pages littered with heavy Flash content try to test it. All in all, it maintains its steady responsiveness and fluidity with various navigational controls to make it such a joy traversing through content heavy web pages. Seriously, we sometimes find ourselves getting lost in perusing a variety of pages for the simple reason that its performance is near perfect.
Connected to a Wi-Fi network, the tablet is able to establish a solid connection with very little evidence of fluctuation – and more importantly, it’s still able to connect perfectly at 30 feet away. Meanwhile, we’ve heard plenty of stories about the nightmare surrounding the tablet’s GPS signal strength – with some saying that it’s the metallic casing that’s causing interference. Granted that there have been reports of it not working altogether, we’re happy to report that our review unit manages to establish connections to various GPS satellites, though, it’s on the weak side both indoors and out when compared to other devices. Lastly, Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR is on board to enable it to connect to various wireless peripherals.
1. bloodline (Posts: 675; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)
fantastic review. Looking forward to seeing if the ipad 3 can match it
6. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
i'm not much of a biased person, but following the success of the ipad 2, people will buy the ipad 3 even if it has the same specs as this tablet and it will definetely run smoother on iOS.
Apple will surely advertise it's camera, quad core, display and design.
I'm not saying the Prime is fail though, I LOVE IT. It is just a signal that Android is just warming up and the Soldiers of the android army is ready to fight.
(Hoping for Nexus Tablet just to fight the iPad 3 off lol)
10. SleepingOz (Posts: 2009; Member since: 22 Oct 2011)
ipod touch 9" 3gen will never be able to match this!
16. pooked (Posts: 56; Member since: 27 Jan 2012)
Its the first gen quad core device out there, i just cant see Apple with its closed ecosystem lasting much longer in the world where customisation is such a huge deal.
Lets see how that Pad 3 looks like, maybe nicer rez screen as oppose to the previous s**tty ones.
23. ghost__uwi (Posts: 175; Member since: 28 Nov 2011)
I actually like apples ecosystem to android.
I also love this tablet
32. cheetah2k (Posts: 696; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)
Why no 3G Asus?? Surely Phonearena, this has to be a con??
39. mikenco (Posts: 7; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)
the 3g enabled tf202 was reported for sale in asia by members of one of the android t.prime forums. it was discussed during the ces show by asus but for some reason has taken them longer to release than the base wifi only unit.
2. sorcio46 (Posts: 390; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)
I've preordered it @ Amazon italy a week ago and honestly with my old transformer i did't used the GPS or navigation.
Can I ask why "So-so video recording & photo quality" !?! Is the BEST camera that a tablet can offer NOW !
3. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
THAT'S what I'm talking about.. :-)
Now waiting the 700 series with ICS.
That review will be epic!!
Google tablets are the next biggest thing, just wait and see
19. neptune.joel (Posts: 13; Member since: 12 Jan 2011)
im not sure but Windows 8 may be playing there too.
5. henrickrw (Posts: 402; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)
Phonearena; Thanks for being honest... I would have gave it a 9.5...
Ipad: Lookout, Android is coming for you...!!!!!
8. Maeve (Posts: 2; Member since: 27 Jan 2012)
I have one and I love it. Simply brilliant. I have used other pads before and this is just better all round. Everyone i've shown it to has been really impressed as well, and I've got some hard to please friends! For anyone who wants Android, this is the one.
11. Jeradiah3 (Posts: 881; Member since: 11 Feb 2010)
Are you able to write documents like term papers.....and if you have the keyboard dock, are you able to print from the tablet to the printer??
17. John.V (Posts: 88; Member since: 27 May 2011)
It'll suffice for most things, but it's very cramped....like what you find on some 10-inch netbooks. It's tedious to say the least, but usable.
40. Birds (Posts: 848; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)
Hey, It thought this device was "0.31" inches thick?
33. brainsturridge (Posts: 2; Member since: 28 Jan 2012)
yeh have to say that i agree. I have had a motorolla xoom and a galaxy tab and ended up selling them on. the prime has been the first tablet device that i want to keep
9. Jeradiah3 (Posts: 881; Member since: 11 Feb 2010)
Ive been waiting for a device to replace my 4yr old computer and its looking like the Prime is on the top of my list. I like the functionality and how smooth the tablet is. With the addition of the keyboard dock, not only can i use it as a laptop for school, i can also keep the amt of apps i currently have thru android and amazon
Unlike the HTC Jetstream and Motorola Xoom, the Transformer Prime is reasonably priced, even with the keyboard. im looking to buy both the tablet and keyboard dock in the near future!!
15. ryan5609 (Posts: 40; Member since: 01 Nov 2011)
I am going to be perfectly honest with you. I would not recommend the Prime for what you need it for. I just sold mine a few days ago. The Prime is great for what it is, an expensive novelty, but I cant see being that productive on it. Check out my full review and thoughts on Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/review/R
I had the original Transformer and the Prime, I just don't think that Android tablet are where I want them to be yet.
24. ghost__uwi (Posts: 175; Member since: 28 Nov 2011)
Well i need to see this in action before I pass judgement. I really think this is the equivalent of the Samsung Galaxy s2
25. Joshing4fun (Posts: 960; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)
I agree with ryan and that's where i still can't seem to quite understand the buzz about tablets.
So this is where i hope W8 tablets will come in and give me a tablet that can actually work as a portable computer. I mean this has the power to do so but works no better than you're phone with a bigger screen.
43. mikenco (Posts: 7; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)
at first i too didn't get the hype on tablets but w/the docking station and newer apps i literally can do virtually everything my laptop can do. the first batch that went out had bugs and an older os, even at that most owners had mostly praise for the tprime. now that the bugs are history and the number of apps is growing daily, if you had one you would understand why it now has such a devoted following and why you can't find them anywhere in stock. those who harp on the initial bugs forget apple too had issues with its initial releases, just part of the process. lastly with an app i downloaded yesterday i am now able to easily network and access files on both my pc's at home as well as the one at work.
12. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
oh and btw, PA, you used the picture of the eee slate in size comparison to the prime when it said eee pad.
13. Windsponge (Posts: 89; Member since: 01 Nov 2009)
I bought one and returned it. The wi-fi and gps do not work correctly. I thought the pictures were excellent and the tablet was good. Not many of my apps worked on it. Asus. Knows there are problems with this. I returned it and am waiting on some big more reliable to come out. If not for wi fi and gps issues this could have been a very good tablet. So I feel this review is more of a promo than the truth. Read people who bought one's reviews.
18. John.V (Posts: 88; Member since: 27 May 2011)
I didn't experience any Wi-Fi issues with my model, though, I clarify in the review that GPS signal strength is weak, but doesn't hamper using things like Google Maps.
42. mikenco (Posts: 7; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)
since the most recent update i have all bars and good reception is now great. i tested it yesterday after the last update, took it outside approx. 40' from my modem and still had a good enough connection to download and read my mail. i don't care about gps as i have it in my vehicles as well as a dedicated unit for hiking so i cannot tell you anything in regards to that.
14. ryan5609 (Posts: 40; Member since: 01 Nov 2011)
Good review. But I think you give the ICS browser too much praise. I thought it was better than the honeycomb version, but it was still buggy as hell. I found mine would load basic pages just fine, but anything complicated or demanding websites and it would start to piss me off. I had my Prime for about a month, but I had to sell it. I felt a new laptop would better accomplish what I wanted to do with the Prime.
36. ryan5609 (Posts: 40; Member since: 01 Nov 2011)
Yes. I used the Dolphin browser when the stock browser started messing up. It fixed the issues I was having with the stock browser, but I was still disappointed with the speed of internet browsing.
41. mikenco (Posts: 7; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)
i have been using chrome beta for the past week and it is absolutely the best. fast, bug free and just a great product
20. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5426; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)
i'm liking my sister's here but the secret to it's svelte form is in it's tapered edges and being that it's so wide, there's so much bezel on this thing and it's kind of slippery so you'll probably want to get a case for it but it feels like a very sturdy and well built piece of equipment. i LOVE web browsing on this thing. it's a match for my Quad-Core Laptop. streaming Flash in 720p-1080p (on a 20+mbps connection) is no sweat. i actually like the ASUS Keyboard but the Swyping feature is kind of annoying. i have apparently gotten the misfortune of being plagued slightly with the talked about connection issues. it's not take it back bad but it won't be living up to any of my Motorola devices anytime soon. the Prime is a nice Tablet but if i were to get one of my very own i'd get a Xyboard 8.2 because i want something to just grab and go on a whim, if i wanted to bring a bigger piece of equipment for my needs i'd bring my immensely powerful Laptop and the Xyboard also has a better display i think and the build quality is more durable unlike the Prime which has fine build quality but it's probably something you'd want to protect like a newborn and the Xyboard is Motorola so you're going to have the most reliable radios.
21. doubler86 (Posts: 293; Member since: 26 Jan 2011)
Great review. This is easily the best tablet on the market right now. It will be interesting to see the iPad 3 and the Galaxy Tab 2 compete against it. This tablet really has no bad points though, I mean even though the camera is bad when I tested it out, it's still better than any other tablet camera on the market. Which isn't saying much granted, but I'm not expecting cameras on tablets to be as good as cellphones this year. Maybe next year.
28. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
but WHY is a camera even important??
i would feel like an idiot walking around taking photos with a tablet!
especially when i have my phone in my pocket!
geesh, i can't help the WTF feeling every time someone goes into lengths of describing a tablet back camera - it's really pointless.
and it's the crappy part of this review.
22. -box- (Posts: 3470; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
I was half-expecting a 9.5, then I remembered it didn't have a tree-originating-fruit
Great review though. Curse this thing; I just got rid of my tablet before Christmas and intended to replace it with a notebook or ultrabook, but darn it this is nice.....
29. jellytime (Posts: 135; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)
asus transformer prime playing skyrim
30. Guest_star (Posts: 231; Member since: 30 Dec 2011)
Is transofermers super IPS+ better than LG's AH-IPS ? i dont think sooo :)))
44. mikenco (Posts: 7; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)
once you get out of high school and start college you might find it to be a very useful tool. especially the voice to text option that works great and you don't have to worry about spelling for your notes. a nice little extra besides being able to access and read your texts on the asus rather than tote around 50lbs of books that cost a fortune.
31. imkyle (Posts: 911; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)
Who's ready to see what Samsung has to offer us at MWC this year? I think a quad core processor may be out of the picture.. I'm guessing a beefed up dual core.
34. CJtimes (Posts: 1; Member since: 29 Jan 2012)
There's 2 different discussions going on here:
1. Can tablets replace netbooks/laptops?
2. Is the Prime a good tablet/worth the money?
TBH I'm going to leave no.1 out as I think that's a personal decision for each person depending on their needs. As for no.2 I can tell you from my opinion the Prime is without doubt an amazing tablet and well worth the money.
It is so far ahead of any other Android tablet out there it's almost a no brainer what to choose. I'd say that all the attention the Prime is getting is becasue of that - it's the best. If you want a to pick a bone with tablets, there's plenty wrong with the galaxy tab! (used to own one).
My Prime has performed perfectly for the week I've owned it now. Fast, responsive and easily matches the iPad (it's a much newer piece of kit).
IMO money well spent and very happy. If ASUS keep this development up they will be leading the tablet game very soon.
37. ryan5609 (Posts: 40; Member since: 01 Nov 2011)
I totally agree with your opinion. The TF Prime currently stands alone at the top of the android tablet hill. But it is hard to describe weather or not it is worth the $500 or more. For very casual gaming, emailing, web browsing, battery life, movie watching and portability, the TF Prime is a perfect choice if that all you need it for. If you travel often, I could see it as a perfect travel companion for all of your entertainment needs. But once your off the plane and have real work to do, you may want to make sure you have your laptop handy. In terms of pure productivity, the TF Prime comes up well short, all Android tablets do. Without the keyboard dock, I would only recommend it for casual entertainment purposes. Even with the keyboard dock, the TF Prime will fall short of it X86 based brethren.
45. mikenco (Posts: 7; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)
can tablets at this point replace notebooks or desktops for that matter and the answer is not yet but close. about the only thing i can't do with the tablet is work with my autocad software. but at the rate things are changing i would not be surprised at all to see a manufacturer in the next couple of years come out with some amazing hardware/software that i do believe will eventually be able to go neck and neck with laptops, etc. that said as much as i love my tprime i still am holding onto my other pc's and apple macbook pro.
35. nwright94 (unregistered)
I really want one of these.
38. robocopvn (Posts: 137; Member since: 10 Mar 2010)
Oh My F**** GOD !!!
This monster run amazing smoothly with Android OS + many Widgets, running apps, live wallpapers etc...
46. mikenco (Posts: 7; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)
i've posted several replies here, and by the way excellent review but i think the one thing that says the most about just how good the tf201 is, is how hard it is to actually find one for sale. there are several places still taking pre-orders even now but they have none in stock. b.buy has sold out all, the last batch they received the end of january sold out in most locations before the sun had set. a few stores in the n.e. and ca. had literally a couple for a few more days but those were far and few between and none were left anywhere in the u.s. at weeks end. even now go to their site and look, all you will see is sold out, check stores, none available. that is a testament to just how impressive this product is and how much of an evolutionary leap it is from all tablets that have come before. the future for tablets based on this as well as others coming out in the near future certainly bodes well for what lies ahead. apple may not like competition but to be honest that is what drives innovation in the marketplace and we the consumers will all come out as winners in this race to be the best.
49. Alp1111 (Posts: 46; Member since: 27 Jan 2012)
Of course I don't say that asus transformer prime is a ipad 2 kiler. but samsung galaxy tab 11.6 will be a ipad 2 kiler.
51. bdevnsh (Posts: 5; Member since: 13 Aug 2012)
i didnot find the comments on whether printing can be done with this tab or not? anyone please..?