Asus Transformer Prime Review

Garnering plenty of attention from almost every critic, thanks to its combinational stellar pricing and expansive functionality, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer managed to rise to the top of the ranks within the Android Honeycomb landscape last year. For round two, Asus isn’t simply going to be content with making the usual set of iterative improvements, oh no, but instead, they’re aiming to grab a firm grasp on the market while setting the benchmark for everyone else.

Perhaps, it’s the allure of being the very first to feature the NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor, or maybe that it’s one of the few devices to offer the most up-to-date Android experience in Ice Cream Sandwich, whatever it is, the Asus Transformer Prime is here to tantalize us with its all-encompassing magnificence. Knowing it’s packed to the roof with dreamy hardware, the $500 pricing it’s sporting is simply icing on the cake – though, all talk is nice, but let’s find if it can walk the walk.

The package contains:

  • Proprietary USB cable
  • Wall Charger
  • User’s Manual
  • Cleaning cloth


Impressively, Asus went all out this time around with the design of the Transformer Prime seeing that they didn’t leave any stone unturned in crafting this beauty. Simply put it, the Asus Transformer Prime is one of the best-looking tablets we’ve seen to date – hands down! Needless to say, that’s some serious talk from us, but after scoping out the premium choice of materials it’s using, like the metallic spun finish of its rear casing, it’s easily on par to the iPad 2 in terms of quality and durability, though, it’s marginally lighter (20.67 oz), but not as light as the airy Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (19.75 oz).

Feasting our eyes on its industrial design, we adore that it has an overall clean appearance, but even more impressive is the fact it’s able to pack everything into its compact 0.41” thick body – and it’s uniform too! For the most part, it’s comfortable to hold with both hands for an extensive period of time, however, its edges are a bit sharp feeling and can become slippery to grasp. Beyond that, we have to applaud Asus in crafting something so beautiful and easily exude the top-notch qualities we’d expect out of a $500 priced tablet.

On its left edge we find most of the tablet’s ports, like its microSD card slot and microHDMI port, while the microphone and stiff feeling volume control are also located closeby. Towards the top left corner, the lonely narrow looking dedicated power button pops out, and its response is better when pressed. Meanwhile, the directional microphone is perched directly in the middle of the top edge, while the 3.5mm headset jack is the sole thing taking up the right side of the tablet. Lastly, the proprietary data/charging port and dock connecting notches are all positioned on the bottom edge.

Above the display, a 1.3-megapixel camera sits squarely in the middle ready for all of our video chatting needs and self-portraits. Strangely, even though it’s running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, face unlock is nowhere to be found as an option with the tablet. Flipping over to its backside, the tablet is treated to one very respectable 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with flash, which features an F2.4 lens and backside illumination. Finally, the tablet’s sole speaker is found nearby towards the left edge.

Just like the Eee Pad Transformer from last year, the Transformer Prime also sports a convertible style design with the aid of its optional $149.99 keyboard dock. When it’s snuggly fastened in, the 10.1” tablet is transformed to a chic looking ultraportable that’s equipped with the usefulness of a full QWERTY keyboard, trackpad, USB port, full-sized SD card slot, and an extra battery that provides up to 18 hours of total battery for the tablet. However, if there’s one gripe that we have, it has to be that the chicklet style buttons on the keyboard are very tiny! Therefore, if you consider yourself to have above average sized hands, just expect the keyboard to feel very cramped. Aside from that, it’s definitely one accessory worth picking up for the money and added functionality.


We’ve seen plenty of tablets utilizing IPS displays of some sort, like the iPad 2 and Galaxy Tab 10.1, but the Transformer Prime goes beyond them both by offering us a 10.1 WXGA (1280 x 800) LED backlit Super IPS+ display. Yeah, we know that’s  mouth full, but there’s good reason for that. Frankly, this is the sharpest looking display we’ve seen to date on any 10-inch tablet, and rightfully so, it deserves a lot of recognition thanks to its wide-viewing angles, realistic color production, high contrast, and superior clarity while outdoors. Obviously, its resolution isn’t as awe-inspiring, since it’s the typical thing we tend to see with this size category, but nonetheless, it’s adequate enough to produce sharp details that are legible to the eye. Two modes are available, IPS and Super IPS+ mode, but the latter tends to be the better option while using outdoors with the sun present. Gorgeous! That pretty much sums up its display.



1. bloodline

Posts: 706; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

fantastic review. Looking forward to seeing if the ipad 3 can match it

6. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 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)

7. sorcio46

Posts: 435; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

What is iPad 3 :D ?

10. SleepingOz unregistered

ipod touch 9" 3gen will never be able to match this!

16. pooked

Posts: 56; Member since: Jan 27, 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: Nov 28, 2011

I actually like apples ecosystem to android. I also love this tablet

32. cheetah2k

Posts: 2325; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

Why no 3G Asus?? Surely Phonearena, this has to be a con??

39. mikenco

Posts: 7; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

the 3g enabled tf202 was reported for sale in asia by members of one of the android 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: 435; Member since: Jul 27, 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: Oct 17, 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: 26; Member since: Jan 12, 2011

im not sure but Windows 8 may be playing there too.


Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 2010

Finally a tablet worth your money.

5. henrickrw

Posts: 408; Member since: Sep 16, 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: Jan 27, 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: 1149; Member since: Feb 11, 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: 99; Member since: May 27, 2011

It'll suffice for most things, but it's very what you find on some 10-inch netbooks. It's tedious to say the least, but usable.

40. Birds

Posts: 1172; Member since: Nov 21, 2011

Hey, It thought this device was "0.31" inches thick?

33. brainsturridge

Posts: 2; Member since: Jan 28, 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: 1149; Member since: Feb 11, 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: 107; Member since: Nov 01, 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 Amazon 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: Nov 28, 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: 1254; Member since: Aug 13, 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: Feb 02, 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: Jul 15, 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: 97; Member since: Nov 01, 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: 99; Member since: May 27, 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: Feb 02, 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: 107; Member since: Nov 01, 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.

27. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011 tried third party browser?

36. ryan5609

Posts: 107; Member since: Nov 01, 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.
Transformer Prime
  • Display 10.1" 1280 x 800 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / Other front
  • Processor NVIDIA Tegra 3, Quad-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 64GB + microSDHC

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