Review Index:
Feedback

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime Review: Thinner, Faster

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction, Design and Ergonomics

View Full Size

The original ASUS Eee Pad Transformer was a bit of an upset in the tablet market. Before its launch, there was no particular reason to believe that ASUS would be able to provide a better product than any of the many other PC manufacturers entering the Android tablet fray. Sure, I like most of the ASUS products that I’ve been able to review, and I believe they have some good engineers. But they also had no experience beyond a few Windows tablets and convertible tablets. 


Yet they were successful. At the time I called the Transformer "the best Android tablet on the market today” and gave it with a Gold Award. Consumers apparently agreed, as it flew off shelves with such speed that ASUS has decided to debut a follow-up only half a year after the original hit the market.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS Transformer Prime tablet!!

There’s a lot going on with this new product. Outside, it’s entirely re-designed to provide a more luxurious, thinner, lighter experience - and there’s even a new display. Inside, a new Nvidia Tegra 3 processor lurks, ready to pounce on apps with four (er...five) cores. Almost everything has changed. Such quick action by ASUS is bold, but also brings risk. Is the Prime as good now as the original was a few months ago? Let’s start by looking at the specifications.

View Full Size

If you check out our original Transformer review and compare its specifications to this new device, you’ll see that nearly every point has been improved or enhanced. More cores are included as part of the processor, the battery is bigger, and the display is (supposedly) better.

Let’s start by looking at what isn’t covered in the specifications, however - the cool new exterior design. Unfortunately we weren’t provided with the dock for review, so we’ll simply have to focus on the tablet.

Design

View Full Size

The original Transformer was a handsome tablet, and arguably the best looking Android product besides the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Yet it was also a bit chunky, at least compared to the iPad 2 and just-mentioned Galaxy Tab. With the Prime, ASUS wants to be in competition with the very best the tablet world has to offer. To do that, they’ve reduced thickness to just .3 inches, putting it on par with the high-end tablet competition.

Such a dramatic change in size is noticeable the instant you picked up the device. It feels sleeker and more refined than both the original and most other tablets on the market. This is helped along by a new “metallic swirl design” on the rear panel, available in either Amethyst Gray or Champagne Gold. By making the rear panel from metal instead of plastic, the luxury of the entire experience is enhanced. After all, your fingers will be touching the rear panel 99% of the time you use this device.

Despite its thin profile, the Prime is able to offer a nice selection of buttons and ports in convenient locations. Both the volume rocker and the power button are located on opposite sides of one corner, which ensures they’re out of the way of your hands when holding the tablet in either portrait or landscape orientation. A micro SDcard slot is included for expandable memory and both mini-HDMI and headphone jacks enhance entertainment. USB is not included without the optional dock, but most competitors don’t offer it, either.

View Full Size

Besides dropping in size, the Prime has also dropped in weight. It’s now just 1.3 pounds, down from the 1.5 pounds of the original. That may not sound like much, but tablets are often held during use, so every ounce counts.

Using the Prime for over a half-hour wasn’t difficult, though longer periods of time could be tiring if you have nothing to rest the Prime on. Smaller tablets like the Kindle Fire have a definite advantage in this area, and there’s not much ASUS can do to erase it. Bigger tablets are simply heavier.

January 7, 2012 | 03:09 PM - Posted by Mike B (not verified)

Asus Transformer Prime is better than iPAD2 in every respect

-Asus Transformer Prime's screen is sharp and has slightly better specs than the iPad2

- The Transformer Prime's CPU is faster (you may have to wait until apps which can take advantage of those extra cores)

- The Transformer Prime doubles the iPad2 512MB of RAM

- Transformer Prime takes far superior pictures compare to iPAD2

- There is no Adobe Flash Player for iPad2

- An optional ($150) keyboard dock transforms Transformer Prime to a netbook and doubles its battery life

- 32GB Transformer Prime sells for $499 compared to iPad2 $599 (as of Jan, 7th 2012)

In my view comparing iPAD2 with Transformer Prime is ridiculous

January 7, 2012 | 03:09 PM - Posted by Mike B (not verified)

Asus Transformer Prime is better than iPAD2 in every respect

-Asus Transformer Prime's screen is sharp and has slightly better specs than the iPad2

- The Transformer Prime's CPU is faster (you may have to wait until apps which can take advantage of those extra cores)

- The Transformer Prime doubles the iPad2 512MB of RAM

- Transformer Prime takes far superior pictures compare to iPAD2

- There is no Adobe Flash Player for iPad2

- An optional ($150) keyboard dock transforms Transformer Prime to a netbook and doubles its battery life

- 32GB Transformer Prime sells for $499 compared to iPad2 $599 (as of Jan, 7th 2012)

In my view comparing iPAD2 with Transformer Prime is ridiculous

January 7, 2012 | 11:09 PM - Posted by Isaac R (not verified)

Great review. But I don't agree with the last paragraph for the reasons outlined by Mike B's comment.

January 8, 2012 | 02:15 PM - Posted by pdjblum

First off, wished you reviewed with ICS before passing judgement. ICS will be here soon enough and is what this thing will run on for almost anyone buying it. It might impact everything, including battery life.

That being said, the gold award seems incongruous with your conclusions. Gold awards should only be bestowed on products you love with little to no reservations. When you give them out liberally, they lose their meaning. Worse than that, they suggest you are doing it for the benefit of the manufacturer at the expense of the integrity of the site. Ryan is a terrific guy and I hope he would not compromise his integrity for money.

January 8, 2012 | 09:39 PM - Posted by Matt Smith

That's what Editor's Choice is for.

And we'll do an update when ICS comes out. Just have to wait on it for now.

January 9, 2012 | 11:33 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

where is your ipad2 review?

January 12, 2012 | 10:24 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

what happens when competition comes out? Lenovo has unveiled the IdeaPad S2, which is a great machine and could compete with the Transformer, even if it doesn't have a quad-core processor.

http://www.tabletvstablet.com/2012/01/11/lenovo-ideapad-s2-vs-asus-trans...

January 16, 2012 | 06:45 PM - Posted by amythompson172

first off i am very fond of my prime. I got a hold of one right before Christmas and it has been great. EXCEPT for wifi and gps. but i contacted Asus and first off, the best customer service i have ever had. but i asked them if they could replace the metallic back panel with the plastic backing off the new prime 700. THEY CAN! and so I am sending in mine free of charge to get the plastic back that will resolve the wifi/gps issues. i will keep this updated when i receive my prime to determine if this works. they believe it will and so do I.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0067PLM5E/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=...

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote><p><br>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.