Review Index:

iPad 3 (2012) vs. Transformer Prime: Tablet Titan Showdown

Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Apple, ASUS

Introduction, Design and Ergonomics

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Tablets are growing in popularity, but the market is still immature. There are only a handful of serious contenders sold in North America (discounting the cheap knock-offs you can find on eBay and other sites). 

Apple’s iPad is the clear leader in terms of sales. It is trailed by similar Android-powered options like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Acer Iconia and (of coures) the ASUS Transformer Prime. We reviewed the Prime when it hit store shelves earlier this year and concluded that it was the best Android tablet money can buy. That makes a comparison with the new iPad obvious.

The constant stream of rants for or against Android and iOS devices in the media may lead you to think that the comparison between the two is highly subjective. I don’t believe that’s the case. There are a number of objective measurements that can be used to judge these products.

Yes, there is always going to be some degree of preference between operating systems, but we’re not really going to get into the iOS vs. Android argument here. That’s a topic that would require its own article, and most likely one several times longer than this comparison. Subjective points will be limited to design and ergonomics. 

Enough talk. It’s time for the competition to begin.

Continue reading our comparison of the new iPad (2012) and the ASUS Transformer Prime!!


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Apple’s new iPad looks much like the old iPad. There’s not a lot going on - just one button adorns the front and the rear panel is essentially a slab of matte silver material with an Apple logo and some obligatory FCC text. 

Yet the sum of these meager parts is an elegant and attractive device that never looks out of place no matter who is holding it or where it is being used. Apple seems to be the only company in the electronics business that understands most people prefer luxury over fun.

The Transformer Prime is also aesthetically pleasing and buttoned-down, but the design is not as cohesive. Instead of using a single piece of material on the back ASUS uses two - a thin frame that covers the edges and nearly flat piece of metal over the internals. 

ASUS also has to deal with the fact that the company has no corporate logo. It’s difficult to make your product look elegant when four chrome letters is the only way you can brand it. 

Build quality is in favor of Apple. The device is nearly seamless. In reality there is a gap between the display panel and the rear cover, but you’ll never notice it until you go looking for it. No other company builds a tablet with tolerances as tight as Apple.

I can’t say the same for the Prime, but that doesn’t mean it’s poorly constructed. Both devices feel rock-solid in hand and there is nothing wrong with the gaps between its materials. ASUS simply can’t compete with the tight tolerances of Apple’s tablet.


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Placing the ASUS Transformer Prime and the iPad 3 side-by-side proves that there is some room for differentiation among tablets. Though they are both flat slabs, they are different in their size, weight and materials.

While the Transformer Prime and the iPad 3 have a similar quoted display size (10.1” vs 9.7”) the physical shape of each tablet is quite different. This is due to the format of each display. While the Prime has a 16:9 widescreen panel the iPad uses an old-fashioned 4:3 format. In terms of total surface area the Transformer Prime is the larger tablet, but by less than 10%.

There are pros and cons to each format, but I think Apple has the better idea. The 4:3 format results in a tablet that is more square and thus easier to wrap your hands around. Using the Prime (and any other 16:9 tablet) is not easy when it’s held width-wise. 

Despite this, ergonomics is only a minor win for the iPad. Why? Size and weight. The Prime is just 8.3mm thin and weighs about 580 grams, while the iPad 3 is 9.4mm thick and weighs about 660 grams. The difference is a bit difficult to notice unless you have the tablets side by side, but over time the added weight of the iPad 3 adds up. It is a bit more tasking to hold for long periods of time.

Video News

April 6, 2012 | 02:17 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This review is incorrect. It IS in fact a single piece of metal. I have torn mine apart at least 15 times.

April 6, 2012 | 07:58 PM - Posted by JSL


Matt, you're mistaking the Asus Eee Pad Transformer (TF101) for the Transformer Prime(TF201).

Might want to check out tear down video's if you're not going to take apart your own. Its a single piece for the aluminum housing of the TF-201 Transformer Prime.

April 8, 2012 | 01:21 AM - Posted by Matt Smith

Sorry for the mistake, then.

It's a little beside the point, though - what I was trying to get across is that, for some reason, ASUS decided to make it appear as if there are two pieces of trim on the back of the Prime.

That seems strange and unattractive. If it's just one piece, then that's actually even more unusual. I don't know why ASUS would go out of its way to introduce an additional (perceived) seam to the device.

April 6, 2012 | 02:27 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Also.. setting these screens at a percent based brightness puts the prime hugely at a disadvantage. It is WAY brighter than the Ipad. Also, the prime has a cpu clock of 1.4ghz MAX, 1.6ghz is only availible through overclocking (it is technically in ther kernel, but disabled.) This review is riddled with misinformation. I expected better from PCPER.COM.

April 6, 2012 | 02:41 PM - Posted by Matt Smith

"That puts it at a severe on-paper disadvantage against Tegra 3, which offers four cores running at up to 1.6 GHz (though they run at between 1 GHz and 1.4 GHz in the Transformer Prime)."


April 7, 2012 | 10:26 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Show me one device running at 1.6ghz. Tegra3 will never run that high. Tegra t33 will.

April 6, 2012 | 10:57 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

There is not much of a brightness difference between the iPad 3 and the Prime and the iPad is lighting many, many more pixels, which gives it a huge disadvantage too...

April 14, 2012 | 05:05 AM - Posted by Brett (not verified)

More pixels does not mean more power. the iPad has more pixels but each pixel uses much more power. Brightness has a far greater effect on power consumption.

The point being made is the Transformer Prime at 30% brightness will be FAR brighter than the iPad 3 and therefore use far more power. Equal brightness test would be far more useful comparison

April 6, 2012 | 02:37 PM - Posted by pdjblum

You are comparing crapple to oranges. There has never been a large market for tablets. MS tried selling tablets ten years ago, and failed miserably. There is, however, a large market for iPad's; the reasons for this I will leave to those who want to delve into the psyches of the people buying iPads.

The vast majority of people buying iPads are not interested in how they match up against competing products: in their minds there are no competing products. To them, they are not buying a tablet, they are buying an iPad. And the vast majority of people buying iPads would not be interested in what tech sites have to say about them. They are an impulse purchase. The people that buy them do not think about why they need them or what they will use them for. They find this out after they buy them.

The vast majority of enthusiasts are not interested in gadget reviews or comparisons between gadgets. Those that are, can find plenty of them on and many similar sites.

Not only is the market for android tablets minuscule when compared to the market for iPads, but Android is obviously flawed, as you love to reiterate every time you have a chance. What enthusiast cares anyway. Most get much more excited about video cards and psu's and even fans.

I am sure the Windows 8 tablet experience will be terrific, but once again, people are not interested in tablets. They want there iPads. I say, let them have them and stop making them a fixture on this world class enthusiast site.

April 6, 2012 | 03:07 PM - Posted by Matt Smith

The amount of content that PC Perspective offers for traditional PC enthusiasts isn't decreasing, and we think it'd be foolhardy to ignore other devices. The tablet is developing into a very small PC - and we review laptops. So why ignore them?

April 6, 2012 | 04:57 PM - Posted by AParsh335i (not verified)

I'm a computer enthusiast, gamer, and I spend about $8m a year at my company on computers and electronics. I read the entire review and thought it was great. This guy that is flaming your review is simply a troll.

April 6, 2012 | 10:22 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Agree, anyone that thinks the iPad is not the overall winner here has not used one.

April 6, 2012 | 04:54 PM - Posted by AParsh335i (not verified)

"There has never been a large market for tablets"
Not sure where you get your information, but there is a HUGE market for tablets including iPads, Nice android tablets like Prime/Iconia/streak/playbook/etc, and crap android tablets that are made by companies in China you have never heard of.
Wake up.

April 7, 2012 | 06:59 PM - Posted by Bill (not verified)

I have to agree. It's a sad day when on the home page of a PC hardware site there's yet another also ran review of yet another new Ipad, which technically isn't even called the Ipad 3 anyway. Ipad people as you say couldn't care less about the specs on the unit, how sharp the screen is, or it's storage capacity. They want it because they are sheep that want to buy what everyone else they know buys. Most Android users won't switch to Apple because of the mess that is Itunes, and the fact that if you have a decent size MP3 collection you'll need to shell out a King's ransom for the 32 or 64gb Ipad. Notice I said most users though, as Android users are far more open minded when it comes to the idea of switching tablets. To Apple users it's a religion and anyone else is to be shunned as a non-believer!

April 6, 2012 | 03:03 PM - Posted by jameskelsey

I think a big part of the choice between the two has to be whether you want to be locked into the Apple ecosystem,it's a walled garden.Or have more choice with Android,also if you use the dock it doubles your battery life.

April 6, 2012 | 04:32 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Ditto. I think it has less to do with hardware details and more to do with this so-called "Eco-system". I personally started out as a devout iOS user, and as I became more adept with mobile devices, I was drawn to Android. I started to feel like I was a prisoner with Apple and iTunes. Android on the other hand is a tinkerers paradise. It was so easy to root my tab... took about 5 minutes. Installing a custom ROM was also a snap. I still have an iPhone, but it will probably be my last. I just don't do well with authority I guess.

April 6, 2012 | 10:40 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Only thing is, as far as tablets are concerned, Apple's "walled garden" is far superior to Android's open ecosystem. The quality and quantity of apps optimized for Android Tablets is simply pitiful, and most phone apps look like crap blown up on a larger screen..

April 6, 2012 | 04:26 PM - Posted by Vasu (not verified)

For me it doesn't matter if the OS is a walled garden or a public garden. What matters to me is whether the device works without an issue every time. I switched from iPhone to Samsung Galaxy II and after my initial honeymoon, I am praying to God how soon my current contract ends so that I can switch back to iPhone. Android although is very promising, is not quite stable. Period.

April 6, 2012 | 04:40 PM - Posted by JSL

you might want to update your rom/firmware ;)

April 6, 2012 | 05:55 PM - Posted by jameskelsey

I hear that the Apple OS's are more stable than Android and Windows all the time but have seen quite a bit of the opposite.I watch a lot of the shows on TWIT.TV including IPad Today and MacBreak Weekly.Most of production is done with Macs and most of the hosts use Mac and IOS.If you watch live you'll see them have problems quite often with apps, software and the OS that get cut out of the shows downloads.Apple,Microsoft and Android all have pro's and con's and all have their own problems, most of which I think are due to the software or drivers installed on them.A lot of Apple users seem to wear blinders when it comes to seeing any flaws in the Apple environment,I don't really understand why,it's just a device not a child or a puppy.I use Windows and probably only get a couple lockups and reboots a year,and I use a lot of alpha and beta software.I also have a HP Touchpad that I paid $99 for and put Android Ice Cream Sandwich CM9 alpha on it.This is a device that was designed to run WebOS and has Android on it.Not all the functions are working yet but it is a Alpha release,I find it very stable and enjoy all it's options.

April 6, 2012 | 04:54 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The problem with the iPad is that you need an adapter for EVERYTHING. The Prime has a micro SD slot (which every mobile device should have) and well as micro hdmi. On top of that, there is no good dock for the iPad, while the Prime's dock is far and away the best tablet dock in existence, giving you usb 2.0, full size SD, a good keyboard, and much greater battery life. This is the big separator, making the iPad more of a toy for most people, while the Prime has serious potential to be a productivity tool without poorly designed productivity add-ons. Also, 4:3 displays are a joke and the fact that the iPad is still vertically oriented by default is silly. And the Prime gives you more bang for your buck: take the 2 base models. The Prime comes with 32gb storage on board and expandibility and micro hdmi, while the iPad of the same price comes with half the storage and no expansion options built in. The iPad legitimately only has a display advantage, which will be irrelevant when the TF700 launches in summer.

April 6, 2012 | 11:07 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Dude, your an idiot. Show me any Android "productivity" apps that compare to iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand. The primes battery life is only greater when you use the keyboard dock, which you have to buy separately. A4:3 ratio display is much better for use in portrait and landscape than a 16:9 display than can be best used only in landscape -- hell just get a $399 windows laptop at Offfice Depot.

October 13, 2012 | 04:05 AM - Posted by Brian Eargle (not verified)

A 16:9 display of text rotated 90° is really sweet for reading while lying down.

April 6, 2012 | 11:52 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I completely agree. Just the keyboard dock by itself totally sold me on the Transformer. Add to that the USB Host which is a H U G E plus. I can connect my camera to it and view photos, download them, re-arrange them into albums .... With the iPad, I had to buy a $40 dongle (which wouldn't work with the iPod Touch!) and could not be used as a universal host! Then, I couldn't create albums from the photos that I could re-arrange. I had to sync with iTunes, upload the photos, rearrange them and resync them back to the iPad. So much for a post PC device! It's the extensibility of the Prime that sets it notches better from a hardware perspective than the iPad. I haven't seen the iPad 3, but I can easily believe that it has a better display. However I have never seen any page look as bad on the TP as the one in the review. I did go to the PC Perspective site and some of the fonts do look bad. But it's a very inconsistent site. Some pages (like this review) looks very good and some like the sections ("Latest ...") of the home page are using a font that doesn't look that hot on my desktop either.

I'm not sure why the default browser is being used on the Transformer Prime instead of the Chrome browser which is noticeably faster than the default browser.

I have noticed that the default exposure on the TP camera has to be dropped by 0.5 to 1 stop when shooting in bright sunlight or mixed light. But the photos while not comparable to my DSLR are still fairly decent. I still haven't found a reason for having a camera on a tablet though. I use it very rarely and it made no part of my buying decision. The front facing camera is useful for meetings though.

April 6, 2012 | 05:13 PM - Posted by John Crane (not verified)

You said this comparison was not going to be subjective, but every judgment you made was subjective, presented without factual evidence other than your personal preferences.

You said measurements. Measurements are expressed as NUMBERS. Where are your numbers? Where are the specs?

Do most consumers prefer luxury over fun? If that;s true, how come there are more Android smart phones in the market than there are Apple phones?

I'm trying to decide whether this is a puff piece on Apple, or a hit piece on everybody else. I am sorry that I wasted my time reading this because I REALLY would like to know what's Apple got that nobody else has got? Maybe they just have more shills in the media, and that's all.

Prove me wrong. Write a decent, OBJECTIVE article with facts and numbers.

April 6, 2012 | 06:43 PM - Posted by Matt Smith

The new iPad has:

Better battery life.
Better GPU performance.
Far better absolute display resolution and pixels-per-inch.

April 6, 2012 | 07:00 PM - Posted by JSL

as long as you still enjoy 4:3 aspect ratio. :|
and one can argue about battery life...

April 6, 2012 | 09:56 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

What is wrong with 4:3 on a tablet? Webpages, ebooks, emagazines, many games, etc.. look great in portrait AND landscape mode. Maybe if you watch a lot Widescreen video--but the iPads hi res display shows every pixel of a 1080p video anyway.

April 7, 2012 | 10:32 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

...and a lot of negative space while doing so.

April 10, 2012 | 12:14 PM - Posted by crobartie (not verified)

agree, 4:3 is much better for tablets
reading books is nicer

April 12, 2012 | 02:17 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Except if, like myself, you like watching hd movies on your tablet. Just because 4:3 works for you, doesn't mean it works for everyone. Choice is great.

July 10, 2012 | 01:49 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

i wonder how you do your battery rundown test since the transformer prime connected to its dock gives you superior battery life.

April 6, 2012 | 05:40 PM - Posted by chip (not verified)

I always found it strange how much emphasis people put on tablet cameras. I don't know too many people who use their tablets as cameras even twice a month.

On another note, where did you get the 4:3 stuff from? I understand the iPad has a 4:3 pixel ratio, but I'm pretty sure that that doesn't translate out to a 4:3 form factor. Are you sure about that?

April 6, 2012 | 06:44 PM - Posted by Matt Smith

I'm 99% sure.

April 6, 2012 | 05:44 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How many times did I read "I prefer". Way to keep it objectively.

I agree android has ways to go in terms of all-around butter smooth experience, but it is the overall doctrine of "we know what is best for you" that android shatters. That's why apple locks everything down and you pay for everything as you.

That is the real experience users, who think for themselves, crave.

April 6, 2012 | 05:46 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I have both of these tablets and the iPad is far better and nearly everything. I have had to reset the Prime so many times and the browser is so freaking slow at reacting to anything. Internet browsing is horrible on the Prime. Not the mention the horrible WiFi signal. ICS did help the Prime performance but over all i just hate the internet browsing experience on it. Now what I love about the Prime is its weight and ergonomics; it is much easier to hold then the iPad. I also think it looks better. The Prime is the best Android tablet on the market but when comparing it to the iPad it just doesn't hold up (this is just my opinion and experience).

April 6, 2012 | 06:02 PM - Posted by jameskelsey

Have you tried any of the other browsers in the Play store? They have many free ones.I like the Firefox ones because of the sync.They have Firefox,Firefox Beta and Aurora which is a Firefox Alpha.I use Aurora.

April 6, 2012 | 06:02 PM - Posted by jameskelsey


April 15, 2012 | 01:35 AM - Posted by Rauelius (not verified)

I disagree. I use my Prime a LOT more than my iPad3. Then again, I'm a True Power user, you may just use it as an appliance or a toy. I love media streaming from my server, Rooting and Overclocking, watching movies is better on the Prime due to the 16:9 display. BUT, if you prefer a simple toy(can't blame you, I love how solid and reliable the iPad3 is)then of course you prefer the iPad3. I like messing around with my devices which is why I visit sites like this and HardOCP. The iPad3 is more for the sheeple, while the Prime is more for Tech-Gear heads. It's a personal choice really.

April 6, 2012 | 05:52 PM - Posted by 1stkorean (not verified)

I am sure apple or maybe even that dead guy paid you dearly for this piece of iCrap. There is no doubt in my mind everything mentioned here is your opinion only, and there are no facts or figures to back what you are spewing.

This was several mintes of my life wasted that I can never get back.

April 6, 2012 | 06:31 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I used to slag apple off all the time to when I used android, now I can actually afford apple products they are the pinnacle of engineering! People who kick APple generally do this as they can't afford them!

April 6, 2012 | 09:26 PM - Posted by JSL

I could buy a loaded 12 core (dual socket 1366 + 2x X5650 Xeon's) Mac Pro right now if I choose to... but I choose to be smarter with my money than buying something that I can personally build at less than half the cost.

Your comment is quite assenine.

April 6, 2012 | 09:39 PM - Posted by ThorAxe

You forgot to mention the pads woeful browsing experience and pathetic wifi performance.

You have to love the screen though.

April 6, 2012 | 10:49 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

There is nothing wrong with the browsing expirence on iPad, it loads complex web pages better than the stock Android browser and scrolling, zooming, etc.. is much smoother. As for the wifi issues some are having, when you're cranking out millions of these as fast as you can there's bound to be a few problems crop up.

April 7, 2012 | 03:55 AM - Posted by JSL

there's many comparisons using stock android browsers on a quite a few different android devices that show google's webkit browser (gingerbread and up) outperforming iOS's... and that includes android's webkit browser rendering flash objects which should cause the android browsing to loose out to iOS's webkit browser... but it doesnt.

April 7, 2012 | 12:54 PM - Posted by Matt Smith

I forgot to mention it because it's not true. In fact, the web browsing experience on the iPad is one of its greatest strengths - it's night and day, Android is way behind.

WiFi performance? It was quite strong on my unit. Though I did hear just a few days ago that Apple is looking into WiFi connectivity issues and may replace some iPads because of it.

April 8, 2012 | 10:15 AM - Posted by ThorAxe

You say that browsing is one of the iPads greatest strengths so I would like to know when the iPad started supporting Flash? :)

April 9, 2012 | 04:21 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Is that the best you've got? Everybody knows HTML5 is the way to go. Let it go man. Have you actually seen a iPad3? It really is that good. The display is amazing.

When people say Apple's A5X's only got 2 CPU core, we say it's weak, but when they've got 4 GPUs and 2048x1536 display we say it's unnecessary. I don't get it.

Just admit it. iPad3 is the best in the market, it's a fact. Accept it. Don't hate because the competition is weak.

April 10, 2012 | 09:10 AM - Posted by ThorAxe

Someone keeps forgetting to tell the vast majority of websites that still use Flash about HTML5 being the way go. I may not like it but it's everywhere.

Yes; I have seen Samsung's LTN097QL01-A02 panel in person. It's nice. I'm used to 2560x1440 which has over 500,000 more pixels, albeit over a much larger area, but I would still take my IPS panel over a PLS panel anyday. However, it's about the only thing that would tempt me to get it.

You have to realize that the new iPad has over four times the resolution of the iPad 2 but with only twice the GPUs so, if anything, it is now under-powered.

April 7, 2012 | 08:47 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I have tried many Android and iOS devices and i don’t understand this "being locked into to the Apple ecosystem" comment. You are locked in to the Android ecosystem if you go that way. What’s the diff!
I can’t run things outside of either or across either.
Tall Poppy syndrome is major disease carried by most tech enthusiast

April 8, 2012 | 12:25 AM - Posted by chefbenito (not verified)

I'm a hardcore PC builder and diehard windows NV fanboy (at times) and I love my Blackberry and.....
My iPad. Great Review. Very Fair Also. Thanks

April 8, 2012 | 01:50 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I still haven't found a reason for having a camera on a tablet though. I use it very rarely and it made no part of my buying decision. The front facing camera is useful for meetings though.

April 9, 2012 | 03:42 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Why no mention of the impending Transformer Prime with the 1920x1200 screen? Has it been renamed Transformer Pad Infinity or something like that?

April 11, 2012 | 06:47 AM - Posted by Duscrom (not verified)

Honestly, this "Comparison" seems a bit biased, IMO.

First few things have already been mentioned, such as construction, camera tweaks, and so on. But the first thing that struck me as off, is you battery life tests. Engadget's review had the 3rd Gen iPad's battery life as shorter than the Transformer Prime by almost an hour. Also, you don't mention that bigger battery means longer recharge time (Hence why i'm sticking with my iPad2)

Secondly, I also feel that each OS has different strengths to the browsing experience. TPrime, for example, can easily force the PC version of a web page, where an iPad may not be able to load a desktop page. Secondly, Android browser.. DOES support Flash.. yes I hate flash, but Nostalgia Critic still hasn't switched to HTML5. Finally, Android allows 3rd party Browsers, such as Chrome. Which is superior to the default browser, and has things like desktop window syncing.

And, why did you stop short of going over TPrime's Hardware advantages? So, $499 gets you a 32 GB Prime.. or a 16 GB iPad... But the Prime you can expand the storage, and the iPad you're locked in at that 16 GB for life. I can do $699 for a 64 GB iPad, or $530 for a 64 GB TPrime. Second, HDMI out and USB host mode.. so people can put their pictures on the prime.

Now, I don't disagree entirely that, for now, the iPad is still the better tablet, but I feel this article did not even allow the Prime to stand up on it's own merits, while allowing the iPad to bask in it's merits. You didn't want to talk about the Software and OS, but you talked about the browsing experience, and not email, where android has the better experience. And So you mention the You Tube app crashed, but the android You Tube app is supirior, having better support for subscriptions, favorites, setting thumbs up.. and so on.

April 11, 2012 | 09:43 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Why are the GL benchmarks running with the Prime set to normal not performance? The iPad automatically steps up its processor to performance when running?

Also, where is the cost comparison for performance.

Furthermore, the Keyboard dock is not sold separately in large parts of the world and should be included in tests, especially battery life.

Finally, given increase in speed in real world usage (messaging, document editing, searching) which comes from a physical keyboard why are these not in your "objective" tests?

I have a Prime and while it is far from perfect, most of the performance scenarios you use are skewed to ways people use iPads, not tablets. By your reckoning only a tablet that out ipads an ipad can have a greater value.I have no doubt that the 3 months that saw the ipad develop beyond the prime will be repeated when the next set of ASUS eeepad (infinity) comes out. But then people will be saying "oh of course its better but the ipad is 3 months old"

April 11, 2012 | 12:58 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Just bought the transformer prime today, currently have an ipad 2 16gb which i love but certain things really wind me up... Mainly the age old "no flash", but also the non expandable memory and i cant find anything that will let me use my ipad like i can use this asus...just done a quick google but no definitive answer, will it run windows 8?

April 14, 2012 | 07:22 AM - Posted by Brett (not verified)

doubt there will ever be an offical win 8 release for the Prime but I'd keep an eye on the XDA forums, I'm sure someone will give it a try when the ARM version of win 8 is released.

April 14, 2012 | 07:20 AM - Posted by Brett (not verified)

I'll preface this with I have used BOTH devices extensively so have hands on experience.

This is an appauling review. As noted in a lot of other comments there are a large number of factual errors, bad methadologies and misses 90% of the points where Transformer has some major advantages such as connectivity and the keyboard. It also downplays some of the iPads shortcommings. All in all it is like reviewing a station wagon and a ute and saying the Ute wins because it can carry 2 tons while ignoring the fact it only has 2 seats.

a) The design comparison is COMPLETLY ARBITRARY, you dont like the design. Many people do. The Prime is a unibody design exactly as the iPad.

b) The Asus lettering IS the Corporate logo.... just saying

c) The "tolerances" that the iPad is built to are identical to the Asus. This is clearly a lack of understanding what this actually means.

d) Given the two tablets have almost identical dimensions how does the display aspect ration make it easier to wrap your hand around the iPad? This is entierly subjective.

e) Both the Transformer Prime and the iPad3 have 8 bit per channel displays so can display EXACTLY the same number of colours. The iPad 3 has an increased colour gamut which is impressive and a great improvement on other displays but this distinction is not made clear. Apple uses dithering in the same way they did on early MacBooks to make up the extra colours for which Apple got sued for misleading advertising at the time.

f)I have no idea of the websites that you are using for the screen shots but I have NEVER had to zoom the text to make it readable on the Prime. Looking at the screen shot of the Prime screen the "Headder" text appears to be between 6 and 12 pixels high which is not a default size and makes this a completely misleading comparison. Even if a website did use this size by default even on the iPad 3 it is not a comfortable size to read.

A full size image of the total display would give context for the text size, this has not been done here.

G) It's clear that the iPad 3 has better post processing on the images than the Transformer. What is not mentioned here is there are several shooting modes available on the Prime not available on the iPad 3 such as panaoramic photos. There is also evidence of lense flair on the Prime image of the backyard not in the iPad image which could account for the differnce in that image.

I will note the article fails to mention the Prime has a camera flash where the iPad 3 does not. This makes a HUGE difference in the what situations the camera can be used.

H)The performance benchmarks are COMPLETELY USELESS as an indicator of CPU performance. They are BROWSER benchmarks specifically testing HTML5, JavaScript and other functionality such as media playback support. Not all tests in the Peackeeper benchmark are supported by both the Prime and the iPad 3, running the benchmarks on the Prime with different browsers (you actually have the option of alternate browsers on both platforms) gave vastly different results. Additionally the graph grossly distort the difference, the peacekeeper benchmark for example is only a 3% difference in performance which is generally within the margin of error not the 15% different the graph makes it appear to be.


I) The graphics benchmark is only a part of the story, the GL Benchmark 2.1 Egypt off screen test is jus that OFF SCREEN. it is run at the same resolution across all platforms (720p). That means that while the iPad 3 has better performance at 720p it cannot maintain that advantage rendering at native resoultion so the second you start playing 3D games either expect worse performance that the Prime or expect the resolution to be around 720P upscaled (which also means a performance hit).

What is also NOT mentioned about the iPad graphics pipe line is that for the games featured in the video it lacks some of the effects available on the Prime Tegra 3 platform. The advantages commented on in the video come down to the display and not the graphic chip set.

G)The browser load comparison was fair although I feel that the fact you can see the Prime has had 8+ apps opened in background prior to this test and both tablets have obviously had the sites opened before would have me question if there is caching involved in the difference of the load times. I agree the iPad is a smoother experience but there was also no mention of the fact that the Prime has FULL flash support which is a significant advantage.

The Prime, or more specifically Android still has a stability issue with the youtube app, I see this on other platforms, however this gets about zero usage in my day to day usage due to the flash support in the browser itself.

J) The Battery life comparison is also deeply flawed. Both the Peacekeeper and Youtube streaming tests are flawed for a bunch of reasons. Firstly the Youtube as a video source is problematic as it is both served and decoded differently for both platforms, most notably flash and mp4 are different video formats that are used. Secondly the a screen brightness of 30% on the prime is and use far more power than 30% on the iPad. This is born out in the different in the iPad results. matched brightness would be a far more even test. There is also no indication of the Primes CPU performance setting used.

As noted previously the peacekeeper test is a browser test and not all the same test are run on both platforms therefore the load will be different.

The biggest complaint I have about the article is it COMPLETELY ignores the keyboard dock, the memory expansion options and connectivity the Prime has over the iPad. The Prime has a microSD slot in the tablet itself so you can cheeply upgrade the storage, it has a full sized SD slot in the dock as well as a USB Host slot that supports USB sticks, USB hdds (RW formatted for FAT32 or NTFS), a mouse and other preferial. The additional battery can recharge the tablets internal battery when connected and more than double the usable time. The keyboard itself makes note taking extremely rapid compared to a virtual keyboard

All in all this is one of the most badly written and inaccurate articles that i have seen written on the subject.

April 15, 2012 | 01:28 AM - Posted by Rauelius (not verified)

Well said. Glad to see another Prime/iPad3 owner here. I hate how some reviewers (not this one) dwell on how awesome that the iPad3 has 4 GPU Cores. SO? My Tegra2 Powered G2x has 8, and the Prime has 12. Also, I ran peacekeeper and my Prime absolutely dominates my iPad3. Why? Try running it in Chrome, which is freely available to everyone and should be included in benchmarking.

Also, even after updated for the iPad3, some games still look better on the Prime. Shadowgun is just one of them. Dungeon Defenders may not be as sharp when I press my face against the screen, but from a normal distance they look similar, and the Prime version has much better lighting and was free to boot! Riptide is another game that looks better on the Prime. The water effect alone make the iPad3 version look laughable by comparison.

Another awesome thing that the Prime can do is connect to a 3DTV with the HDMI cable. Playing Riptide and Shadowgun in 3D is pretty darn awesome! Also, it shows the sheer power of the Tegra3, as it's not only rendering a 3D image on the TV (if the Hit playing Deus EX in 3D on my CFX 5850's is anything to go by, you NEED a lot of GPU power to do 3D) BUT it renders it on the tablet. Really a nice demonstration of the superiority in processing that the Tegra3 provides over the A5x. Not to mention the lack of lighting and shading provided by they PowerVR chip (which is similar to the built-in Graphics of the Intel Atom I believe) in comparison to the Tegra3 (which has been compared to the 7900GTX). I mean ask yourself, would your rather have Intel integrated graphics or a Geforce 7900GTX?

April 15, 2012 | 01:28 AM - Posted by Rauelius (not verified)

Well said. Glad to see another Prime/iPad3 owner here. I hate how some reviewers (not this one) dwell on how awesome that the iPad3 has 4 GPU Cores. SO? My Tegra2 Powered G2x has 8, and the Prime has 12. Also, I ran peacekeeper and my Prime absolutely dominates my iPad3. Why? Try running it in Chrome, which is freely available to everyone and should be included in benchmarking.

Also, even after updated for the iPad3, some games still look better on the Prime. Shadowgun is just one of them. Dungeon Defenders may not be as sharp when I press my face against the screen, but from a normal distance they look similar, and the Prime version has much better lighting and was free to boot! Riptide is another game that looks better on the Prime. The water effect alone make the iPad3 version look laughable by comparison.

Another awesome thing that the Prime can do is connect to a 3DTV with the HDMI cable. Playing Riptide and Shadowgun in 3D is pretty darn awesome! Also, it shows the sheer power of the Tegra3, as it's not only rendering a 3D image on the TV (if the Hit playing Deus EX in 3D on my CFX 5850's is anything to go by, you NEED a lot of GPU power to do 3D) BUT it renders it on the tablet. Really a nice demonstration of the superiority in processing that the Tegra3 provides over the A5x. Not to mention the lack of lighting and shading provided by they PowerVR chip (which is similar to the built-in Graphics of the Intel Atom I believe) in comparison to the Tegra3 (which has been compared to the 7900GTX). I mean ask yourself, would your rather have Intel integrated graphics or a Geforce 7900GTX?

April 15, 2012 | 01:14 AM - Posted by Rauelius (not verified)

I own both a 32GB Prime and a 32GB iPad3. Love them both, but I find the Prime more fun to play with, while the iPad3 is a reliable little toy. With the Prime I can check/download torrents, stream video/audio from my media server, edit or create word documents, change keyboards, try new cameras, root and overclock, tool around with.

In all reality, the Prime is for someone who visits this site, while the iPad3 is great for a Mom. I like having both because the iPad is awesome, stable fast, and the gesturing is so awesome, I barely ever use the home button, especially since I have a case that unlocks it when I open it.

The iPad is like the Accord/Camry of Tablet, a solid reliable tablet. The Prime is like a tuner car, like a Lancer Evolution or Camaro. You don't want to tool around with it, then get a Camry/iPad, you really wanna have fun with your device get the Camaro/Prime. Both have a place in my heart.

April 15, 2012 | 04:27 AM - Posted by PAK (not verified)

As an iPad 3 owner I have to say that I also think this comparison has issues in several regards.

Measuring brightness by percentage (rather than by actually measuring the brightness) is deeply flawed when attempting to gauge battery performance. The comparison also failed to mention a major annoyance of the iPad 3, which is that it takes approx 7 hours to charge from zero to 100%, and 100% doesn't actually mean 100% either (it can charge for another hour after reaching "100%"). Oh, and don't even think about charging it from standard USB ports, otherwise you can increase those times significantly.

When measuring webpage loading time care must be taken not to use a page which has flash elements (or that the flash is disabled on the Android side) otherwise the iPad is going to be faster purely because it's not loading the flash elements.

YouTube comparisons are also flawed for similar reasons. You may well be comparing a different video codec, bit rate, and resolution. Though, if Android is performing worse, it does still point to worse software performance in one way or another.

Pretty much all movie and TV content also expects a 16:9 display format. The iPads display is much better with both resolution and colour accuracy, but the tiny letterbox renders 16:9 content almost unwatchable without zooming in, which cuts off the edges. Otherwise it's tiny and the resolution does not make up for that! The resolution has set the standard in terms of web page reading and standard book reading which is why I bought one. But, if you're mostly watching video content, I would have no hesitation in saying the iPad is NOT a good solution due to the 4:3 format and tiny letter boxes.

Design wise the iPad has sharp edges which are NOT comfortable to hold for long periods. The back is also extremely poor in terms of grip. Basically I will HAVE to use a case on the back of the iPad whether I want to or not. Why people take the looks over basic ergonomics such as holding comfort I'll never know, but they do and Apple deliver!

The requirement to buy extremely overpriced accessories just to connect USB devices or an external display is also a major negative for Apple, and it won't send a 720 or 1080 signal either, meaning most content played from iPad to TV scales extremely poorly.

One thing in defence of Apple is I have to say my WIFI performance has been good. The iPad 3 gets a strong signal in places where my Dell laptop, with intel 5300 wireless, struggles. However the speed does seem to top out at 2MB per second, where the laptop is about 10x as fast.

Overall, other than the screen, it came down to software for me. iOS just has more apps of better quality. Someone mentioned iMovie and iPhoto in the comments, and how Android cannot compete. Both of these apps are a joke for content producers. To call them limited would be a massive understatement. But he's right, in that Android usually cannot compete even with pretty pathetic apps like these. It says more about the sorry state of competition than anything.

But the better quality does not come cheap either. Its already cost me a good $50 just to bring the iPad up to the level of my Android phone. Generally things which are available for free on Android cost money on iOS, and the same apps are often double the price or more on iOS, especially when talking about iPad specific versions.

To sum up, it's a much more mixed bag than this comparison suggests, and once Android adds a screen with equivalent resolution it will once again come back to the issue of software quality and whats available on a devices marketplace. I actually have more faith in Microsoft delivering an OS which can drive the hardware better than Android, though whether that will translate to software support on the ARM side of things for them is another matter..

April 15, 2012 | 05:53 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Yep, a horrible review. I like the iPad but, for reasons already stated by others, opted for the TF201. It has its faults and there are some iPad features I would love to have, but docking keyboard, extra space, cheaper accessories, (fewer but) cheaper apps and more... I'll stick with Prime for now and await developments.

May 4, 2012 | 02:48 AM - Posted by Squishy Tia! (not verified)

What I'm finding a bit odd with this review on the camera area is that the photos were not taken at the same angles. You'd be very surprised what a few degrees will do for glare and color saturation capability. Both devices should have been put on a tripod with holder for each device to ensure proper alignment between shots.

The color space shot is also misleading. I'm having a hard time believing that the TP can't display purple (the colored bands on the right side of the satellite photo were almost all blue on the TP in the pic vs. blue transitioning into purple on the iPad 3, leading me to believe that again, it's apples to oranges as the color band obviously was a moving/changing background. It also does no justice that the pictuers were not taken dead on like just about any credible reviewer would do (not calling you uncredible, but this is a glaring gaff).

I'd like to have seen more info on the quality of audio. Not audio measured through the tiny thimble sized paper speakers, but through the headphone jack. What is the stereo separation? What is the S/NR, with a line level connection to A/V equipment and headphones attached? Granted I'd be using the HDMI out of the TP into my Yamaha RX-A3000 for audio streaming at home and not bluetooth (I hate BT audio with a passion) so my Mac Pro could have WoW running on it and I could have music from whatever I want without dealing with iTunes (yes, I use a Mac Pro and OS X, but hate iTunes, and hate it even more now that the security question additions have gotten insanely stupid for the iTunes store).

As others have noted, 30% on one display != 30% on another display. You should have measured the battery life using cd/m^3 where both displays had the same brightness output. I suspect that with that measurement, the iPad 3 loses a lot of its vaunted battery life advantage.

The browser tests are also unfortunately not idea. Safary is highly optimized for the iPad. An equal comparison would have been Chrome, as it is Android's "highly optimized" browser, especially in ICS. Both the default browser and FireFox (a.k.a. Slowdown Salad) have the issue you mention regarding the browser becoming unresponsive for seconds at a time, especially when loading. I get that even on my Epic 4G using FF (I only use FF because it handles flash better than the default browser). I've seen FF even stop responding when trying to scroll on a fully loaded page, whereas Chrome I've not seen do this yet.

Website fonts looking bad are the fault of the *website*, not either of the displays. As long as the displays are operating at their native resolutions, text in any browser should be crisp and clean, and if it's not then the site is using a font that likely looks horrible on desktop displays, since, you know, LCD TVs and desktop monitors use the exact same type of technology as the LCD displays on the tablets, only on a larger scale. One thing to note: from the looks of it, since the iPad 3 and TF displays are showing the same page dimensions in the comparison photo, and text is the same size roughly, the iPad is using scaling to show the webpages. That's what gives the appearance of darker, thicker text. You have the same phenominon when viewing a webpage on say a 1920x1080 HDTV at native resolution vs. scaled resolution. I know this because I use 1600x900 for my web viewing even though I have a 32" HDTV as my monitor due to eyesight. Text is crisper at native resolution, but smaller when not scaled like the iPad 3 is doing.

Both can tout as many cores as they'd like. If none of the software leverages it, it then comes down to optimized code and top clock speed of the cores in use. iOS will likely win here because of the sandbox control Apple has over all of its developers and what it allows to be used for development (the SDK). Android has more options, but fewer developers know how to properly delve into those options and push the envelope yet. Unfortunately for the user experience that's about the only advantage the sandbox approach has.

I have a huge music collection. I use WinAmp (the older version, not the currently bugtastic 1.12 Android version), and having access to a good, simple, non-bloated music player and up to 96/128 GB of space makes a difference. The TP wins there (it should have no problem reading an MSDXC card of 64 GB in either Honeycomb or ICS).

I rarely comment on reviews, but this one is quite flawed indeed. But I'll say this: For simplicity/ease of use, the iPad 3 will win hands down. That's what it was designed for: the LCD (least common denominator). That isn't to say you can't do anything with the iPad 3, but you have to work a lot harder to get great utility with anything "outside the box" on it to the point of jailbreaking it for some of the nicer things. The TP (and every Android tablet out there) offers more overall utility capability, should the developers make use of it, and in this case, the TP wins hands down for both utility and expandability. You've got the following expansion options for the TP: Dock w/ keyboard that has up to 128 GB of its own storage via SDXC card, full size keyboard, and extended battery life, plus easy plug and play output via the MHDMI connection. On the iPad 3 you have a dock connector and BT, and the need to by proprietary dongles/hardware to connect to it, and it can't be used as a host device (nor properly accept a host device as a slave).

So which is the winner? Other than display resolution, it boils down to what you will use it for. For all the technical aspects of it, either one could win depending on who's using it. Unfortunately the method of measurement in this review is too skewed to properly show the true strengths and weaknesses of both tablets, and that's a shame.

May 4, 2012 | 02:51 AM - Posted by Squishy Tia! (not verified)

Just an edit to the above - I can't believe Safary got by me....should have put it in TextEdit and spellchecked first. Grr.

May 6, 2012 | 04:43 PM - Posted by Want TFP (not verified)

What about the known and/or previous issue with the gps and wifi signal of the TFP? For those who own one, has this issue been resolved or at least improved? I have enjoyed reading everyone's comments, especially those who own both the iPad and the TFP. I am considering purchasing a TFP over the iPad 3 but would like some clarity regarding the previous issues with wifi.

May 7, 2012 | 07:58 PM - Posted by Squishy Tia! (not verified)

GPS is still a problem, though anybody that gets a TFP can contact ASUS for a free GPS dongle should they feel unhappy with the way the satellites are detected. I know I'll be getting the dongle, for when I need to use navigation in my car.

The wifi on my TFP is pretty good. I should be getting a full four arcs at all times with both a Netgear N900 router and a Netgear WN2500RP wifi range extender in my house, but the aluminum casing makes the signal shift between full and three arcs lit up. I still maintain good performance however. I'll be able to test it more fully this Friday when I go bowling, since I can see how well (or if at all) it picks up the public wifi in the bowling alley. I say "if" because even my Epic 4G can't get a good signal there and it has no aluminum case to deal with. If the TFP gets a useable signal, then I'd say wifi isn't an issue.

May 7, 2012 | 08:06 PM - Posted by Squishy Tia! (not verified)

Oh, and one thing the review did NOT cover is that the TFP cannot be properly charged via USB. USB outputs at a max of 5v @ 0.5A whereas the TFP requires its wall wart to charge properly, since it requires the 15v @ 1.2A output by said wall wart.

You'd be surprised how many people plug the TFP into USB ports thinking it is charging only to see (like I did) a "Battery: 46% (Discharging)" indicator.

The wall wart plug charges the TFP at approximately 35% per hour, and a USB connection with the TFP completely turned off charges at a pathetic 3% per hour.

This isn't a bash on the TFP - I own one. I'm just putting out the info so others can see it to be aware that when on the road, make sure you bring your wall plug adapter with you or you cannot charge your TFP.

Also, the site devs really need to move to UBB encoding for comment areas. Having to use these cumbersome and very limited HTML tags is so 1995.

June 27, 2012 | 11:24 PM - Posted by wx (not verified)

tf - better graphics, more powerful, more costumizable, more expandable, more versatile

ipad - better ui, better screen, better camera

battery life - more capacity on the ipad, although battery life is pretty relative as the test is pretty flawed, all reviews of real life usage so far give pretty much the same amount of battery life to both, ipad winning by slight margins.

And then ipad is considered the superior device because all of the better stuff that the TF has are all just niches.

I don't want to sound impolite or anything but, did you guys kept the ipad and returned tf? If you know what i mean.

July 3, 2012 | 01:25 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Apart from the review which I found was a good read, could you please contemplate for a while on the following question:

What is the purpose of a bar graph?

Now, think about the following:

What information does a bar graph containing values in the range 0-380 but only showing 320-380 on the axis provide?

Misinformation. (I hope it's not disinformation)

Eyeballing the bar graph of e.g. your Peacekeeper benchmark (which should be a visual representation of the ratio between the values - I sincerely hope you managed to come to that conclusion by contemplating on my first question) tells me the iPad is about 20-25% faster than the Transformer. The values, however, show a difference of ~4%. Similar for SunSpider etc.

How does that affect credibility?

February 25, 2013 | 12:09 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

iknow Placing the ASUS Transformer Prime and the iPad 3 side-by-side proves that there is some room for differentiation among tablets. Though they are both flat slabs, they are different in their size, weight and materials. like Iconia PC tablet dengan Windows 8 on my web

November 7, 2014 | 10:17 PM - Posted by hay day triche ipad (not verified)

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and yours is the greatest I've came upon so far. However,
what about the conclusion? Are you positive in regards to the source?

October 14, 2015 | 07:49 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Come on! Lets get a real portable monitor! I am using this Gechic monitor for one year already and it is really worth the price. I really want to recommend to you guys. You can find it on AMAZON:

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