Tablet and Notebook Redefined: Asus Transformer Prime In-depth Look

by: LucianNovember 10, 2011

Yesterday, Asus officially unveiled the Transformer Prime, and everything looks great and it’s actually better than you would expect. It shows that Asus really wanted to make this device as good as they can make it, and boy did they succeed.

The moment you see it you will be reminded of Asus’ UX21 Zenbook, and I was actually hoping that would happen. Extremely thin tablet+extremely thin keyboard, both made from aluminum and packed together – what more could you want? Add that to the fact that it will be the first quad core Tegra 3 tablet, will have an integrated keyboard dock for real productivity, and also the first one with Android 4.0, and we have a winner.

The Asus Transformer Prime specs include a quad core Cortex A9 1.3 Ghz CPU (1.4 Ghz for single threaded apps) coupled with a low-power Cortex A9 500 Mhz CPU that handles low-end tasks for increased battery efficiency. They also include a 10.1″ Super IPS display with a 1280×800 resolution, 32/64 GB of EMMC storage, 1 GB of LDDR2-1066 RAM, and 8MP and 1.2 MP cameras.

Honestly, I don’t know why manufacturers are trying so hard to put high-quality rear cameras in tablets, though. Are you really going to snap pictures with your 10″ tablet? Perhaps once in 6 months, but I don’t think that’s worth the added cost. The front-camera is fine and I actually think all front-facing cameras should at the very least be capable of 720p video chat (this one probably isn’t). But I don’t know why everyone is blindly putting better and better rear cameras in tablets.

I do like that the Transformer Prime includes a lot of ports and SD slots (compared to other tablets): micro-HDMI (video, games on TV), USB 2.0 (pen drive, mouse, game controller), and a microSD and SD slot to future proof yourself regarding storage expansion with an extra 64 GB. If you buy the 64 GB version, you’re looking at 128 GB flash storage on a tablet – not bad at all. You’ll need quite a few apps to fill all that up.

The original Transformer’s display was better than everyone expected, but mainly because they were underestimating Asus. It was an IPS display that was almost as good as Galaxy Tab 10.1’s PLS display or iPad’s IPS display. But I expect Prime’s new Super IPS+ to be significantly better than both, not only in color reproduction and quality, but also in brightness, which Asus says can reach 600 nits (the others are around 400 nits). This means Prime will be significantly better outdoors than all the others.

Many people may not realize this but a fluid touch experience is given not only by the smoothness and responsiveness of the UI, but also by the responsiveness of the screen itself. Asus wanted to make Prime a lot better in this area, too, and they’ve added a screen that is twice as responsive as their competitor’s screens (50 ms vs 110+ ms). This should work great with Android 4.0, although Honeycomb has some hardware acceleration, too.

What good is a tablet for “media consumption” if it has poor and weak sound? Asus will use their SonicMaster technology and speakers that are larger and higher quality, to provide the best sound experience of any tablet when listening to music or watching a movie or video.

One of the best features of an Asus Transformer device is the battery life. The tablet coupled with the dock deliver up to 18 hours of moderate use. Think about it. That means it would last people even days on a charge. This 18 hours number is real, not like how Intel and notebook manufacturers in general like to tout “8-10 hours of battery life” (done under extremely minimum conditions maybe) when in reality it won’t even hold you half of that amount.

One thing is for sure. Asus Transformer Prime will change the way you think not only about tablets, but also about notebooks. I could see how this thing could become a notebook replacement for some people right now, and even more people later with a more mature and advanced Android 5.0, 6.0, etc.


  • NT

    So your “in depth look” at this product is really just regurgitated specs from Asus’ marketing material? And your comments about this product is based on press photos?

  • I got the Zenbook here and loooooved it.

    Can’t wait to try the prime out, it look’s pretty slick.

  • Joe Ohio

    I think the 8MP camera is not that much more than a lower quality camera, but they might have thought that people like me who use those cameras ALL the time, might pick another product if I am in the market, say, a month after release and competitors are on the market. So, they gambled, probably. I for one really like that as long as it takes pictures as good or better than my EVO 4G 8MP (which are nothing short of awesome for a cell phone, and blow away every other cell phone I’ve seen… although I have yet to see iPhone 4S pics). it will be a bit awkward to use a 10′ tablet to take pic, but let me tell you, when that’s what I am holding at the moment I *really* want to take a picture, it will be nice that I lament the lesser quality camera like i have with my Motorola Photon *(to give you an idea how much I love my camera on my EVO 4G, the Photon is dual core and I way more native storage than the EVO (16GB vs 0GB) along with a microSD slot for more storage. But its 8MP camera is not just horrid, but I think a defect. Since Motorola nor Sprint know anything about the horrid “swimming static” I am getting all over my pictures and video, I’m selling it and going back to my single core EVO and happy about it as well).

    Second, if you are going to call this “in depth” you need to at LEAST mention that the keyboard is $149 extra.

    Also, a little more in depth about the 5th core would be good as well.

  • Please, we need 3G/4G for this device. That would be awesome.

    • Anonymous

      3G/4G so I can pay another $30 a month on top of $60 data plan I already paid for? No thank you.
      I use a MiFi and share my connection with multiple devices. You can also tether from your cell phone.

      • Why use MiFi and have another device to lug around? You can WiFi tether and share your tablet’s connection while not being limited to only 5 devices as with MiFi.

        If I remember correctly, MiFi forces you on the more expensive data plan. For example, with AT&T the only option you have with MiFi is the most expensive $50/month data plan while for Tablets, you can choose $15, $25, $35.

        • Anonymous

          My MiFi is $50 and change for first 5GB…been using it for years.

          If I was to WiFi tether, I’d have data on my cell and tether it to my tablet for obvious reasons…cell phone is always with me. Having data plan for tablet make no sense for people like me.

          • First MiFi was introduced in 2010, so you couldn’t use it for years and second, you second sentence makes you look silly for using MiFi because you said you can WiFi tether your cell phone since you carry it around with you.

            95% of users don’t go over 2GB of data per month. And that’ll run you $25. Extra 1GB runs $10.

            My advice to you is this. Drop MiFi, WiFi tether your cell phone. If you go use 4GB, it’ll cost you $45 and you save $5. You have one less junk to carry with you and you’re not limited to only 5 devices connected at once.

          • Anonymous

            4G MiFi was introduced in 2010 maybe. EVDO MiFi has been around longer. My cell phone is for phone calls and I use prepaid SIM with unlocked phones. I spent $80 a year on voice only cell phone. Get my data from MiFi and I let others borrow my MiFi for a day or two. You can’t do that with your primary cell phone.

            So your plan is to have a tablet data plan and tether? You know a tablet is much bigger to lug around than a MiFi right?

          • Sorry for the repost, but here goes:

            My advice to you is this. Drop MiFi, WiFi tether your cell phone. If you use 4GB, it’ll cost you $45 and you save $5. I’ll bet in most months, you’ll use less than 2GB and that’s a saving of $25. You have one less junk to carry with you and you’re not limited to only 5 devices connected at once.

          • Anonymous

            Mifi has a double capacity battery going for $120 on ebay (gives you 10h) if you tether from your phone you would most likely run out of battery after 3h of tethering. Also wireless tethering for tablets is a BIG no go, since android does not support ad-hoc wifi connections (which is normally used to tether wireless, mifis work in infrastructure mode) bluetooth tether can be slow and is for 1 device only like usb tether (that is a bit faster and more economic on the battery)

            My mifi 2372 runs a custom fw that has more options & settings than the stock firmwares from at&t and vodaphone etc. In my settings tab I can change device name and imei number broadcast to match that of my mobile phone so I get the cheaper plan and there is nothing the operator can do about that.

        • Myhrddin

          No, gotta say I don’t want 3/4g on this .. maybe as an option but all I want is WiFi. Just not about to pay cellular co.s because I want a Prime. tsk tsk

  • akkineni nagarjuna

    wow really battery life is the best feature i have ever seen in any of tablet device until now,..i am myself using ipad2 which not more than gives six hours of battery life if used on watching videos,…then for sure i should buy this for myself in possible days,..however thanz a lot for the info pal

  • garine nagarjunasanthosh

    really as said by Danny if we get the device with 3g or 4g speed technology then it would really create a revolution in the tablet device usage,….it would help me a lot in getting my word done easily,..i love it…hope i make money earlier to buy it,..please post the online source to buy it for the cheapest price online

    • Anonymous

      No need for 3g or 4g… just buy a Mifi 2372 and on ebay you get the double capacity battery (that will last for 10h) for $120.

      HSPA & GPRS consume a shitload of battery specially if you’re moving, thus by isolating this to an external device and using Wifi instead you can maximize the tablet’s capacity and most probably will even have a better signal reception as you will be able to move the Mifi device to a better position while remaining at the same place with your tablet

  • nyrulez

    Sorry this is not an “in depth look” – shame on the article. You don’t even have it – how the hell can this be an indepth look.

  • Narongdej

    i need it but in my cuntry not have it

  • Anonymous

    I always check out this website before buying any products in the best android tablet – My personal favorite is ASUS Eee Pad Transformer because it better than any other tab.”