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

November 10, 2011
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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.

 

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