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Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime

"Overall this is a swish upgrade of the Asus Eee Pad Transformer."
PC Site score:
 
70
Battery:
Performance:
Value:
 
 

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Overview

First things first: we’d like to congratulate Asus for managing to fit both ‘transformer’ and ‘prime’ into this product title and exercising the restraint to leave out ‘optimus’. We certainly wouldn’t have had the discipline.

Released January 2012, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Optimus Prime is one of the most powerful tablets currently available. It will probably fit more comfortably in the hands of a true techy, since there’s an awful lot of power underneath the hood. It is weak in areas that draw a lot of people to purchase tablets so whilst we like it, it may not be everybody’s cup of tea.

What we like best

You get a well-sized 10.1” screen with 1280 x 800 resolution. Asus is run through a Nvidia Tegra 3 quad core, which is one of the most powerful processors we have yet seen in a tablet. It allows you to run high definition video seamlessly in full 1080p. Although with the high price and relatively weak app selection we would class the the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime as a business tablet, you do get excellent graphics – good enough to play PC quality games. You also get quality sound with great dynamics and range, which is rare on a tablet.

Only the 32 Gb version will be available in the UK, which is a shame, but the Transformer Prime can read microSd chips so you can almost double your memory there, and the Asus storage app will let you offload data to keep your tablet running quickly.

One thing Asus have done which we highly approve of is to keep the first rendition of the tablet available on the market. If you’re on a budget but still want a piece of Asus’ tablet action, you can buy it at a substantially cheaper price than the brand new Transformer Prime, and just update its software. This means that most of the upgrades you get from the new Android operating system Ice Cream Sandwich can still be used on the original Asus Transformer.

Some of the cool attributes you do get on a Transformer Prime include the Polaris Office App, which lets you use all the standard Microsoft Office programs. There’s an innovative way to check battery life with MyWater which shows a water level indicative of how much power you have left (with fish).

What we like least

The greatest pity is that this tablet is going to be overlooked in favour of the iPad 2 or 3. It’s definitely got the better screen but it’s apps that really are the name of the game and it’s safe to say Apple won that war before it even began. Camera-wise, the Transformer is outshone by Samsung’s Galaxy Tab which also has a slightly better colour definition than either the iPad or Transfmormer Prime.

We did like the Pad connection which pretty much turns this tablet in to a notebook. It’s too uncomfortable for prolonged typing, however, in which case you might want to turn to an actual laptop. But the Pad connection will prolong the battery life and it also has multimedia controls like volume adjustment, screen brightness and internet connection. Unfortunately some of the ports have covers which you’ll need a kitchen knife to prise open.

The verdict

Overall this is a swish upgrade of the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. There’s room for a lot of creativity in the app department so things may improve. Businessmen and women don’t traditionally play games in their free time (although during our commutes we do see a fair amount of suits playing Tetris on their smartphones – PC Site Ed.) so the entertainment features of this tablet make it quite a mixed machine, but a very pleasant one to use.

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Specifications

Processor Speed

1.4 GHz

Processor

NVIDIA Tegra 3 Quad-core CPU

RAM

1 GB

Screen Size

10.1 inch

Graphics

n/a

Hard Drive Storage

32 Gb

Battery

12 hours
18 hours pad with dock

Multimedia

1.2 MP camera
G-Sensor
Light Sensor
Gyroscope
E-compass

Ports

2-in-1 Audio jack and Mic-in
1 x micro HDMI port
1 x Micro SD Card Reader

Weight & Size

(W) 263mm x (H) 8.3mm x (D) 180.8mm
0.58 Kg

Connectivity

802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR

Operating System

Android 3.2 Honeycomb
Upgradeable to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwitch)

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