Review: ASUS Transformer Prime TF201-B1-GR Eee Pad 10.1-Inch Tablet

The Asus Transformer Prime was one of the earliest tablets to offer quad-core technology, which easily set it apart from its competitors. As with all technology, however, rivals were quick to catch up, meaning that the Asus Transformer Prime has to have something else special if it's going to stand out from the crowd. Let’s find out whether the Transformer Prime really is the stand out product that it claims to be, and see if it’s worth buying. Key Specs For The ASUS Transformer Prime RRP: $499-$644 Release Year: 2011 Operating System: Android 3.2 Honeycomb OS Display Size: 10.1 inches Connectivity: Wi-Fi/ Bluetooth Cameras: 8 MP, 1.2 MP Battery Life: 12 hours ASUS Transformer Prime: The Pros Speed: Perhaps the most basic and obvious feature of the Transformer Prime is its speed. It was the first tablet on the market to offer a quad-core processor which not only improves the speed of the unit but also makes it better at multi-tasking. Even though there are now several rival tablets available with similar processors, the Transformer Prime does still shine when it comes to speed and outclasses many lesser tablets in this regard. Camera: Not all tablets come with rear-facing cameras, but the Transformer Prime does. Not only that, but its camera is 8MP, the highest resolution on the market today. To compare, the iPad 3’s rear-facing camera is only 5MP. The Transformer Prime takes great images when you’re on the move. In addition to the rear-facing camera there is also the standard front-facing camera used to have video chats through web services like Gmail video chat and Skype. Docking Keyboard: Several tablets now offer docking keyboards. These turn the tablet into something more like a netbook by offering an almost full-sized keyboard that allows the tablet to function solely as a screen. Docking keyboards are really great for anyone who likes to write long emails on their tablet. The touch-screen on any tablet naturally lacks at typing when compared with a real keyboard. There is a downside to the docking keyboard, and that’s that you have to buy it separately. That means you’ll have to spend more money. However, no tablets come with a docking keyboard included, so the Transformer Prime can’t be marked down for this. Battery Life: The Transformer Prime offers a solid 12 hours of battery life at moderate use. This compares favorably with all other tablets, including the iPad 3. A great additional benefit of the docking keyboard is that it adds an addition 6 hours of battery life to the product, taking it from 12 hours to a remarkable 18 hours of use (that’ll keep you going for a whole day without any trouble). 32GB And 64GB Versions: Most tablets offer two different storage capacities. These are usually 16GB and 32GB, but the Transformer Prime offers 32GB and 64GB making it a cut above most of the competition. The 32GB model offers a decent amount of storage space for a tablet at a reasonable price, but if storage is really important to you then you can buy the 64GB version that matches even the biggest iPad. MicroSD Card Reader: Unlike the majority of other tablets, including all versions of the iPad 3, the Transformer Prime has a microSD card reader. Not only is this convenient for when you want to transfer files onto your tablet from a camera or computer, but it also means you can expand the storage space of the tablet by up to 32GB. That takes the storage of the top tier Transformer Prime from 64GB up to a whopping (in tablet-terms) 96GB of storage space – the most offered by any tablet. Size And Weight: Two of the most important features of a tablet, although often taken for granted, are its size and weight. Tablets are meant to be portable, so these make a significant impact on the product’s usability. The Transformer prime is just 0.33” thick, making it one of the thinnest tablets on the market. And at only 1.3 pounds, it’s not too heavy to hold for long periods of time. Micro HDMI Output: If you like to watch your streaming movies on a high definition TV, then that’s no problem because the Transformer Prime has a micro HDMI output. That means you can connect it to an HDTV for high definition movie playback. Display: The display on the Transformer Prime is bright and rich, making for a more enjoyable user experience. It certainly outdoes many of its competitors in this respect, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. The screen is also made from tough material making it extremely scratch-resistant. Design: Perhaps the single biggest point of comparison between all tablets is the design. Apple set the standard with the iPad line, and other companies are doing their best to keep up. The Transformer Prime does a fine job with its all-over aluminum finish, very thin body and general minimalist design that never gets to the point of feeling cold. ASUS Transformer Prime: The Cons Fingerprint Magnet: This is a problem common to many tablets, but the Transformer Prime is a bit of a fingerprint magnet. While the aluminum case doesn’t show any fingerprints, the screen and its border do show up a lot of smudge marks. This can be a disappointment for some who like the ultra-clean look. Rear-Facing Speaker: When it comes to speakers, no tablets are great. However, some are worse than others. The Transformer Prime suffers from the fact that the speakers are placed on the rear of the tablet which increases the likelihood of sound being muffled. Fortunately, the speaker volume is pretty high so it never becomes unusable, but it’s still poorer than tablets that offer front-facing speakers. Wi-Fi Signal: For most users, there’ll be no problem with using Wi-Fi. However, because of the aluminum back plate which is a design feature known to interfere with signals, the effective Wi-Fi range of the Transformer Prime is lower than some of its rivals. In practice, it’s good to around 30 feet, but becomes less effective after that. It’s also worth noting here that the Transformer Prime was initially billed as having full GPS. However, as a result of the aluminum back plate they had to withdraw this feature as too many users found that it didn’t work. So if you’re looking for a GPS-ready tablet, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Crashing: Some users have reported experiencing crashes with the Transformer Prime that result in freezing or programs closing. While most tablets, including the iPad, exhibit bugs like this for some users, it’d still be nice if more could be done. If you’re particularly worried about this sort of problem, search around for a tablet known for its software stability. Is The ASUS Transformer Prime Worth Buying? Overall it’s hard not to like the Transformer Prime. The problems it suffers from are limited, and it has a lot going for it. However, before settling for this tablet, it’d be worth checking out in detail its competitors – most obviously the iPad 3 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. After making sure that they don’t offer something you need that this tablet doesn’t, you can rest assured that this is a good purchase and won’t disappoint.


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