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Asus Transformer Prime review

Asus Transformer Prime review
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The Eee Pad Transformer Prime is coming.It is bring you the next transformation in tablet technology, one that is better than its predecessor in every aspect. Latest offering is faster, stronger, slimmer, and of course, sexier. We strived to break free from the normal constraints of a device through constant innovation, and the result is the Eee Pad Transformer Prime.
Review On : Asus Transformer Prime

Ready for Prime time
 
bytz@thestar.com.my

ASUS entered the Android Tablet race last year with the Transformer, a unique device that easily switches between a Tablet and notebook computer.

Now Asus is back with yet another Tablet, the Transformer Prime. The Prime is a device of many firsts - it is one of the first Tablets that can be updated to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and to be powered by a quad-core processor.

Design
Aesthetically, the Prime looks similar to the original Transformer and shares the same ultra-slim design although it has rounded edges and is less blocky. The back is entirely different - the Prime has a "metallic spun finish" which it borrows from Asus' Zenbook line.

The Prime measures a mere 8.3mm thick and weighs just 585g, so it is easy to use the Tablet for long hours comfortably.

A 10.1in Super IPS (in-plane switching) panel which adorns the front displays crisp images and vibrant colours. As this is an IPS panel, it's not surprising that the viewing angle is very good with little to no colour shifting. Text was visible even from a 178° angle.

The screen is really bright and it even has an outdoor mode that cranks the brightness even higher so that the display is visible under sunlight.

The screen is made from Gorilla Glass so it is resilient to scratches but, unfortunately, it is prone to smudges.

Despite its slim profile the Prime has a number of connectivity options on the sides like a microSD/SD slot and micro HDMI out for hooking it up to a HDTV.

The Prime's speakers are on the back and they are a little on the soft side. They are serviceable for casual listening but if you really want to enjoy a movie or game, a pair of headphones or external speakers would be a better bet.

There are two cameras - a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera for video calls and an 8-megapixel camera on the back that records full HD videos.

like the last Transformer, the Prime has a dock that let's you slide in an external keyboard for those days when you having something long to type or chat.

The keyboard is invaluable for editing documents but could have been designed better. A few keys that are too small and harder to hit accurately. For instance, the shift key on the right is so short that we often hit the Up arrow key by accident.

The keyboard dock is more or less identical to the previous version - it has a touchpad, SD card slot and a USB port on the right.

The USB port is really handy as you can access files from an external hard drive or thumbdrive.

The Prime is a great device for a road warrior - it has a respectable battery life of 10 hours if you just the Tablet. Hooking up the keyboard dock extends the battery by another five to six hours.

Performance
The vast majority of Android Tablets sport dual-core processors. The Prime has an advantage in this area - it's powered by nVidia's brand new quad-core processor, the Tegra 3.

It performed exceptionally smooth. Transitions looked great when switching homescreens and it could multitask effortlessly.

However, once there are many apps running in the background the Tablet starts to run out of steam and will lag.

Thankfully, the Prime comes pre-installed a Task Manager widget that helps clear out apps running in the background to free up processing power.

Web browsing on the Tablet is great thanks to the keyboard and the support for Flash which allows you ot watch videos and even play some Facebook games.

The Internal storage of 32GB is big enough to store most of your stuff. Should you need more space, you can easily slot in a MicroSD or SD card.

Multimedia and games
The Prime is able to play 1080p HD videos but the videos sometimes stuttered especially during action scenes.

Dialling the video quality down to 720p allowed the Prime to handle the video playback better and things ran smoothly after that.

Games are perhaps one of the best ways to test a system and there are a number of graphics intensive ones that take advantage of the Tegra's power.

We tried out Zen Pinball, a free pinball game with different lighting effects, and it played well without any hitches.

Another game was Sprinkle, which Featured nice dynamic water effects and it also looked pretty good on the Prime.

It's great that there are a number of games like Shadow Gun and Grand Theft Auto III that support a USB game controller.

It would be cool to see more games to support this feature in the future.

Camera
It is easy to overlook the Prime's 8-megapixel camera because it's not as convenient to use a Tablet to shoot photos.

The Prime fared well in this area especially when there was natural light as photos turned out sharp.

However, the camera's performance in low light conditions wasn't impressive which was surprising as it has a wide aperture lens that allows more light to go through.

The colours were generally muted and magenta tones were present.

The Tablet's video recording fared better and the videos turned out good.

The only downside is that the autofocus hunts a lot, which in turn causes a constant clicking noise as the camera readjusts its focus.

Conclusion
The Prime is one of the first Android Tablets out the gate with ICS and the powerful Nvidia Tegra 3 processor so it is better for gaming and HD movie playback.

But is it worth a purchase? That depends on whether if you are expecting a major overhaul with massive changes - if this is the case, you will be disappointed.

Ice Cream Sandwich does not radically change the way the Prime works.

The interface for the most part is the same though you can now create folders and resize widgets.

Aside from the smoother interface and slicker performance, there isn't much difference from Honeycomb.

The bundled keyboard dock was definitely useful as it turns the Prime into a small notebook for typing long documents and the USB ports add more connectivity for USB devices and external drives.

Considering all the specs, the Prime is a great work Tablet when you are on the go though don't expect it to take great pictures. It offers the performance you need with its next generation processor and has a long battery life to keep it going.

Pros: Transforms between Tablet and notebook form; fast Tegra 3 processor is good for games; long battery life.
Cons: Small chiclet keys on dock; camera could be better; built-in speakers offer below average sound quality.

EEE PAD TRANSFORMER PRIME (Asus)

PROCESSOR: 1.3GHz nVidia Tegra 3 quad-core
CPU MEMORY: 1GB RAM
DISPLAY: 10.1in LED backlit touchscreen (1,280 x 800-pixels)
GRAPHICS: ULP GeForce
GPU STORAGE: 32GB
CONNECTIVITY: 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1
CAMERAS: 8-megapixels with LED flash (back), 1.2-megapixels (front)
PORTS/SLOTS: MicroSD/SD reader, micro-HDMI out, USB 2.0 port, keyboard dock, microphone and audio jack OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
OTHER FEATURES: Ambient light sensor; keyboard dock with battery pack
DIMENSIONS (W x D x H): 263 x 180 x 8.3mm
WEIGHT: 586g (Tablet only)
RATING: 4 stars

Copyright 1995-2012 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)


Editor's rating:

Good


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