The Transformer Prime is coveted by Android fans everywhere for not only it being the first quad-core tablet, but also being the first tablet running Google’s new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. This tablet has been on alot of people’s wishlists for a while, and is still very hard to get a hold of. I was fortunate enough to get me hands on one. Is it a Prime piece of tablety goodness (ok, I’ll try to limit the corny Prime jokes to a minimum.), or should you carry on, and save your hard earned cash for something else? Let’s take a look.
Asus certainly outdid itself with the hardware on this bad boy. With it’s quad-core Tegra 3 processor, slim profile, and a beautiful spun metal backing, the Transformer Prime is definitely pleasing on the eyes. The metal construction sets itself apart from it’s competition, which usually is mostly plastic. For the most part, the metal backing is able to repel fingerprints. With the hardware visual appeal being said, the hardware design does have its drawbacks. Starting with the lesser issues, I go into more detail of the hardware’s impact in the performance section of this review. Unlike my Galaxy Tab 10.1 with it’s rounded edges, the Prime’s edges are tapered, or as I would describe them, beveled. This causes the tablet to have a sharp feel to them when holding for long period of time. Granted it’s probably not possible for it to actually cut you or anything, it’s just something I noticed. The “beveled” edges also made pressing the power button a little getting used to for me. The power button the the top of the device is on the back part of the “bevel”, so I felt I was reaching around the top of the tablet to reach the button.
The Transformer Prime features a 10.1″ LED Backlight WXGA (1280×800 resolution) Super IPS+ display which touts a brighter display, with high viewing angles. The display has a IPS+ toggle, to up the brightness for better viewing in outdoor conditions. While the display on the Prime is better than the original Transformer, I still find it to be less quality than with my Galaxy Tab 10.1. To match the display quality of the Tab 10.1, the Prime’s display needs to have the IPS+ outdoor display setting on, and the brightness at 100%. Still, the Prime’s display falls slightly short compared to the Tab 10.1′s. The colors aren’t as bright and vibrant. They have a more “earthy” tone to them.
Powered by the Tegra 3 quad-core processor, the Transformer Prime is made to outperform all other tablets on the market. While the Prime is a quad core core tablet, with an extra “companion core”, yet again I found faults. I’ll start with the hardware faults. Because of the metal construction I mentioned above, there is definite wifi interference. Wifi on the Prime is noticeably slower compared to my other devices. The metal construction also takes the GPS to a grinding halt. I was not able to connect to GPS at all. I waited for around 10 minutes for it to try and acquire a GPS signal before I gave up.
The Transformer Prime also falls short in the software performance category. I experienced frequent random reboots and app crashing. I experienced this everyday during my review period. I don’t know if this is an Asus issue, an Android Ice Cream Sandwich issue, or both.
The camera on the Transformer Prime was the one bright spot of the device. You are probably saying…yeah but who uses their tablet as their primary means of photo taking? While I don’t use my tablet all the time for photos, all the promo shots of devices for my website (including the pictures of the Prime in this review) and most of the recent photos on my Google+ profile, were taken with my Galaxy Tab 10.1.
Photos taken with the Prime were surprisingly good. They turned out relatively clear. The only downfall was their color could be better, especially with indoor shots.
I was really looking forward to the release of this device. I followed all its rumors and rumored release dates all the way to the end. I was very happy when I was finally able to get my hands on one. As you can tell from everything I said above, I was quickly disappointed. It was like a kid waking up Christmas morning to find coal in their stocking. Asus recently released a OTA update that supposedly fixes the wifi and random reboots. I say “supposedly” because I do not have the Prime anymore so I can’t say for sure if it fixes all the problems. I am not confident they can overcome the metal construction with a software update. I can only say that if you are looking to buy a new tablet, stay far away from this one. Hopefully the Transformer TF700T will be better.
Do you have a Prime? How are you liking it. Leave your comments below.