|Screen Size||10.1 inches|
|Screen Resolution||1280 x 800|
|Max Screen Resolution||1280 x 800 pixels|
|Processor||1.3 GHz Tegra 3.0|
|RAM||1 GB DDR2|
|Hard Drive||32 GB|
|Graphics Coprocessor||NVIDIA GeForce|
|Average Battery Life (in hours)||12 hours|
ASUS Transformer Prime TF201-B1-GR Eee Pad 10.1-Inch 32GB Tablet (Amethyst Gray)
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- Android 3.2 Honeycomb OS (4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich upgradable) with ASUS Waveshare UI
- NVIDIA® Tegra® 3 Quad-core CPU
- 10.1" LED Backlight WXGA (1280x800) ScreenSuper IPS+10 finger multi-touch supportCorning® Gorilla® Glass
- 32GB EMMC + 8G life time ASUS Webstorage space
- Eee Pad Transformer Docking Keyboard Not IncludedWLAN 802.11 firstname.lastname@example.orgGHzBluetooth V2.1+EDR1.2 MP Front Camera8 MP Rear CameraAuto focus (rear) with flashLarge F2.4 aperture. (rear camera)
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10.1" WXGA (1280x800) (LED Capacitive)/NVIDIA Tegra 3/1GB DDR2 RAM/32GB Flash Memory/Android 3.2 (Honeycomb)/802.11BGN/1.2MP Front Camera/8.0MP Rear Camera/Bluetooth 2.1/Up to 12 hours battery/G-Sensor/E-Compass/Light Sensor/Gyroscope/1YR North American Warranty
Top Customer Reviews
With that said, this is one of the best tech gadget I've ever owned. The unanimous rave industry reviews (and very positive end user reviewers, even taking wifi issues etc. into account) aren't wrong.
* BUILD AND FORM FACTOR: evocative of but actually feels higher quality than the Ipad 2 and Macbook Air, which is a minor miracle at this price point. Beautifully machined aluminum, minimalist but not cold. The resolution of the screen is the best out of any current tablet, and can be crazily bright enough that it is useable outdoors in sunlight. It's definitely a fingerprint magnet though.
* COLOR - for those deciding between the gray or champagne, I received the champagne, and I actually called to confirm that I received the right one. It's much more silver than gold, it's basically silver aluminum with some gold highlights when the light catches it the right way. This is *exactly* what I wanted - it's reminiscent of the classic aluminum MacBook Pros, but with a touch of warmth from the gold. In short - it's not very gold at all.
* PROCESSOR - the Tegra 3 quad core processor is noticeably snappy, making the whole experience (even with Honeycomb) feel next gen. I've been getting great battery life, ~ 10-12 hours of normal mixed used, on balanced setting. With the dock, you're at 18+ hours. The NVIDIA fifth "stealth core" does its job seamlessly. It just works. For a quad core tablet with blazing power, this is again pretty mind-bending and next-gen. Is a quad core necessary? Strictly speaking, no. The Tegra 2 / OMAP / Snapdragon tablets do just fine, for the most part (although the un-overclocked Touchpad is noticeably slow), but every non ipad tablet lagged behind the iPad 2 in terms of real world performance (opening menus, browsing, launching apps). This isn't because Apple's processor is faster, but rather because if the sheer level of optimization between Apple hardware and software, which is industry-leading. With the Tegra 3 processor, though, this is the first non Apple tablet that both objectively is, and also noticeably feels, faster, more responsive, and more powerful than the iPad 2. It just brute forces past all of the Apple optimizations. For me, that is huge, especially if I'm going to be spending over $400 on something. Slowly but surely, more and more apps are optimizing for quad core (especially games), but even without that, I'd get a quad core for the general performance benefits alone, as it translates across every app.
* OS / SW - I really like the iOS UI for phones, it's simple yet powerful, but for a tablet it's always just felt incredibly limiting / frustrating / slightly condescending. I even prefer WebOS to it. Android Honeycomb is a nice balance between power, customization and being relatively easy to pick up, just perfect for the tablet form factor. My 2 year old toddler figured out how to use it in about 20 seconds (similar to WebOS and iOS). That being said, I'm looking forward to ICS, which should make things even more stable (HC still crashes occasionally)and uniform. The fact that the Prime gets an ICS in a month or two is fantastic. The pre-loaded Asus apps are relatively minimal and unobtrusive, and some actually are quite nice, such as the Asus cloud. Polaris Office is solid. The Android Market could be improved though, especially in terms of sorting and organization. Finding the right app can be a bit of a crapshoot.
CONS: Basically the same nits as others have pointed out.
* SPEAKER: the rear-facing speaker placement is a bit dumb, because it gets covered up relatively easily by your hands or when you set it down. However, you can still hear it even if it's completely covered, it's pretty loud, and it's located where the tablet tapers inwards so it doesn't get completely covered by a flat surface when setting it down. I don't mind the lack of a second speaker per se, as you hardly get stereo sound from any of the other tablets that have two speakers. I would say the sound quality of the Prime is on par with any other tablet, but it is just a bit easier to muffle. A jawbone jambox bluetooth speaker or the like works beautifully to supplement this tablet. It's certainly not needed, but it's a nice addition.
* CHARGER - the proprietary charger really annoys me. Until Asus comes out with more accessories, I'm basically stuck with using my one charging cord. Even charging via the dock requires the proprietary connector. It's not worth deducting a star for (at least for me), because it's more of an annoyance in light of how great the rest of the device is, but sheesh.
* PRODUCT LAUNCH - for a $21 billion company of 110,000+ employees, Asus still can't do a good product launch to save its life. This doesn't detract from the end product per se, but it's worth mentioning because so many pre-orders (on Amazon and elsewhere) were bungled or delayed. Asus is starting to consistently put out really great products, but in order to get to the "next level"(Sony, Apple etc.) in the eyes of the average consumer, they're going to really need to work on marketing and sales execution.
OVERALL: this thing is pretty ingenious, especially with the accessory dock / keyboard. Hopefully a harbinger of good things to come in the Android tablet space.
<<UPDATES AS OF 1/24/2012>>
These are discussed more in the comments, but I thought it would be useful to update the main review.
* ICS - I updated to ICS the first day it was out (good job Asus in pushing this out two days earlier), to absolutely no problems. It was like any other firmware update. The system notifies you that there's an update available, you tap yes, and voila. ~10 minutes later, ICS is installed. It's pretty seamless - no loss of applications or data. I haven't noticed wholesale differences, but everything is smoother, more streamlined, and sometimes faster. It's a definite plus. Asus has already provided multiple firmware updates (on top of ICS), which is a very good sign that this product is being actively supported.
* WiFi - it's been pretty definitively proven that an all-aluminum back-plate is not the best for enhancing WiFI signals. Asus attempted to make up for this via "antenna differentiation," a fancy way for saying that there are two antennas instead of one. In practice, mine has very good wifi reception up to about 25-30 feet from the router. Specific numbers: wifi analyzer average value of -50 to -60, and speedtest of up to 18mbps, exactly on par with my laptop. However, once you get really far away from the router (i.e. outside, or more than 75 feet from the router), the performance erodes at a higher rate than the comparison laptop (wifi analyzer -90). For my purposes, this is extremely useable, and I never noticed the supposedly weak wifi until I started doing actual tests out of curiosity. A lot of people have had luck with installing repeaters and / or more powerful routers, but I haven't needed to go that route. Asus has announced that they're making a new Transformer Prime variant, the 700T, due in a few months (supposedly). This one will have a different, non-metallic backplate, similar to the original Transformer (i.e. plastic). For me, I'm happy to sacrifice a slight amount of WiFi range for the distinctive spun-aluminum backplate; those who don't feel this way should perhaps wait for the 700T if they can.
* Dock - my champagne dock finally shipped yesterday, about a month after the actual tablet arrived. I can understand this somewhat if this device were sold out by the millions, but I don't think that that's the case (even though it looks like this tablet is, deservedly, a hit as far as Android tabs go). It's just an almost mind-bogglingly bad manufacturing / supply issue with Asus. It's like they make 10 at a time and call it a day. Hopefully it's just the first month hiccup - it looks like there are more docks (esp. the grey) among different retailers and that's a good sign. My original criticism stands though - Asus is insanely bad at product launches.
* Accessories - I ended up purchasing this MoKo(TM) Premium Quality Slim-Fit Folio Cover Case with built-in Multi-Angle Stand for Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201 10.1-Inch Android Tablet, and the Skinomi Techskin screen protector. The case is not as whiz-bang as some iPad cases - it's the same tired black pseudo leather, but it's cheap and it gets the job done in terms of functionality. The skin is ok but seems to, ironically, scratch easily. I've had better luck with Invisibleshield with past devices.
* Overall - I'm pleased to report that the tablet is still working great. After a month of use, I'd say what really sets it apart is the Tegra 3 quad core, which is an unadulterated good. I can't imagine using a tablet without one now. The form factor and build are great, but with the caveats noted above.
Originally I was going to purchase an iPad2 like so many others that cannot get past the Starbucks fascination of owning an Apple product. My primary concern with Apple products including my iPhone was the lack of real memory with Apple limiting any expansion in their products-though great otherwise. As I recently converted both of my phones over to Android phones, that pretty much clinched the purchase as purchasing and juggling two platforms made little sense. I did go at it slow originally as I wanted to ensure that the tools (apps) I require were both available and worked well on the Android system vs Apple. Now only were they available, even better options were to be found which was a pleasant surprise as a lot of junk apps are also on the Android Market.
Now to the tablet:
Breaking this down into simple terms:
.Very fast. With quad core and an extra chip to handle video, this tablet is speed with ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich). With exception to browsing (Dolphin HD) which is just OK. Try out Opera.
.Battery life: An honest 9 hrs+ with just tablet and over 17 hrs with the dock. Even while watching movies the battery drains very slowly. Very impressive. Also, the dock charges the tablet when connected.
.Styling. Extremely nice and modern style. All aluminum (which is also it's greatest sin). This tablet is hot looking. I have tghe champagne version which is more like a light metallic bronze.
.Expandability: Micro HDMI, USB (dock), miniSD. I have a 128gb microSD card for a total of 192gb in the tablet alone and a 64gb in the dock for a total of 256gb. I have a large amount of HD movies, games, photos, apps, etc. All play very well from the cards with no hiccups of any sort. Native USB mouse support and native PS3 controller support via USB. Just plug and go, no ROM needed. Also, the mentioned dock is an exceptional accessory. It adds battery life, USB, looks great, fits well , and really does complete the package.
.Video playback. Another win over iPhone is the ability to play a wide array of movie formats which Apple can be stubborn about. Playback is very smooth, bright, and you can easily scroll forward or back with no delay or crashes. Very impressive.
.Graphics: Superb, the best available on a tablet at the moment. Just youtube comparisons of Shadowgun and Riptide vs. the iPad2 and you will see the dramatic improvements over the iPad and original Transformer.
.WIFI: LOL. Many complain about the WIFI as the aluminum backing does inhibit the signal. However my particular model has great WIFI and downloads faster than any tablet prior. No issues at all here. Additionally, I Hotspot off of my 4G Android phones, again no issues. No fee either through my carrier.
.Screen: Large 10.1" screen with Gorilla Glass and highest tablet resolution at the moment. Very strong, very bright IPS, even outdoors. Movies and games look great along with spreadsheets.
.Lack of accessories such as cases with the tablet/dock (current versions are designed incorrectly resulting in too thick of material between dock and tablet hinge.) Ton of stuff available for iPads and the original Transformer (those will not fit the Prime)
.GPS. Yep, I do not use it on a tablet, but it is advertised (before), and the signal is blocked by that gorgeous aluminum backing. Simply does not work on mine. EDIT: Recent firmwares have improved this and it does now lock onto over 12 satellites though still not great for driving.
Recent airplane trip. Edited a few spreadsheets, tired of that, decided to watch a full length HD movie, then connect my PS3 controller and played Shadowgun. The guy sitting next to me and another across from the aisle were blown away with this tablet sparking plenty of conversation. It is an impressive piece which has a tendency to draw people into your business. Expect it unless your doing something boring. Using it in the AM, then at the terminal, on the flight, I still had over 80% of total battery left. I did not even bother taking out my laptop.
Overall with dock and memory cards (2) it was a bit expensive, however at the end of the day, well worth it IMO.