on January 4, 2012
This is a review for the 64gb Amethyst Gray model. (1/17/12) I have now had my dock for over a week, so I will update a few sections of this review with my impressions of the dock and tablet combined.
First, I'd like to take a brief moment to discuss the launch of this tablet. Asus announced it to much hype and the initial reviews only compounded that hype. I preordered it on specs alone back in November. The initial reviews were all glowing with very few negatives. Then the initial units went out and there appeared to be widespread disappointment. I am happy to say that my experience closely mirrors that of the initial professional reviewers.
This is by far the best looking tablet I've seen. I was worried about it being too purple, but I think the color is perfect. I love the aluminum body and how thin it is. It is very thin and light which makes it easy to hold an use for a long time. I really love the way it looks and feels. It's a fingerprint magnet, but I guess you'll have that when you're touching all over it constantly. Asus provides a microfiber cloth with the device that works very well at keeping it clean.
The battery life has exceeded my expectations. I can get 8-9 hours of constant use, browsing web pages, playing games, watching videos, all with wifi on and screen and normal brightness. When not in use, the battery hardly drains at all. There is no reason to power down even if you aren't going to use it for a couple days, you might lose like 5-8% battery during that whole time. (1/17/12) The dock does a great job extending the battery life. I can easily get 14-15 hours of use when they are together.
The Asus Transformer Prime uses the Tegra 3 processor. This makes the tablet very fast. Running games like Glowball and Shadowgun look fantastic. There is no slowdown to be seen. Switching between apps is also very quick. I've been very happy with the performance of this device, and I expect, going forward, that this quad-core processor will be able to keep up with the quickly evolving tablet landscape. It should be fairly "future-proof". Using HDMI-out and a wireless controller, you can play these amazing games on your big-screen tv, making this a type of videogame console. Using SNESoid, N64oid, and other emulators with the wireless controller turn this into a retro gaming powerhouse. (1/17/12) I have been able to get my PS3 controller to connect wirelessly to the Prime. Playing games on the TV is perfect with this.
It's great. The difference brightness settings make it a joy to look at no matter the lighting conditions. Videos and games look great on it. The touch response is perfect and it's very easy to operate. (1/5/12) I am able to confirm that there is slightly noticeable light bleed in the upper right part of the screen. It's very feint and can only be seen with certain black screens, and only if I'm specifically looking for it.
I must take a moment to discuss the GPS issues. So far, I have not been able to lock on any satellites. This does not lower my review score because I never intended to use the GPS on a Wifi only device. My cell phone with 3g/4g data and 4.5" screen is a much better navigator. If using a 10" screen to navigate is a priority for you, you should probably look elsewhere. This simply won't get the job done. The tablet is still easily able to tell your location using Wifi, so all location-based services function without issue.
There were reports of bad wifi on the tablet. In my everyday use, it has been more than adequate. It quickly connects, and I have been able to download apps and browse webpages quickly. It's signal strength is on par with my Galaxy Nexus smartphone. My room is 2 floors below the router, and I still get full bars.
The rear camera is great, but I don't expect to get much use out of it. It's difficult to take pictures using such a large device. I'm happy they included a front-facing camera though, it works great with the Skype and Google Messenger apps.
The rear speaker is decent enough for notifications and a quick video, but I'd recommend using headphones in most cases. It's loud enough, but still has a small speaker sound, and I get much better audio out of my headphones. I'd say the speaker is better than other tablet speakers I've heard, but I'd still use an external speaker or headphones if you need better quality.
I want to touch on the expandability on this tablet versus the competition. At this time, I can only comment on the tablet itself, which has a micro-sd port. I had read complaints that the micro-sd sticks out too far, but it doesn't create a problem for me. I can still hold the tablet by it's sides without problem. It won't pop out automatically or anything. The keyboard dock will add a full-size sd card slot as well as a full-size USB port which will accept USB hubs. As tablets are primarily media consumption devices, this expandability is important to me so that I can take many high-quality movies, tv shows, and music with me on-the-go. No other tablets come close to this capacity.
Running Android versus iOS was a requirement for me. I'm a gadget lover and love the ability to customize. With Android, if you don't like the stock keyboard, you can replace it, which I did, with Swiftkey. Swiftkey allows you to use a "split" keyboard, so if you hold the tablet in your hands, it's very easy to type with, and makes the tablet experience much better. This level of customization is found throughout Android. The task switcher makes it easy to go from app to app. I honestly love the stock browser. If you turn on the quick controls from the advanced settings, you can switch between bookmarks, tabs, forward, back, etc with just the swipe of a finger. Pages seemed to load quickly. (1/17/12) With ICS and the keyboard dock, the Transformer Prime really starts to shine. I never thought using a mouse and keyboard would be so great and intuitive with Android. I really love it, it's like they were made for each other.
I have wanted a tablet for a while, since the iPad took off, and this was the first tablet that seemed good enough to take the plunge. I'm glad I waited because this meets my every expectation. The reason I'm giving it 5 stars despite my minor complains is because it is exactly what I expected out of a tablet. I've seen the other tablets out there, and this is by far the best one I've seen/used. (1/17/12) If you get the Prime, it is really worth it to get the dock as well. They work beautifully together, and it is awesome that you can just rip the screen off of your netbook whenever you want to watch movies on the couch. I highly recommend this device to anyone looking to take the plunge into Android tablets.