ASUS Transformer Prime revisited: Still best Android tablet

Summary:ASUS hit the ball out of the park with the Transformer Prime, and it is still the best Android tablet months after its release.

I am a sucker for tablets, that I confess. At any time I own at least three or four of all different flavors, and it is not unusual to see me with one in my hands. I probably spend at least three hours every single day using a tablet, often more than that.

Out of all the tablets I own, the Transformer Prime is still one of the best. It is the best one running Android I have tried so far.

The recent announcement of the upcoming Windows RT version of the Transformer is good reason to revisit the Transformer Prime running Android. While the Windows version will be equally useful at home and the workplace, the Android version is so good it already gives the Windows RT version a run for the money. This is evident even months before Windows 8/RT will appear in the real world.

What impressed me when I first got the Transformer Prime is still true today. The tablet is as thin and light as anything around, making it comfortable to use in either portrait or landscape. Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich, has evolved to be a stable platform for the genre.

While the Google Play store is not overflowing with tablet apps, it is gradually getting some very good ones that first appeared on the iPad. Specialty apps like Zite and Flipboard are now available on Android, and even though not optimized yet for tablets work just fine on the Transformer. Most importantly for me, Google Chrome beta for Android has been updated regularly and is now easily the best mobile browser on any platform.

What sets the Transformer apart from the crowd is the wonderful laptop dock. While not all tablet users want or need a keyboard, it is important to me for getting serious work done. The Transformer when docked is no different than a real laptop, although one that happens to run Android. It is a no compromise solution for those wanting the best of both worlds, that of the tablet and the cheap laptop.

See the reviews in the iPad keyboard case series:

Yes, there are a lot of keyboards available for the iPad, I own a few of those too. While those work just fine, the Transformer dock brings one thing to the tablet that those iPad keyboards are missing. That is a second battery in the Transformer dock that augments the already good tablet battery -- up to 20 hours. That is simply game-changing for those of us who use these things so heavily. You could literally take the Transformer and dock on a short business trip and leave the charger at home if you wanted to push the envelope.

With Google i/O on the horizon it is sure that Android news will be flowing hot and heavy. That should include word on the next version of Android, aka Jellybean, and who knows what else? No doubt there will be exciting news about new tablets, and how Android should go up against the upcoming Windows 8 onslaught.

While it is exciting to think of all of these Windows RT/8 tablets that are going to show up later this year, the Transformer Prime on Android shows how difficult a row Microsoft has to hoe with Windows. The competition has been evolving for a few years now, and playing catch-up is not the easiest thing to do.

Related posts:

Topics: Android

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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