As soon as the Transformer Prime was released late last year the complaints about GPS performance starting rolling in. The Transformer Prime has a GPS receiver integrated in the tablet, but it doesn't work very well. ASUS checked out the complaints and determined that the metal case of the Transformer Prime inhibited the reception of the GPS unit.
The company has now stepped up to the plate and is offering all Transformer Prime owners a free 'dongle' that augments the GPS reception to acceptable levels. Kudos to ASUS for owning the problem and offering a free solution, but photos of the dongle show that term is used loosely.
The plastic accessory offered by ASUS is not a dongle at all, rather a big, bulky unit that plugs into the docking port of the tablet. It looks to add 1 - 2 inches to the svelte Transformer Prime, and since it uses the charging/docking port it cannot be used while being charged, nor while inserted in the laptop dock.
To be fair most owners probably won't use the Transformer Prime as a GPS device, but those who do will want to get the free unit from ASUS. One must question why the fix has to be such a big unit, but at least it is free.
The GPS problem shows how hard it is to build these thin tablets. ASUS engineers were obviously caught by surprise that the thin metal case of the Transformer Prime interfered with GPS reception. It's rumored to be the reason that future ASUS tablets will use plastic in the casing to avoid this problem.
Owners wanting to get one of the GPS fix units should visit the ASUS site and follow the directions to order one.
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