ASUS Transformer Prime revisited: Still best Android tablet

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.

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TOPICS: Android
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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.

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Topic: Android

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21 comments
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  • RE: ASUS Transformer Prime revisited: Still best Android tablet

    From the article:
    [i]The Transformer when docked is no different than a real laptop[/i]

    I would say that the ASUS Transformer Prime is a real laptop (actually, a [u]netbook[/u] with its 10-inch display). The fact that it runs Android instead of Windows, OS X, GNU/Linux, BSD or Solaris should not matter a wit.

    P.S. This is why I believe that 12- to 13-inch Android laptops will, eventually, catch on. For example, the Toshiba Excite 13 tablet would be very interesting as a Transformer-type device.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • I looooove my Transformer TF300

    I few weeks ago I bought a Transformer TF300. It's the cheaper successor to the Prime, boasting similar specs, but made of plastic rather than aluminum. The TF700, which comes out later this summer will be the higher end model, for those who are willing to spend an extra $200 for better materials and a screen that promises to give the iPad 3 a run for its money.

    At any rate, I am very, very happy with this machine. It is very fast, very stable, and very, very portable. They keyboard dock makes it a viable laptop replacement in many ways. The only thing missing at the moment is a killer office suite, but with Google's purchase of QuickOffice I suspect that will change soon enough. And I do find that I use this thing about as much on the dock as off, and that certain functions that I would normally perform with a mouse/trackpad are actually much more intuitive with your fingers. In fact, the other day my wife handed me her laptop for something or other and I found myself instinctively reaching to the screen to scroll around.

    I'm still eager to see what Windows 8 brings to the table, as far as tablets go, but for now, I have absolutely no regrets.
    dsf3g
    • I would agree

      I agree with you, the TF300 is amazing, I was very surprised how much I ended up using this device as a complete laptop (Windows) replacement. I find myself not needing to using a Windows basde device at all. I did not think I could get through my work day without using windows.

      Yes the office suites on android are not as robust as MS Office, but I really don't use all the features in MS Office. Since 94, they have added new features that I just don't use for Word. I do need to use the statistical analysis package in Excel from time to time, but it is rare and I believe Android in the near future will only get better and stronger in those areas. PowerPoint is a weakness in Android, I do wish they had better offering, but overall, I too have absolutely no regrets with this purchase.
      johnfarhat@...
  • Yes, I agree

    That's what I have, the ASUS Transformer Prime, with a light brown Leather case helping protect it. I get 15-20 hours on a charge, with the dock, which is just plain awesome!!
    thekcmartz
  • jellybean

    Just curious: why is everyone thinking the next release of android must be "jellybean"? Honeycomb spanned 3.0-3.2. Why wouldn't the next one be 4.1 ICS? At this point I hope android sort of stays as-is, and doesn't get into too much 'feature creep', instead just focusing on fine tuning and under the hood improvements, etc.
    deathjazz68
    • Major Version

      We are talking about a major version update .... as in the number to the left of the first decimal. :|
      rhonin
  • Chrome on the Transformer Prime

    I'm totally with you on the TP being the best tablet on the planet today. But I'm surprised that you like Chrome on the Prime. While Chrome is excellent on my phone, it's completely flakey on the Prime. It's slow loading pages, freezes, crashes all the time. The only browser worse than Chrome beta is Firefox! Both awesome on the desktop.

    I have seen a lot of folks who have the same experience as me with Chrome on the Prime. I wonder how many are having a good experience.
    os2baba
    • tfp 201

      Yes it is a little slow but i haven't fownd a better 1
      NMAN102999
  • The "best" that is having a hard time selling

    Yes ... it is the best Android tablet .... but it is the best at sucking less.

    ASUS is just not selling them. They produced only 80K and they still have more than 50% in inventory.
    wackoae
    • Doubtful

      Do you have any links to verify this?

      I doubt it's true. The Prime has been out-of-stock at virtually every retailer in the U.S. As soon as a retailer like Best Buy get's it in stock, they all sell out right away.

      That doesn't mesh with what you're saying.
      Gupiter
      • No evidence, just hate

        Wackoae just hates Android and has no evidence. Before the Oracle trial was decided he was cheering on Oracle at every ZDNET article. When Oracle failed he moved on to other Android-hating opportunities. Some people just have nothing better to do with their lives.
        DonRupertBitByte
      • Here is a HINT for the clueless

        Check the Hasbro vs ASUS trademark violation court case. ASUS admitted that they only manufactured 80K units and they still had more than 45K of unsold inventory.
        wackoae
      • Doubtful indeed!

        Where are these 45K unsold stock? I was trying to buy one for my sister last week and couldn't find one in stock anywhere in Atlanta. She finally bought an iPad :-(
        os2baba
  • Transformer Prime & 3G

    Are there 3G versions of the Transformer Prime? Without 3G it is not possible to consider it.
    ckharry@...
    • Transformer Prime & 3G

      Just wondering, do you not have a cell phone that has either bluetooth or wifi tether capabilities? I have purchased the TF300T and would not purchase it if it had 3G...I refuse to pay for another internet plan (I pay for six unlimited cell phone data plans along with my home internet plan - and that is ENOUGH!). I utilize wifi tether to connect my TF300 using my cell phone when not at home, and it works great. 3G offering is just not needed, unless your cellphone does not have tethering capabilities (almost any phone these days do - you may have to root to avoid a tethering fee from your carrier, but it is easy to do - but you don't need to root, you can just pay the fee if you wish).
      johnfarhat@...
      • How do you avoid the tethering fee again?

        Don't most of the major carriers detect the data signature of tethering and first warn, then charge, you for tethering?
        Geedavey
  • My impressions

    I have owned the Prime for around 3 months and I am pleased with it. I still think Asus needs to do some fine-tuning because I do have issues with apps behaving sluggish. Games run fantastic though, especially the high end games.

    Chrome is horrendous on the Prime though. The Prime is actually listed as a "known issue" on the Chrome for Android dev page.. it's that bad. It stalls constantly, crashes, and even when it's working.. just loads pages slower than Dolphin browser or even the stock ICS browser.

    My only other concern is some design flaws. Why only one speaker? And also, the thin sliver of metal between the charging port and the screen is always becoming bent from either using it while charging or being docked and undocked.

    By the way, the dock is incredible. Definitely a must have if you buy the Prime.
    Gupiter
  • Tablets

    Sorry no, the ASUS tablet is not the best.... I bought a Freedom 10C tablet from Android World USA and it is amazing. It does everything an iPad2 does but has more I/O (USB & HDMI ports), a MicroSD Card slot for my 32GB storage) and at about half the cost ($299.95). The support has been super and have been watching Netflix movies, downloading games & music and lots of ebooks. Love it!
    Quarton60
  • Google chrome

    Bought the prime as a birthday gift to myself in March and cannot part from it. Agree that chrome does have a lot of issues, but as a student it was the only platform that allowed me to actually view the whole page on a d2l shell. Other browsers only loaded half the page, and allowed no interaction. Very disappointed in the stock browser when I could not post a simple answer to discussion question online. Words can not express how relieved I am to finally have a spell check with Quickoffice pro HD, and now that Google is apart of the picture complains will soon disintegrate. One can`t deny how surprising it is that the transformer prime is still not matched by competitors, even after being out for over half a year now. Asus has left the competition scratching their heads completely dumbfounded. To top it off, Asus comes out with a full windows tablet.
    crhic_chavez
  • GPS and WiFi performance

    Contrasts in GPS and WiFi performance based on plastic vs. aluminum back plates have been talked about. Does anyone have info about this?
    n5cbi