ASUS Transformer Prime: The Android tablet to rule them all

ASUS Transformer Prime: The Android tablet to rule them all

Summary: The ASUS Transformer Prime will be available in just a week or two, and definitely looks like the tablet to beat.

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This tablet obsession is a sickness, I admit it. The thinner the slate, the lighter the weight makes for an outstanding tablet in its own right. Top it off with great hardware specifications and special accessories and you may have the best tablet ever produced. The ASUS Transformer Prime is coming to market in just a few weeks, and it is looking like the best Android tablet of the lot.

The list of specifications on the Transformer Prime is as good as it gets:

  • Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor
  • Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich (ships with Honeycomb, first tablet to get upgraded)
  • Super IPS+ display (1280x800) with Corning Gorilla Glass
  • 8MP rear camera (F2.4 aperture), 1.2MP front camera
  • 1 GB memory; 32/64 GB storage; microSD slot; microHDMI port
  • 12 hour battery life
  • Dimensions: 263 x 180.8 x 8.3 mm; 586 g (10.35 x 7.11 x 0.32 inches; 1.29 lbs.)

These specifications make the Transformer Prime the most powerful tablet, encased in the thinnest and lightest package. Throw in the ASUS claim that this will get Ice Cream Sandwich this year and you have a winner.

The Transformer Prime is the tablet to get for anyone in the market for an Android tablet based on what we have covered so far. What sets it even further ahead of the pack is the keyboard dock that turns the Prime into a full laptop replacement. Many consumers aren't willing to give up the keyboard, and this solution is as good as any.

The mobile dock for the Transformer Prime is as feature rich as the tablet that pops into it:

  • Full QWERTY keyboard
  • Large trackpad
  • USB 2.0 port
  • Full SD slot
  • Second battery
  • 1123 g, 2.47 lbs both tablet and laptop dock

The Transformer Prime tablet snaps into the laptop dock for transport just like a thin notebook. The "lid" opens to expose the two pieces working as one, not much thicker than the ASUS Zenbook it resembles. The chiclet keys look as good as that on many laptops, and include special keys to control the Transformer Prime without lifting hands off the keyboard.

The USB port and SD card slot aren't the only benefits added by the laptop dock. There is a second battery that not only extends the tablet battery life to 18 hours, it also charges the tablet while docked. This arrangement is finally thin and light enough to make it a viable option for my work. I could use the tablet most of the time and pop it into the dock when I need to do some serious writing.

The ASUS Transformer Prime will retail for $499/$599 (32GB/64GB), and the laptop dock an extra $149. This is not cheap but is competitive with the iPad 2. I can't wait to get my hands on one for a full review, along with the laptop dock. Hear that, ASUS?

To appreciate the value of the ASUS Transformer Prime and dock, take a look at this video from Ritchie's Room.

See also:

Topics: Hardware, Android, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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118 comments
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  • At Over $500, It's Overpriced for the Market

    While the specs look great, it's too overpriced for the current consumer market for non-Apple tablets. Apple fans are willing to pay a premium for their beloved brand, other consumers, not so much. The price point to hit for the general consumer tablet market is less than $300. This is a difficult to hit with the cost of manufacturing without some serious compromises.
    ancientprogrammer
    • RE: ASUS Transformer Prime: The Android tablet to rule them all

      @ancientprogrammer That is the MSRP, I expect it will be cheaper after launch.
      JamesKendrick
      • RE: ASUS Transformer Prime: The Android tablet to rule them all

        @JamesKendrick I very much doubt it. The Pre-order sales have been through the roof. Maybe in six months it will be less.
        mrxxxman
      • RE: ASUS Transformer Prime: The Android tablet to rule them all

        @mrxxxman six months from now is still "after launch"
        David A. Pimentel
      • RE: ASUS Transformer Prime: The Android tablet to rule them all

        @David A. Pimentel True, but the implication of JK statement is that the price will differ from stated MSRP soon after it goes on sale. Or else it makes no sense for him to say "MSRP." I'm sure he doesn't mean six months later. Clear enough for you?
        mrxxxman
      • Have a good set of devices in preorder

        And no Windows 8 is not an option. As a developer.. porting all current applications between C# for Windows XP or 7 to windows 8 means rewriting a lot of code. We have decided to go with Android and drop Windows support. From Windows XP we are moving over to Android on a permanent basis. I wonder how many companies have decided to do the same. For us it makes economic sense.
        Uralbas
    • RE: ASUS Transformer Prime: The Android tablet to rule them all

      I have to disagree. I have been using iPad for both generations and I think this could win many converts. I also think there are plenty of people willing to pay for the premium features this unit offers.
      sean@...
    • Re: ASUS Transformer Prime: The Android tablet to rule them all

      @ancientprogrammer

      It is not overpriced; the evidence is that it is already "sold out" of expected initial shipments at sites offering pre-order.
      blitz120
      • RE: ASUS Transformer Prime: The Android tablet to rule them all

        @blitz120 That could reflect a low allotment as much as anything. Hopefully not, but often that's the real cause.
        JamesKendrick
      • RE: ASUS Transformer Prime: The Android tablet to rule them all

        @blitz120 I doubt it's a low allotment but even if it was there will be people willing to wait for it. Just like consumers did with the iPad2.

        It's great to see this level of interest and excitement of a product not made by Apple.

        Android fanboys charge!
        mrxxxman
      • However, why wait for it? Even with Tegra 3, this thing is way slower in ..

        @mrxxxman: ... graphics comparing to iPad 2.

        There only advantaged Transformer Prime has are such:

        1) about 30% better resolution of the screen (though, if you care, then there is reason to wait for iPad 3/iPad Retina or however it will be called next year);

        2) Physical keyboard (though not many really need it).
        dderss
    • Ah, the tired old meme that the only person who buys an iPad is an

      already existing Apple fan. I know it shakes your comfort zone, but most people buying iPads are the "other consumers" you put so much stock in.
      baggins_z
      • RE: ASUS Transformer Prime: The Android tablet to rule them all

        @baggins_z No, my experience has been that iPad consumers already owned an Apple product. That's not the case with Android users. We buy based on other things that are more important than blind loyalty.
        mrxxxman
      • RE: ASUS Transformer Prime: The Android tablet to rule them all

        @baggins_z Spot on! My ipad is the first Apple product I've ever owned, and since I'm quite happy with it, and my Windows Vista laptop, and Win7 desktop, I doubt I'll be purchasing any other tablet for quite awhile.
        Rapid Rec
      • RE: ASUS Transformer Prime: The Android tablet to rule them all

        @mrxxxman Really doesn't matter what any one person's experience is and in your case due to your blatant history Apple hatred it matters even less because it's probably not true anyway.
        non-biased
    • RE: ASUS Transformer Prime: The Android tablet to rule them all

      @ancientprogrammer Overpriced? You got to be kidding. And it is less expensive than the iPad2 when you consider the better hardware specs. Remember, this tablet has 32GB while the $499 iPad2 has only 16GB. When you throw in the better screen, and multiple ports, it's a much better deal than the iPad2 at this price point.

      The consumers you are talking about already have tablets at the lower end. Consumers like you. Go buy a Fire, Nook , etc.
      mrxxxman
      • RE: ASUS Transformer Prime: The Android tablet to rule them all

        @mrxxxman
        Sounds like the ballyhoo when Motorola Xoom hit the market. "Sure it's priced at a premium, but just look how much better it is than an iPad."
        Of course the buying public saw thru this reasoning. We saw that high price and good specs on paper don't always make a good product.
        camcost@...
      • RE: ASUS Transformer Prime: The Android tablet to rule them all

        camcost@...True, but the Xoom was the first Honeycomb tablet and it was competing with the 2nd gen iPad. That's not the case with the Transformer Prime. It's the 2nd gen of a 1st gen tablet that has been very well received.
        mrxxxman
      • RE: ASUS Transformer Prime: The Android tablet to rule them all

        @mrxxxman I agree that it isn't overpriced but items like ports does not make it better. Some won't care about the ports while others must have them. Some will prefer a different OS making this a lesser deal in their eyes while others will thinks it's the best thing around. It's all very subjective but of course your history shows you think your opinion applies to everyone else.
        non-biased
    • RE: ASUS Transformer Prime: The Android tablet to rule them all

      @ancientprogrammer - Maybe for YOU it's "overpriced" but as an owner of the awesome original Asus Transformer I'm lickin' my chops to get my hands on the PRIME! Already pre-ordered. My cousin, an Apple FanGirl, loves her ipad but keeps borrowing my Transformer "just to see something."

      Sorry dude, you're blowin' smoke -- can't afford one? Get a Kindle Fire:)
      JustTommy