- Product Dimensions: 26.3 x 0.8 x 18.1 cm ; 585 g
- Shipping Weight: 1 Kg
- Batteries 1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
- Item model number: TF201-B1-GR
- ASIN: B0067PLM5E
- Date first available at Amazon.ca: Aug. 13 2012
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #163,208 in Electronics (See Top 100 in Electronics)
Asus Eee Pad TF201-B1-GR 10.1" 32 GB Tablet - Wi-Fi - NVIDIA Tegra 3 1.30 GHz - LED Backlight - Gray
|List Price:||CDN$ 792.99|
|You Save:||CDN$ 46.20 (6%)|
- Product Type/`Tablet`
- Screen Resolution/`1280 x 800`
- Standard Memory/`1 GB`
- Weight (Approximate)/`1.30 lb`
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Stunning and beautiful. Paired and Primed to Perfection
The metallic spun finish on the ultra-slim and light Transformer Prime sets a new benchmark in the art of tablet design. Only 8.3mm thin and 586g light, the Transformer Prime re-defines the rule of the mobile life, making it super easy to carry and transport.
The world's first Quad-core CPU tablet. The most powerful tablet ever.
Powered by the world's first Quad-core processor NVIDIA Tegra 3, the Transformer Prime browses the web and plays 1080p HD video at blazing speeds. The snappier response time and better multi-tasking performance make the Transformer Prime a true mobile entertainment powerhouse.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
With that said, this is one of the best tech gadget I've ever owned. The unanimous rave industry reviews (and very positive end user reviewers, even taking wifi issues etc. into account) aren't wrong.
* BUILD AND FORM FACTOR: evocative of but actually feels higher quality than the Ipad 2 and Macbook Air, which is a minor miracle at this price point. Beautifully machined aluminum, minimalist but not cold. The resolution of the screen is the best out of any current tablet, and can be crazily bright enough that it is useable outdoors in sunlight. It's definitely a fingerprint magnet though.
* COLOR - for those deciding between the gray or champagne, I received the champagne, and I actually called to confirm that I received the right one. It's much more silver than gold, it's basically silver aluminum with some gold highlights when the light catches it the right way. This is *exactly* what I wanted - it's reminiscent of the classic aluminum MacBook Pros, but with a touch of warmth from the gold. In short - it's not very gold at all.
* PROCESSOR - the Tegra 3 quad core processor is noticeably snappy, making the whole experience (even with Honeycomb) feel next gen. I've been getting great battery life, ~ 10-12 hours of normal mixed used, on balanced setting. With the dock, you're at 18+ hours. The NVIDIA fifth "stealth core" does its job seamlessly. It just works. For a quad core tablet with blazing power, this is again pretty mind-bending and next-gen. Is a quad core necessary? Strictly speaking, no. The Tegra 2 / OMAP / Snapdragon tablets do just fine, for the most part (although the un-overclocked Touchpad is noticeably slow), but every non ipad tablet lagged behind the iPad 2 in terms of real world performance (opening menus, browsing, launching apps). This isn't because Apple's processor is faster, but rather because if the sheer level of optimization between Apple hardware and software, which is industry-leading. With the Tegra 3 processor, though, this is the first non Apple tablet that both objectively is, and also noticeably feels, faster, more responsive, and more powerful than the iPad 2. It just brute forces past all of the Apple optimizations. For me, that is huge, especially if I'm going to be spending over $400 on something. Slowly but surely, more and more apps are optimizing for quad core (especially games), but even without that, I'd get a quad core for the general performance benefits alone, as it translates across every app.
* OS / SW - I really like the iOS UI for phones, it's simple yet powerful, but for a tablet it's always just felt incredibly limiting / frustrating / slightly condescending. I even prefer WebOS to it. Android Honeycomb is a nice balance between power, customization and being relatively easy to pick up, just perfect for the tablet form factor. My 2 year old toddler figured out how to use it in about 20 seconds (similar to WebOS and iOS). That being said, I'm looking forward to ICS, which should make things even more stable (HC still crashes occasionally)and uniform. The fact that the Prime gets an ICS in a month or two is fantastic. The pre-loaded Asus apps are relatively minimal and unobtrusive, and some actually are quite nice, such as the Asus cloud. Polaris Office is solid. The Android Market could be improved though, especially in terms of sorting and organization. Finding the right app can be a bit of a crapshoot.
CONS: Basically the same nits as others have pointed out.
* SPEAKER: the rear-facing speaker placement is a bit dumb, because it gets covered up relatively easily by your hands or when you set it down. However, you can still hear it even if it's completely covered, it's pretty loud, and it's located where the tablet tapers inwards so it doesn't get completely covered by a flat surface when setting it down. I don't mind the lack of a second speaker per se, as you hardly get stereo sound from any of the other tablets that have two speakers. I would say the sound quality of the Prime is on par with any other tablet, but it is just a bit easier to muffle. A jawbone jambox bluetooth speaker or the like works beautifully to supplement this tablet. It's certainly not needed, but it's a nice addition.
* CHARGER - the proprietary charger really annoys me. Until Asus comes out with more accessories, I'm basically stuck with using my one charging cord. Even charging via the dock requires the proprietary connector. It's not worth deducting a star for (at least for me), because it's more of an annoyance in light of how great the rest of the device is, but sheesh.
* PRODUCT LAUNCH - for a $21 billion company of 110,000+ employees, Asus still can't do a good product launch to save its life. This doesn't detract from the end product per se, but it's worth mentioning because so many pre-orders (on Amazon and elsewhere) were bungled or delayed. Asus is starting to consistently put out really great products, but in order to get to the "next level"(Sony, Apple etc.) in the eyes of the average consumer, they're going to really need to work on marketing and sales execution.
OVERALL: this thing is pretty ingenious, especially with the accessory dock / keyboard. Hopefully a harbinger of good things to come in the Android tablet space.
<<UPDATES AS OF 1/24/2012>>
These are discussed more in the comments, but I thought it would be useful to update the main review.
* ICS - I updated to ICS the first day it was out (good job Asus in pushing this out two days earlier), to absolutely no problems. It was like any other firmware update. The system notifies you that there's an update available, you tap yes, and voila. ~10 minutes later, ICS is installed. It's pretty seamless - no loss of applications or data. I haven't noticed wholesale differences, but everything is smoother, more streamlined, and sometimes faster. It's a definite plus. Asus has already provided multiple firmware updates (on top of ICS), which is a very good sign that this product is being actively supported.
* WiFi - it's been pretty definitively proven that an all-aluminum back-plate is not the best for enhancing WiFI signals. Asus attempted to make up for this via "antenna differentiation," a fancy way for saying that there are two antennas instead of one. In practice, mine has very good wifi reception up to about 25-30 feet from the router. Specific numbers: wifi analyzer average value of -50 to -60, and speedtest of up to 18mbps, exactly on par with my laptop. However, once you get really far away from the router (i.e. outside, or more than 75 feet from the router), the performance erodes at a higher rate than the comparison laptop (wifi analyzer -90). For my purposes, this is extremely useable, and I never noticed the supposedly weak wifi until I started doing actual tests out of curiosity. A lot of people have had luck with installing repeaters and / or more powerful routers, but I haven't needed to go that route. Asus has announced that they're making a new Transformer Prime variant, the 700T, due in a few months (supposedly). This one will have a different, non-metallic backplate, similar to the original Transformer (i.e. plastic). For me, I'm happy to sacrifice a slight amount of WiFi range for the distinctive spun-aluminum backplate; those who don't feel this way should perhaps wait for the 700T if they can.
* Dock - my champagne dock finally shipped yesterday, about a month after the actual tablet arrived. I can understand this somewhat if this device were sold out by the millions, but I don't think that that's the case (even though it looks like this tablet is, deservedly, a hit as far as Android tabs go). It's just an almost mind-bogglingly bad manufacturing / supply issue with Asus. It's like they make 10 at a time and call it a day. Hopefully it's just the first month hiccup - it looks like there are more docks (esp. the grey) among different retailers and that's a good sign. My original criticism stands though - Asus is insanely bad at product launches.
* Accessories - I ended up purchasing this MoKo(TM) Premium Quality Slim-Fit Folio Cover Case with built-in Multi-Angle Stand for Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201 10.1-Inch Android Tablet, and the Skinomi Techskin screen protector. The case is not as whiz-bang as some iPad cases - it's the same tired black pseudo leather, but it's cheap and it gets the job done in terms of functionality. The skin is ok but seems to, ironically, scratch easily. I've had better luck with Invisibleshield with past devices.
* Overall - I'm pleased to report that the tablet is still working great. After a month of use, I'd say what really sets it apart is the Tegra 3 quad core, which is an unadulterated good. I can't imagine using a tablet without one now. The form factor and build are great, but with the caveats noted above.
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.
Figured I'd stop by since this is the hot toy for the Christmas season !
I purchased the 32GB champagne color. I havent put T201 thru its paces yet but
did perform some testing.
Fit and finish is 100%, Very solid feel.
Very thin, kinda difficult to hold in hand, I'd recommend purchasing a gel case
or something similar.
Played the pre-install games and they both ran with 0 stutters and were
extremely fluid. did i purchase a a multipurpose tablet or a gaming tablet... i think the latter :)
Tablet was completely fluid when changing from one screen to the next, i especially like the multi window
tab on the bottom left, it will allow you to select anything previously opened (and will allow you to close too)
Built in music player seemed basic and didnt appear to have the ability to download album art. I'll stick with
amazon cloud mp3 player.
(subjet to further testing) web browsing seemed to be alittle slow, this was experienced with java enabled... with disabled performance was snappy and good
YouTube & amazon streaming =
using the youtube app , it was a beautiful display and worked flawlessly. Amazon needs to make an app to stream their prime videos instead of going thru the web... however once a few buttons are pressed the video does fill the entire screen and works. Please note imbedded youtube in web DID NOT display any stutter or frame drops.
Unfortunately this is what caused me to give 4 instead of 5 stars. The audio is quite loud and clear
however only being emitted from a single speaker port does not provide the spartial/stereo sound. perhaps
blue tooth or headset will eliminate this concern.
Front facing 1.2MP camera provided acceptable image quality, however white balance should be adjusted to fully ensure quality (dont use automatic) , rear facing camera provided a good quality picture with decent focus and brightness... even in poor lighting conditions however any zoom used the image would be blurry depending upon x2 x3 etc. video mode was tested with low movement and provided a better quality then my nikon p500 (p500 seems to be abit jumpy).
Battery life =
Unable to report at this time since testing was limited to less then a full charge.
Was very colorful and bright, 600 nits of brightness will make it useable outside. normal amount of backlight bleeding (almost none but there's always some). backlight bleed test was performed and two hot spots were identified one on bottom and other on right side. As mentioned previously the amount of light imo is quite minimal and i've seen far worse on other items. one of my apps displayed a completely white page and there was two hot spots (white slightly brigter then the rest of the page) this may be a fluke or not... i was able to duplicate the brighter pixel, its barely noticeable however is visable on default screen in other colors... not a deal breaker its about the size of a pin head with a slight glow around it, clarification you wouldnt know its there unless i told you to look for it.
WIFI Range =
two apps were used to test the wifi range speedtest (same test server) and wifi analyzer. I've only compared the two and not a laptop.. plus my house has about 800watts of electronic interference :)
12 feet away from base station
evo3d = 15.38 down 4.86 up signal str = -46 dbm
prime = 20.50 down 5.00 up signal str = -43 dbm
two walls, outside, about 85 feet away
evo3d = 02.26 down 0.89 up signal str = -88 dbm
prime = 05.50 down 3.00 up signal str = -75 dbm
Best reception i got was 5/9 stable 4/8.
UPDATE: Reports have been surfacing GPS isnt working or isnt working properly... When I performed the test it did find 4/8 and continued to have the searching graphic. Honestly I dont know what is normal for GPS reception with this device. Will compare against phone later.
Operation & bugs =
With any new device there will be patches and bug fixes, I dont assume any different with the prime.
while transferring pictures via usb , i was viewing the pictures and multiple times it froze and displayed
error resulting in restart of picture viewer. Another item was installation of a large gamesoft game dungeon
runners 2, I had music playing in the background and every 15 seconds or so the music would stutter for a second or two
and then continue playing. I'm sure this will be addressed with ICE and the use of 4/5 cores properly.
I'll update this review as time allows
If you guys want specific info or test , please feel free to ask !
GPS has issues... perhaps big onces since Asus removed GPS from spec sheet. it appears the metal backing is a hinderance for the gps signal.
Latest asus update has improved web speed w/java enabled. I prevously tested wireless and it provided a good speed outside the house. but a few rooms across in my house and the speed dropped extremely low, after update its doubled @ same location.
reduced another point due to asus removing GPS from their sales web site, Additionally Asus should offer a replacement backplate to elminate the gps and wifi issues. Please note ICS has made the web browsing experience lightning fast - im very impressed. I'm seriously concerned about the future of the prime , the handling of the signal issues , and amazon removing it from sale. I'm returning this to amazon till the smoke clears.
Let me start off with this: There are bugs. HOWEVER, keep in mind that this is a new tablet quite literally fresh off the press. For what it's worth, these bugs are pretty minor-- If you've ever owned an iPhone you're probably familiar with apps crashing for no good reason (unless I'm just very unlucky). Regardless, apps will occasionally crash on your Prime. There are, in my experience, two types of crashing: The rare crash that you just have to re-open the application and you're good to go, and the consistent crashing of a particular app when you start it. There are a fair number of the latter depending on the app (Tap Tap Revenge 4 being the main culprit for me-- I have yet to see the main screen) but most apps work perfectly fine. Myself, I've been playing World of Magic for about 5 hours straight now. Anyway.
The first thing I'd like to address is the onscreen keyboard. I don't have the keyboard dock yet (and I would really like to have it now, to be honest). I am an extremely fast (and accurate) typist, so slowing down is not something I'm used to. On my iPhone, I can type as fast as I care to with very few mistakes. This is not the case with the Prime. I have to type noticeably slower and with more care for the words to not mash themselves together in unintelligible fragments. Personally this irritates me, but I know that I type considerably faster than most people, so this is probably just a personal problem. I'm not going to downgrade this to 4 stars for that reason.
Oh my gosh, the speaker. You've probably heard about how there's only one- This is true. One or two speakers makes zero difference in this instance. This speaker is the best quality speaker I've ever heard. Better than my netbook, my iPhone, my laptop, all of them. While most speakers begin to get rather crackly as you crank up the volume, even at higher settings there is little to no 'extra noise' from this one. I've listened to music that was on Youtube with this speaker and it's absolutely stunning. If you need a tablet with a good speaker for whatever reason I highly recommend this one. You can definitely tell, if you're paying attention, that music is only coming out one side. But the quality makes that irrelevant. Onwards!
The screen is beautiful. I've watched HD videos on it with extreme clarity and played games with beautiful graphics: All stunning. The screen is also quite responsive and you can switch through windows with ease. The brightness level is also very impressive. Even at almost 0 brightness, you can see things fairly easily. I generally keep the brightness on about 25%. In fact, anything too far above maybe 70% can be too bright if you are on a page with a lot of lighter colors. I haven't tested the screen outside yet but I don't think IPS+ is even going to be necessary for me. The screen is Gorilla glass if I recall correctly but I'm not going to test the strength of it. Not much else to add, unless anyone wants to ask a more specific question?
The battery is also impressive. After 12 hours of letting it sit in its case and at least 10 hours of playing with it (at about 25% brightness, power saver mode) it was only at 63% battery life. I had to set the brightness to as high as I could bear and turn it on the highest power consumption setting, and play an MMO for a few hours before it finally got to 15% and it told me I might want to think about charging it soon. (I obliged, which is why I'm writing this review.) I've been charging it for I think a little less than an hour now and it's gone from 14% to 37%. 23% in an hour? For a machine like this, I think that's pretty impressive.
Good stuff, good stuff. It moves nice and quickly to the next page once you click something, and there are tabs. I'll add more once I've selectively used the browser more. Too busy playing with all my new apps! And on that note...
It's not THE App Store. You should be aware of that. However it has all the big-name games from the Apple App Store, and sometimes, the same ones you have to pay for on the iTunes store are free on the Android market. There are sections for Free apps, Paid apps, and you can select your preferred type of app, just like in the iTunes market. The selection isn't as poor as people claim, in fact, there are a whole lot of apps already there, and it's only going to get bigger.
It has Flash! Built right in! I can access web pages now that I never could with an iDevice. Personally, that's a pretty considerable selling point.
Now for the other type of flash. The Prime has two cameras, one rear-facing and one that looks right at you. The rear-facing one has flash capabilities; The front one doesn't. I don't know why you'd need to use the front-facing one save for Skyping and such anyway, so the flash isn't a big deal. The front camera doesn't have the same impressive quality as the back one, as well. The back camera, however, surprised me. A lot. After a few shots with it I quickly discovered that the camera on this tablet is of a higher quality than my actual camera, the likes of which is solely devoted to taking pictures. Indeed, the Prime's camera surpasses a device made for taking pictures. The quality really stands out, it's crisp and clean and if you're a good cameraman anyway that will only help with making it truly shine.
The camera software itself has a lot of little settings that I haven't had the chance to play around with yet, but there is a button readily available that lets you switch from back to front cameras just by clicking it. The Prime's camera also takes video- Very nice quality video. Of course, taking pictures or video with a 10-inch tablet is a bit cumbersome and looks rather silly, but the quality that it provides makes it worth it.
The Prime comes with a page (and then a few more) of pre-installed apps. They're pretty standard but they also have apps like the Kindle store already included, which I thought was nice. If you already have a Kindle account, you can log in on that app and all your books will be there for you to read. On that note, readability is nice, and you can resize the font to big or normal-sized.
There was also an app called Polaris Office, which upon opening I discovered that it had access to every single file on my Prime, much like how you can look at your folders and files on the computer. On the top right, there is a 'Create New' option, which reveals nothing short of the ability to create Word documents, Powerpoint presentations, and Excel spreadsheets. Anyone who needs these things for work will appreciate that this comes built in. Any other applications you want to ask about, please go ahead.
Because I'm not sure what else to call it. This little button allows you to, once you click it, see your battery life, power settings, Bluetooth options, screen-tilt options, another button to lead you to the main Settings window, and a personal favorite, a notifications section. This will tell you of any new events that happened on your tablet (or if you have Facebook, if someone has replied to a comment, etc) such as the completion of a new app download. On the bottom of your screen is also a thin black bar that shows when each separate download is occurring, and you can click the little download icons to see the status of each download. These disappear once your download is finished and go to the 'event' section of your menu. Downloads usually happen in a matter of seconds, but can take a few minutes if you're downloading a particularly large application or update. All in all very convenient.
This little sidebar starts off as a button, but when you press it, it reveals a sidebar with every window and application you have open on your tablet. You can click the icon of any of them to instantly switch to that application, or you can click the X on the side of them to close the application completely. I've yet to have any problems with the Prime slowing down from too many applications, but I usually try to X them out in groups when I remember that I haven't done so yet.
This thing is LIGHT. It's a 10-inch tablet, but it's probably a third lighter than the Kindle Fire, an 8-incher.(or is it 7? Regardless.) In an effort to find a fairly standard item to compare it with, I would have to say as follows: It's lighter than what I consider a standard-sized hardcover novel, (In this case The Da Vinci Code, about 454 pages and bound rather nicely) not by much but still a noticeable difference. Coupled with the Kindle app you could read a thick hardcover novel for cheaper than the hardcover's asking price and it'll weigh less, too.
Comparing it with my trusty copy of The Da Vinci Code again, it's about a half-inch longer than a 'standard' hardcover novel on each side. It appears to be about a pencil-width thick if not a bit less, however it slopes in at the edges so I can't quite tell. In short, this tablet is both impressively thin and incredibly light.
ALL IN ALL:
For all of you still waiting for your Prime to arrive from Amazon, Bestbuy (where mine actually eventually came from, I admit), Gamestop, or wherever else this was available for pre-ordering, I assure you, this is very worth it. It has its bugs at the moment but I've already received updates that download very quickly. (As a note, downloads do for the most part happen very quickly!) I'm very impressed with this tablet, and hope that you are too. If you haven't preordered this yet I highly recommend you do; You won't regret it.
If there's anything here I haven't addressed yet, please feel free to ask about it. I'll answer as best I can. I'll also be editing this with new information as I find it.
I have 2 problems. First are the physical defect on both that I received. The first one, as I mentioned below in my initial review, was the scratch on the Gorilla Glass. Had I put the scratch there, I wouldn't have a problem because it isn't scratch proof, rather, it is only scratch resistant. So I went on to tablet #2 and there are no scratches on the screen this time, however, there are dents on the silver border around the screen when looking at it straight on. One at the top and 2 at the bottom. While this may not bother some, I'm paying good money for this and I want it as close to flawless as possible. Also, the port for charging seems to be dented a little as well. It still fit the charger, but it looks like someone pressed really hard on the metal around the port and bent it downward. AGHH
Problem 2: The second problem, on both devices is that once upgraded to ICS, I have numerous lockups and reboot problems. Too many to consider keeping it. I feel that this isn't really the Prime's fault but more an ICS problem, and may be fixed in a future update, but I can't take it. On the first tablet, it happens while doing any simple task, like scrolling thru a page on the default browser, or playing a simple game, or using the camera. It is just not acceptable for me. It locks up for about what seems to be 20 seconds, then automatically reboots itself. Then it is good for a short while, like 15 minutes, and then it does the same thing. I really hate making this decision but it just has to be done. Also, for those concerned, the GPS update seemed to help mine slightly for locking onto satellites with no WIFI turned on, but was still not very strong. And the Wifi strength, after careful testing and review, was just too weak. Dropping it a star due to both of them having physical defects.
****Update January 9, 2012: I just received my Ice Cream Sandwich update to 4.0.3 and it went smoothly, plus there was another camera update as well right afterwards. When the tablet boots up now, it gives the option to unlock and go to the main screen if you swipe to the right, or go straight to the camera if you swipe to the left.
I was hoping for the ability to move apps to the SD card, but no such luck yet. Mine is not rooted. Although my bootup time went from 3 mins 30 secs down to 1 min 31 secs with ICS then even down to 1 min 20 secs the next time I booted up. I like the long hold on the main screen for Live Wallpapers and plain photo wallpapers.
For those that thought ICS may improve GPS functionality, it did not for mine. I figured as much, but thought I'd test it out. Wifi seems the same as before the update. Though mine seems very good cause I'm always near the router. (But like I said below, I'm NOT using this for GPS functionality. If you are, and you like the Prime for the specs, wait for the new Prime TF700t. Even though in my opinion, it doesn't look as nice and it costs more. Or wait for the smaller 7" tablet, unnamed as of yet, which will also run ICS and have the Tegra 3 processor. ANd it will only be $249.00. Or look around. Lots to choose from.)
Looks like they also included an updated version of the web browser. I also see a Downloads App in the app section.
I like the transitions from screen to screen in the app section as well. Although, while scrolling to the Widgets section after the apps, mine just locked up and this was after 5 mins from a fresh boot. Not sure what that was about. I couldn't do anything but the tablet rebooted on its own. I'm sure there will be updates to come to clear any glitches.
****Update January 3, 2012: for those concerned about the locked bootloader, Asus made an announcement they they will provide an unlock key to allow root access at the risk of the user voiding the warranty. Here is hoping that Asus holds true to their promise, but they usually do. GPS is another issue for those concerned about it. I put my star rating back to 5 because Asus has been very good with updates and listening to the buyers. I just wish there was a way to get a plastic backing to replace the aluminum one for those that need GPS fixed to their wishes. I hope you all are enjoying your Prime as much as I am. And those of you waiting for yours to arrive, I'm sure you will enjoy it, just be aware of the issues before getting it. Or cancel your order and wait for a better option. Don't forget CES 2012 is right around the corner Jan 10-13. Maybe there will be something more suited to your needs.
****Update January 1, 2012: I added a few photos to the image gallery here on Amazon that I took with the rear camera. Keep in mind that the photo upload here does not allow the full sized image. They seem to be compressed and shrunk down in size so you can't see it in full detail, but you get the idea, i hope.
Also, i noticed on Google Earth, everything freezes up after using it for a few minutes. Then the tablet reboots itself. This also happened on my original transformer as well. Did anyone else notice this?
Even with these glitches that I mention, i am very happy with this tablet. Just want to point out things that i notice when i play around with it. I suspect that many things will run smoother when ICS comes along, or with future updates by Asus.
I know i mentioned it before but i have to stress how easy it is to clean the screen when the fingerprints get bad. People seem to point out how easy it is to get fingerprints on it but nobody seems to say how easy they wipe off.
Lastly, i have been reading a lot of negative feedback about the gps. I did say in my review how mine is slightly off and that for me this is not an issue since i really won't be using this function. So if you are worried about very accurate gps, you may want to try the prime out at bestbuy or somewhere first. I have a dedicated gps and cell phone that does gps for me. I tested my Prime with the 'gps test' app and I lock onto 6 to 10 satellites within 20 seconds indoors but the strength rarely goes above 25 per satellite, (should be over 40). A lot of reviews on the old original transformer complained about the plastic backing, and Asus switches to aluminum and people complain because it blocks wifi and gps. Watch what you wish for. I'm still a very satisfied customer overall.
****Update December 30, 2011: Another update to my review. I have noticed when recording a movie in HD, the auto focus is nice to have, but when it changes focus, upon playback you can hear clicking while it changes focus. Nothing major but worth noting.
Also, when recording in lower light the movie can go out of focus. I had to move the camera down to the floor then backto the subject for it to refocus. Annoying, but tolerable. Anyone else notice this? I still love the tablet tho.
****Update December 23, 2011: I wanted to add an additional comment. Please inspect your screen carefully. When I got the tablet, I had noticed a small scratch on the Gorilla Glass screen in the upper right side. I contemplated not doing anything about it, but finally decided that I paid good money for this and deserve a defective-free quality product. I used Amazon's Help link and chatted online with someone who helped me resolve this rather quickly. I will do a replacement of my tablet, and since it will be within the return timeframe, it will be at no cost to me. My concern about this was that it is in high demand and I may not get the new one for quite a while. I would rather wait a little longer and get a tablet that has no noticeable defect like this. Some people may not have noticed it because it is a very fine scratch, but it is about 3/4 of an inch long. I tried wiping it with the provided cloth, thinking it was something on the glass, but sure enough, it is a scratch. I am currently dropping my star rating to 4 stars because of the promotion of the Gorilla Glass as being scratch resistant. Here is a quote right from Gorilla Glass' website, "Gorilla Glass features exceptional damage resistance to the scratches, drops, and bumps of everyday use." I am one who takes extra special care of my electronics, and there was nothing that came into contact with the screen except my finger and the provided cloth. Plus I noticed the scratch as soon as I opened it, but got more worried about it as the days went on. I really hate to return it, but I can't see living with this, knowing that the screen may scratch even more later. Maybe someone in the factory did something that caused it to scratch? I have no idea, but I will be returning it for a new Tablet of the same model and color. I thought it would be fair to mention this to other people considering buying it. I really don't see this as an Asus issue as much as a Gorilla Glass (Corning) issue, but I like to be as fair as possible. I will update again once I get my new replacement item. Hopefully there will be no other worse defects.
Also, for those that want to know, I ran the free AnTuTu Benchmark v2.5 and here are my results while using Honeycomb OS.
RAM: 2109, CPU integer: 3662, CPU float-point: 2794, 2D Graphics: 283, 3D Graphics: 1190, Database IO: 400, SD Card Write: (8.3 MB/s) 83, SD Card Read: (20.2 MB/s) 189, CPU Frequency: 1400 MHz, Total Score: 10710. I did not test battery life, but it lasts a good while without having to recharge with everyday usage.
Now back to my original review:
OK, so I will start by saying that my Amazon order was not canceled, and I received my tablet on Tuesday December 20th. So there was no problem for me as far as my order goes. However, my docking keyboard still has yet to arrive. Amazon says it should arrive around January 6th.
Please note that I had the original Transformer, but I sold it to a friend and bought this one. So I will do my best to compare, but it has only been several hours that I got to play around with the new one so far.
Am I glad I updated to this one, yes. Are there major noticeable differences? Some, but not drastic. Obviously some new Tegra games cannot be played on the original Transformer, so there are the obvious hardware updates to this Prime model.
The new operating system, due later, may make this tablet act completely different. So I will update once that comes out also.
* Tegra 3 chip makes for more powerful gaming with games that are designed for it, as well as overall performance improvements.
* The enhancements on Honeycomb OS are subtle, but nice. Hopefully ICS will be a HUGE improvement.
* The screen has that special coating that they talked about, and although it does fingerprint up like crazy as with any touch screen tablet, it is SO much easier to clean off the prints. Wow, it is nice.
* The rear camera is a huge improvement over the previous model. Perfect? no, but incredibly improved? yes. The auto focus is nice, although sometimes jittery when making a movie. But overall it is great.
* The rear camera has an LED flash now, which is very nice to have.
* I like the gold color a lot more than I thought I would. It is very subtle.
* For only having one speaker this time around, I was impressed by the sound for both music and games and general sound bites.
* They included a longer charging cable than the original 3 footer. Looks to be about 5 foot this time around. Thanks for that Asus. The extra 2 feet seriously helps.
* The overall-design looks and feels better than the original.
* When I opened it, and booted up, I had 2 Asus updates ready for me.
* Wifi speeds seemed the same as the previous model. I didn't test it, just from using it and judging by memory.
* The screen looks much improved from the original, even though it is the same resolution, the brightness helps and the colors look better.
* Movies look amazing on this screen.
* Adobe Flash sites work on this tablet.
* Not sure why we need it, but there are 2 microphones this time around.
* Asus implemented a new file manager which is really nice and easy to navigate.
* Headphones connected sound amazing, and are in stereo. (I read others questioning if headphones would sound good or not)
* HDMI port is not the same as the original Transformer. This is Micro HDMI and the original was Mini HDMI. But it looks great on my HD TV.
* The Gorilla Glass, which is supposed to be scratch resistant, came with a scratch on it. See my update above for details.
* As far as design, the biggest complaint I have is that the power button is hard to press because it doesn't stick out far enough. You have to try to press it to truly understand. Took my a while the first few tries.
* If you use it, the MicroSD card sticks out more than it did in the original. Probably due to the Prime's curved edges. Not a major flaw, but noticeable if you had the original Prime.
* As per usual, the more apps you install, the longer the start-up boot time. Not Asus' fault, but this is with any Android Tablet. I have quite a few apps installed (I installed 107 apps myself), and while it still shuts down very quickly, it went from taking 30 seconds to boot, all the way up to 4 minutes and 10 seconds now. That is a LONG boot up. Like I said, before I installed my apps, it was only 30 seconds. Anyone else experience this?
* There have been a few glitches in some apps that I've used. I will try to take note as to which ones and update on here.
* Some movies that I had were not able to be played on the default player. I downloaded MoboPlayer and the codecs and no problems now.
* There is only one speaker. Granted, it is great sound, but still only one speaker? What were they thinking? I guess it was a design limitation? I have no idea here. But it least it is loud and great quality for one speaker.
Let me tell you that this one, compared to the original model, does not feel that different as far as noticing performance improvements. As I stated before, this may (or may not) change when we get the new ICS operating system later. I don't want to sound biased and say that it will be amazing with ICS, but logically it makes sense that it will run smoother and faster overall, with the exception of older apps that aren't designed around the quad core, etc.
So don't expect to see an astonishingly noticeable difference if you played with the original Transformer.
I plan to upload some videos to youtube soon that show the use of the front and rear camera as well as some still photos.
If I notice anything else, positive or negative about the Prime, I will post as soon as I get the chance.
My overall review: This was worth the extra money in my opinion. I like to keep my gadgets up to date, and I loved the specs on this tablet. If you have the extra money, I say go for it, or at least wait until ICS operating system comes out to hear if it really makes a big impact on performance, or to see if it is all hype. It was a major bummer about the scratch on the front, but I am very particular about things like that when you pay over $100 for an item. I hope that everyone gets theirs soon also, just don't forget to inspect your glass. You only get a short time to return the item, so test it out.