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Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £499
inc VAT

Only available with its dock for now, but this is certainly the best Android tablet money can buy


10.1 in 1,280×800 display, 586g, 1.3GHz Nvidia Tegra 3, 1.00GB RAM, 32GB disk, Android 3.2


Putting the dock to one side for the time being, the Transformer Prime is a simply gorgeous tablet. The brushed radial finish is akin to that on the Asus Zenbook, that and the available colours – one slightly purplish and one champagne – have split opinion in the office, possibly being a little too bling for those devoted to Apple’s simple aluminium sheen. Micro SD, Micro HDMI and the 3.5mm headphone socket are all neatly positioned around the beveled rear edge.

Asus Transformer Prime

Colour aside, we all agreed that it was a great tablet to behold and handle. It’s a super-slinky 8.3mm thick, making it the thinnest tablet around, though only a fraction of a millimeter. Measuring 263x181mm across the front means it has a slightly bigger fascia than the Motorola Xoom 2 and its fairly plain design from the front can’t match that tablet’s stylish cut-off corners.

Once the screen is on though, then you quickly forget all that. The 10.1in, 1280×800 Super IPS screen is as bright, if not brighter, than any tablet panel we’ve seen. Viewing angles are excellent too, so you get the full benefit of its vibrant colours. it did pick up a lot of fingerprints, though, and so having a cloth to hand might be an idea if you ‘re going to use it for video playback.

Speaking of video, the camera shoots rather nice Full HD footage at 20Mbit/s, that’s more detail than the small lens can resolve, but at least compression isn’t causing additional issues. The 8-megapixel camera shoots great-looking pictures too, far better than any other tablet we’ve seen and finally brings such devices up to date with high-end smartphones.

Asus Transformer Prime
This impromptu still life, shot in dull lighting conditions, shows just how capable the Prime’s camera is under even less than perfect conditions

The Prime weighs a fairly typical 586g, and though the addition of the 537g dock practically doubles this, it’s still lighter than most laptops at a touch over 1kg.


The original Transformer had numerous issues with its dock – when we first saw it we couldn’t even persuade it to type into a google document via the website. Thankfully it has improved significantly since then, though you do still feel one small step removed from the text appearing onscreen, partly due to a touch of lag and partly because the keyboard itself has little feedback – as there’s not much travel or spring in the keys. All that said, it’s still far better than tyring to type on a touchscreen, plus you don’t have half your screen filled by a virtual keyboard.

There’s plenty of useful keys on the keyboard dock, an upper row of shortcuts includes a back key, wireless, Bluetooth and touchpad on/off controls, three keys for brightness (up,down and auto) plus a screenshot button. Then there’s volume controls, media playback and finally an unlock button. The latter saves you from touching the screen to unlock the Prime; you can bring it out of standby using the power key on top, or by simply opening it up from closed. There are also home and search keys to the left of the space bar.

Asus Transformer Prime

The touchpad also has a slight lag, but it’s easily good enough for the kind of basic point and click navigation tasks you ‘ll want to make on a tablet – no one’s expecting you to undertake gaming or image manipulation on the Prime using it.

One of the best things about the dock is that it adds a full-sized SD card slot, for quick uploading of photos from your camera, plus a standard USB2 port, so you can plug in flash storage devices too – though not mice or keyboards.

We do have a couple of complaints about the physical design. The maximum tilt is about forty-five degrees backwards, which isn’t enough to view the screen square-on if the Prime is sat on your lap. The excellent display helps here, but another 20 degrees would be a big help. In a related issue, as the tilt the screen back the keyboard lifts off the desk at the back. this helps the typing position, but leaves it sitting on two small plastic lumps which aren’t rubbery enough to stop it sliding about your desk when accidentally knocked; it’s also a bit top heavy and prone to toppling over backwards.

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Basic Specifications

Rating *****
Processor Nvidia Tegra 3
Processor clock speed 1.3GHz
Memory 1.00GB
Maximum memory N/A
Size 180x263x8.3mm
Weight 586g
Sound Nvidia HD Audio
Pointing device touchpad and touchscreen


Viewable size 10.1 in
Native resolution 1,280×800
Graphics Processor Nvidia Tegra 3
Graphics/video ports micro HDMI
Graphics Memory 0MB


Total storage capacity 32GB
Optical drive type none

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 1
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports none
Wireless networking support 802.11n
PC Card slots none
Supported memory cards SDHC
Other ports Proprietary USB and power connection


Carrying case No
Operating system Android 3.2
Operating system restore option internet recovery
Software included N/A
Optional extras none

Buying Information

Warranty one-year RTB
Price £499