ASUS Transformer Prime Official Hands-on

December 1, 2011
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Who's ready for the Prime? The wait is almost over and today we'll be giving everyone a look at the first quad-core tablet ever -- the ASUS Transformer Prime. We've talked about it plenty but now it's here we finally get to enjoy that quad-core power thanks to the superchip NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor under the hood. It's been seen a few times in the wild and even running Android 4.0 ICS but today we have the actual retail product that you'll all be able to purchase soon. When I say soon I mean December 19th. Yup that is the official date, not the 8th. Head on down past the break for plenty of pictures, videos and more information on that release date.

Oh man, I must start by telling everyone that we at Android Community are quite excited for this amazing new powerful portable device from ASUS and NVIDIA. Thankfully we were able to get our paws on it and give our readers a closer look. I don't think I really need to run down the spec list but here they are. Rocking a brilliant and extremely bright 10.1" Super IPS+ display with a 1280 x 800 resolution. If you were wondering how it compares to the original then yes -- the display is even better. We have an amazing 8MP camera on the rear with LED flash and a 2MP shooter around front to chat with friends and family, all wrapped in a brushed radial-spun aluminum shell rocking a grey or champagne color.

We have a wide array of ports including micro-HDMI, micro-SD, micro-USB and more but the main act in this show is all under the hood -- and that is the NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor. It actually has four main processing cores and a fifth companion core to do all the light jobs while saving battery. Making this powerhouse tablet last for up to 12 hours of decent to heavy usage. This slate has been talked about plenty over the course of the past few months and all the details are available from our official announcement.

Many planning on making this purchase might also have the original Transformer tablet so we'll quickly compare the two in this first video, show you a few of the new things, then get into the hardware on our second video below. So for now just sit back and enjoy.

Obviously you can see for yourself in our videos this device looks stunning. It's super thin coming in at only 8.3mm thick (that is thinner than the Galaxy S II or the iPhone 4) while managing all that power under the hood -- a truly amazing feat if you ask me. So far everything looks and feels very impressive. While we sadly are running Android 3.2 Honeycomb it is as fluid and quick as ever. Once this bad boy gets Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich it will fly, I can almost guarantee that.

In general everything looks and feels extremely similar to the original (only faster) as we still have the same OS. ASUS has incorporated a few changes to make things easier for us with the Prime though. We have a toggle for the IPS+ mode on the display, power options to better use or conserve that quad-core processor and more all available in the easy to access notification bar on Honeycomb. We've all seen plenty of pictures and product shots so instead our video shows you the hardware a little while showing you plenty of the new changes and that all important keyboard dock.

We'll break down everything including the keyboard dock in our full out review so be sure and stay tuned for that. This was just a quick hands-on and tease so everyone could at least get an idea of how awesome this tablet really is. I've said this before and I'll say it again -- ASUS has my money already.

You can expect plenty more videos and comparisons throughout the week while we take a look at features, options, and what makes this tablet special -- Not to mention a few hands-on videos with the exclusive Tegra 3 games NVIDIA was nice enough to provide. For now though we can't wrap up a hands-on of a new quad-core device without a few benchmarks. What we have is a quick run of AnTuTu and the popular Quadrant. I'll toss up the ASUS Transformer Prime quad-core results here and then a few screenshots from the original dual-core Transformer are also in the gallery below.

While Quadrant results weren't the best I highly doubt it's been optimized for quad-core devices so we wont look into that much for now although it did score much higher than any Tegra 2 tablet has. The clear winner here is the AnTuTu results. Blazing all four cores to a lightning fast result of over 10,500. The Xoom and other dual-core tablets don't even break 5k and even faster 1.2 GHz dual-core devices like the Galaxy S II barely manage to get around 6,000 here. Clearly all four cores are working exceptionally well but until we play more games and benchmark this thing in-depth we'll just leave you with these few awesome results.

So far our team is extremely pleased with overall performance, feel, and just the entire package. While the original was great, as was its dock -- the Prime truly is an entirely new level. It's thin and lightweight while being super portable and powerful at the same time. The design has a few awesome improvements and I personally love the volume rocker and power buttons are on different bezels. On the Galaxy Tab series I'm constantly hitting the wrong one as they sit right next to one another. There are plenty of good things to say and strong points with this new Transformer Prime but I'll save the rest for our in-depth review coming in a few days or early next week.

Pricing and availability you might ask -- The official and accurate information goes as such: The ASUS Transformer Prime will be $499 for the 32GB model, $599 for the 64GB model, and $149 for the new keyboard dock in the USA. The tablet will be available in Amethyst Gray (like ours) and Champagne Gold, and per ASUS official statement: “Expect retail availability of the unit to start the week of 12/19 or later and etailer availability the week of 12/12 or later.”

We took a few more pictures than the usual hands-on and unboxing type of post and you can expect tons of product shots to follow shortly. Enjoy the gallery below and feel free to ask any and all questions in the comments below and we'll be sure to try our best and answer accordingly.

[device id=1934]


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  • http://www.ringcentral.com/phone-service/index.html Phone Service

    Nice tablet! I wonder if Apple will be able to beat this.

    • jimmy

      yah.  right after asus ships the tf3.  rumors about the ip3 has it that its not much of an improvement over ip2 other than os, siri and resolution.  The processor apparently is enough to drive the higher resolution but not much more.  its sleek but I’ll take performance and features over the cult following. 

    • jimmy

      yah.  right after asus ships the tf3.  rumors about the ip3 has it that its not much of an improvement over ip2 other than os, siri and resolution.  The processor apparently is enough to drive the higher resolution but not much more.  its sleek but I’ll take performance and features over the cult following. 

      • C H

        Send it back to formula!

    • jimmy

      yah.  right after asus ships the tf3.  rumors about the ip3 has it that its not much of an improvement over ip2 other than os, siri and resolution.  The processor apparently is enough to drive the higher resolution but not much more.  its sleek but I’ll take performance and features over the cult following. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jerry-Maes/1048685899 Jerry Maes

    Best review I’ve seen, and this is so mine.

  • Rover3

    Where can I buy this soon in the Netherlands, I can’t wait.

  • MoHous

    Does the 12/12 e-tailers release date mean that you will be able to order it online the week of 12/12 before it is available in brick and mortar stores on the week of 12/19???

    • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

      From what we understand online orders will get the go ahead on 12/12 but I’m not sure if they’ll begin shipping that day or not. We’ve looked for clarification but that is what we received.

      The December 8th days on all sites is a little early but hopefully we know more details on the 12/12 e-tailer comment soon

  • Mtoolin33

    Hey Cory, what about speakers?  How does the tablet sound undocked, and does the dock have seperate speakers?

    • Raf

      Hey,
      unfortunately it’s only Mono sound!

      And also the dock does not have speakers.

      bye

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Cornier-Chevere/332600888 David Cornier-Chevere

    So my questions would be

    1. How purple is it if at all
    2. I see that the back cover is metal, but how about the frame around it

    I cant wait for this though! Hopefully mine will come before the “after the 25th” that amazon is giving me. Thanks for the look!

  • wrath07

    I can hear the design engineers at Apple right now.  Damn………………….That’s bad-ss.

  • Kdphiuh

    Already pre-ordered mine. Can’t wait!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GEHFXH67KK5NVX6X7PBMFVPXPA Infrared

    Wow. I’ve never had a tablet, but this thing looks so darn impressive I might just have to get it. Seems like it would complement my Sensation well, especially if they were both running ICS. 

    Q: How useful are Android tablets for PC-like functions? I’m a college student and I would love to be able to take notes on a tablet during class if it’s all possible on an Android tab. Essentially, what I’m asking is how useful Android tabs are for these workhorse type of tasks. Already have a good PC, and since I can’t think of anything for Christmas this year, it seems like the Transformer Prime might fit the bill?

  • Eli Kennedy

    The thing that messes with me here is how much they have improved on the original model. The TF101 was (and still is) a fantastic device. The hardware improvements and the slimmer form factor look great.Nice work ASUS

  • C. A. Friedmann

    well it just goes to figure… i JUST bought the TF101 black friday. :-(

    • http://twitter.com/white_shadow001 Zach White

      lmao i did too but for my grandpa. I have the gt 10.1 and I’m eyeing the tf prime. Looks like a beast

  • railan_philippines

    I’m interested to buy this device. I’ve finally found a tablet that’s worth buying. How am I supposed to order this? Is shipping available for the Philippines? I’m afraid if I don’t get this one earlier, the price might get higher.

  • http://www.facebook.com/osullz490 Sean O’Sullivan

    It’s odd, in your review pictures the tablet truly looks ‘gray’ but in others that have received the Amethyst Gray units they look borderline purple, is your model different or is it just the varying lighting that brings out the purple hues?

  • Abc

    Why doesn’t it have USB 3.0 support. It would be time for that! Please ASUS, just implement USB 3.0 and UMTS/LTE, I would like to have mobile Internet with that device and I want to be able to make phone calls.

    thx

  • Dr. Nospam

    You lost my readership when you referred to the tablet as a “bad boy”. Seriously? The 1990s are calling and they want their “bad boys” back.

  • 3gneeded

    Looking past superfluous comments such as “color” and what not, “what discussions are in place to establish either 3g or 4g support?  I was planning on upgrading from my TF101 to the Prime, but saw it’s lacking 3g/4g support.  Currently, I just use my virgin mifi mobile router for access but it would be convenient to have the onboard support…

  • SebTardif

    Useful benchmark would have been great. What you guys were thinking to compare the speed only against cell phone?

    What about against the leader in the market and the previous generation?

  • ReasonOverHype

    “Once this bad boy gets Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich it will fly, I can almost guarantee that.”
    What about the commonly acknowledged fact that until apps are optimized for quad-core, performance will approximate dual-core levels? Have you considered that, or does your statement reflect fantasy hype rather than useful info and thoughtfulness worth reading?

    • daDonn

      In that case we must conclude that it will still out-perform its competition – as it’s “effective dual-core” (as you put it) runs at a higher clock. One must conclude that even in apps built for dual threads rather than quad threads, it should perform better.

      • ReasonOverHype

        Thank you, that helps. Sometimes a buying proposition is simply, “I’m ready, what’s the best one I can afford now?”. More often though, it’s a question of added value vs cost now compared to same later in context of developing app support, other changes in technology and obsolescence starting from release date. That’s a lot to ask from a simple preliminary review, I admit. Overall, they did a nice job.

      • Anonymous

        I’m not sure how Android ICS multitask. I assume that if an apps can support dual core, two apps can run side by side without reducing the performance.

  • Raf

    Hello,
    I certainly will not buy it without USB 3.0 & LTE (at least UMTS).
    …keep in mind that USB 3.0 has advanced power saving features and other benefits.

    Plus I hate that it only has mono sound.

    It is a high priced premium product therefore it should have these features.
    Furthermore it’s a shame that GPS doesn’t work (well) and ASUS waited far to long for the explanation (design flaw).

    BTW…there will be a new Transformer:
    ASUS Transformer “Prime Plus” TF700T,
    It features a Full HD display and they fixed the problem with bad WiFi/GPS connectivity.
    …I hope it also has Gorilla Glass 2 and that ASUS makes further improvements in comparison to its predecessor.

    Best wishes
    Raf