ASUS Transformer Prime teardown details GPS issue

January 4, 2012
27

ASUS has received their fair share of complaints over the past few weeks. From a lack of product availability, GPS issues, and then the bootloader situation. Today our friends over at Anandtech have torn down the Transformer Prime quad-core tablet and revealed their finding on those GPS issues -- but didn't comment much on the bootloader.

When we saw GPS fix on the changelog for the recent software update we weren't sure what to think although some reports have said it helped. According to Anandtech the GPS issues are due to a design flaw and can only be tweaked -- not fixed by updates. Unlike the original Transformer whose rear was covered in plastic, the Prime has an all aluminum design (and a pretty one) but that is the cause of the GPS issues -- even if they are minor.

Other aluminum tablets like the T-Mobile Springboard, HTC Flyer or even the iPad all have plastic "windows" if you will, to let out and enhance the wireless signals. And that goes for more than just Bluetooth. Original reports on weak WiFi can also be attributed to the design although our review unit had an excellent wireless connection. It is worth noting that many WiFi only tablets like the iPad don't have GPS at all -- just a thought for those angry with ASUS or the Prime. So there you have it -- I'm still getting one.

[device id=1934]

[via Verge]


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  • Zoid

    So why not place the antennas around the inside top of the bezel. It’s made out of plastic and besides, who uses the antennas while their Prime is closed assuming you have the keyboard dock.

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

      or closer to the speaker grill… or many other areas. Remember they did fit a better screen, quad-core, better camera and more all into a sleek package — but still that is no excuse.

    • Paulus Net

      Simple design error, it worked before and it should work! Fortunately, this is not a major  feature (if not, could result in recall) and they could drop it from the list and have no problem.
      They will most likely update the model and fix it later.

    • Paulus Net

      Simple design error, it worked before and it should work! Fortunately, this is not a major  feature (if not, could result in recall) and they could drop it from the list and have no problem.
      They will most likely update the model and fix it later.

    • Anonymous

      They need to fix this.  It’s like buying a Lamborghini and saying well it doesn’t perform too well over 125mph but then again how often will you do that.  It still goes 0-60 in less than 5 seconds. Not too happy!  I was expecting Asus to hit this one out of the park. Without GPS I can’t be sure where the ball landed.

      • Bbigby

        LOL. You gave me a heck of a laugh with, “I can’t be sure where the ball landed.”

      • Ichi Go

        A more correct analogy would be driving in a lambo at 125mph and the lambo’s built in GPS not working. What you said is more analogous to the CPU not performing well at full speed.

      • Anonymous

        True.  At least the primes cpu is fast.  For me the GPS was a deal killer and I was really looking forward to buying it.  Will be a nice product for someone.

  • Anonymous

    Big let down for me!  I need 3 things to work well.  Camera, GPS, and a display readable in direct sun.  Looks like I won’t be selling my GT-P7510.  I was ready to switch over to Asus Transformer Prime because I thought had these all nailed down.

    • Ryan C

      At least on mine the camera does work well.. What doesn’t work that you are referring to?

    • Anonymous

      You take pictures so frequently with a tablet that it’s one of your top 3 features???

  • Thomas

    Not to be a tech-troll, but there’s actually 5 cores in the Tegra 3 not 4. There’s the 4 main cores and the companion core. Just wanted to let you know so that you fix that in your article, otherwise I love it!

    • Golfin72

      And they didn’t charge more for the 5th core.

  • Kerruma

    What Asus has done is just not acceptable. I think it’s lame of them to remove GPS from the specs list after they find out that their design is flawed. It doesn’t matter whether you use the GPS functionality or not; Asus most likely priced the Prime based on the fact that it also has a proper functioning GPS module, and now it turns out it doesn’t work as they expected I dont see them lowering their prices too!

    In conclusion: fix it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Carpenter/604834887 Mike Carpenter

      None of the android tablets have a GPS that works the way a standalone GPS works.  They are all billed as “assisted GPS” which really means you need internet for them to work well.  My Acer Iconia Tab never got a lock on my location unless I was on wifi.

      In conclusion: don’t be such an insufferable perfectionist.  Every product has its advantages and disadvantages.  Consumer electronics manufacturers have been BSing us for years about what their products are capable of.  ASUS just has the balls to admit that one of their touted features didn’t work flawlessly.

      • Rob R.

        Disagree Mike; I don’t think one is an “insufferable perfectionist” to want what one pays for.  Businesses  hire perfectionists to get the job done and get products to be perfect.  That’s their job and it’s a reasonable expectation.  IMO, I believe the prime is still worth the money and I don’t have a problem with the fact that the GPS won’t be working in my car; however, I also have GPS on my phone and in my vehicle.  For those who don’t and who were excited about the GPS feature, “don’t be such an insufferable perfectionist” brings no comfort.

      • Kerruma

        I dont consider myself being a perfectionist, but paying $600 for a tablet gives me the right to at least expect that the tablet works properly. I don’t consider it either as a disadvantage. As a well informed buyer, I know when a certain functionality is missing (such as GPS) before I go out and buy that product  (in this case a tablet). This is actually the other way around: something which was supposed to be an advantage turned out to be malfunctioning. 
        Legally, this means that buyers could return their Prime, as the definition of guarantee states: the guarantor promises to make a product good if it has some defect.

    • Anonymous

      I find it hard to care about a feature that I was not going to use anyway. I use my phone for maps… never used my tablet to try and navigate the city as that seems more cumbersome. 

  • gman thebrave

    When I was thinking about the GPS issue I thought “hey, if I
    didn’t know it had GPS I wouldn’t be disappointed if it didn’t work well” but
    then I saw the comment from Kerruma about the price staying the same (and I do
    know about it).  I’m not sure how I feel
    now because the camera isn’t that hot and I didn’t read the screen was
    difficult to see in sunlight until I saw these comments.  I was planning on keeping the Prime and
    giving my Galaxy Tab 10.1 to my son, but now I don’t know.  Both of us use our iPhones and I use my
    Galaxy for watching TV with our DISH Network Sling Adapter, so the screen is
    important.  I’m going to look at some
    more reviews and see it in person when possible.  My son and I watch a lot of live sports away
    from home with our iPhones so it has to work well for that; we do use the Sling
    more than anyone else in the family.  I’ve
    had the Sling Adapter for over a year now since I heard about it first since I
    work at DISH.  I can’t imagine my life
    without TV on the go, especially because we are able to watch more of it now.
     

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.preto John Preto

    Received my Prime 64GB on Jan. 3rd from Amazon (ordered it Nov. 22nd)..so a nice early bday for me instead end of January like Amazon last quoted me.  I have found no GPS issues with google maps or weather bug…so dont know about that..but overall just holding this tablet..its more solid then most new cars..it rocks..play shadowgun..it shows off nicely the high end  :)

  • Marty(WhitePC)

    Wow, finally Intel gets a break. I think I remember when the CPU split, the price was at least double the single. Hummmmmm. Wounder if I’ll cry when mine comes. Can any of you out there
    think of somthing on your 13K plus Car / Truck (more if you are…..never mind, ain`t going there) has had something that was not to your liking? Like where the spray of you winshildwiper fluid lands – the placement of your ash tray is – the flaky firmware in your built in GPS?
          You can please some people all the time but not all.(expectations can stink, get over the beta RTM) If you got probs with the end result….send back. Waiting will save all that are illing, Later be the one who’s chillin`………….:P

  • Marty(WhitePC)

    Wow, finally Intel gets a break. I think I remember when the CPU split, the price was at least double the single. Hummmmmm. Wounder if I’ll cry when mine comes. Can any of you out there
    think of somthing on your 13K plus Car / Truck (more if you are…..never mind, ain`t going there) has had something that was not to your liking? Like where the spray of you winshildwiper fluid lands – the placement of your ash tray is – the flaky firmware in your built in GPS?
          You can please some people all the time but not all.(expectations can stink, get over the beta RTM) If you got probs with the end result….send back. Waiting will save all that are illing, Later be the one who’s chillin`………….:P

  • Anonymous

    I DONT UNDERSTAND HOW A PRODUCT COMES OUT AND IT IS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND HARRIBLE!BOOOOASUS PRIME

  • Bushpilot392

    Was going to buy this, but the gps is a big deal for me (was going to use it in my airplane for a as a navigation tool with with gps moving map app). Can you just get an external bluetooth gps to solve the problem?

  • Peter Polando
    • justathought

      squeeze the top of the prime, holding in landscape, along the top just barely enough to see minor light bleed…. fixed wifi and gps on every model ive come across…

  • Xavior

    So will there be a way to replace the back cover with a plastic one?