Asus is on top of the Android tablet heap at the moment thanks to the Eee Pad Transformer Prime, but they've had a hard time keeping it there lately. A number of controversies have sprouted up around the quad-core Android slate. Apparently those quality issues have led UK online gadget seller Clove to suspend sales of the Transformer Prime indefinitely. "Because of complaints of faults with the model we took the decision to thoroughly test stock before fulfilling any orders," said Clove on their official blog. [ed. note: blog appears to be down at the moment] 

To be fair, the Transformer Prime has had more than its share of problems. Early adopters have reported signal issues with both WiFi and GPS reception, probably due to the Prime's all-metal case construction. There's not a lot that can be done about the physics of radio waves, but on top of that, power users were upset that the hardware comes with a locked bootloader. Asus changes a lot of opinions by promising an unlocker option in February - announcing an Ice Cream Sandwich update didn't hurt. Of course, bricked devices and other errors in the update process put them back at square one.

Asus replied to Clove's posting with skepticism, saying that they weren't aware of any quality issues, and that they "refute any and all claims from third parties regarding the quality of our products." Since Clove didn't elaborate on what customers were complaining about, we don't have a lot to go on as far as estimating when UK buyers can expect a return. With the Transformer Prime in short supply almost everywhere, this is sure to irritate at least a few across the pond. We'll keep you updated on any changes in Clove's policy.

[device id=1934]

[via Pocket Gamer]

  • Blabidyblaboobblab

    Way to go Clove! I returned my transformer prime TF201  the next day after purchasing it. Horrible wi-fi reception over my lan.

  • Anonymous

    good. hopefully, it’ll mean that we can finally pick up a transformer prime here in the states. everywhere is out of stock.

  • BTPhil

    Don’t rush to buy one , I had one and took it back, GPS useless, the Tablet is slowand it kept rebooting itself. I think the people at carphone warehouse new about the problems with the prime, No rows, instant money back.

  • Tomsgate

    Hi eveyone,

    Just wanted to share my personal experience regarding the TF201. Note that I love this product, its conecpt and design, which is why I own one despite what happened to me. I did not make this up or exaggerate any of this in any way. This is all true:

    I bought my first TF201 about a week ago in a store (Saturn in Luxembourg). Grey model, 32GB with keyboard, very nice. Yet I soon noticed that the motion sensors (rotation, gyro, compass etc.) would stop working after a while for no apparent reason. I wrote to Asus support about it, and they suggested to have it replaced. “Bad luck” I thought, this can happen, and since I still had a few days left to exchange it at the store for another one, no big deal. So I did, and left with a new one, gold model this time, they were out of grey ones…

    I opened the new box, started setting up the tablet and went to put it into the dock: very difficult, it wouldn’t really fit. After a brief inspection, I noticed that the screen was not attached to the frame properly on the bottom. There was a gap, which made the tablet very hard to fit the hinge. I returned it the same day…

    Third model, again a golden one. I had checked the screen in the store right after exchanging the old one: this one was fine. I took it home and started setting it up. I then noticed that the vibration unit (which vibrates at boot up and shut down, or when you mute the tablet) made an unhealthy sound: it was loose in the tablet, rattling…

    I exchanged it the next day. Pissed! Thankfully, the staff in the store was very friendly and forthcoming… I opened the fouth one in the store in front of a vendor and we inspected the tablet together: the screen was loose on the bottom. The store decided to send the entire TF201 batch back: 18 units. I got my money back, no problem.

    The vendor told me he had had another costumer return on the same model: black screen of death and no possibility to transfer data to a computer anymore. Total shutdown. The customer broke the devive in half in front of the vendor…

    This may sound crazy, but despite all of this, I still wanted a TF201: I think it is a great product, looks amazing and is exactly what I want… when it is well built. So I went to another store, which had grey models and a more recent delivery, and bought one there. I inspected it in the store (ok) and use it now. It’s fine for now, exept for a couple of dead pixels which you only notice on boot screen…

    So, to all of you who consider buying a Transformer Prime (TF201), here is my advice:
    – Buy it in a local store, NOT online: you might have to return it and you need to be certain you can exchange it easily
    – Return the device as soon as you notice anything wrong. Don’t assume it’s a software issue: it’s probably not…
    – Inspect the device in the store right after buying it for screen gaps. Turn it on and check the vibration sound. Might save you a trip back…
    – Get a microSD card and backup frequently. You never know what might happen…
    – If you have a perfectly fuctionning device, enjoy it (because it is great) and do not give it away.

    On a positive note, all the flaws I noticed were assembly related, thus easy to spot quickly and return the units. Also, I think the components are fine, except for some screen bleed ans dead pixels sometimes, but barely noticable… I can live with a dead pixel on boot screen and a tiny bit of screen bleed on boot screen, as long as the rest is fine: this device is great to use, has impressive battery life (especially with the dock), a nice keyboard etc. Worth it. Of course I would prefer a perfect unit in every aspect, but these seem to be pretty rare, according to my experience. If you have one, smile! 🙂

    My advice to Asus:
    – Improve your assembly line, for crying out loud! Qualified people, or more staff: productivity is good, quality is better! Selling faulty devices is a bad choice: you get money more quickly, but returns are more frequent and your reputation suffers from it. Bad move.
    – How about setting up a quality control? How can units with loose screens even be shipped? Anyone could see the unit is faulty, even without turning it on!!!

    See you!