The Asus Eee Pad Transformer prime is currently king of the hill as far as Android tablets go, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. As we’ve seen with other high-profile devices, a single critical failure can sound a sour note for an otherwise great piece of tech. For the Transformer Prime, that sour note appears to be the GPS radio, according to a growing thread over at XDA Developers. Users are reporting extremely poor GPS performance when not connected to wireless networks.

Android uses cellular and WiFi networks as a backup method for determining a device’s location, and in the case of the Transformer Prime (which has no cellular connection at this point) WiFi is the best option for getting around this problem. Of course, that’s small comfort to users who want to make their tablets into navigation systems, or just play with Google Maps outside of a WiFi area. At this point, there doesn’t seem to be any other way around the issue.

Many commenters suspect that the all-aluminum construction of the Transformer Prime is to blame. There’s something to be said for that – when smartphones use metal as a primary means of construction, they always leave a plastic portion of the case for the cellular signals to pass through. It could be that during the engineering phase, Asus just didn’t consider other wireless communications essential, or didn’t sufficiently test them. It could also be a software bug, not entirely unlikely in a product so new. We’ll be keeping a lookout for a more permanent solution, should one arise.

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[via Android Police]