One of the biggest tablet launches this year is due in about two weeks, heralding a new wave of quad-core mobile devices. That tablet is the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime, the direct successor to the original Eee Pad Transformer. The first Transformer was well known for an accompanying keyboard dock that enabled the tablet to act as a part-time laptop, a feature that seems to continue in a much improved form through the Prime. The Prime beefs obviously beefs up the processor while also including an IPS screen, aluminum backing, and thin design. Unfortunately, the tablet only launches with Android 3.2 Honeycomb, lacking the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich that is on the verge of proliferation.
Did all of these hardware improvements manage to push the Transformer Prime into the top Android spot, or is is ultimately another uninspired also-ran? Let’s see what reviewers from the top technology websites had to say to that question:
- Slashgear – The ASUS Transformer Prime is without a doubt the finest Android tablet to date, and barring those with an addiction to having what they call the “widest” or “finest” app collection in the land, I’ve got no qualms with calling this the highest quality slate on the market today. [....] If you’re deciding between an iPad 2 and this device, you’re doing it wrong. Buy the one that feels better to you, and go with it. There’s no perfect test to decide between the two, it always comes down to personal preference if you ask me. If you’re deciding on which Android tablet to get, look no further. The rest of the Android slate world has been completely blown away. -Chris Burns
- The Verge (8.2/10) - The Prime is an incredible piece of hardware. It has a marvelous display, form factor, the best camera on any tablet yet, and it’s new quad-core internal organ puts more graphics and gaming power in your hands than you’ll know what to do with (quite literally in fact, until the games start appearing). And then there’s also the added keyboard dock that adds even more battery life and really does transform the tablet into a highly-usable laptop. But a true laptop replacement isn’t about raw power; it’s about the productivity that power enables, and Honeycomb just isn’t up to the task. -Joanna Stern
- PCWorld - The Asus Transformer Prime makes a visual statement, in both its brilliant design and its inner power. The docking station option makes it a superb choice for power users who want a tablet that converts into a productivity workhorse. Our full rating is pending until our testing is complete, but this tablet is shaping up as one of the top contenders you can buy today. -Melissa J. Parenson
- Engadget - The Galaxy Tab 10.1 has had a long run as the top-tier Android tablet in the 10-inch size, but that position has now properly been usurped. The original Transformer was a very good tablet and it successor steps up another notch. The Transformer Prime is thinner and lighter than the rest and, with 32GB of storage available for a dollar under $500, it’s a better deal than most of the top-tier contenders. The dock, however, is a bit of a tougher sell. If you need crazy battery life on the road then it’s definitely a good choice, even if you won’t be relying on that cramped keyboard too often. In fact, the less you have to use that part the better, but it’s still a perfectly usable way to enter URLs and it sure beats the pants off of any virtual, touchscreen text input method. -Dana Wollman, Tim Stevens
- PCMag – If you’re considering the Prime, just make sure it does what you need. I can’t recommend it the same way I would the iPad 2, assuming that there’s an app available for whatever. If you’re a Droid through and through, you’ll revel in the power here. For Web surfing with Flash, for playing Nvidia’s Tegra Zone games, or for drawing in Sketchbook and PS Touch, the Prime is the ultimate experience right now. [....] Until Google can offer a broad array of easily discoverable tablet apps, tablets like the Prime will get good reviews, but won’t our wholehearted endorsement, or our Editors’ Choice. -Sascha Segan
Image: The Verge