I entered the tablet world with a Viewsonic gTablet, a low-cost yet full-featured 10-inch screen tablet with a Tegra 2 dual-core processor and a nice complement of full-sized ports and an active development community providing alternate ROMs, including Android 3.0 Honeycomb. The biggest shortcoming of the gTablet was the very limited viewing angles of the screen, sort of like a built-in privacy screen unless you were viewing it straight on.
Intrigued by the specs of the ASUS Transformer Prime [Tegra 3 quad core processor, 1280x800 Super IPS+ screen, very thin (.33 inches) and very light (1.2 pounds)], I preordered it in November and received it on Dec. 22. I ordered the Amethyst Grey 32 GB version, and matching keyboard dock. The Prime worked great for 15 days, then one day after receiving a firmware update it got stuck in a boot loop (which I not so affectionately call the TSOD, or Twirling Sphincter Of Death). Could not even factory reset / wipe it. Others had reported similar problems with updates bricking their Prime.
I was able to return the defective Prime and ordered another, as I really liked the Prime features and design and was willing to take a chance. Good news is the second Prime is working great, and is not experiencing any of the problems some have complained about (poor Wi-Fi and GPS, light bleeding, or flickering screens).
The screen quality is phenomenal and responsive, with very wide viewing angles. I actually turn down the brightness levels to less than half for more comfortable viewing. There is also a Super IPS+ mode, which cranks up the brightness for better viewing outdoors.
Battery life seems quite good, and I have used it for around 8 hours on a full charge (it is touted to have up to 12 hours of battery life).
The optional keyboard dock ($150) essentially turns the Prime into a touch screen netbook. The tablet snaps securely into a hinge on the top of the keyboard. The dock has its own battery, and combined with the tablet can provide an impressive 18 hours of battery life (have not verified that yet). The keyboard is quite solid with full-sized keys with good response, a trackpad with on-screen mouse pointer, special Android and hardware keys, and a full USB and SD port. I’m using the keyboard dock to type this, and it is more than acceptable for lengthy input. Combined weight of the Prime tablet and dock is about 2.4 pounds, a small yet very capable combo.
The “stereo” speaker is on the back right of the case, and provides adequate quality sound (and can really be cranked up loud). Apparently there are two speakers in the guts of the unit (thus technically stereo), but only one speaker grill, so the “stereo” effects are minimal. Not a big deal to me, as you can always connect headphones to the supplied jack or use a bluetooth headset.
As mentioned, the Prime is amazingly thin and light. My one design complaint is that the aluminum case makes it slick (and some have complained that it reduces Wi-Fi and GPS signal strength). Supposedly the case is “hydro-oleophobic” (my favorite new tech word!), making it resistant to water and oil (although the screen is a fingerprint magnet, like most tablets). To reduce my fear of having $500 worth of gadget technology slip from my grasp, I installed the Skinomi carbon-fiber skin on the back of the case, which provides some texture and grip and also reduces the “coldness” of the bare aluminum case.
The Prime comes bundled with several nice apps, such as SuperNote (for hand/stylus writing or keyboard entry), Polaris Office (for docs, spreadsheets, presentations), App Backup, and ASUS WebStorage (8 GB of free cloud storage for syncing from Prime and other devices).
My Transformer Prime received Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) update almost immediately upon first boot. ICS is a slick update, very snappy, with attractive design touches. Love the improved Browser, which seems to becoming more like Chrome (a good thing IMO).
The Transformer Prime is a state-of-the-art Android tablet, and although some have unfortunately been plagued with connectivity and operational issues (including my first unit), ASUS has been working to correct the issues in later builds and updates. ASUS upset some early Prime adopters when they announced an upcoming improved Prime recently at CES, the TF700T with 1920×1200 resolution and a non-aluminum back case to improve Wi-Fi/GPS connectivity. But that is the state of the technology leapfrog pace, and I am loving every minute using my current Transformer Prime!