Seeing as I was one of the lucky few to get their hands on an Asus Transformer Prime so soon, a couple people have asked me to write up a short review of the device.
Having never possessed a tablet before I do not have any baseline for comparison so there may be some skew in my opinions due to that fact. Some of my positives and negatives may be true for all tablets — or at least those of this size/form factor.
Asus has announced that and update to Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) is coming on Jan 12th so this will need to be revisited then.
So without further ado, here are, my thoughts about the device:
In three words: I love it.
In a few more words, I’ll break down what I thought about various aspects of the device.
This review was typed in Google docs on the Transformer Prime, but edited a little on the PC before publishing. Mainly formatting for WordPress and making lists, fixing typos.
I ordered my Prime from Best Buy on Dec 23rd when it magically showed up in stock out of the blue. Nobody else had any, and nobody was expecting any for weeks. I placed the order, and waited (And hoped it didn’t get canceled). It shipped on the 27th and arrived on Jan. 3rd. It came in a manilla bubble envelope, not a box, which was rather surprising. I let it warm up to room temperature, plugged it in, made sure it wasn’t faulty, and started to play with it. Have barely put it down since.
- Great screen, very bright and easy to read. Especially in IPS+ mode.
- long battery life — I have yet to run the battery out before going to bed and hooking it up to the charger.
- very fast/smooth — scrolling on pages and between screens is quite fluid.
- lots of storage space even with 32GB model.
- Easy to plug in via usb and add files, included file manager app is useful.
- Weight is good. Not too heavy, enough weight that it does not feel “cheap”.
- Love the included screenshot app (finally!)
- Camera controls are easy to use.
- Pictures from rear camera are good, on par with what I would expect from this class of camera.
- 10/10 on ipv6 tests out of the box.
- I don’t know what the included screen cleaning cloth is made of but it does a great job of removing fingerprints from the screen.
- Synced right up with Google and downloaded all my apps and contacts. All my Amazon App Store apps were available too, none installed automatically (but that is a good thing, I didn’t want them to.)
- Multitasking is great with the recent apps button that lists the running apps and lets you kill the ones you aren’t using. Very easy to switch between running apps.
The Indifferent but Noteworthy
- Having a second speaker would have been nice — speaker sounds good, but there is room for improvement.
- Mini HDMI port. Needs a special cable but I already have one (same connector as my Droid X.)
- Screen attracts fingerprints but is bright enough they are not really noticeable.
- I miss app grouping that the Droid X had. May come with ICS.
- draws 15w @ 0.25a when charging.
- Wifi range could be better but is on par with the reception I get in the same areas with my Droid X.
- The dock is not in stock anywhere yet. :-)
- Some apps are obviously formatted for phone screens — can’t hold this against the tablet. It offers a zoom or stretch option to make the screens larger, which works wonders in some cases and falls flat in others (Angry Birds is great in stretch mode, not good at all in Zoom mode)
- Lack of a good free full-featured PDF reader on Android. The included Polaris Office does a great job but has some room for improvement. Other free apps are all missing major features (No text search, Adobe, really?). I’m open to suggestions here, so long as they are free. I hear ezPDF and Repligo are great but I’m hesitant to drop a few bucks to find out for myself.
- Big on screen keyboard is still an on screen keyboard. Easy to accidentally hit keys with stray fingers when trying to touch type. (The android keyboard is better than the Asus keyboard. I still hate Swype.) Though after three days I find I am able to type with both hands reasonably well. Hopefully the dock will make that a non-issue if any serious amount of typing needs to be done.
- Google earth locks up – others have reported the same issue.
- No usb port on the tablet, only on dock or with external adapter.
- Rare video glitch when waking up from sleep. Only happened once. Unable to repeat. Sleep/wake again and it was OK.
- No “Advanced IPsec VPN” options like those on the Droid X. Rumor has it they will be in ICS, or usable equivalents.
Things Left to Try
There are a few things I haven’t had a chance (or time) to try yet. If I get a chance, I’ll update this post with better details.
- Front camera
- Video conference
- Wifi outside
- Screen outside in sunlight