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back to article Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime Android Tablet

It’s only been a little over six months since the original Eee Pad Transformer landed but Asus has already launched a new model that advances the breed to such an extent that the original model appears obsolete and with it every other 10in Tegra 2 Android tablet on the market. Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201 Android tablet …

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Bronze badge
Megaphone

Damm

Anybody want to buy a Galaxy Tab 10.1?

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Coffee/keyboard

You can buy mine too...

...and glue a hinge between them and have one work as a virtual keyboard.

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Happy

not after reading that review! Blinding and rarely use GPS

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Silver badge
Thumb Up

Very, very interesting

I was really tempted by the transformer, so I should really check this one out.

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Anonymous Coward

Sounds pretty good, this may be a stooopid question but...

...what's the boot/start up time likely to be on one of these?

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boot?

With a guad core processor and flash memory for storage - I think it's pretty quick.

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Booting

I have to say, if it's anything like the TF101 which is dual core, it will be a real dog booting up. Thankfully you rarely do need to reboot.

Oddly it was quite fast at booting till the first update came through - but on delivering updates Asus have been superb so far so hard to complain.

Not sure why you got the downvote.

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The same as my phone, about 30 seconds to full usability (I have a lot of widgets!)

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Wait for proper GPS fix

Like the original Transformer, it looks like the Prime has a hardware issue. The GPS reception is weak due to the metal casing. A bit of a "Doh!" moment there Asus.They have released a new driver which improves it, but Asus will no doubt release a new hardware revision to fix the problem properly.

It is a shame they've tried to cover this up again (pulling the listing of GPS from the online specification is really rubbish Asus). They should have learnt from their experience trying to hush up Transformer issues. I guess the usual fear of ridiculous a class action is the cause.

The pre B5OK hardware Transformers had a problem whereby the battery drained to zero in 3 days even when the unit was switched right off. Asus sneaked out new hardware revision which sorted the problem. They tried to keep it quiet, but luckily a very public Facebook campaign forced them to offer to RMA the older affected units. Facebook does have it's uses then ;)

Keep an eye on the XDA Developers Prime forum to see if a new hardware revision is quietly released that properly fixes the GPS issue.

Apart from this problem though, I've had a play with a Prime though it really does deserve the rating given by El Reg. Asus should sell them by the bucket load.

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Where've you been?

Very prescient comment, if most of what you predict hadn't already come to pass. Asus have spectacularly compromised the Prime by announcing its predecessor just it launches. It's called the Transformer Prime HD and comes with a redesigned rear panel, which presumably fixes GPS and reported Wifi issues.

On that note, El Reg, why no review of the wifi - the other major problem reported with the Prime? Reports yesterday suggest that the UK models don't have this particular problem, but confirmation of this would have been nice.

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@countd

The Prime HD will be months away. Like the Transformer dock drain issue, this is very bad PR for Asus. I expect the Prime will get a hardware fix as well.

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Thumb Up

Wi-Fi performance

Wi-Fi does not seem to have any issues, my Transformer Prime picks up a signal just as well, if not slightly better, than a laptop and smartphone in the same location. You'll read a lot about the wireless being poor but this seems to be something which affected the earlier models, UK release is just fine.

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Ru
Headmaster

"announcing its predecessor"

Predecessors aren't generally announced, on account of them already being released and known.

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Happy

from what I am reading around - no issues with WiFi now.

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I have had zero GPS or WiFi problems - but then I have very little use for GPS on a tablet so I've only tested it once (it locked just as fast as my phone)

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Follow that approach and you'll never buy any tablet, the market is moving too fast.

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Thumb Up

If I had to go over to the dark side, this would be my weapon of choice. Nice.

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Alien

It's a very strange sensation to feel that I really /want/ one of these blighters but really can't imagine any time when I'd actually /use/ the thing.

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Take it to the Apple store and have a round of 'can your tablet do this..........."

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When you get a tablet you normally realise it's what you've been needing without realising.

Personally I'm not a fan of Android because I've yet to see it run acceptably, but this tablet seems super nice and looks like it might have the gubbins to make it run well.

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Anonymous Coward

An Apple afficianodo friend of mine

Is using one of these as his primary machine now. According to him, he has yet to find anything that he needs to do, but can't from this thing.

With the keyboard dock and battery life this is really what a Netbook should have been, and the tablet by itself is as good as it gets IMHO.

I just wish I could convince the better half I need one

: )

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Anonymous Coward

Your apple friend

Obviously your Apple friend who uses this is a retarded sheep follower who doesn't use anything but media consumption, buys the latest bling of no real use or value so using him in your argument just disqualified it no???

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That was exactly what held me back, but my PC and phone, both of which I would normally be using now, are currently switched off.

Sent from my Prime ;)

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Van

At a price though

"this is really what a Netbook should have been"

There was nothing else a Netbook could have been but a mini Laptop.

When Netbooks were all the rage, there was a demand for a small form factor that could run windows apps at a lower price point.. Traditionally, small form factor costs more money, but that was broken with the Atom chip.

Tablets have been around Donkeys years and have only become fashionable thanks to Apple, their excellent software and the iphone.

It's all very well bashing Netbooks, but the truth for their demise, is to extract more money from the 'i' generation, as traditional computing needs make way for that 'must have' better looking gadget and ever more efficient social networking.

My 2 Netbooks are 3 and 4 years old, cost £190 and £150 respectively (£250 machines found via hotukdeals) They run Windows 7, Office 2007 and will both run Snow Leopard if I'm in the mood. They also make excellent media players, as does the still popular Nettop

Windows 8 and ultra books, may as well start the battle on the catwalk. And with many people happy to dismiss a £250 Netbook for a £500 tablet, there's certainly no need for manufactures to worry about profit margins.

I just read this review and think what's wrong with a laptop anyway?

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Silver badge

You can't pull the screen off and turn it sideways to make reading easier.

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'The rubber grommet that covers the USB port is a sod to remove too, but thankfully it’s not tethered so you will lose it within a day or two and that will be the end of that problem.'

It's only a packing item anyway, huh, Alun? lol

I hope they do a 7" pocketable version at some point.

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Silver badge

The 7 incher is on the way

And even with ICS and Tegra 3, it's going to be $250.

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IT Angle

But...

...when you were out and about with it did anyone mistake it for the leader of the Autobots?

Sincerely,

Hasbro Inc.

(IT angle because is it IT or an alien lifeform?)

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Tempted

But I can't justify the price with the original Transformer at home (though, it does see a lot of usage).

Shame they couldn't make the Prime fit the original dock...

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Anonymous Coward

Couldn't? or wouldn't?

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One, two, three...

This is the second transformer and the third is on the way (with even more pixels and a working GPS). All within less than a year.

I don't know about others, but I just can't buy any of these. First, a tablet is very much a luxury, so I don't have to buy one. Second, as soon as you could buy one nice model the next and better one is already coming, which makes waiting very tempting. Third, the apps are still lacking. Most of them are just the usual smartphone apps on a larger screen.

I'm still looking at all this with a kind of bored fascination.

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6 months

Consumer tech cycles every 6 months. No matter what you buy will be replaced with a better spec in half a year. I personally go with previous or even 1 year old tech since they are cheaper, way more stable (thanks to early adopters) and less "show off". I can easily put my cheap Huawei to Starbucks table and watch news without anyone thinking I am showing off/ bragging.

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Pity it's already dead

The TF700 was announced before the Prime had even launched. Asus botched this one big time.

Only reason to buy this is if you *really* can't wait until April for the fixed version.

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not really

From what I understand the TF701 will cost more and Asus will continue to sell the current prime (TF201) alongside it. How is that a botch?

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Silver badge

Look up the Osborne effect

"How is that a botch?"

Announcing a new and improved product while the current generation is just launching is hardly a good idea. This product is called the Asus Transformer Prime after all. Tell people that an even tablet is around the corner will dampen sales of this device. I also expect that whatever the new tablet costs it can't be much higher than this. Apple might be able to get away with charging stupid money for their devices, but other manufacturers have to be a little more realistic.

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And next month's tablet is...

Wonder how it stacks up against the Toshiba Excite?

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Tosh has no keyboard...

The killer app part of the Prime is that it has the keyboard. The value of which can't be under rated. So comparing the Prime to the Tosh is a bit apples and oranges.

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Anonymous Coward

> The value of which can't be under rated.

Like

"They misunderestimate me" -George W. Bush

then?

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This post has been deleted by its author

Or Ralph Wiggum.

"...the keyboard. The value of which can't be under rated"

So it has to be over-rated?

RW - "Me fail English? That's unpossible!"

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I was going to get one

Then the TF700T was announced. Now to wait half a year...

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Linux

I was under the impression that the TF700 was not a replacement for the Prime but a new model that was going to be more 'high end' and by default, probably more expensive! and you will have to wait 6months plus for it to be available to purchase.

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Silver badge

The best thing about this

Is it puts downward pressure on lesser tablets which have been coasting for far too long at a high price point. I don't think this device deserves to be so expensive either (the aluminium is the clue that the price is marked up well beyond it deserves) but it certainly does look like a great device.

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Anonymous Coward

Boot doesn't really come into the question unless you have for some reason (rare) to restart. Tablets are just 'left on' they go to sleep\hibernate at your specified time. I have ASUS TF101 and it is a very neat device. You hit the wake button and you are ready to surf within a second maybe two. Still not a replacement for a dev machine. Pop into a local shop and give one a blast.

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Unhappy

Hmmmm.... Nice but...

Can you run a dev. web-server on it? And video editing software?

Until there is a device I can take with me and keep working, it won't be replacing my laptop any time soon. Nice as it is, it would only be a toy in my particular world.

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5 seconds on google tell you

That there's actually a few choices for web servers for android - so potentially yes.

And it comes with a video editing app, at least my TF-101 did. Haven't used it as yet but there are options again.

I'm using the tablet alongside my Mac Pro and it makes a great combo, just remote log into the Mac Pro when I need serious grunt/disk.

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They aren't designed to compete with laptops though.

Like many people I couldn't see much point in a tablet when I have a laptop and desktop at home but I bought a TF101 primarily for developing apps. It's now in constant use and they're an incredibly useful device to have in the home. They're far closer to what many home users need than a laptop.

Ours is a recipe book, email checker, web browser, TV guide and occasional timewasting games machine.

Surprisingly useful, is probably the best way of summing them up.

They are not, however, development machines!

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Bronze badge

Intrigued

If not for the price tag, this would make a pretty compelling "netbook that breaks in half and has a touchscreen", but the price is a bit off-putting. For this money I'd expect it to be at least 12in, moving it into the "Ultrabook(TM) that breaks in half" territory.

I'd be interested to know:

1) Is it practicable to just "forget" the separability and carry, use and maintain it just as though it were a netbook? Is sellotape required?

2) Is the OS reasonably rootable/hackable, and if not how does it fare with rival Linuxen?

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Alert

from the author - use as a netbook/laptop?

Indeed you can. The hinge and dock connector are both very robust. With the tablet locked in place you can treat the Prime in exactly the same way you would treat a netbook or laptop. Actually I'd say you can be more brutal with the Prime because the hinge joining the tablet and dock feels far stronger than most laptop hinges I've comes across.

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Apps and Flash

I caved in last year and bought an iPad2, which has proven to be indispensable. However 2 minor well-documented irritations:

1. no removable storage (without Apple dock)

2. Flash (lack thereof)

I can live with the lack of removable storage because Dropbox takes care of most things. However, as a media consumption device, the lack of Flash is starting to hurt. Even stripping out the Riko Tachibana fixation, I'm starting to feel the hurt because a lot of sites I visit are predominantly flash.

The Asus and keyboard dock for me would act as a desktop replacement as I rarely play games now. Can't say the same for the iPad2.

What is the Android marketplace like in terms of apps? I notice that my core apps are catered by Android re: Anki, Pleco, Economist, Skype, IM app, etc but I do not know how they compare to the iPad experience.

Also, are updates through the air, so to speak? Or do you need to update via a desktop / laptop?

I could be sorely tempted to see if I could trade my iPad2 (via Gumtree) for one of these bad-boys dependent on answers to the above.

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