Welcome to the Transformer Prime FT201, the first quad core mobile device and the first 10.1″ tablet running Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. This tablet packs a blazing fast Tegra 3 chip, 1GB of RAM, an impressive 8MP rear facing camera and a beautiful SuperLCD IPS+ display in a package just 8.3mm thin. Is it worth your money? Are issues fixed? How polished is ICS? Check out the full video review:
It’s been an interesting experience using the Asus’ work of art over the past few weeks. It started off running a modified version of Android 3.2 Honeycomb before getting the OTA upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. I’ve gotten used to how the Tegra 3 flexes its quad core muscle for some applications while letting the 500MHz fifth core take over others. I’ve figured out under what conditions the backlit camera performs well, and where it doesn’t. I’ve even figured out ways to get an extra 10-15% out of the already massive batter yin the tablet. Let’s take a detailed look at what it’s like to own a Transformer Prime.
The Transformer Prime is extremely well built. As mentioned in the video, it has just about the best build quality of any tablet around. It’s almost impossible to get the device to creak or bend in any way. Volume and power button placement is typical, along the left hand side and top of the device, respectively. They’re also easy to access and easy to press.
The speaker on the back of the TF201 blew my mind. I mentioned in the video that the placement is horrible. It’s on the back of the tablet, facing away from the user and directly underneath where you’d normally place your right hand. When you hand is not on the speaker, however, it sounds amazing. Music, videos and podcasts resonated with surprising clarity and volume. Asus made some claims about the improvements to the speaker that I was skeptical about when I first saw the device. Actually hearing it however, is a totally different story. Placement is a pain, but the drivers are amazing.
The front of the Transformer Prime is beautiful. Underneath the front facing camera is the 1280×800 Super IPS+ display. The panel is extremely responsive to touch and gets very bright. We’re talking 600 nits of brightness here, folks. It’s more readable outdoors than any other touchscreen device I’ve used to date, which is an impressive feat.
The rear facing 8-megapixel camera on the Transformer Prime is excellent. It has a backlit sensor behind a large F/2.4 aperture that lets in plenty of light for indoor shots. Outdoor photos, however, are where this camera really shines! Once you get a certain amount of light in the shot, the TF201′s camera takes very sharp, detailed photos. You can even get closer to the subject to create a shallower depth of field, or stand further away and get nearly everything in focus. Manual controls are always there with Ice Cream Sandwich, giving you plenty of control over the images you capture.
The front facing 2-megapixel camera is pretty average.
Android 4.0.3 is excellent. It feels efficient, clean and polished. I can’t really say much more than that – the video speaks for itself!
There have been stories circling around of two major issues “plaguing” the TF201: WiFi and GPS.
I’m happy to report that slow GPS lock is no longer an issue; Before a firmware update, GPS lock took a bit longer than it did on other tablets in its class. Asus has fixed that. But who really uses their tablet for GPS anyway?
WiFi, on the other hand is 100% hardware related. The metal back of the Transformer Prime has reportedly caused a weaker WiFi signal and even caused the signal to drop altogether for some users. While I haven’t had a signal cut out on me yet, the Prime does have a slightly weaker connection to the same source from the location compared to the plastic Galaxy Tab 10.1 Nevertheless, the TF700T looks to be an updated version of the current Transformer Prime and has a modified back with plastic at the top to better accommodate a stronger WiFi signal.
Tablets are amazing media consumption devices. The Transformer Prime is no exception! It’s light enough to watch movies and YouTube Videos. It’s powerful enough to handle the most graphic and intense games. It’s smart enough to easily last all day on a single charge without extra batteries. There’s absolutely nothing fundamentally wrong with the Transformer Prime. Highly recommended!
Your thoughts? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.