We’ve already seen on video that the Transformer Prime is quite an amazing tablet by itself. But it’s called the Transformer for a reason. Let’s take a look at the dock that completes the package.
The dock is about the same thickness as the tablet, which is impressive by itself. It’s also built from the same metal, complete with the same classy spun finish on the bottom.
The one problem with using it as a laptop is opening and closing the contraption itself. Removing and replacing the tablet from the dock is a seamless process, but opening it to use it is a different story. Most laptops have a groove or slot for your finger to lift the lid. The TF201 and its dock close like a clam’s shell, which makes opening it a bit of a pain. Other than that, ease of use is top notch.
The dock’s keyboard isn’t full size, but it isn’t too small to use on a daily basis either. I found that even with hands as big as mine, typing was a breeze and the amount of ‘flex’ was minimal thanks to the solid aluminum construction.
I wouldn’t recommend something of this size for typing out longer essays or reports. But for the typical YouTube search, X or email this keyboard is more than sufficient.
The Android buttons are what really make this keyboard special. The top row of the keyboard, as shown in the video, is filled with buttons that perform unique functions built into Android 4.0. They all worked without any problems, and were especially convenient for volume and brightness control.
Yes, the Transformer Prime dock does contain a non-removable internal battery that claims to boost battery life to 18 hours. From experience, it does in fact last nearly as long as the internal battery thanks to a recent firmware update. The way discharging works, FYI:
- Charging while connected to the tablet will first begin charging the tablet, then charge the dock when the tablet is full.
- Charging while connected to the dock will first begin charging the dock, then charge the tablet when the dock is full.
- Discharging: When both are at 100%, the dock full discharges before switching to the tablet’s battery power, keeping the tablet at or near 100% while using it with the dock.
The full size USB port is an awesome features, and lets you use your tablet with gaming accessories or full size computer mice, bringing this machine one step closer to a full-fledged notebook.
For some reason I also found the locking mechanism particularly satisfying. When you connect the tablet to the dock, it clicks in place and feels incredibly sturdy and robust. You can undock it at any time by sliding the mechanism at the top of the keyboard and pulling up on the tablet. Very nice!
Overall this is pretty close to a must-have accessory if you’re trying to get the most out of your tablet. Highly recommended!
You can buy it here.