Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201 review

Photo of Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201
£499

The original Asus Eee Pad Transformer was a real wow-inspiring Android tablet with a separate, but attachable keyboard. The Eee Pad Transformer Prime now adds a quad core processor and Android 4 into the mix. What could go wrong?

We’re all talking about GPS

Asus may have caused itself an unnecessary problem where GPS is concerned. As we write, there’s lots of web chatter about poor GPS performance. Asus has affirmed that anyone in the UK who is unhappy with the GPS performance can return their unit, as part of their statutory rights. The company has even gone as far as to remove GPS as a listed specification, even though it is present.

We had trouble getting a GPS fix with our unit, until we discovered a workaround – pinching the top edge of the chassis, aids in securing the connections inside the device. We then obtained a GPS fix, but performance was never great. We’re sure the metal chassis was not helping either.

Looking beyond location

This is all a bit of a shame, because if location based services aren’t your thing, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is a stunner. Its quad core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor is really nippy and actually has five cores, with the fifth being slow and low power drawing. This kicks in for low level tasks, helping to conserve the battery.

Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) puts the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime right at the leading edge of tablets, and it runs beautifully smoothly on the 10 inch screen. There’s 32GB of internal storage, with an accompanying 8GB of web based storage as well as a micro SD card slot. It’s a pity there is no 3G, but Wi-Fi caters for the communications when you are near networks.

Docking for some tippety tap

What really makes the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime stand out is its docking keyboard. This has a battery built into it, where Asus quotes that this adds another 6 hours to the 12 – which you get with the tablet itself. Very cleverly, when tablet juice runs dry the keyboard dock charges its battery, so you can unsnap the two and work in tablet mode again, if needs be.

The keyboard also offers USB and SD card slots for accessing files, and there’s a good file manager app on board for managing all that data.

The keyboard is fairly comfortable under the fingers, with a touchpad and a row of Android specific keys that together mean you barely need to tap the screen, when the tablet is docked. The locking mechanism that joins tablet and keyboard together is solid, and the docked tablet feels like a proper little 10 inch ultrabook. Asus bundles Polaris Office so you can create Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents from scratch.

 

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Company: Asus

Website: http://eee.asus.com/en/eeepad/transformer-prime/specification/

Positives
  • Solid chassis; Android ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ 4; fast quad core processor; great docking keyboard.
Negative
  • Issues with GPS.

Verdict

That GPS issue is a real shame, because pretty much everything else about the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is smashing. Yes, you can get a laptop for the same money, but in our opinion you won’t find a better Android and keyboard combo.