The Display: Perfect

The original Transformer had a display that performed similarly to the iPad, but was far more reflective thanks to a fairly large gap between the outer glass and the LCD panel underneath. I excused the first generation Eee Pad in the display department because it was good enough and $100 cheaper than the competing Apple solution. The Prime reaches price parity with the iPad 2, and as a result it must meet a higher standard. ASUS doesn't disappoint - the Eee Pad Transformer Prime has the best display I've seen on a tablet to date.

The resolution is a Honeycomb-standard 1280 x 800. The 16:10 panel measures 10.1-inches diagonally, giving it a very similar surface area to the iPad 2's 9.7-inch 4:3 display. The increase in resolution more than makes up for the larger screen however, ASUS delivers 145 pixels per inch compared to the iPad 2's now quite-dated ~132 PPI.

It's not all about pixel density here, the Transformer Prime has better white and black levels than anything else in its class. It also sets the new benchmark for contrast ratio at nearly 1200:1. The huge gap between the outermost glass and the IPS LCD panel has been reduced significantly, in turn reducing glare.

Display Brightness

Display Brightness

Display Contrast

ASUS also has a Super IPS+ mode that drives the display to a class-leading 683 nits. The Super IPS+ mode obviously draws more power but ASUS recommends it if you're trying to use your tablet outdoors. In our review of the PlayBook we found that 600 nits was really the cutoff for usability in sunny conditions, and ASUS easily exceeds that. It's also worth pointing out that while Super IPS+ increases black levels as well, the resulting contrast ratio remains the same.


Original TF (left) vs. Super IPS+ enabled on the TF Prime (right)


iPad 2 (left) vs. Super IPS+ enabled on the TF Prime (right)

Viewing angles are absolutely awesome. Yes this is the same ASUS that let us down with the UX panels but it definitely got the panel right when it came to the Transformer Prime. Fingerprints are still going to be evident on the display but they don't seem to be as bad as on the original Transformer, and they do wipe off easily. This time around ASUS bundles a microfiber cloth to aid in keeping your Transformer looking fresh.

ASUS, Apple and the rest of the tablet world are in hot pursuit of even higher resolution panels, the problem is yields on these small 1080p and 2048x1536 panels just aren't high enough yet. The Android crowd will have to wait, although Apple is apparently pushing very hard (and trying to buy up a lot of inventory) to deliver a "retina display" equipped iPad 2+/3 by Q2 next year. I'm hearing Q3/Q4 for everyone else and it's still not a guarantee that Apple will be able to meet its aggressive targets either at this point.

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  • metafor - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    1. The advantages of a companion core apply just as much to single, dual or quad core systems. In each case, individual cores can be power-gated. The companion core is there to provide lower idle power even beyond a single core. So no, going with a dual-core doesn't somehow make a companion core less necessary.

    2. A15 is huge compared to A9. Huge. Both in area and power. If anything, an A15 SoC needs a companion core even more than anything based on A9.

    3. Because A15 is huge, a quad-core in a smartphone form factor isn't very feasible at 32nm. Nor is quad-core really all that useful for the vast majority of use-cases anyway. Especially since A15 performs so much better per-core than an A9.
    Reply
  • phantom505 - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    Yeah, who can put up with a mere 9 hours of continuous playback. It's so bad....

    Oh wait...
    Reply
  • medi01 - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    iPad 25 Wh battery.
    Galaxy Tab 14.8 Wh battery.

    ;)
    Reply
  • thunng8 - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    Why are you comparing the ipad to the 7" Galaxy tab? Of course the ipad will have a bigger battery. Reply
  • quiksilvr - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    I was actually surprised too. To be fair, the A5 chip is huuuuge in the iPad, but that doesn't change the fact that it's still beating a quad core setup.

    My guess is ICS will optimize quad core capabilities more and we'll be seeing a very different picture once that is released.

    So I say wait for ICS and then pass judgement.
    Reply
  • vision33r - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    How is it a surprise? Core i5 can match up against Core i7 in 95% if apps without needing the extra cores.

    In real world test, the difference between Core i5 and i7 performance is hardly measurable.
    Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    Of course by the time ICS is actually available on these sorts of devices, iPad3 with A6 will probably be out...

    Point is: a "my vaporware can beat up your vaporware" contest is generally not very enlightening to anyone.
    Reply
  • daveloft - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    It has nothing to do with the CPU, it's all about the GPU. Reply
  • medi01 - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    Yeah, iPad wins hands down and it's very practical too.
    Think about encoding video in a browser using javascript, for instance
    Reply
  • metafor - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    I think a lot of people (including myself) go with Android because we like the additional features provided by the OS -- true multitasking, choice of a plethora of browsers, third party players, no iTunes, Google integration, etc.

    But yes, iPad 2 has been king of both performance and battery life for a while now.
    Reply

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