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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  • horangl3e - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    do you have to post the review as soon as the NDA is lifted? If that is not the case, why not wait a few more days to share the final review? I enjoyed reading what is present right now but was just wondering. Also would you recommend waiting till Win8 tablets if I have no necessity for tablets this very moment? Reply
  • bupkus - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    Also would you recommend waiting till Win8 tablets if I have no necessity for tablets this very moment?

    Sounds like you answered your own question.
    Reply
  • MadMan007 - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    Yes, they have to post as soon as the NDA is lifted because first reviews = page hits. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    It's generally a good idea to have something up when the NDA lifts (plus, if you don't have something up when the NDA lifts manufacturers may think you don't need to be sampled alongside those who do post when the NDA lifts). In the PC space this is rarely an issue since we normally get 7 - 40 days with a product before the NDA lifts. In the mobile space it's a much bigger problem as many reviewers seem to be ok with a 2 - 24 hour testing period (+time for writing). As I mentioned in the article, I fully expect this to change over time (and I'm actively campaigning for it to change), it just doesn't help when ASUS contributes to the problem. To ASUS' credit however, I don't believe this was ultra intentional but it happened nonetheless.

    The tablet space is one area where you should wait if you can. The segment is evolving too quickly.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • euler007 - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    You have to give them a pass though, clearly their #1 goal is getting it out to stores before Christmas and they had to compress their entire release schedule, not just the delay between shipping it to reviewers and lifting the NDA.

    Why not do a first impression and an in-depth review after a few days?
    Reply
  • metafor - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    That seems to be the better way of it. The problem with mobile launches is that they do occur very hot-off-the-press in terms of final software/hardware release. They occur so often every year and there's such a race to compete that even if you got a sample very early on, it likely would not have had nearly as complete a software stack. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    This was our first impression post :-P The replacement Prime arrived this morning and I've been working on it since it showed up :) Expect more in the coming days.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • aggrobot - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    Sadly, they do. The reason for this is to get the page views. Yes, a more thorough review would be great, and it'll come. For now though, they have to keep up with the competition of suffer the lost visits. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    I felt like I did as best as we could given the WiFi issues of the test sample, more is coming though...

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • MadAd - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    is it only me that hates that ugly black border around virtually every tablet since the iplod?

    I mean what wrong with having screen to the edge? Somewhere to put your fingers? pfft ill trade that space for working area and hold it at the edge, or if not make it smaller for my pocket
    Reply

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