Final Words

Assuming the WiFi and minor dock issue I encountered aren't widespread (ASUS insists they aren't), I am comfortable calling the Eee Pad Transformer Prime the absolute best Android tablet on the market today. The hardware looks and feels great. ASUS picked the best display possible and married it to some really good industrial design. I was impressed with the styling of the Zenbook, and the Prime continues to position ASUS as a purveyor of high quality mobile devices.

At the same time, NVIDIA has finally delivered an SoC capable of delivering the sort of smooth experience we'd expect from a $500 tablet. Honeycomb was a great first attempt by Google at a tablet OS, but Tegra 3 really makes the whole experience complete. Everything you'd expect to be smooth, is finally smooth. Video playback is no longer an issue, the Prime and Tegra 3 can finally play back virtually anything you'd want to throw at it. Thank goodness.

As good as the combination is today, I admit that I still can't wait to put Ice Cream Sandwich on this thing. Even more polish on the OS side (and the absence of any hardware issues during the testing process) would've easily catapulted the Prime into editor's choice territory.

Battery life is the big unknown at this point. At worst it's roughly on par with the old Eee Pad Transformer. I'll know more in the coming days, but 9 hours of continuous use isn't bad. The question is how much better will it be as we start playing with the available power options? I'm also curious to see what having four cores does to web page loading performance. There's clearly an impact on JavaScript rendering, but what about the overall real world experience? In my testing I was limited by the WiFi issue I mentioned earlier, but I hope to have an answer to this soon enough.

The inevitable iPad comparison is, well, inevitable. I still firmly believe there's not a whole lot of iOS/Android cross shopping. If you want an iPad, that's what you should buy. Android isn't an iOS substitute, just as iOS isn't an Android substitute. You can do similar things on both, but personal preference will really determine what suits you the best.

I'll have more coverage on the Prime over the coming days, but if you're making your decision before then: this is the Android tablet to get.

Update: ASUS has removed GPS support from the Prime's official spec sheet. Check out our update here as well as our follow-up to the review.

HDMI Output, Controller Compatibility & Gaming Experience
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  • PubFiction - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    Nope I hate it too. Reply
  • gorash - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    I'm not sure if you can hold the thing without it. Reply
  • eddman - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    "Somewhere to put your fingers? pfft ill trade that space for working area and hold it at the edge"

    Yes, somewhere to put your thumb. Just hold a tablet and you'll know how necessary that is.
    Reply
  • MadAd - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    thumb maybe, a slight margin, but not a huge ugly border, how big are your thumbs?

    the contact area for any touchscreen running windows may need a little bar on the left, small, but tablet desktops arent left justified like windows has been since the wimp revolution..theyre centralised like a phone or a car pc front end
    Reply
  • melgross - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    No. It's impossible to use these things without a good size border. .75" seems to be about the. Indium. The Fire has about .5" border around three of the sides, and a number of reviewers have mentioned that it's too easy to touch the screen when holding it, and doing something unintentional.

    With a phone, you're holding it with one hand wrapped around the back, and up both sides. With a tablet, even a small one, you use one hand with a thumb over the edge. It's too much mental work to keep that thumb from hitting the screen. It even happens with wider borders.

    Get used to it.
    Reply
  • GnillGnoll - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    The best solution would be to make apps fully resizable, and create a dynamic bezel based on where your hands are. You just need a touch sensor around the edge and back to detect the position of your hands. Reply
  • Commodus - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    No one should ever hire you as an ergonomic designer, then...

    Many, many times you'll have your thumbs on the front, and even if you didn't have to, it'd be more comfortable. Not the least of which is that it's a lot easier to rotate the tablet when you don't have to hold it gingerly by the edges.
    Reply
  • Omega215D - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    If these lawsuits keep up then that may eventually happen... Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    Flippant dislike of Apple product designs makes me laugh. Apple product designers and engineers spend months and sometimes years agonizing over the details of their designs. It's quite unlike any other company on the face of the earth. Your tablet idea for an edge to edge screen simply sucks....I'm glad you don't work for Apple. Reply
  • Omega215D - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    It's not like Apple is the first and only ones to do it. It just depends on what's available at the time, the price point to be met and expectations of the product.

    I've had several well made players before the iPod came out, and extends to before the iPod Touch.
    Reply

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