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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  • 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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