Battery Life

With 39 hours to test I was pretty limited in what I could do when it came to battery life testing. I was able to run through two tests (one run a piece) and only in one configuration each. I wanted to see how Tegra 3 and the Prime fared in the worst case scenario so I picked the Normal power profile. Over the coming days I'll look at battery life in the other two profiles as well, not to mention run through more iterations of our test suite.

My bigger concern has to do with the malfunctioning WiFi in my review unit. For our video playback battery life test WiFi was on but not actively being used, those numbers should be ok. It's our general use test that loads web pages and downloads emails over WiFi and it's there that I believe things could've suffered a bit.

In both cases I saw around 9 hours of continuous battery life out of the Transformer Prime, without its dock. These numbers are a bit lower than the original Transformer but it's unclear to me how much of this is due to the additional cores/frequency or the misbehaving WiFi. The fact that we're within striking range of the original Transformer with the Prime running in Normal mode tells me that it's possible to actually exceed the Transformer's battery life with the Balanced or Power Saver profiles. That's very impressive for an SoC built on the same manufacturing process as its predecessor but with twice the CPU cores and a beefier GPU.

Video Playback - H.264 720p Base Profile (No B-Frames)

General Usage - Web Browsing, Email & Music Playback

What I'm not seeing however is the impressive gains in battery life NVIDIA promised its companion core would deliver. I'm not saying that the companion core doesn't deliver a tangible improvement in battery life, I'm just saying that I need more time to know for sure.

That the Transformer Prime can deliver roughly the same battery life as its predecessor without any power profile tweaking may be good enough for many users. Both ASUS and NVIDIA shared their own numbers which peg the Prime's battery life in the 10 - 13 hour range. As I mentioned before, I'll have more data in the coming days.

Update - With a replacement Transformer Prime in house, battery life is looking a lot better already:

Update 2: Even more battery life results in our follow-up

Camera Quality The Dock & Keyboard
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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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