Transforming tablet

twitter-logo Nidhi Singal        Print Edition: March 2012

Asus Transformer Prime
Price: Rs.49,999

Specs: 10.1-inch display; Android 4.0; 1GB RAM; 64GB internal memory; 8.3 mm thin; 8 MP auto focus; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB (with dock); Weight: 586 gm (pad), 537 gm (dock).

Why We Fell For It: Innovative and powerful. Quad-core processor and Android 4.0 . If only the pricing strategy had also been innovative!

Apple's iPad has virtually dominated the tablet market. Now, with its ability to transform into a netbook, the Asus Transformer Prime tries its best to be more than a tablet, and hence could be a serious Android challenger for the iPad's top position.

Taking a cue from the iPad 2, the Prime features a 10.1-inch display with a slight curve at the edges. Asus has managed to achieve a 8.3-mm thickness despite having microSD and mini HD ports. The front bezel has a 1.2 MP camera, while the rear has a 8MP one that can capture full 1080p videos. At the bottom is a 40-pin connector port that connects the tablet to the charger or the keyboard dock.

There's nothing to complain about as far as the design or the performance are concerned. We were greeted by Android's latest Ice-Cream Sandwich operating system, which looks like the HoneyComb platform, but with a host of improvements. The notification bar at the bottom has been revamped. The main application launcher, meanwhile, is divided into applications and widgets-it bore a striking resemblance to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. From scrolling through the menu and widgets to launching applications and playing games, everything ran smoothly. However, for browsing, email and downloading applications we had to go hunting for a Wi-Fi hotspot as the Transformer Prime doesn't have a SIM slot for data connectivity, a problem when on the move.

The graphics were vibrant and made watching movies and videos a delight. The native video player failed to play most of formats and we had to download a free video player from the Android Market to do the job. Along with the support for playing full HD video, this tablet can also capture videos in 1080p resolution. Despite its form factor, the Prime packs in a quad-core processor paired with 1 GB RAM. We ran a series of benchmark performance tests and the Prime scored in the upper end of the scale.

The unique feature here is the dock accompanying the Prime, with its full QWERTY keyboard, a control shortcut and a numeric row at the top. It also has an additional USB port and an SD card slot on the right. With the dock weighing 537 gm, the combined weight comes to 1.12 kg-still lighter than most netbooks.

Since both the dock and the tablet have individual batteries, we got close to 15 hours of power on a single charge. Plugged into the dock, the Prime first consumed the extra charge before turning to its own battery. If it has a little charge left, the tablet will easily work on the docks battery, and even charge itself in the process.

Courtesy:Gadgets and Gizmos

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