TAIWANESE PC MAKER Asus will ship the Transformer Prime in the UK on 12 January and it will be the first device with Nvidia's quad-core 1.3GHz Tegra 3 processor.
The sequel to the critically acclaimed Asus Eee Pad Transformer, the Transformer Prime has all the makings of being another excellent hybrid tablet.
Asus has stuck with the 10.1in screen size, but has upgraded the display to Super IPS+ technology. The display is crisp and colours are vibrant even in low light settings. The device has an outdoor setting to make it easier to view content outdoors, and we look forward to testing this.
In terms of design, the Transformer Prime is stunning. The 8.3mm chassis is wafer thin and the tablet feels much lighter than its 586g weight. Asus seems to have hit the sweet spot with weight distribution, as we found it very easy to hold the device in one hand.
Nvidia has been promoting its quad-core Tegra 3 processor, so our expectations about the performance of the device were high. The chip designer wasn't extravagant with its claims, as the Transformer Prime is one of the fastest and smoothest devices we have handled.
Transition between applications is instantaneous and the device is able to playback HD video effortlessly. The Tegra 3 processor also improves battery life, with the firm claiming 12 hours for the tablet and 18 hours when it is docked.
Asus has included most of the major ports that you would expect in laptop. The tablet chassis includes a microHDMI output port, a microSD card slot and a headphone/microphone jack. The dock features a USB 2.0 port and an SD card reader. Connectivity includes 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1, but there is no wired Ethernet port.
The only really disappointing feature was the dock, as we found the trackpad to be a bit flimsy and the keys on the keyboard didn't have as much flex as we would have liked. On the plus side, we loved the way the tablet clips into the dock so it can be carried as a netbook.
With Asus having confirmed that it will not make the 7in Nvidia Tegra 3 tablet available in the UK, the 10in hybrid Transformer Prime could prove to be a popular alternative. The Transformer Prime will be launched in the UK on 12 January, priced at around £400. The INQUIRER will post a video demo and full review soon. µ