Asus has finally launched the Eee Pad Transformer Prime, the successor to the very popular Transformer. The Transformer Prime, as its name suggests, will be the first tablet to officially sport Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, when Asus releases an update in early December. Till then, the Transformer Prime will run on Android 3.2 Honeycomb with the company’s Waveshare UI. Importantly, the Transformer Prime, when it starts shipping at the end of this month, will also be the first tablet to run on a quad-core SoC –the just released Nvidia Tegra 3 processor.
The Transformer Prime is slimmer, lighter, and more powerful than the original Transformer. Specifications include a 10.1-inch Super IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1,280x800 pixels, a thickness of just 8.3mm, a weight of 568 grams, a 1GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor with a 12-core GeForce GPU, 1GB of RAM, choice of 32GB or 64GB of built-in storage, a microSD card slot supporting up to 32GB cards, an 8MP rear autofocus f2.4 camera with continuous LED flash capable of 1080p HD video recording, and a 1.2MP front-facing camera.
Other features include the Polaris Office editor, SRS sound enhancement, SonicMaster audio technology, a gyro sensor, and a battery life of 12 hours of use time – something the Tegra 3 and its vSMP technology can take credit for. Read our previous coverage of the Tegra 3 for more details.
Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with hotspot functionality, Bluetooth with A2DP, as well as microHDMI and microUSB ports. Asus Transformer Prime has a metallic spun finish, and will come in two colours - amethyst gray or champagne gold. Another relevant new feature is the company’s new hydro-oleophobic coating, which should greatly reduce smudging via fingerprints.
For now, only Wi-Fi versions have been announced. Asus has provided suggested pricing for the Transformer Prime, with the 32GB version retailing for $499, and the 64GB version for $599. The famous keyboard dock accessory that makes the tablet a ‘Transformer’ will be priced at $149.All this is fair bit more than the original value-for-money Transformer had cost, but we expected the Tegra 3 chipset would have commanded such a premium, at least in its early days.