Today, we finally got our hands on ASUS’s Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201, the first tablet powered by Nvidia’s quad-core Tegra 3 processor. Though we’ve only had the device for a few hours, our early tests show that the new CPU is living up to its billing with record-breaking benchmark speeds and the ability to show added detail in games.
Like the Eee Pad Transformer TF101 that came before it, the Transformer Prime has a 10.1-inch IPS screen with a 1280 x 800 resolution, runs Android 3.2 Honeycomb, and has an optional keyboard dock that, when attached, turns the tablet into a clamshell-style Android notebook that can swivel open and closed. In addition to its speedy new processor, the Transformer Prime sports several other improvements over its predecessor, including an 8-MP camera with F2.4 aperture and 1080p capture, a new series of power-saving modes, and a slimmer design.
Though we have early access to the Eee Pad Transformer Prime, retail availability isn’t far behind. ASUS told us that the tablet will hit retail stores during the week of 12/19 and may be available for order online the week before that. The Prime will be available in two colors, Amethyst Gray and Champagne, in 32 and 64GB capacities for $499 and $599 respectively. The keyboard dock will go for $149.
We’ll be posting a full review of the Transformer Prime TF201 in the next day or so, but we’ve already made several observations in playing with it for a few hours. Here are our initial impressions.
We also appreciate that the front bezel is completely black, not rimmed with extra plastic like the original Transformer. However, the bezel is noticeably thicker than the Galaxy Tab 10.1’s.
|Benchmark||Eee Pad Transformer Prime||Eee Pad Transformer TF101||ThinkPad Tablet||Galaxy Tab 10.1||Sony Tablet S|
|Linpack (Single Thread)||47.36||N/A||36.8||29.4||28.9|
|Linpack (Multi Thread)||70.27||42.4||63.3||53.7||58.3|
On the Prime, the ball rolled quickly with plenty of lighting effects, reflections, and billowing cloth flags on the borders of the play table.
However, when we copied Glowball over to a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (LTE version), which uses a 1-GHz Tegra 2 CPU, the image was so dark that we couldn’t see the giant clown head that was visible on the Prime and the ball moved so slowly that we could hardly control it.
When we turned off all the effects on the Galaxy Tab 10.1, the image was hideously ugly and the ball was still slow as molasses.
We also tried playing Riptide, a jetski racing game, the Prime showed more movement in the water and even displayed splashes when we landed after jumping.
Even when we weren’t splashing around, we noticed detailed light effects on the water with the Transformer Prime.
The motion remained smooth when we played the game on the Galaxy Tab 10.1, but the water was much less detailed and there were no splash animations.
The locking mechanism seems greatly improved from the original Transformer keyboard. Where it took us several tries to pop the original Transformer into its dock, the Prime popped in with one try and locked securely.
We haven’t found a lot of things we dislike so far, but here are a couple of small nitpicks:
Stay tuned for our full review of the Eee Pad Transformer Prime.