Uncategorized, Gadgets

New Gadget: ASUS Transformer Prime


This week I got my new Asus Transformer Prime, and it is awesome.

There are many professionally written reviews all over the web, and all found it to be the best android tablet on the market right now. There has also been a fair amount of press around reported short comings and failures. When reading xda-developers prior after making my pre-order and before it arrived, I was beginning to get a little nervous with reports of dead pixels, DOA units, units without serial numbers preventing updates, wifi being hopeless... seemingly many people were unhappy. However, the thing I clung to was that all those professional reviews couldn't have messed up, if the thing had real serious issues it would never have had such glowing write up.

When my unit finally arrived, I waited patiently to play. I was at work when the package arrived, and knew that if i opened the box to play I would get nothing done. So I waited.

Eventually the evening came and I opened up the box and plugged in. I did immediately try to power up, but got no response. So I left it to charge. In total it took about 50 minutes on charge before there was enough juice to respond to attempts to power up. I realised that most (all?) claims of 'DOA' were likely people freaking out that it didn't respond once plugged in, not realising the amount of time that might be required on charge before it would respond.

Of course the first thing I checked for was dead pixels, and was relieved to find one. Then I checked serial number and that was fine to. I let it download all my apps (I have an android phone so it synced all the apps installed there to my tablet) Once that had finished I went checking for the Android 4 update (Ice Cream Sandwich) and found it waiting, so pretty much immediately I hit the upgrade path and picked up the new OS level, and a camera driver update.

After the update and reboot, I was playing wth ICS to see what was what, when I realised that the wifi did keep dropping out on me, and re-establishing. Perhaps this issue was a real one, and at the rate it was happening it would have been a pretty serious issue. But then it occurred to me that I'd had no such problems pre-upgrade, and my instincts said to try a clean power down and back up. (my phone sometimes has the GPS go mental, tracking my position about 100 yards offset from my position, a reboot always clears it up) As suspected, a reboot cleared up the problem, and a week later I can say I've had no issues with wifi dropping. Some say the range is poor, I can't say I've noticed, I get a good stable connection everywhere at home and at work, so I guess it's good enough.

After a week of paying I can honestly say I love it, all the awesomeness of a tablet, but with the addition of a keyboard (on which I'm typing this) which is a little small, but pretty good for writing long form content without messing around with the on screen keyboard. Also the battery life is at least as good as claimed. I have to say I've not pushed it that hard, I charge it every night, since that is the habit I'm in with my phone. However today, I sat in bed this morning reading engadget's distro magazine, my wife and I watched the 2 hours of 'star wars uncut' (pretty cool, check it out) and now I'm writing this. The tablet shows 82% charge and the keyboard is at 52%. if I tried this on any laptop I've ever owned it would be on its last legs by now. And my phone would likely be looking in serious need of a top up after that much video played, and streamed over wifi.

One complaint that all the reviews made, was not specific to this tablet, but rather the continuing issue with all android tablets is 'not enough tablet apps'. I can now appreciate what they're saying, but I think it's not what you might think. Every android app runs, and just expands to fill the screen. For many that is fine, I'm using noteeverything right now, and it works great at tablet size. However when you use those apps that are 'tablet optimised' you do feel like you get such a nice experience, that it is a little disappointing using apps that don't make the most of the large area and resolution. So it's not so much that you can't get apps to do stuff, just that some of them leave you wanting more from the interface once you've seen how good it can be. I guess as those reviewers noted, it's just a case of time.

Obviously you can't really give a fair review of any device like this based on just one week. time will tell. However so far I love it, have had really none of the

reported issued, and find it to be every bit the amazing device that the early reviews reported. If you are on the fence, get off it and go buy one, you won't regret it.