Tech Review: ASUS Transformer Prime TF201

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Not only will it make toast, it will make a Panini!!

Are you an Android lover? Then the ASUS Transformer Prime TF201 is for you my friend-
I know the readers of WPR are savvy enough to search for all the technical specs and hoohaws that this tablet offers, so I will avoid re-listing them here and just jump into my experience with this fine piece of machinery.
I am an avid Android Fan, owner of an Android phone and an older Android tablet. I heard tale of the Nvidia Tegra-3 Quad-core processor powering an ASUS tablet. I knew from experience that Nvidia video cards were some of the best ever made and that ASUS motherboards run quick and flawlessly. I also knew that a tablet with a single core processor suffered performance wise from keeping up with what I wanted to do. So I thought,.. humm… Android operating system,… ASUS printed circuit board and build design,… Nvidia Quad-core processor,… sounds like a powerful combination. And you know what? It is!

I started saving my pennies for the Transformer Prime TF201 which was released in December last year. I questioned my decision to purchase this tablet for many months before actually buying. For the money, I could have a nice laptop. But, having another windows operating system in the house was not what I was looking for. I wanted something different, versatile, a new operating system, cutting edge design, new programs to run, small enough to be portable, powerful enough to have an enjoyable experience, and customizable to make it my own. So the decision was made, but then I discovered that this is a difficult tablet to find in-stock anywhere. I am unsure if this is due to popularity or due to manufacturing, either way, the TF201 tablet would be in and out of stock at all the popular websites like Newegg and TigerDirect and never in stock at the local BestBuy. I finally found one on Gamestop.com (odd place) and purchased the Amethyst Grey one, and I bought the optional matching keyboard.

Upon opening the package, I found the ultra thin tablet with the purple color simply fantastic looking; the feel is an unbelievable circular grooved metal, lightweight, easy to hold, and cool to the touch. The ON button revealed a stunningly 10″ (1280×800), LED super bright gorilla glass display. I slipped the tablet into the keyboard dock and this tablet transcended to the next level of sheer awesomeness (I guess “Transformed” is the optimal word). The Keyboard has many handy functions keys and it has an additional battery that continually feeds the tablet making battery life most excellent. This one characteristic of a keyboard dock with a battery is where I find the most value and uniqueness, (making a Panini!). When folded, it is still thin, feels very sturdy and reeks of very high quality build & design.

Basically it is a high performance tablet that once docked on the keyboard becomes immensely more powerful and functions as well as, and in my opinion, better than a laptop; the only thing missing is an optical drive. But seriously, what do I do with my optical drive? I play Skyrim, rip music and movies, and burn CD’s and DVD’s, that’s about it. These are things I would not want to do on a tablet anyways. I want to play Skirim on my gaming machine; I want my music and movies stored on my Home Network drive and available for all my devices to access.

Speaking of storage, the Prime I purchased came with 32 gigabytes on board. There is a Micro SD card reader on the Tablet for more storage, and the Keyboard Dock has a regular SD card reader and a USB port for even more and more storage. Plus ASUS gives 8 gigabytes of cloud sync-able storage. I already use Picasa and will upload the pictures I take with the 8 megapixel camera on the tablet, I also use Google Music to store and listen to all my music, and I use Google Drives’ free 5 gigabytes of cloud storage as well for my documents from home and work. I simply cannot foresee ever running out of room on this device or ever not having access to the files I want whatever or wherever they are.

So, what do I do with this fancy machine you ask? Well, instead of powering up my gaming computer to do normal internet related actions and queries, I use the Prime in its Laptop-like form instead. I read the news, do some social media, read/write emails, write on my blog, text message and video chat using Google Talk. I also use it in tablet form to stream Netflix or movies from my own networked collection while on the treadmill or stationary bike and listen to music while reading comic books. In fact, I only power up my gaming machine on the weekends and use this Transformer Tablet during the weekdays.
So, how does it run you ask? It runs freakin awesome. Very fast, graphics are unbelievable. Mine came with a few games pre-installed (thru Gamestop) and I must say the graphics look intense. Ice Cream Sandwich is really great. Widgets on ICS are incredibly cool. I want more and more of them.
Dumb issues I have read about, but not encountered:

  • Wifi connectivity:- I have great connect speed everywhere in my house. If this is an issue, get a new modem and router.
  • GPS Locater:- Google maps found me in my house just fine. I will not be using a tablet as a driving navigation system. This is a non issue for me.
  • It’s a Fingerprint magnet:- do people really never clean their screen?? This is a non-issue for me too.

All in all, it has been a worthwhile purchase. I judge that based on the fact I have used it every day since I received it and I plan on using it more and more. It’s handy to have around, small enough not to take up much room, runs incredibly quick and smooth, and is very easy to use. If you are in the market for a tablet, I beseech you to check out the Transformer Prime with the keyboard dock, it will not disappoint.

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