After the fiasco of getting this. Here is my initial impressions out of the box of the Asus Transformer Prime. I have an Ipad2 which I will compare it with in some instances. I use the Prime and Ipad as media streamers etc and for travel and not for serious work.
The Asus Transformer is beautifully made and feels very solid for such a thin device. I've shown it off to a few people and my Ipad2 and most prefer the build and looks of the Asus Transformer. The way it docks with the keyboard and looks like a mini note book is a stroke of genius by Asus. I'm wondering why nobody else thought of doing it and promoting the why Asus have.
The Grey model is much better then I anticipated the tint of purple is faint and not too over powering as seen in some photos and videos online. (I originally wanted the silver model but could not get stock at the time).
Out of the box you get basic instructions, guarantee card and power adapter. I wish they supplied the micro hdmi to connect to the T.V but at least there is none of this adapter add on like Apple.
First off the power adapter is kind of poor quality the way the two pieces clip together the Apple one is a much better build. I'm also wondering if it breaks or I need a spare, how am I going to get a replacement.
Once powered on and setting date, wireless etc. I went to setting and looked for updates. Scrolled down in the menu to 'about tablet'. I then pressed 'search for updates' and installed ICS (Ice cream sandwich firmware 4.03) making sure I had enough battery power which was around 20 to 40 percent out of the box. I downloaded and installed the firmware. This installed in less than 10 minutes approx. After installation another search of updates. You will be prompted to install a camera update which took less than 5 minutes.
So far I have had no real crashes with the transformer, although others have reported firmware problems via XDA forums.(update: Those with random reboot issues update to latest firmware there have been 3 released in February)
The tablet has rubber plugs in the tablet for all ports that are difficult to remove. So be careful you don't damage the tablet.
Out of the box you have standard applications and widgets. Yes there are more applications on the Apple store and yes the Android store has a problem as many applications are not optimised for the transformer tablet, but from use. I find that the Apple stores' quantity of applications means wading through a lot of applications that are just rubbish.
The way widgets and the wallpaper on the Android tablet can be customised is simply amazing. Live wallpapers are gorgeous. I have the paid version of the Koi live wallpaper. It makes it a pleasure just to watch the fish swim about and make ripples with your finger. There is no discernible slowdown on using the transformer prime that I can detect and live wallpapers run smoothly with no lag. If you like customising the options are truly astounding for example widgets can be re-sized, icons can be personalised to certain styles, multiple wallpapers can be displayed on each screen. I have an Ipad and find it dull and boring the way the applications are in uniformed rows and folders. I suppose if you like simple things with little to do the Ipad would seem a better choice. For the more technical minded the ability to root the Transformer will expand our options further and the release of a boot-locker tool. To give us the option to flash Custom Roms. Custom Roms will give us advantages such as beta builds of updated software not available or to gain improved features and the ability to remove software not wanted. However, this is for more advanced users and will VOID YOUR WARRANTY if done.(update:Boot-locker tool has been released as promised by Asus)
After playing about with different applications. I have found the applications below the most useful. (Available from Play Store (aka Android store)
1. MX PLAYER PRO (paid but there is a free one)- plays mkv 720p and 1080p files with no conversion needed. It also supports avi and MP4 plus it supports 'srt' soft subtitles in tests with no conversion. (I wish there was a player as good as this on Ipad) I prefer the Asus display then the Ipad2 for video as the tablet is more suited for wide screen resolution it also has super IPS mode for outdoors under bright light viewing. (update 160612: stick with 1.5version as 1.6 removes DTS audio)
2. Mantanto Reader (paid or free) - plays pdf and shows books in different views eg bookcase, list, thumbnails. I have my ebooks in epub format. but alternatively you can use Amazon kindle if you want to use mobi books bought from Amazon. (use a program called Calibre to convert if needed)
3. Aldiko (paid or free) - same as Mantanto (I prefer Mantanto for pdf magazines)
4. Perfect Viewer - To view comics. Has library and collection option - works with cbr files with no conversion.
5. Opera Mobile browser or Dolphin browser - alternative to stock browser -fast and responsive. (Apple still have the advantage in smooth browser operation in panning via pinch and zoom but not by a massive amount)
6. Drop Box - free 2GB cloud storage (Access documents or other media across multiple devices such as phones, tablets or computers)
7. Astro Manager or File Manager HD. For a more familiar windows or mac layout for your file folders. (I find the stock manager fairly good though)
8. Diceplayer - no full version with out ads at the moment. Alternative to MX player. (Stick with older version as new version removes dts audio)
9. PULSE - Have all your RSS feeds in a beautiful layout.
10. Ezpdf Reader - A more comprehensive use of pdf with more options then the above readers
11. Adobe Flash 11 - Found it a bit of a pain to install properly. On Opera the config options would not come up on browser. (I hope they improve it with an update.) I find flash as a positive for the Transformer Prime, but I find I use it less and less now. I hope they phase it out.
12. PlayerPro Music Player (paid version) I'm not to fond of the stock google player as it fails to recognise albums and art work in sub folders and also feels a tad slow. The Pro player has a simple but clean layout with all the bells and whistles I need. If you are not sure whether it fits your needs try out the free seven day trial.
13. Power Amp Player(paid version) which is my favorite of all the Android Music Players due to range of custom presets for equaliser and its layout.
14. Double Twist which allows you to sync with Itunes (For those who have Apple products already).
update: 01.10.12 If you updated your firmware to Jellybean 4.1.1 the following applications below are recommended for replacing MX PRO if you wish to play videos that use the DTS codecs and if you still use flash.
15. Flash 11.1 apx install it separately as Android Jellybean does not support flash anymore.
16. Vs Player or BsPlayer Pro(paid) for players that can run dts codec as the older versions of MX player will not run on Jellybean. Or use Diceplayer with custom plugin.(check android forums on how to)
For music. I'm using the stock Google music. but will change my recommendations when I find something better. (see above for alternatives !)
For office users there is an application called Polaris which seems good. but I have barely used it to give impressions of it. Seems compatible with excel and work docs.
Also included by Asus is Splash Desktop (located under Mycloud icon) which gives you access to your pc via your transformer this is a brilliant program allowing me easy access to important applications and docs when away from my main computer. It makes up for the fact there is no program as good for streaming video on Android as Air video is on ipad.
For gaming there are less choices then Ipad. I also found the same games on the Android store more expensive then the Apple store. However the Nvidia Tegra 3 chip does have a couple of games that show off the power of the Transformer Prime. One being Riptide and the other being Shadow Gun. (I have not really played this much)(been playing Air Attack HD), but have heard there are some problems with Shadowgun due to the ICS update.
Also the ability to use gamepads with these game makes it feel like a portable console. (I really suck at touch screen controls)
I have also tested it with N64 emulators mainly Mario kart and its a joy to use.
In terms of doing more and listening to what people want. Asus gave us the ability to upgrade and increase our memory space. I'm using a SanDisk 64GB Mobile Ultra MicroSDXC Memory Card with SD Adapter
for Hd movies over 4gb (formatted to ntfs). This brings up my space to just under 90gb to play with. I also have the spare keyboard sd slot for up to another 128gb. If I want it.(A bit expensive though) Plus the keyboard dock gives the Asus Prime more battery life for those who take it on the road.
Also it has the added bonus of a usb 2 port. A major plus point for those who want to use an external mouse or add a usb hub for additional peripherals.
My Transformer recognises external hard drives I have tested with My Book Essential WDBAAF0020HBK - Hard drive - 2 TB - external - Hi-Speed USB
recognised as USBdisk1. I have also tested with a usb powered drive theWD My Passport Essential SE 750 GB Black Portable Hard Drive (USB 3.0/2.0)
which works without the need of a power supply (remember to eject before removing usb cable). Read more ›