Customer Review

485 of 493 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Transformer Prime - inital use and comparison to Ipad 2, 14 Jan 2012
This review is from: Asus EeePad Transformer Prime TF201 10.1 inch Tablet with Keyboard/Dock - Grey (Nvidia Tegra 3 Quad Core 1.3GHz, RAM 1GB, Storage 32GB eMMC, WLAN, BT, Webcam, Android 3.2) (Personal Computers)
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). Videos and music play smoothly on both drives.
I've been waiting for usb connections from Apple from day one.(Does not look likely I'll ever get it)

My Ipad2(32gb) is stuffed to the brim. Just with music alone (There is cloud for music, but if there is an no internet connection you are stuffed). This lack of expansion is a serious let down for those who like to travel with high resolution media. Or those who film in high definition and want to copy it somewhere.

The keyboard on the Asus dock is solid. Keys are very low and don't have quite as good tactile feel as a full keyboard on a laptop, but typing is responsive and if your out and about its good enough to jot down notes etc.
I find the short cuts are well implemented on the keyboard for specific tablet operations such as home and back button.

The sound on the Transformer Prime tablet is okay. I find the sound is better on the Ipad2. Due to there being only one speaker and its location which tends to be muffled a little by your hand when picked up. However plugging in my Westone 4 headphones. The sound is full stereo with much improved clarity and base, but I did find the sound is lower than the maximum volume on my Ipad2.
I have not plugged through an Amp yet. but will update my review when I have.

The camera for both the back and front are better then the Ipad2. The back being much better. but I don't see myself shooting video with the tablet. So I see it as a minor advantage over Ipad2.

In terms of use Ipad2 is easier to use. My parents and kids can pick up and play without any prior knowledge. It shows how well iOS is implemented that it is so easy to pickup and use without any instructions. Even for technology-phobic people.
However, for more technical minded people. The Asus is a better bet, customisation and not being locked into Itunes is a joy. The fact I can connect my Transformer to my PC and transfer video and music, docs etc.. over usb and just copy and paste is like gaining freedom. No more adding one album and having to sync it to Itunes. Just to add to your library.

On the other hand, the Ipad has the advantage if you leave it on the table and someone picks it up. Its kind of difficult to mess up your setting. With the Asus Transformer I find myself having to lock down certain applications and setting so no one accidentally messes something up.

Please note GPS does not work with the Transformer well. It takes too long to position and seems to be slightly off with its positioning. (update 160412 :Asus have admitted the fault and have now said to be offering a external gps dongle that matches the case. You need to register your product at Asus in order to get it. Register before 31 August 2012 as this is the cut off date) Wireless has been fine so far. However, signal strength is at least 10-15% better on Ipad2 after testing. My test is based on increasing distance until signal is lost from my router. Tests done on Be-Internet (ADSL) and Virgin (cable optical) Routers that came as standard on installation.

Other minor issues I have noticed with Prime is that soft subtitles will not display over hdmi. So blue ray rips or HD rips without forced subs will fail to mirror on T.V. Sometimes crashes can occur with players if fiddling with settings while mirroring over hdmi. Keyboard can fail to work, but if you pull the tablet out and clip it in. It will respond again. This happened only once and Tablet had been left on standby for along time without use.

All in all. I'm happy with the Transformer Prime and give it the edge over my Ipad2. For the non-technology minded or if you have young kids an Ipad2 is a better investment. For all others get the Transformer its more versatile and value for money.

Update: 080312: With the release of the Ipad 3 or HD (Seems to be no name given) with improved processor and Camera. The choice is now much harder to decide which to go far. My analysis is if you consider a better resolution screen (The Ipad3 has a stunning 2048x1536) for editing, games and watching HD video is the most important go for the Ipad3. If you consider a more open operating system as a priority and the ability to expand memory, plug usb devices and other accessories go for the Transformer Prime or alternatively wait for the Prime 3 (Infinity) which will also have a HD screen. (This may take a while as Asus are slow to get their stock out)
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Comments

Tracked by 7 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 74 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Jan 2012 16:17:51 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Jan 2012 08:58:06 GMT
Great review!

(Edited - see app volume numbers below) More important though is how many of these are genuinely useful. I'm inclined to say that what were once exclusive to Apple and the best available to them are now migrating across. As Android becomes more stable and unified it makes sense from a developer point of view.

If you want something that looks simple, (overly in my opinion) then by an iPad. If you want greater flexibility, are more technically inclined or want greater productivity, then get this.

The latest Android Market front end is dramatically better than the latest Apple apps store. It's really Slick.

Regarding games, considering this supports wireless n, just subscribe to Onlive and you can play all the hi-end games you want, with the full benefit of either a PS3, Xbox 360 controller, or using the keyboard if your used to PC play. A no brainer!

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jan 2012 16:26:41 GMT
Mr Black says:
Thanks, took me a while to gather my thoughts when writing this. I can see alot of mistakes in my grammar which I'll try to correct bit by bit.(amazon keeps delaying my corrections)
Hopefully with ICS up now applications will become more unified. Yeah onlive would be good. I forgot about that, might add it to my review later when i try it out.

Posted on 14 Jan 2012 17:28:25 GMT
Andy says:
Great review there, thanks very much for taking the time to do that.

I like how you compare it to its biggest competition too, very informative. I'd say that if you literally care nothing for technology / have no tech-inclined brain cells in your head then the iPad 2 is the best for you. But if you have at least 1 brain cell that's tech-inclined then the Transformer Prime is going to be your best bet. Simply for it's ability to become a full on netbook, beautiful looks, beautiful screen, powerful software and SD Card support.

I personally haven't jumped on the whole GPS bandwagon. Asus are fully justified in saying that GPS isn't a massive stand out feature, and if you want a device that has GPS work perfectly, then go buy a proper GPS locator. However I do appreciate them attempting a software fix regarding the issue.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jan 2012 20:16:34 GMT
Last edited by the author on 16 Jan 2012 00:15:42 GMT
Mr Black says:
I don't care much about the GPS either but I think its more of a design flaw than a software problem. Although I hope you are right and a fix can be found to improve it.
Do you know what surprised me was that the tablet recognised my western digital powered usb drive. I thought the port might not have enough power but it works.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jan 2012 15:18:05 GMT
There definitely isn't six millions apps on iOS, and I know for absolute certainty there's not 1.2 million on Android.

Posted on 15 Jan 2012 19:56:19 GMT
Excedion says:
Great review. The apple app store has about 590,000 apps and the android store has 320,000 according to this link
http://www.e2save.com/community/news/how-many-apps-2011/

Posted on 16 Jan 2012 12:19:58 GMT
Morus says:
Great review. Thanks for your time and efforts.
My Transformer Prime arrived today (from Ebuyer) and I am looking forward to unboxing tonight!

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jan 2012 16:38:58 GMT
Last edited by the author on 16 Jan 2012 16:41:06 GMT
R. Drew says:
590,000 apps rilly?

589,506 of which are Tower Defence or variation thereon
the rest are tetris.

And 28 variants of Angry pixel blobs(tm)

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jan 2012 01:04:55 GMT
Olly says:
I don't know where you get your numbers from dude, but they are well out. Android currently has 400,000 apps vs 500,000 on Apple. Althought the Apple apps will be of a generally higher quality due to Apple's quality control.
http://www.theverge.com/2012/1/4/2681360/android-market-400000-app-available

Posted on 17 Jan 2012 16:53:30 GMT
I. Bamford says:
Thanks for the review,

Just a question about it. can you adjust the resolution of the camera from the 8mp to say 1mp. I know there is a front facing camera, but I want to take photos directly with it to put onto ebay, but still want the quality of the back lens, just not the huge file size.
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