Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime

Asus is getting ready to release its follow-up to the popular Eee Pad Transformer tablet. The new Eee Pad Transformer Prime is thinner and lighter, offers better battery life, and faster performance than the original Transformer. It also has a sleek new design with a metallic finish that’s reminiscent of the Asus Zenbook line of high-end notebooks.

The tablet will be ship with Google Android 3.2 Honeycomb — but Asus will push out an over-the-air software update with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich once it’s been optimized for the tablet.

The Transformer Prime will be the first tablet to ship with the new NVIDIA Tegra 3 1.4 GHz quad-core processor which offers 5 times the performance of the Tegra 2 chip while consuming even less power under most circumstances.

But for all the upgrades, the new Transformer keeps the one feature that set its predecessor apart from the crowd: an optional keyboard docking accessory. The keyboard dock allows you to use the tablet like a laptop, and it also features a touchpad, USB port, and SD card slot as well as an independent battery which helps extend the tablet’s battery life.

In addition to redesigning the tablet, the keyboard dock has been retooled to feature a thinner design.

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime will be available with 32GB of storage for $499, and 64GB of storage for $599. The optional keyboard dock will cost $149.

Here’s a run-down of the Transformer Prime’s specs:

  • Super IPS+ display with 178 degree viewing angles and Gorilla Glass
  • NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor
  • 12 hours of battery life (tablet alone)
  • 18 hours of battery life (with the keyboard dock)
  • 1.2MP front-facing camera
  • 8MP rear camera with LED flash and auto-focus
  • 3.5mm mic/headphone combo jack
  • micro HDMI port
  • micro SD card slot
  • Tablet dimensions: 10.4″ x 7.1″ x 0.33″
  • Tablet weight: 1.29 pounds
  • Dock dimensions: 10.4″ x 7.1″ x 0.41″
  • Dock weight: 1.18 pounds

Asus says the tablet will also feature advanced audio capabilities with Asus SonicMaster technology. It will come preloaded with software including SuperNote for taking notes, and Polaris Office for viewing and editing Microsoft Office documents.

The tablet has a Super IPS+ display mode, which offers better outdoor visibility by increasing the brightness. It’s a different solution than Pixel Qi or other transflective display makers are trying, and uses far more electricity. But you can switch to normal IPS mode when you don’t need the extra brightness.

The new tablet has a higher quality camera, with a larger aperture and dynamic auto-focusing capabilities and a faster shutter speed. It’s definitely a distinguishing feature, but I don’t know many people that use 10 inch tablets to snap photos all that often.

The Transformer Prime will come in two colors: “amethyst gray” or “champagne gold.”

Asus will continue to sell the original Eee Pad Transformer for $399 and up, while the new Transformer Prime will start at $499 for the 32GB model.

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24 replies on “Asus introduces the Eee Pad Transformer Prime, starting at $499”

  1. The dimensions make me rather unhappy…I was counting on using it with a Coach tablet case….which fits dimensions up to 8″ x 10″…..not 10.4″ x 7.1″. 🙁

  2. I have no need or use for a tablet. I tried quite a few of them because most of my friends who bought them have cut their use of their toy by 75% after the first initial month or two.
    But I could see myself getting convinced to go for the Transformer (use it as laptop and IF,… IF you need a touch tablet, you have it) but 650$ seems a bit much for an underpowered laptop.

  3. I think the Transformer Prime will be a nice tablet – for gearheads and power users. To get the mass market I think ASUS needs the thinness and lightness of the Prime, but with a lower price than the iPad. A dual processor model with a very good graphics chip that sells for less than the Prime would be a wise move in my opinion.

    As far as ICS goes, I think the timing was terrible. As of now, every tablet being shipped is running an out of date version of Android. And, judging on past performance, there is no guarantee that they will be upgraded. Although ASUS is more likely to do the right thing with upgrades than most other manufacturers.

  4. Hmmmmmmmmmmm…wonder if there will be a Win8 ARM version of this puppy under the 2012 Christmas tree…gotta have 100% MS Office compatibility and NONE of the iOS/Android alternatives deliver that.

    1. Despite all the bad news (ie. no classical desktop and only Metro UI app support), I’m still hoping MS will make changes to Win8 on ARM.

  5. It’s five times the graphic performance but only twice the CPU performance over the Tegra 2.

    1. Actually, NVIDIA is claiming 5x the CPU performance and 3x the graphics performance.

      We’ll see how that plays out in real-world tests soon. 

      1. May have to wait till ICS comes out, since that’s when Android will finally start providing proper multiple core support.

    1. Could always root and install Ubuntu yourself.  Tegra 3 should support desktop OS much better than the Tegra 2 ever did and you can look up youtube examples of people running Ubuntu on the previous Tegra 2 Asus Transformer.

  6. Very nice specs and I’m all for giving Apple a run for their money, but I don’t think I can justify $500 on a glorified media consumption device, and for $650 (with keyboard), I can think of several laptops I would rather buy.

    I suspect that most of the people who buy this are the type of people who already own (or have owened) two or more tablets already. Me, I’m still waiting for my first — maybe a Nook Tablet.

    1. True but it’s one of the few high end Android tablets that stands a chance against the iPad2.  Providing better specifications for the same price.

      While I expect Asus will likely lower the pricing a bit in a couple of months once Tegra 3 becomes more wide spread and competition ramps up.

    2. Think of it this way. . .
      For many who can do all their computing tasks on something like this it really is an UltraBook/ZenBook which cost ~$1,000 and they get a “tablet” to play with in addition.

      For many end users this is more power than they will ever use–Mac or WinPC are far too complicated for them and way more power than they will ever dream of using.

      They just need the right productivity apps, and yes we do need to see more and better in that department.

  7. Yes. love it, can t wait to touch it 😀
    Transformer-mania over Apple-mania 😀
    iPad killer (just short of 3G)

    1. The IPad was a joke compared with the Transformer, now it’s an obsolete memory compared with the Prime.

      1. The purchasing customers would seem to disagree with you. 

        But this does look extremely impressive. We’ll see whether it can make any sort of dent in the tablet market. It really is the app side of things though that stops me using an android tablet (I have a galaxy tab 8.9 paperweight on my desk), the iPad has so many things I use and can’t get on android.

        1. It depends what you want to do but Android should now have comparable apps to what is offered on iOS.  The main dominance that Android still has to catch up on is just for games.  While total number of Android apps has already started to surpass total number of iOS apps.

          Then there’s is the pending release of ICS for Android that will address much of the fragmentation issues and should improve the overall experience to better compete with iOS.

          While the Asus Transformer is one of the few Android tablets that have actually done pretty well.  The original will still be sold at a lower pricing than the new Prime.  So Asus will be covering a larger range of potential customers.

          The new Prime also has the advantage of having better specification than the iPad2 but isn’t more expensive.

          Add people will likely start installing linux on the Asus Transformer Prime and it’s also set to be able to run Windows 8 when it comes out means it’s one of the first tablets that can start drawing on a wider base of potential users than just those who want to use Android.

          1. I found your posting specifically because I was searching for examples of Linux running on this tablet, but I guess it hasn’t happened quite yet. :^)

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