The fifth element
There’s nothing new about the screen size or resolution but the new Super IPS+ panel is an absolute cracker. With 178 degrees of viewing angle on tap the thing looks perfect no matter how you hold it. It’s also very colourful and very, very bright. With a maximum 600nits of luminance available in “Super IPS” mode you really can use the Prime in direct sunlight. You could probably even do so while standing on the surface of Mercury.
ICS home screen – note dock charging tablet
Lurking within the Prime’s sleek shell is Nvidia’s new Tegra 3 or Kel-Al chipset featuring a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU that can run at up to 1.3GHz in multi-core mode. The graphics coal is hauled by a multi-engine GPU which means the Prime will play any and all HD video files thrown at it and laughs in the face of graphically demanding games.
To avoid excessive power use Tegra 3 features a fifth 'companion' core that is limited to 500MHz and looks after the housekeeping when nothing else of interest is happening. It’s all fiendishly clever stuff and results in a machine that goes like blazes but uses surprisingly little power.
ShadowGun looks good, goes like clappers
When review samples first arrived in the UK late last year they ran Honeycomb but I decided to wait until the promised Ice Cream Sandwich update arrived to avoid coming to a conclusion based on a version of the operating system that was already a bit passé.
Do ICS and Tegra 3 work well together? Hell yes. Think Morecambe and Wise, David and Bacharach, beans and toast. The UI now glides about with a baby oil smoothness that makes even iOS 5 on the iPad 2 look jerky. Apps open and close in an instant and web pages load and scroll like there’s no tomorrow.
Next page: The quick and the dud
It's a very strange sensation to feel that I really /want/ one of these blighters but really can't imagine any time when I'd actually /use/ the thing.
Take it to the Apple store and have a round of 'can your tablet do this..........."
"announcing its predecessor"
Predecessors aren't generally announced, on account of them already being released and known.
Wait for proper GPS fix
Like the original Transformer, it looks like the Prime has a hardware issue. The GPS reception is weak due to the metal casing. A bit of a "Doh!" moment there Asus.They have released a new driver which improves it, but Asus will no doubt release a new hardware revision to fix the problem properly.
It is a shame they've tried to cover this up again (pulling the listing of GPS from the online specification is really rubbish Asus). They should have learnt from their experience trying to hush up Transformer issues. I guess the usual fear of ridiculous a class action is the cause.
The pre B5OK hardware Transformers had a problem whereby the battery drained to zero in 3 days even when the unit was switched right off. Asus sneaked out new hardware revision which sorted the problem. They tried to keep it quiet, but luckily a very public Facebook campaign forced them to offer to RMA the older affected units. Facebook does have it's uses then ;)
Keep an eye on the XDA Developers Prime forum to see if a new hardware revision is quietly released that properly fixes the GPS issue.
Apart from this problem though, I've had a play with a Prime though it really does deserve the rating given by El Reg. Asus should sell them by the bucket load.
One, two, three...
This is the second transformer and the third is on the way (with even more pixels and a working GPS). All within less than a year.
I don't know about others, but I just can't buy any of these. First, a tablet is very much a luxury, so I don't have to buy one. Second, as soon as you could buy one nice model the next and better one is already coming, which makes waiting very tempting. Third, the apps are still lacking. Most of them are just the usual smartphone apps on a larger screen.
I'm still looking at all this with a kind of bored fascination.