Performance Analysis and Final Thoughts
Subjectively, this new tablet from Asus and NVIDIA's new Tegra 3 platform together offer a very satisfying tablet experience as well. We can't say that the Transformer Prime felt dramatically faster or smoother than the previous generation Transformer tablet with Tegra 2 while navigating the device's various menus, but there is definitely a sense of more muscle available for better multitasking and more realistic game engines down the road. Not to mention, it is early in the release of this product and optimizations are still to come we are sure, not the least of which will be the Android 4.0 operating system.
In addition, our brief time with some of the Tegra-optimized games that came pre-loaded on our test system, offered us a glimpse of the future in tablet gaming. With impressive game engines like this and tablets driven by the likes of Tegra 3, the future is looking bright in high dynamic range.
Beyond the strong performance of its internal components, the Prime also comes equipped with strong component selection externally as well. Obviously, tablets are mostly display area and as a result, display quality is of primary importance. Here the Transformer Prime is in a class by itself currently with its Super IPS+ mode offering a ton of brightness for outdoor viewing (or indoors if you like things bright). Is it a perfect 10.1-inch panel for tablet? We're still trying to decide. We're not sure if we want the contrast and color balance back from the previous Transformer display, or if the warmer color balance of the Transformer Prime will grow on us. This seems most evident when viewing black text on a white background, when web browsing, for example. There's no question it's a gorgeous display though, one that will rage many a debate of its merits over the iPad 2.
In terms of design aesthetics, the Transformer Prime is drop dead gorgeous in our opinion. It's razor thin at .33 inches and the Amethyst Gray brushed aluminum finish version that we looked at is sleek, sharp and not prone to paw prints, save for the glass display area. With respect to performance, things will only get better as Asus and NVIDIA continue to optimize Tegra 3 with Android. In fact, we're told an OTA update is due on 12/2 and it will include "battery life improvements and a few minor performance tweaks." In the mean time, the Transformer Prime is the first and only quad-core Android tablet on the market right now and as our benchmark metrics showed, it offers impressive gains over the previous generation of devices. NVIDIA's Tegra 3 is off to a great start.
Volume shipments of the Eee Pad Transformer Prime are expected to hit North American retailers the week of 12/19 with pre-order fulfillments being honored first. The Prime could hit just in time for a quick Christmas rush and we think Asus will sell more than a few. Stay tuned to HotHardware in the weeks ahead as we continue our testing of the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet. Remember, this was just a preview. We're just getting warmed up but even at this early stage, we're comfortable handing the Eee Pad Transformer Prime a bit of HH Gold.