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Good gaming, slick design buoying Prime, but cores are far from being fully utilized

The reviews are in on ASUSTEK Computer, Inc.'s (TPE:2357) "Transformer Prime" a second generation laptop/tablet hybrid, which inherits the legacy of the original EeePad Transformer.  While Android tablets are still a work in progress, the Transformer Prime is among a handful of elite models that are receiving much buzz; models which could shift the market.

The VergeEngadget, and AnandTech all did in-depth reviews of the device.  We compare and contrast these below, cutting out the filler to deliver only the juiciest and most important excerpts:


Transformer Prime, looks

The reviewers agree that the The Transformer Prime is attractive in both looks and form factor.  Instead of mainly being constructed of plastic like its predecessor, the Tranformer Prime now gets an "industrial" aluminum body to go with its 10.1" glass screen. It's lighter than Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPad 2 by a good couple ounces and it is thinner in some parts of the frame than the iPad 2, as well.


NVIDIA Tegra 3Tegra 3

The CPU is the fastest on the market, faster than the iPad, while the graphics fall just short of the iPad 2, but beat its Android brethren.  On the other hand, there are some cons -- notably that the Tegra 3-powered Prime unsuprisingly failed to deliver the 5x speed-up that NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) promised over the Tegra 2, found in the original Transformer.  

In the real world, the speedup was impressive, but closer to 2x on the CPU side and 2-3x on the graphics side, based on benchmarks from Anandtech and The Verge (Engadget did benchmarks too, but failed to provide points of comparison).  The high performance also comes at the cost of having to fiddle with clock settings to get optimal performance, not everyone's cup of tea.


Transformer Prime, display

The display appears to be amazing according to the reviewers, and is very viewable outdoors.  AnandTech, however, adds an interesting twist, revealing that it has information that Apple is buying up "small 1080p and 2048x1536 panels" for an iPad 2+/3 "Retina Display".  So while Asus's sweet screen is queen for a day (or a couple quarters), Apple may seize the lead in Q2, thanks to its ever-strong supplier relationships.

The sound, however, is meager and only sufficient due to poor speaker placement, though some (AnandTech) seemed to have less of a problem with it than others (The Verge).  All of the reviews were pretty unanimous on these points.  


Transformer Prime, docking

To quote gameshow host/journalists Anne Robinson:
"You are the weakest link, good-bye."

Nobody seems to like the dock that makes the Transformer a small notebook very much.  While they say it passes for typing emails and the secondary battery and extra ports are nice, there's various complaints about the keyboard and touchpad.  Some of this may be due to legal issues (e.g. ASUSTEK/Google Inc. (GOOG) legally cannot implement pinch-to-zoom or kinetic scrolling on the peripheral or they will get sued by Apple who patented these things years after their invention in university research labs).

The really curious thing?  It seems like every reviewer found their own unique gripe about the dock.  Humorously, some complemented the same feature their peers insulted.

I/O -- Camera, connectors, etc.

The I/O is pretty typical fare, but the addition of smooth HDMI video/audio out and game controller support makes it a fair pseudo movie box/gaming console.  The camera seems to be quite good, but all the reviewers seemed to agree that cameras in a tablet have been and should always be an afterthought.


Transformer Prime, games

Apparently four cores doth not a silky smooth operating system make.  Of the reviewers AnandTech was the most glowing, but even they had complaints.  Again some of the various complaints appear to be centered around how Honeycomb accepts input, something that may be an affect of Apple's intellectual property enforcement efforts (i.e. lawsuits).  Still, other criticism point to lack of proper threading in core system apps, which leaves them unable to exploit the extra horsepower.

Battery Life

"In the real world" you can probably get around 8-10 hours of juice when browsing the internet, un-docked.  The Verge seems to have demonstrated a more extreme scenario as they ran their unit in the "normal" higher performance mode, typically reserved for games and saw battery life drop to 5 hours.  The take home message is that the battery can be almost as good as the iPad 2's, but you need to be careful about your settings management.

The dock adds on a good 5 to 6 extra hours of juice.  Combined, the package has both the iPad 2 and its Android competitors beat, although having a hidden second battery is kind of like cheating almost.

The Verdict

The Verge:

Asus may have produced a brilliant piece of engineering at a price that's competitive with the iPad, but Android hasn't yet matched iOS when it comes to unlocking all that potential. Android 4.0 (or even Windows 8, which we expect to run on this very sort of hardware) might just rectify some of these issues, but one thing is for sure: the laptop of the post-PC world needs the software to match it.


The Galaxy Tab 10.1 has had a long run as the top-tier Android tablet in the 10-inch size, but that position has now properly been usurped... he Transformer Prime is thinner and lighter than the rest and, with 32GB of storage available for a dollar under $500, it's a better deal than most of the top-tier contenders.

The dock, however, is a bit of a tougher sell... For the moment the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime is the best Android tablet on the market. All hail the new king.


Assuming the WiFi and minor dock issue I encountered aren't widespread (ASUS insists they aren't), I am comfortable calling the Eee Pad Transformer Prime the absolute best Android tablet on the market today. The hardware looks and feels great. ASUS picked the best display possible and married it to some really good industrial design.

The inevitable iPad comparison is, well, inevitable. I still firmly believe there's not a whole lot of iOS/Android cross shopping. If you want an iPad, that's what you should buy. Android isn't an iOS substitute, just as iOS isn't an Android substitute. You can do similar things on both, but personal preference will really determine what suits you the best.

If you want an Android and are willing to pay $500, this is probably the tablet for you, but think carefully before you buy the dock.  If you're one of those rare renegades who's unsure whether you want an iPad 2 or Android tablet, carefully consider you both.  But if $500 is too much for you, consider the $200 budget Kindle Fire instead.

Sources: The Verge, Engadget, Anandtech

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Windows 8
By dagamer34 on 12/1/2011 12:13:47 PM , Rating: 5
Can you imagine if this was running Windows 8? *drool.....*

RE: Windows 8
By Tony Swash on 12/1/11, Rating: -1
RE: Windows 8
By Omega215D on 12/1/2011 12:25:15 PM , Rating: 4
Figures you would say such a thing. Apple and its fans attack first and wonder why they are being ridiculed

RE: Windows 8
By Piiman on 12/1/2011 1:34:58 PM , Rating: 3
Give him a break. He probably thinks chicks will think he has a big penis if he walks around with Apple products. He's obviously compensating for something he's lacking.

RE: Windows 8
By Cheesew1z69 on 12/1/2011 1:58:08 PM , Rating: 3
Give him a break? LOL

RE: Windows 8
By Cheesew1z69 on 12/1/2011 1:06:42 PM , Rating: 3
You = LOSER . That's all there is to it.

RE: Windows 8
By themaster08 on 12/1/2011 1:58:14 PM , Rating: 3
After all the shit you give everyone here for slating products they don't own, you're quick to slate both Windows 8 and the Prime, both of which I highly doubt you've used.


RE: Windows 8
By Da W on 12/1/2011 2:04:42 PM , Rating: 2
You really don't a much to do in a day, do you?

RE: Windows 8
By JasonMick on 12/1/2011 2:05:23 PM , Rating: 5
Unfortunately yes ...puke...

This thing will tank like all the rest.

I know you were trolling, but let me take this opportunity to state why I think Windows 8 will succeed:

People have long wanted a Windows tablet, but reliance on Intel's sluggish mobile team has stunted that possibility. Now it's a level playing field, with Windows 8 fully ready for ARM.

The OS
One reason WHY people wanted a Win tablet was because they're used to the Windows operating system. The market may be shifting towards Unix-like operating systems, specifically OS X (BSD-derived) and Android (Linux), but overall people still use Windows PCs more than other operating system. There are over a 1 billion Windows PCs -- almost everyone knows the basics of how to use Windows no matter how much of a mobile enthusiast they are.

Like Android, W8 tablets should undercut Apple in price, while offering high level performance. This is the advantage of a third party OEM approach. Apple fans often point to the fact that design is outsourced then to Asian firms which they deride as "knockoffs". There may be some truth in this, but even mighty Apple recruits Asian firms for the majority of its design. Companies like Samsung and Foxconn have as much to do with the iPad's hardware as Apple does.

Windows Phone has been a market failure thus far, but its allowed Microsoft to learn how to make a fast, fluid experience on a mobile device. WP7 has been held back by the lack of carrier hard selling due to lackluster carrier pushes on Microsoft's behalf. Tablets are more of a direct-sale party electronics market, so they should be able to benefit from WP7's optimization, while not suffering the same sales issues it did.

While not explicitly stated, chips like Adreno 3xx or Tegra 4 should allow for Xbox quality graphics. Microsoft could have a better game library than the iPad in some ways, if it adopts an easy opt-in/auto-porting process for Xbox titles. Developers simply would dig up their sources, recompile for ARM, and use a minimal interface wrapper to translate any minor differences between Direct 3D Mobile 10 (the likely release graphics API for W8 tablets).

Microsoft hasn't mentioned this, but I do believe it to the tablets' secret weapon. As shown with Asus Transformer Prime, wireless controllers and video could turn Windows tablets into virtual Xboxes with full controller support and storage via SD slots.

Metro UI
Having played with Windows 8 (a real living tablet) I can say the metro UI is looking SLICK. I recently spent some quality time with and iPad 2, and I agree it beats Honeycomb in fluidity of animations. But Metro UI beats both and I think its look is very modern and Web 3.0. By contrast Apple's chiclet grid look is the same tired bag that's been around since Nokia's early 2000s offerings, albeit with slicker animations and apps.

Of course some Apple users like yourself wouldn't even CONSIDER a Windows tablet, no matter how great, so Apple should still be fine. Likewise Android has some loyal customers of its own, albeit fewer dogmatic ones.

Feel free to disagree, but I think Win8 will be a hit and vie with Android and Apple for #1.

RE: Windows 8
By retrospooty on 12/1/2011 2:29:54 PM , Rating: 5
You had it at the OS.

It will take over, because it will run Windows apps. Not only all the apps we've been using for years, but the enterprise apps that are used at work. It will make the tablet a useful device in the office

Mac fans like TS are all excited about Mac's "meteoric" rise in sales that took them from like 3 to 5% global marketshare. They fail to see that that 2% gain means almost zero to the 90% that use Windows. Now, back in the 90's Mac was better than PC and it STILL lost the war becasue of high prices and few options. Today (and as of Win7's release, both platforms are appx equal, if anything Win7 is better than Mac OS.

RE: Windows 8
By The0ne on 12/1/2011 2:54:19 PM , Rating: 3
That's why I'm waiting for a Win tablet so I can use it both at home and work, easily and without the need for new everything apps. I can't be anxious enough :)

RE: Windows 8
By sprockkets on 12/1/2011 2:57:46 PM , Rating: 3
It will take over, because it will run Windows apps. Not only all the apps we've been using for years, but the enterprise apps that are used at work. It will make the tablet a useful device in the office

ARM tablets running Win8 ARM will NOT, repeat NOT run any apps from the x86 world. Microsoft is developing office for arm, but don't think for a moment Win8 ARM = Win8 for x86-64.

RE: Windows 8
By Reclaimer77 on 12/1/2011 3:35:51 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't matter because Intel's TRI-GATE will allow X86 to be an awesome mobile CPU. We will not have to rely on ARM to enjoy our Windows Apps on a tablet.

RE: Windows 8
By nafhan on 12/1/2011 3:55:39 PM , Rating: 2
Metro apps built as specified by MS will run on both. Legacy apps are going to require x86, though. To me, this sounds like a lot of devs are going to have to choose between supporting Windows 8 x86 + legacy OS's (Windows 7/Vista/XP apps) OR Windows 8 x86 + Windows 8 ARM (Metro apps). Eventually, the majority of Windows users will be on something akin to Metro, and it won't be an issue. That's a long ways off, though.

RE: Windows 8
By invidious on 12/1/2011 3:57:15 PM , Rating: 3
It is a valid point that windows desktop applications may not be ready to go out of the gate for ARM windows. But ARM support for windows 8 doesn't mean ARM exclusive. There is nothing to stop manufacturers from making an x86/x64 windows 8 tablet. There are already windows 7 tablets which are obviously x86/x64. They just have terrible battery life and are bulky. I don't really care about bulk personally and the battery life issue should be improved by windows 8 even witout ARM.

If someone makes an x86 tablet with windows 8 that can use all the same apps as a windows PC people will buy it. I will buy it. If this doesn't pan out there always convertable touchscreen netbooks/laptops which are essentially the same thing but even bulkier.

RE: Windows 8
By JasonMick on 12/1/2011 5:00:44 PM , Rating: 4
ARM tablets running Win8 ARM will NOT, repeat NOT run any apps from the x86 world. Microsoft is developing office for arm, but don't think for a moment Win8 ARM = Win8 for x86-64.

Your comment is misleading and perpetuates misinformation.

Most x86 apps will absolutely run on ARM Windows 8 laptops/tablets. The only catch is they will just need to be recompiled. As long as you have the source code, you will be fine.

You probably these sorts of stories:

This all refers to the fact that Microsoft is allowing x86 apps to automatically run on ARM chips via some sort of emulation, etc.

Of course you will be able to recompile x86 apps to run on ARM. That's just common sense.

If Microsoft doesn't make a good ARM compiler to help Windows devs to port their titles, third parties should step up to the plate. A good development env./compiler could help handle most of any minor API changes, too. Remember, Windows Phone uses a build of Direct 3D (Direct3D Mobile), so the API calls are very similar, if not always the exact same.

Only legacy apps where you lost the source, or proprietary apps where the product maker isn't willing to recompile will be problem spots.

Everything else should be relatively portable, for high level apps, at least.

RE: Windows 8
By sprockkets on 12/1/2011 7:44:00 PM , Rating: 1
Of course you will be able to recompile x86 apps to run on ARM. That's just common sense.

That's if we ignore the fact that the api's and framework is totally different for how Win8 for ARM works vs. the desktop.

You think the code for Chrome was just "recompiled" and voila! it works for OSX or Linux?

RE: Windows 8
By Flunk on 12/2/2011 1:38:08 PM , Rating: 2
That is a false analogy. OS X and Linux are totally different OSes. It would be more like compiling Chrome for Linux i386 and Linux AMD64. Maybe a few things would need to be changed but it's not a big deal.

If Microsoft does force Metro only on ARM Windows 8 then it's going to be a bit harder but no where near porting between OS X and Linux that share basically no code at all.

RE: Windows 8
By retrospooty on 12/1/2011 7:27:26 PM , Rating: 2
"ARM tablets running Win8 ARM will NOT, repeat NOT run any apps from the x86 world. "

I think a few others already addressed your comment with regards to ARM tablets, but dont forget Atom. Current Atom's are a bit slow and power hungry for tablets, but they are on 45nm process. Next year there will be 2 full process shrinks for Atom and it will be on 22nm, with other improvements as well. From there on, Intel has announced that Atom will be on the forefron with process tech along with the Core CPU'. Dont count Intel out, they are huge, have all the best chip guru's and money to make it happen.

There, now both sides of your incorrectness are addressed. =)

RE: Windows 8
By jvillaro on 12/1/2011 7:34:58 PM , Rating: 2
So, you've have never heard of the .NET Framework?

RE: Windows 8
By sprockkets on 12/1/2011 10:59:10 PM , Rating: 2
There is .net over HTML or whatever it is, but Microsoft is ditching that for the metro UI. They want HTML5.

I know it isn't a blanket no with .net, but don't expect to just take your desktop app, .net or not, and run it on a win8 arm system.

RE: Windows 8
By jvillaro on 12/2/2011 11:54:08 AM , Rating: 2
Windows 8 will have support for .NET they already said it would.
And for ARM, all they have to do is make the runtime. Of coarse if your aplicacion uses a win32 dll or something like that then your in trouble. But if you keep to managed code you should be good to go.

With JAVA aplications it should be the same.

Of coarse this is all for the normal windows interface. Im not yet sure what will be posible in the Metro UI part.

RE: Windows 8
By Flunk on 12/2/2011 1:40:38 PM , Rating: 2
They've already provided development tools for .NET with XAML-based interface (similar to WPF), HTML5 and WinC++.

The future looks pretty rosy for us .NET developers.

RE: Windows 8
By Flunk on 12/2/2011 1:42:11 PM , Rating: 2
To clarify, I'm referring specifically to METRO apps. METRO supports .NET, HTML5 and WinC++ development languages.

RE: Windows 8
By nocturne_81 on 12/4/2011 11:10:30 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously..? x86 apps will not run on ARM.. it's just common sense. Though, I imagine MS may find a way to get .NET apps working between systems..

And Mac's were better in the 90s? I know I was pretty burnt out back then, but I think I would have remembered that.. True, the iMAC helped start all the design-centric philosophies that allowed apple to move towards the ranges of products they now have available, but their strength back then was purely their lack of popularity.. Working at a newspaper back in the 90s, one of the best things about being in a MAC workplace was simply the fact that the bumbling idiots working there couldn't figure out how to do anything other than run Quark and Photoshop. Though, it was never quite fun having to run from cubicle to cubicle with floppy disks due to Apple's lack of reliable networking.

Apple has done about the best they can do -- make it more about the identity than the experience.

RE: Windows 8
By Da W on 12/1/2011 2:30:38 PM , Rating: 2
At last an informed opinion on the subject.

I would add:

I'm not sure ARM will catch on. By 2012 we will have ultra low power Ivy Bridge that will certainly fit a tablet power enveloppe and it seems Dual-core @ 2GHZ bobcat with Radeon 7000 series GPU on AMD side, that should trounce tegra 3 GPU power. Intel's offering will certainly be pricier, but having x86 compatibility to run you countless legacy utilities is an undeniable advantage. Plus any new app, including the 40000+ windows phone 7 apps ported to WinRT, should run on both ARM and x86.
So except if having a razor-thin tablet is really important, i don't think ARM will dominate the Windows 8 tablet market.

The ability to seemlessly sync content between your tablet and your home PC is an advantage, and despite the many apps that allow you to do that on iOS or Android, with Windows 8 you won't even notice it's being done in the background.

Media Center
Microsoft is overhauling its media center concept, and we begin seeing this with the new Xbox update and access to IPTV content. Assuming they do it right, media center will be a simple tab in your Metro home screen instead of a ressource heavy piece of software that takes forever to start, and you will still be able to program and record your favorite TV shows, to stream or watch later on your tablet, or just watching a live show on your tablet while your girlfriend is taking control of the TV.

RE: Windows 8
By TakinYourPoints on 12/1/2011 3:05:41 PM , Rating: 1
I think having a tablet be razor thin is very important, it is an integral aspect of the form factor. Tablets that weren't that thin were present for a decade, and they failed.

It's why Microsoft is doing the right thing by supporting ARM with Windows 8. I think we're still a few years away from x86 CPUs being acceptable enough to put into enclosures that small. Ivy Bridge is great but its TDP is still too high for something that slim. Even a Macbook Air or ultrabook has a fan in it. Until then, ARM makes the most sense.

Right now improving ARM CPUs makes more sense to me than trying to cram upcoming x86 CPUs into a tablet. Tegra 3 is disappointing given that CPU performance is catching up to the Cortex+PowerVR SoC that Apple started using almost a year ago, and that its GPU performance is still far behind. I'd very much like to see alternatives to NVIDIA competing in high end non-iOS tablet SoCs.

If ARM performance still seriously lags the performance of an x86 by the time one is made that can reasonably be put into a tablet form factor (three years maybe?), then would be a goof time time to transition to it IMHO.

Otherwise, if a razor thin tablet is suddenly going to be made larger to accomodate an x86 CPU, you might as well just get an ultrabook instead. It might seem weird but that tipping point in size and weight for a tablet form factor is super important.

As it stands, tablets need to get even lighter than they are, not heavier. Think something with the horsepower and developer support of an iPad 2 but as light as a Kindle. Now have it fully interoperable with a desktop OS like you're talking about. That seems like the holy grail, and I think we'll get there. We've gone from iPods to iPads in ten years, things will be sick in 2021.

RE: Windows 8
By Reclaimer77 on 12/1/2011 3:43:51 PM , Rating: 2
You really are the king of talking about of your ass.

Tablets that weren't that thin were present for a decade, and they failed.

They failed because they were slow, had terrible battery life, and other technical reasons. It had NOTHING to do with how "thin" they were. It wasn't a styling issue.

Ivy Bridge is great but its TDP is still too high for something that slim.

Again, you're full of shit because we've never seen a real life Ivy Bridge mobile chip so how can you possibly know that? Yes we know what the DESKTOP chip TDP is probably going to be, but so what? Ivy Bridge isn't just "great", it will lead to X86 dominance in mobile devices. You really think Intel isn't going to make a kick ass mobile CPU with that technology like they did back in the day with the Pentium M?

I think you need to study up on CPU design and realize what a quantum leap Ivy Bridge will be at the architectural level. ARM's days are numbered. Period.

RE: Windows 8
By Da W on 12/1/11, Rating: 0
RE: Windows 8
By TakinYourPoints on 12/1/2011 4:31:55 PM , Rating: 2
He really doesn't know what he's talking about. There's no way you're going to see Ivy Bridge in the same form tablet factor as an ARM processor. Larger ultraslim notebooks with active cooling, certainly.

RE: Windows 8
By Reclaimer77 on 12/1/2011 8:24:47 PM , Rating: 2
You're thinking all wrong. You are taking a desktop CPU and plugging in what Ivy Bridge is "gonna" make the TDP.

What I'm saying is a specialized mobile CPU with Ivy Bridge technology will not only be viable, but will be amazing. It wont happen tomorrow, or probably next year, but it WILL happen.

Sorry but X86 is coming back to mobile devices in a big way thanks to Ivy Bridge. Scoff all you want, but it's coming.

RE: Windows 8
By JKflipflop98 on 12/1/2011 9:18:38 PM , Rating: 2
It would work better if you stop saying "Ivy Bridge" and start saying "Tri-Gate". Ivy Bridge is the desktop CPU. The tri-gate transistors are what makes it special.

RE: Windows 8
By TakinYourPoints on 12/1/2011 4:25:32 PM , Rating: 2
Form factor was one of many reasons why pre-iPad tablets failed. Battery life and performance that you brought up were other obvious reasons. Then there's the fact that Windows for touch was terrible, Windows applications were designed for mouse/keyboard/trackpad and not touchscreens, etc etc etc. Tablets were pointless given that you could spend less on a better laptop that actually worked properly with Windows and Windows applications.

However, form factor is still important. Ergonomics are vital and tablets need to be light, well balanced, and easy to hold with one hand. They still need to get under a pound, and a tablet that adds additional weight to accommodate hotter CPUs will fail.

Being thin and light aren't superficial "styling" concerns, they are what make tablets viable in the first place. Make it heavier/bulkier and you might as well get a laptop instead. The direction is smaller, lighter, thinner. Eventually we'll see something with iPad level high performance and developer support but as light as a Kindle. Hell, we might get that with Windows 8 (or 9, or whenever that physical form factor is possible). That would be cool.

Ivy Bridge's TDP is too high for a tablet without adding additional active cooling, size, and reduced battery life compared to current ARM solutions. You saying that Ivy Bridge is capable of this doesn't change reality. The smallest devicse you will see an Ivy Bridge CPU in are ultraslim laptops, and those will have cooling fans, additional size, and reduced battery life compared to an ARM based tablet.

x86 may supersede ARM in tablets eventually, but it won't be for years. It may not even make sense in tablets by then as ARM performance continues to improve, we'll see.

It's good to see that you know better than Microsoft though.

You seem really angry in your posts btw. Are you ok?

RE: Windows 8
By Reclaimer77 on 12/1/2011 8:34:10 PM , Rating: 1
Dude the bulkiest tablet on the market, HP Touchpad, flew off the shelves at such a rate that HP is going to manufacture more to meet demand. I'm not discounting that slim tablets are appealing, but obviously you're overstating that appeal.

As far is Ivy Bridge, I decided to see if I was crazy or if you had a point. Let's just say that if I'm crazy, apparently market annalists are nuts too.

Came up on the first Google search. Apparently I'm not the only one who feels this way, and I'm not even an expert. For you to dismiss the benefits of such an advancement so quickly is nothing but pure ignorance.

x86 may supersede ARM in tablets eventually, but it won't be for years.

Duh! Did you see me say it would happen next week? It's not like Intel is going anywhere. If it takes a few years to challenge ARM, so what? Point is, it WILL happen. You X86 haters are just going to have to deal with that.

RE: Windows 8
By TakinYourPoints on 12/2/2011 3:58:55 PM , Rating: 2
Dude the bulkiest tablet on the market, HP Touchpad, flew off the shelves at such a rate that HP is going to manufacture more to meet demand.

Right, because they gave them away at $100 a pop. They sat unsold in warehouses beforehand.

Did you see me say it would happen next week?

You're talking about Ivy Bridge being viable competition to ARM in tablets. It isn't next week but it is very very soon. Only a few months away, not years.

You X86 haters are just going to have to deal with that.

Everything is in such black-and-white fanboy terms with you. You need to relax.

It isn't about being an x86 hater or anything stupid like that. All of my computers are x86. It is all about practicality, and x86 CPUs (even upcoming Ivy Bridge mobile CPUs) require more power and generate more heat than any of the ARM CPUs, period. This makes them unsuitable for tablets, at least tablets that will sell.

RE: Windows 8
By Da W on 12/1/2011 3:44:42 PM , Rating: 2
I don't completly disagree, I'll just say:

ASUS Eee Slate EP121-1A011M 12.1-Inch Core i5-2467M processor
12.3 x 8.2 x 0.7 inches ; 2.6 pounds

MSI WindPad 110W 10-Inch AMD Z-Series APU Processors (one of the best, windows 8 bootable already)
Size (LWH): 7.2 inches, 10.66 inches, 0.61 inches
Weight: 1.87 pounds

Acer Iconia Tab W500-BZ467 10.1-Inch AMD Dual-Core Processor C-50
7.5 x 10.8 x 0.6 inches ; 3.5 pounds

Archos 9 PC Windows 7 Starter Tablet 1.2 GHz Intel Atom Z515 processor
10.1 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches ; 1.8 pounds

Samsung Series 7 Slate PC dual-core Core i5-2467M processor
Under 2 pounds.

Now i know it isn't 600 grams, but having tried them, weight size, it's usable. And i'm just saying that when you factor in x86 compatibility versus 1 more pound, i think the mass market will go toward compatibility.

Then again may be the Wii-U has the answer. A mere wireless touchscreen with all the horsepower in an external box.

RE: Windows 8
By nafhan on 12/1/2011 3:20:55 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe... a few counter-arguments regarding the ARM port:

CPU: Going to ARM gets rid of backwards compatibility with a very large number of Windows apps. Being able to continue using the programs with which you are familiar is a huge part of the reason people continue to use Windows

OS: The OS will likely seem familiar to Windows Phone 7 users, but not Windows 7 users. The Metro UI will be the only interface for ARM based "PC's", this will also cause further issues for backwards compatibility.

Price: This will be difficult. They may hit the same range as Android tabs, but will probably not be able to undercut stuff from content providers (i.e. the Kindle Fire).

WP7: sounds reasonable

XBOX: Huge opportunity here. IF MS launches the nextgen XBox on ARM hardware, there's potential for at least some Windows 8 tablets to essentially be portable Xboxes.

Metro UI: Agreed that it's probably the slickest touch UI at this point. However, the only people to whom it's familiar are Windows Phone 7 users. Plus, I don't think this is really enough anymore. Even if Metro is better than iOS or Android's UI's, neither of those UI's are terrible, and more importantly: people are used to them.

RE: Windows 8
By jvillaro on 12/1/2011 7:50:08 PM , Rating: 2
The Metro UI will be the only interface for ARM based "PC's"

Where did you read that? Do you have any sources/links?

the only people to whom it's familiar are Windows Phone 7 users

Ujumm, in a few days Xbox Users will also be using Metro UI...
And anyway you really don't need a PHD for using the metro UI so new users shock will only last 2 minutes tops

RE: Windows 8
By gwem557 on 12/1/2011 3:08:03 PM , Rating: 2
Yes. It'll tank, like the Kindle Fire.

*Rolls eyes*

I find it hard to even get worked up by you, anymore Tony. It's kind of like getting upset at a retarded child with Tourettes Syndrome. Makes decent people feel guilty.

RE: Windows 8
By jvillaro on 12/1/2011 7:52:09 PM , Rating: 2
"retarded american" please

RE: Windows 8
By gwem557 on 12/1/2011 8:23:43 PM , Rating: 1
Bigot, much?

RE: Windows 8
By Gio6518 on 12/2/2011 3:56:10 PM , Rating: 2
This thing will tank like all the rest.

Yeah your right.... Oh wait its already sold out


RE: Windows 8
By tamalero on 12/5/2011 3:35:28 AM , Rating: 1

this comic pretty much sums your behavior..

RE: Windows 8
By nafhan on 12/1/2011 12:40:21 PM , Rating: 2
At best, I imagine it would be like Windows 8 on an x86 platform except without backwards compatibility (i.e. Win 7 mode). Considering that would be my main reason for getting Windows 8... not real interested.

RE: Windows 8
By TakinYourPoints on 12/1/2011 2:43:28 PM , Rating: 2
Same here. That said, I'm very curious to see what kind of apps get ported over to Windows 8 Metro. Will people be developing for it as aggressively as they are for iOS? I have to imagine that Microsoft will be releasing Office on it since they're already making Office for the iPad, so that's at least incentive for business use.

The idea below of a laptop where the detachable screen/tablet holds an ARM processor while a keyboard dock has the usual x86 guts is an interesting one. It could make it totally viable for someone that wants to hop back and forth between full Windows 7 apps and stripped down tablet style apps in the Windows 8 Metro layout.

RE: Windows 8
By Da W on 12/1/2011 2:10:53 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure someone will boot Windows 8 developper preview on this thing pretty soon. So we will see.

I would still wait for x86 Windows 8 though. Dual core Ivy Bridge or, if they don't drop the ball like rumors say they will, AMD's next generation Fusion.

This is the new laptop format for the future.
I can even imagine a 500$ ARM windows 8 tablet coupled with a 500$ x86 dock making a 1000$ laptop (cause in tablet only mode you won't need windows 7 compatibility mode)

RE: Windows 8
By TakinYourPoints on 12/1/2011 2:28:30 PM , Rating: 2
That would actually be pretty cool.

I dunno man, I REALLY want to see Windows 8 running on ARM and how it compares with the same on x86. It's the biggest tech curiosity for me going into 2012. I know I'll have Windows 8 on a laptop, but is it viable on a tablet and will developers target touch-specific apps in high numbers like iOS developers are doing now? We'll see!

RE: Windows 8
By Flunk on 12/2/2011 1:43:37 PM , Rating: 2
Frankly, if this ran Windows 8 with the exact same specs and same price I would buy one today. Android is great on phones but it's too restricted for tablets. Windows 8 looks like it could be really great.

By Omega215D on 12/1/2011 12:22:35 PM , Rating: 3
Engadget has some really lackluster reviewing when it doesn't concern Apple. I'm interested in what PhoneArena and MaximumPC has to say about the machine. Still on the fence about trusting Cnet with such things.

If it turns out to be mostly glowing reviews this will become my first tablet!

RE: Figures
By TakinYourPoints on 12/1/2011 2:36:58 PM , Rating: 2
Anandtech's review is solid, very well balanced and doing a good job exploring the hardware. The screen seems excellent.

Benchmarks are pretty thorough as usual:

I've said it before and I'll say it again, there needs to be someone else making SoCs for high end Android devices. Not only for competition against NVIDIA, but also because NVIDIA have twice failed to leapfrog their performance past Apple's SoCs. Browser scores are within a single digit percentage point difference from the iPad (I'm certain that will be fixed with ICS), and GPU performance lags far behind (I can't imagine ICS addressing the hard computational limits there unless there is serious inefficiency in Honeycomb).

You'd hope for a leapfrogging in performance, not one that fails to even catch up. I feel like I'm reading AMD Bulldozer benchmarks all over again.

An Android tablet with a high end PowerVR GPU (not just the 540) would be preferable to this, at least until NVIDIA gets their act together.

RE: Figures
By sigmatau on 12/1/2011 5:58:18 PM , Rating: 2
Engadget is Apple's bitch. I stop visiting that site a long time ago.

RE: Figures
By Gio6518 on 12/3/2011 1:27:35 PM , Rating: 1
Engadget is Apple's bitch.

YEAH PRETTY MUCH ...Ever since Apple kicked down his door and searched his house, their reviews have been extremely biased...

Ice Cream Sandwich
By tviceman on 12/1/2011 12:39:06 PM , Rating: 2
Tegra 3 needs Ice Cream Sandwich to be fully utilized. When ASUS can get the update rolled out, I hope reputable reviewers re-run their benchmarks.

Also, interestingly, several sites are reporting Amazon has selected Tegra 3 to be used in the soon-to-be larger Kindle Fire. Nvidia may have found out how to print paper money in the form of a quad+1 arm processor.

RE: Ice Cream Sandwich
By Omega215D on 12/1/2011 12:46:16 PM , Rating: 2
This was pretty much the sentiment when nVidia announced a while ago.

As long as no thermal issues crop up it seems nVidia has a winner on its hands.

RE: Ice Cream Sandwich
By TakinYourPoints on 12/1/2011 2:09:09 PM , Rating: 2
ICS should improve browser scores. Anandtech's browser tests with Honeycomb were in line with the eight month old iPad 2. After the leaked Lenovo benchmarks from last month I knew that the GPU was going to lag a good deal, but I was expecting that the CPU would leapfrog at least a little past the A5. ICS should address performance issues that don't have a hard ceiling on them imposed by hardware restrictions.

And yeah, the next Kindle is going to make NVIDIA a mint. Amazon is the only company aside from Apple that's going to be selling tablets in any significant quantity.

RE: Ice Cream Sandwich
By Cheesew1z69 on 12/3/2011 10:52:54 AM , Rating: 2
Amazon is the only company aside from Apple that's going to be selling tablets in any significant quantity.
/me rolls eyes

I don't like the widescreen
By tayb on 12/1/2011 10:21:03 PM , Rating: 3
I've used an iPad and the original Transformer pretty extensively and I have to say that I prefer the aspect ratio of the iPad. It's nice for movies but it's awkward trying to hold it in your hands and get stuff done. Your hands are too far apart in landscape to actually type anything.

I also wish this was running iOS or Windows 8. I've stuck with Honeycomb hoping that the sluggishness, bugs, and glitches would be fixed with updates but they haven't really. It's much better than launch but it's still not even close to iOS or what I've seen of Windows 8.

By lennylim on 12/1/2011 12:52:04 PM , Rating: 2
Except for the slimmer / lighter than an iPad2 part.

I have the keyboard dock. I only use it when I'm traveling these days, as a kinda sorta netbook replacement / extra battery.

Asus's shortcomings with the first Transformer was quality control, and glacial pace of the rollout of accessories. Maybe they addressed these issues by now, but I'm skeptical.

By drycrust3 on 12/1/2011 1:51:15 PM , Rating: 2
or they will get sued by Apple who patented these things years after their invention in university research labs

Either anyone should be allowed to patent just anything they like regardless of whether they invented it or not, or there should be standards that everyone is expected to abide by. What shouldn't happen is that one person or company is allowed to follow the "anyone should be allowed to patent just anything they like regardless of whether they invented it or not" philosophy at the expense (literally) of everyone else who are following the normal standards; but that is exactly what seems to be happening.
If the country was run by a monarchy or dictatorship, then one could understand if this was the case, but when the country has "equality" as one of its foundations, then the appearance and expectation of "non-equality" should concern the people of that nation.

One Day....
By Adam M on 12/1/2011 10:48:53 PM , Rating: 2
While the Prime may not currently fully utilize its processing power, I hope the over all idea starts to catch on. I would one day like to replace my laptop or desk top with a tablet device that docks with a keyboard. The only things I don’t currently use a tablet for are document processing and gaming. On screen keyboards are not the friendliest means of typing a long article or email. When it comes to games I trend more hardcore then casual. I do most of my gaming on the 360 or Ps3. Currently the only game I would like for PC is Diablo 3. Once tablets are powerful enough to play graphics intensive games or image editing software I will be able to eliminate the bulkier equipment. I look forward to the day when a tablet is the only piece of computing equipment I need.

Another 'hands-off' review..
By nocturne_81 on 12/4/2011 11:14:56 AM , Rating: 2
I don't see why this author continues to attempt to review products they have had absolutely no experience with.. Anybody interested in these products can certainly read the original reviews and make their own assumptions.

By Bozzified on 12/9/2011 8:30:06 AM , Rating: 2
Not only best Android tablet. ASUS Transfomer Prime is THE best tablet. Period.

ASUS nailed it. They made this thing absolutely pinnacle of computing engineering. Ice Cream Sandwich is by far the most advanced mobile/tablet OS made.

Combine the two and ASUS Transformer Prime is the pinnacle of tablets everywhere. iPad looks like a fisher price toy next to this.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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