Included by default with the Transformer Prime is Asus’ keyboard dock accessory. The dock is just 8mm at the front edge, up-sizing slightly to 10.4mm at the back edge. It combines a 22Wh battery, a basic touchpad, a keyboard straight from a netbook and a plethora of Android specific buttons.
There is also a full size SD card slot and a full size USB 2.0 port, which was able to spin up a Western Digital 2.5 inch portable hard disk drive. Again we see the proprietary connector to charge the dock’s battery and then the tablet itself (only through AC) plus add data connectivity. There is also a small orange LED by this port to indicate the dock is being charged, it then turns green once fully charged, just like the one embedded in the power button.
The Android specific buttons lay mostly above the number row and include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and brightness toggles. There are also screenshot, device settings, media, volume and browser buttons. The browser button directs you to the stock browser even if you have another browser like Chrome or Opera installed.
Also included are home, search and menu buttons. You can also Alt-Tab between recently active applications, although there is no Alt button on the left side of the keyboard. Making it a job for a two hands.
There is also a button that locks and turns off the display, it will also unlock the display if you have no lockscreen security such as a pattern or PIN. Sadly however it does not wake the display, but tapping the touchpad or clicking the associated button does wake the display – but this functionality strangely disappears after the tablet has been dormant for about 30 seconds.
The Prime is attached to the keyboard dock by sliding it into mechanism that links the data and charging connections, this is then secured by two metal locks. This additional security while using the tablet in laptop mode does come at the expense of two open ports in the base of the tablet.
Luckily, Asus have implemented a degree of forward thinking here and included two rubber plugs that insert into these slots. While they are easy to insert, they are impossible to remove by hand. If you often like to mix it up between tablet and netbook mode you will be forced to live without the rubber plugs. These things were also be inherently easy to lose.
You detach the tablet by flipping the docking latch and pulling the tablet out of and away from the dock.
As you might expect, you can fold the display down to protect the display. However, opening it again requires the use of finger tips to pry it open. On the plus side, the display automatically turns on when you do manage to get it open.