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Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201 Review

The Asus Transformer Prime is home to Nvidia’s Tegra 3 SoC that has a 4-PLUS-1 architecture that incorporates five ARM Cortex A9 cores; four high performance cores and one low power core. Keeping this running smoothly is a full gigabyte of RAM.

Asus have also bundled in a small collection of power profiles in order to gain maximum performance, maximum battery or a balance of both. These profiles can all quickly be selected from the quick settings tool and change the chipset’s clock speeds near instantly.

For the battery lovers among us, power saving mode maxes the CPU out at 1 GHz with 1 or 2 cores active, 760 MHz with 3 cores active and 620 MHz with all four active. Balanced mode is the middle of the line profile and restricts the processor’s clock speed to 1.2 GHz. Those wanting every last drip of performance from their Prime will turn on the performance profile which hits a wall at 1.4 GHz for single core operation and 1.3 GHz in every other scenario.

For the hardware performance tests we ran the Prime on all three profiles, while later on for the browser performance tests we only tested with the balanced profile.

The Asus Transformer Prime is by far the most powerful device we have gotten our hands on and the benchmarks reflect this. The quad core Nvidia SoC is untouchable when running one of the two upper performance profiles in Antutu, GL Benchmark, Nenamark2 and Quadrant.

Things get a little closer in Linpack with the dual-core OMAP 4460 in the Motorola Atrix 2 closing the gap between the two, at least in single threaded performance.  I did not include multi-threaded Linpack results as it was impossible to get a precise and reliable result on the Prime.

Going from the balanced to performance power profiles results in roughly 8% higher performance results. The effects of the power saving mode is more obvious, with performance dropping significantly, although it still manages to beat out the Motorola Atrix 2 three times out of five. In fact, the only noticeable downfall of running the power saving profile in real usage was the Tegra 3 optimised Glowball demo slowing down greatly in performance.

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  • Davy

    Wow thats a hell of a review. so much information my brain hurts 🙂

  • Davis

    Its impressive, but the Ipad 3 has put a real dampner on these due to the low resolution and the catch up they all need to play now against Apple.

  • Rt23ds

    I think its a little expensive for what you get if I was being blunt about it, but its a nicely designed product and it seems powerful for even casual gaming. Retina display has pushed everything forward really which has made this look already a little out of date.

  • Guil

    Two weeks with this tablet were more than enough for me to experience all the issues already pointed out by other reviewers plus a brand new one: the shockingly poor build quality.

    Yes, the WiFi is faulty. I use both the TF201 and a Galaxy Nexus in bed and, although the signal is quite weak on the smartphone, it never disconnects and the browsing/downloading speed is very good. The same can’t be said about the tablet, which often disconnects and sometimes requires a reboot so I can use the internet again (and what’s a tablet with dodgy WiFi? A paper weight?).

    Yes, the GPS is useless. Asus dropped the ball twice here, first by not testing the unit properly and then by removing the function from the specs list. Shameful, to say the least.

    Now to the build quality: although the TF201 is a stunning device and both its screen and its metallic body look fantastic, my unit proved to be cheaply manufactured when the glass started detaching from the main body a few days ago. It’s a month old tablet and I’m extremely careful with my electronics.

    Right now all I can do is regret as I purchased this tablet in the US and brought it back to Ireland, so sending it back will be a costly pain in the neck both for me and for my wife’s friend who would have to drop it at UPS.

    I’m really disappointed with Asus and the current selection of Android tablets in the market. No wonder the iPad is flying off the shelves, all that Apple has to do is release products that don’t suck.

  • Cheers Davy!

    I have to agree Davis, perhaps the reason it is taking so long for other Tegra 3 tablets to come out is because everyone is running around trying to find a decent supply of FHD display to create a tablet that can go head to head with the new iPad’s

    It’s decent value to me Rt23ds, 20 quid more than the new 32GB iPad. It really depends if you’d prefer a higher resolution screen or the ability to type anything of length

    Guil, I encountered no Wi-Fi problems that I could attribute to my review unit (the dodgy router is to blame). Completly agree on the GPS points. The review unit I had could have been cherry picked but it has definitely been around the place and all it had to show for it was a few collections of scratches on the back. Have you tried getting in contact directly with Asus? Either way it’s really bad to hear you’re having issues with your Prime

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  • Its impressive, but the Ipad 3 has put a real dampner on these due to the low resolution

  • I’d have to agree Ieeko, it’s not majorly noticeable by itself by switching between a decent phone and the Prime the extra pixel density is noticeable. Shouldn’t be too long until we start seeing Full HD tablets though