Today, ASUS introduced Transformer Prime, world’s first quad-core mobile device. Without any doubt, this is looking like an iPad-killer, especially with up to 18 hour autonomy.

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet - beautiful to look at, and probably great to touch thanks to brilliant circled aluminum finish
ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet – beautiful to look at, and probably great to touch thanks to brilliant circled aluminum finish

The company teased us in the video which showed perfect craftsmanship with the aluminum casing which is available in two colors: champagne gold and amethyst gray. As you can see from the picture above, the trademark feature of Transformer tablets is the accompanying keyboard with trackpad which carries additional battery.

8.3 milimeter thick in all of its glory: ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime

8.3 milimeter thick in all of its glory: ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime

The tablet itself is just 8.3 millimeters thin, noticeably thinner than an Apple iPad 2 (8.8mm) or Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (8.6mm) or just about any other mobile device currently available – as carbon-fiber Motorola RAZR is 7.1mm thin, but that thinness is just on its thinnest point – camera and antenna boost the thickness to 11mm. Overall, a excellent job from ASUS engineers.

The hardware itself is quite impressive – NVIDIA Tegra 3 SoC brings in quad-core Cortex-A9 1.4GHz (realistically, 1.3GHz), another low-power Cortex-A9 and a 12-core GeForce ULP graphics processor (clocks unknown), paired with 1GB of LPDDR2-1066. We’re a bit disappointed to see a cellphone version of DDR memory being used, as Tegra 3 supports LPDDR3 operating at 1.5GHz, which would significantly increase performance.

When it comes to storage, the company decided to make life miserable to its competitors. Just as the original Eee Pad Transformer beat the same capacity competition by a massive $100, Prime raises up the bar once more. The lowest storage capacity is 32GB, for which you will have to pay $499 (competition offers 16GB at that price), while the 64GB model comes at $599 (competition offers 32GB). Additionally, the new keyboard dock kept the same price at $149.

The Transformer Prime comes with 25 Wh battery which promises unprecedented 12 hour autonomy, while the optional keyboard brings in additional 22 Wh battery, offering autonomy of up to 18 hours. The battery testing was done by running a 720p video in a loop until the battery dried up, running all ports enabled and keeping the screen brightness to 60 nits (quite good).

The model will be available in December 2011 and will ship with Android 3.2, as Ice Cream Sandwich is further delayed into late December timeframe (let’s be realistic and say CES 2012). ASUS will offer OTA update to 4.0 once the operating system is "optimized, tested and approved". To us, seems like Google seriously dropped the ball with ICS, and companies like Motorola (RAZR), Samsung (Nexus Prime i.e. Galaxy Nexus), HTC (Edge), Sony Ericsson (arc S) and others have no other choice but to ship their phones with Android 2.3.x (Gingerbread) and tablets with Android 3.x (Honeycomb).


ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime Teaser Video

The only thing that might "dent" the success of the Transformer Prime is the fact that Apple may send their legal dogs lead by Bruce Sewell, since the front bears an uncanny resemblance to the prosecuted Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Still, if that happens, we can think of no other reason but pure jealousy, since this tablet was designed with only one thing in mind – if looks could kill…

And for the record, could somebody call marketing and let them know that less is more… i.e. can we get a shorter name for the tablet… ASUSTeK Computer Co., Ltd. Eee Pad Transformer Prime 32GB is just a tad too long. How about "ASUS Prime 32GB"?

Yes, we probably ask too much.