tablets

Asus Transformer Prime (TF-201) Review

A veritable powerhouse of a tablet.

March 01, 2012
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Science Introduction

The Transformer Prime has some excellent performance points, but not quite the best screen we've seen.

Screen Performance

Super-bright screen, super bad color gamut

With an 8.625 x 5.325-inch screen with a resolution of 1280 x 800, the Asus Transformer Prime TF-201 nets a dots-per-inch measurement (DPI) of 150, which is about par for the course among high-end tablets. This is a screen that is the right size and resolution for the job, although some users prefer smaller screens. See if you can play around with this at a local store before buying to see if you would prefer this screen size.

If you're looking to max your settings, set the battery mode to "Normal" and crank the screen, you'll be pleased to know that the Transformer Prime is capable of blasting out around 600 cd/m2, which is incredibly bright for a tablet. While it does suffer the drawback of having a very bright black level, this can be corrected by dropping the screen brightness.

Like most tablets, the Transformer Prime seems to fall short when its color performance is matched against the rec. 709 standard, but against other tablets, its about as good as you can expect. Reds and greens are undersaturated, and blues are shifted wildly towards cyan. The white point isn't that far off of what it should be, but it does have a bluish hue to it.

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Battery Life

While battery life for video playback is excellent, eBook reading battery life is horrid.

Well, we're not entirely sure if it's just automatic power management, or if the battery really is that good, but the Asus Transformer Prime TF-201 managed to play back video at peak brightness for just over 9 straight hours with the Wi-Fi disabled, "normal" battery mode enabled and all additional processes terminated. Your mileage will probably vary for any of several reasons, because there are so many variables with this tablet that can hurt or improve battery life. For example, there are three battery modes (high performance, normal, eco); the screen brightness is crazy to begin with, so turning that down will probably help your battery life. Enabling Wi-Fi or another program that sucks down juice will also hurt your battery life.

There really isn't any way to sugar-coat this, but because the screen draws so much power to produce a white background, the battery life for reading eBooks is abysmal at best. If you crank the backlight and turn the Wi-Fi off, you are likely to only get about 4 hours and 37 minutes out of it. There are lots of ways to squeeze more battery life out of your tablet, but at maximum performance settings, it's just not that good.

While the battery life results for the Transformer Prime vary wildly, it's tempting to think that either there's something wrong with the tablet, or our testing methods, but after repeated tests, we can assure you that neither is the case. Rather, it's a hardware issue. This is the first quad-core processor in a tablet that we've run across, and because the screen is also incredibly bright, you have two elements that are capable of drawing an enormous amount of power for a portable device.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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