TRANS­FORM­ING TABLET

THE FIRST QUAD-CORE TABLET UP­GRADED TO AN­DROID’S ICE-CREAM SAND­WICH THAT CON­VERTS IT­SELF INTO A POW­ER­FUL NET­BOOK BY SLID­ING IN A KEY­BOARD DOCK.

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - GG CHOICE - TEXT BY NIDHI SIN­GAL & PHO­TO­GRAPH BY RA­JWANT RAWAT

Since its launch in 2010, Ap­ple’s ipad has vir­tu­ally dom­i­nated the tablet mar­ket. Now, with its abil­ity to trans­form into a net­book, the Asus Trans­former Prime tries its best to be more than a tablet, and hence could be a se­ri­ous An­droid chal­lenger for the ipad’s top po­si­tion.

Tak­ing a cue from the ipad 2, the Prime fea­tures a 10.1-inch dis­play with a slight curve at the edges. Asus has man­aged to achieve a 8.3-mm thick­ness de­spite hav­ing mi­crosd and mini HD ports. The front bezel has a 1.2 MP cam­era, while the rear has a 8MP one that can cap­ture full 1080p videos. At the bot­tom is a 40-pin con­nec­tor port that con­nects the tablet to the charger or the key­board dock.

There’s noth­ing to com­plain about as far as the de­sign or the per­for­mance are con­cerned. We were greeted by An­droid’s lat­est Ice-cream Sand­wich op­er­at­ing sys­tem, which looks like Hthe on­ey­comb plat­form, but with a host of im­prove­ments. The no­ti­fi­ca­tion bar at the bot­tom has been re­vamped. The main ap­pli­ca­tion launcher, mean­while, is di­vided into ap­pli­ca­tions and wid­gets—it bore a strik­ing re­sem­blance to the Sam­sung Gal­axy Nexus. From scrolling through the menu and wid­gets to launch­ing ap­pli­ca­tions and play­ing games, ev­ery­thing ran smoothly. How­ever, for brows­ing, email and down­load­ing ap­pli­ca­tions we had to go hunt­ing for a Wi-fi hotspot as the Trans­former Prime doesn’t have a SIM slot for data con­nec­tiv­ity, a prob­lem when on the move.

The graph­ics were vi­brant and made watch­ing movies and videos a de­light. The na­tive video player failed to play most of for­mats and we had to down­load a free video player from the An­droid Mar­ket to do the job. Along with the sup­port for play­ing full HD video, this tablet can also cap­ture videos in 1080p res­o­lu­tion. De­spite its form fac­tor, the Prime packs in a quad-core pro­ces­sor paired with 1 GB RAM. We ran a se­ries of bench­mark per­for­mance tests and the Prime scored in the up­per end of the scale.

The unique fea­ture here is the dock ac­com­pa­ny­ing the Prime, with its full QWERTY key­board, a con­trol short­cut and a numeric row at the top. It also has an ad­di­tional USB port and an SD card slot on the right. With the dock weigh­ing 537 gm, the com­bined weight comes to 1.12 kg—still lighter than most net­books.

Since both the dock and the tablet have in­di­vid­ual bat­ter­ies, we got close to 15 hours of power on a sin­gle charge. Plugged into the dock, the Prime first con­sumed the ex­tra charge be­fore turn­ing to its own bat­tery. If it has a lit­tle charge left, the tablet will eas­ily work on the docks bat­tery, and even charge it­self in the process.

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