Transformer Prime TF201: Our Favorite Android Tablet
Tablets represent a new gadget category. You can buy one, but it won't replace your notebook. As a result, you end up with a growing list of "things" to carry around, each nifty in its own regard. Cumulatively, though, they're a pain in the rear. When you have a laptop, cell phone, and tablet all banging around in a bag, you wonder what ever happened to that horrible cliche word: convergence? Just as important, how did three different device manufacturers convince you to spend $500 bucks or more on their products?
Asus' Transformers effectively bridge the tablet and netbook/notebook spaces. They make it easier to accomplish productivity-oriented tasks on a tablet that might have only been good for content consumption previously. Just adding that keyboard (and its secondary battery) expands the device's repertoire significantly.
Without question, the number one reason our editors still take notebooks on the road with them is because keyboards are imperative for getting work done.
Beyond its utility as a workhorse, we're also glad to see Nvidia (and, by proxy, Asus) go after gaming, too. The top tablet titles cannot stand up to the games we play on our PCs. However, we still need diversions on the road, and it's nice to have an increasingly library of software with respectable graphics at our disposal. We saw plenty of cool stuff at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, and we're confident that developers will continue piling in for this party. The fact that Android supports wireless game controllers also helps open up a new role for tablets as quasi game consoles.
We know Asus is working hard on its next mobility-oriented launch. For now, though, the Transformer Prime TF201 is our favorite Android-based tablet. Yes, it has its faults. Asus missed the mark with GPS functionality, for example. But the company stepped up to address the problem with an external GPS dongle. That’s the type of response we expect from a company that wants a position at the top of a given segment. Incidentally, its four-month-old tablet still competes readily against newer hardware.