Tegra 3 promises to quintuple the performance of Tegra 2 with its four-core Cortex A9 arrangement while also tripling its graphical capabilities with a new 12-core graphics processor. That’s a great deal of power for when you need it, but Nvidia has also added a fifth, low-power “companion core,” whose role will be to keep things running during standby and other low-intensity modes. That core reaches a maximum speed of 500MHz and can take care of lightweight tasks like audio streaming and some forms of video playback. Anything more demanding than that will kick in the first of the more powerful cores, which can run at speeds of up to 1.4GHz by itself, with dual-core and quad-core modes, each topping out at 1.3GHz, kicking in depending on workload.
Nvidia’s rightly proud of this dynamic core management system, which it says helps it deliver the battery life users expect from a mobile device while also packing power never before seen on a smartphone or tablet computer. A particular highlight is the example of 720p video, where Nvidia shows Tegra 3 uses up to 61 percent less power than Tegra 2, resulting in a maximum of 12 hours of video playback with the new SoC (dependent on the battery inside your device, of course).
the $499 tablet (with 32GB of storage) and its $149 keyboard dock won’t be arriving until early December. (The 64GB version will ring up at $599.) That said, after you read on below about all the improvements, you’ll likely think it’s worth the wait.
Obviously, the biggest change comes on the inside. The tablet is the first to have Nvidia’s quad-core Tegra 3 processor (formerly known as Kal El), and while we have tons of details on that right here, the most important thing you need to know is that it promises five times the performance of Tegra 2. But that extra power doesn’t mean extra weight or a hit on battery life, in fact it means the opposite. The tablet has been significantly slimmed down to .33 inches (8.3mm) and it’s said to last 12 hours on a charge. Not to mention, with the keyboard dock’s 22Wh battery attached, Asus is claiming 18 hours.
Beyond that, it has jazzed up a lot of the exterior hardware. In addition to a new Zenbook-like design, which is coated in hydro-oleophobic coating to prevent fingerprint smudges, Asus has added an 8-megapixel camera with a flash and a back-illuminated CMOS sensor. To boot, Asus claims its new 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800-resolution Super IPS+ display has been improved for outdoor viewing and that new SonicMaster Technology significantly improves speaker quality.
There’s no doubt it sounds like the best Android tablet to date, and while it won’t launch with Ice Cream Sandwich, Asus is promising an over-the-air update very soon after the early December release.
I hope they’ve improved Polaris office. It’s a little more expensive than I was hoping. I was hopping for $399. $499 plus a $150 keyboard is not cheap for a tablet. I would have taken 16GB for $100 less.
I wonder whether I can keep using the keyboard from my original Transformer on the Prime or whether they changed the connection / battery. That would be a nice saving. And I don’t need 2 keyboards even if I keep the second tablet for the kids.
To be fair to the price, it is packing a ridiculous amount of hardware, and they can’t exactly pull profits off of long-tail app and music sales like Amazon or Apple.
If you don’t care about the hardware, the Transformer’s a bad buy at the same price as an iPad2 and a much-untested usability/reliability/quality. If you do, then it strikes me as a reasonable price for that level of theoretical performance.
The amount of hardware is irrelevant if its the same price as an iPad. Asus, Motorola and others need to look at Amazon and B&N to see how you compete. Going head to head when your the same price means meager sales.
I was thinking the same, but eventually decided against it. I realized that I’m still perfectly happy with my original. The only advantage I see to upgrading is that my current Transformer has problems with videos encoded higher than 1200 kpbs or so, but seriously, I’m not going to spend $500 for that.
I like having the keyboard as an option both to type when I’m away for a few days and to extend the battery life as needed.
So if I were to decide to upgrade, I’d want to get one again (it’s one of the differentiating features of the Transformer, after all). That consideration would no doubt slow down that decision.
That being said, like the previous poster, I don’t need to upgrade. I’m quite happy with my current device. Just like my wife still uses an iPad (v1) and will happily wait until the iPad 3 to feel compelled to upgrade, I can afford to wait longer on this one.
So I have been reading previews of this Transformer Prime, and man, that thing is more than meets the eye.
I was initially thinking that it was just a gimmick tablet, the one you buy if you want a silly keyboard dock, but it turns out that even without that, it’s pretty compelling hardware. For the same price as an iPad 2, you get a tablet that is thinner, lighter, has a larger, brighter, and higher-resolution screen, has longer battery life, has HDMI out and a MicroSD slot, has twice the internal storage (or the same amount as the 32GB iPad that’s $100 more), has twice the RAM, and has a much faster processor with the quad-core Tegra 3. And it’s running 3.2 at launch, and is supposed to be upgraded to ICS by year-end (which I read as “in January sometime,” because I am cynical).
And then, as a nifty gimmick, you can do that keyboard dock thing (which ups the battery life from 12 to 18 hours in the process), if you want.
So obviously this will not sell even a fraction as well as the iPad 2, because duh. But that’s a hell of a piece of hardware for the same price. And I think Asus does it a disservice by pushing the keyboard part so heavily. If they just sold it as a straight tablet, it’s much more attractive than your Xooms or Galaxy Tabs or whatever, but because it’s practically sold as a convertible laptop, I wasn’t even really thinking of it as a straight tablet.
I think it’s very important for people to come into every thread in which technical details are discussed and note that they don’t give a shit about technical details. It adds a lot to the conversation.