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Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime: what you need to know

Let’s face it: there’s a lot of me-too design in tablets, which is why Asus’s various Eee Pads are so much fun: what’s not to like about a tablet that magically becomes a laptop?

The new Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime takes things further and turns into a truck.

OK, that’s not strictly true, but it’s still one of the most exciting Android tablets around.

Here’s what you need to know about the new Asus tablet.

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime specifications are tasty

The Transformer Prime processor is a quad-core Tegra 3, making its first appearance in a tablet, and its 12-core GeForce GPU should deliver impressive graphics performance.

There’s 1GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of storage and a very bright IPS display, twin cameras (8MP and 1.2MP), 12 hours of battery life and six more with the optional dock, MicroSD and micro HDMI ports, and the dock adds USB2.0 and an SD card slot. The Transformer Prime also has GPS and a built-in gyroscope.

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime display is very bright

The Transformer Prime screen is a 10.1-inch, 1280×800 IPS panel with a very wide 178-degree viewing angle, and it has a “Super IPS” mode that boosts brightness to a retina-popping 600 nits (most tablets are 300-400 nits).

Asus tells us that means a better outdoor viewing experience, and also claims that the touchscreen is much more responsive than before: the firm says input lag has been halved.

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime design is impressive

In its tablet incarnation the Asus Transformer Prime is just 8.3mm thick and weighs 586g, which means it’s marginally thinner and lighter than an iPad 2. The aluminium case comes in two colours – grey and gold – and the dock adds a full-size keyboard and trackpad, as well as an extra battery.

The screen and case have also been treated with an hydro-oleophobic coating to reduce fingerprint smudges.

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime software is Android

The Transformer Prime operating system will be Android 3.2 Honeycomb, but it will be upgradeable to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich via an over-the-air firmware update. Asus will also provide a selection of apps including Asus WebStorage, MyCloud and Asus Sync. SuperNote and Polaris Office will be pre-installed.

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime camera is pretty nifty

The main 8-megapixel camera is impressive: it boasts an F2.4 aperture for decent low light performance, an LED flash, 1080p HD video recording and image noise reduction.

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime price isn’t too scary

As with the previous Eee Pad Transformer, the Transformer Prime is priced to sell: the US price will be $499 for the 32GB model and $599 for the 64GB, while the dock will be an additional $149. The Asus Transformer UK price hasn’t been released yet, but we’d expect it to be competitive with other big-name tablets.

The Asus Transformer Prime release date is December

The Transformer Prime is due to go on sale in the US in December, and so far there’s nothing to suggest that the Transformer Primer UK release date won’t be December too. You’d better start writing those letters to Santa.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime: what you need to know