Alongside NVIDIA's last remaining architecture disclosures about Tegra 3, ASUS is revealing more information about the world's first Tegra 3 tablet. The Prime is much thinner than its predecessor, even thinner than the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and iPad 2 at 8.3mm. It's also the second lightest 10-inch Android tablet we've seen at 586 grams, a tad heavier than Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 (565g).

Unlike the original Eee Pad, the Transformer Prime is all aluminum. The Eee Pad Transformer Prime will be available in two colors: champagne gold (pictured above) and amethyst grey (in the gallery below). ASUS is using the higher quality chassis as a justification for driving prices up by $100. The Transformer Prime is now priced identically to the iPad 2, although you get twice the NAND (32GB/64GB instead of 16GB/32GB). The original Transformer will remain on the market at $399, the Prime simply occupies the space above it.

The display resolution remains unchanged at 1280 x 800. It turns out that all of those high resolution tablet panels we've been waiting for are in very low supply and very expensive right now. Whatever is in good supply appears to be bought up by Apple for the next iPad. The display is an IPS derivative ASUS is calling Super IPS+. You still get the wide viewing angles, but ASUS is promising up to 600 nits in its brightest mode. If ASUS can indeed achieve this we'll be looking at the brightest 10.1-inch Android tablet on the market. I am skeptical however, especially considering the difference between ASUS' measured brightness and what we recorded in our Zenbook review.

ASUS is using an oleophobic coating on the glass surface of the display, which should at least make fingerprints easy to wipe off. Apple includes a similar coating on the iPad/iPad 2's display, however fingerprints are still a fact of life when it comes to even its touchscreens. 

There are two cameras on the Prime: 1.2MP front facing and 8MP rear facing (f/2.4) with LED flash. 

Despite the decrease in overall dimensions, the Transformer Prime features larger speakers than its predecessor (6% larger according to ASUS). 

The Prime comes with an integrated 25Wh battery, similar to its predecessor. Also like the original Transformer, you can purchase an optional keyboard dock for the Prime for $149 that will nearly double its battery capacity (+22Wh). The new dock is obviously slimmer than the old one and gives you a full keyboard, track pad, USB 2.0 port and SD card reader. 

The Transformer Prime is expected to launch in the US in December with Android 3.2. ASUS is hinting at more details on Ice Cream Sandwich availability at the launch of the Prime next month. Based on what I've heard, I wouldn't expect ICS on Tegra 3 until early next year.

While I would've liked to have seen a higher resolution display, ASUS appears to have addressed many of our complaints about the original Transformer. We'll obviously have to wait until next month to find out for sure, but it looks like there may be a killer Android tablet out before the year is up.

ASUS will launch the Transformer Prime in the US before the end of the year. The tablet's specs are below:

Tablet Specification Comparison
  ASUS Eee Pad Transformer ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime Apple iPad 2 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Dimensions 271mm x 175mm x 12.95mm 263 x 180.8 x 8.3mm 241.2 x 185.7 x 8.8mm 256.6 x 172.9 x 8.6mm
Display 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 Super IPS+ 9.7-inch 1024 x 768 IPS 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 PLS
Weight 675g 586g 601g 565g
Processor 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 (2 x Cortex A9) 1.3GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 (4 x Cortex A9) 1GHz Apple A5 (2 x Cortex A9) 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 (2 x Cortex A9)
Memory 1GB 1GB 512MB 1GB
Storage 16GB + microSD card 32GB/64GB + microSD slot 16GB 16GB
Pricing $399 $499/$599 $499 $499

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  • deadsix - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    I was hoping it would be $500 for the tablet and the dock. It still looks like it will replace my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
  • iwod - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    Exactly, I was expecting that too. The Dock is too expensive, what happens if i only need the keyboard and not the battery.
  • fteoath64 - Saturday, November 12, 2011 - link

    Just get any bluetooth keyboard and be done with it.
  • jalexoid - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    You can bet your *** that it will sell in bundles with the dock for 70-100 more. That is 50 less then separately.
  • BSMonitor - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    Not powerful enough to care if it can have a keyboard. Android and iOS are still not quite in the "real" productivity level. Still need Windows. And these don't cut it. Ultrabook for me with SNB and SSD drive under the hood.
  • Itaintrite - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    I think that was "dreaming" instead of "hoping". They'd already said the Prime tablet itself would be at a premium price.
  • dagamer34 - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    It's pretty easy to see where the look of Windows 8 tablets/laptops will be going.
  • inplainview - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    Yes. Following Apple's MBA.

    As an aside, what will happen to Flash on mobile devices now that Adobe has decided to withdraw support?
  • Arnulf - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    Slap x86 (Brazos ?) into it and it will sell well. At current price point this is doomed to fail as it is competing with real notebooks, various netbooks and isn't even all that far from the more affordable ultrabook-alikes price-wise, yet the value in all these is much higher than that of an ARM-based gadget that is only good for killing some time.
  • 3DoubleD - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    Yes, it is a toy or a media consumption device, but I'd say that is all most consumers want (including myself). I have a quad core desktop and dual core laptop with SSDs and I can do any sort of productivity on those machines. But if I want to read, browse the web, watch a video away from my TV, or do some light gaming (especially on the go) the Transformer Prime is what I'd like to have.

    Also, don't forget that most people only use their computers for email and web browsing. You don't need a full blown Windows x86 setup to do that.

    My question would be, what would you do with a $500 laptop? Windows gaming on a Brazos? No. Browse the web and read email... hey wait... doing that on a tablet would be more enjoyable! Unless you are really tight on your budget, the new ultrabooks are much more attractive productivity wise... but then we are talking about double the price. If you are talking about Windows gaming, then your talking about beefy, expensive laptops which aren't comparable in price or form factor.

    Finally, the iPad seems to be cleaning up at the $499/$599 price point... so I guess no one wants a high-end tablet for that price...

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