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ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime Review: A tablet in its prime

To emphasize on its ultra-slim body, the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime comes in a small package. Unboxing it reveals the 10.1-inch Android tablet, the optional docking station, power adapter and cable, user's manual, and a warranty card. Even though the tablet offers HDMI output to external displays, the HDMI cable is not included with the unit; you will have to purchase the cable separately.

The Eee Pad Transformer Prime features a 2-in-1 audio jack (headphone/microphone) on the right, while the left holds the microSD card slot, micro-HDMI connector, as well as volume controls. A 1.2-megapixel front camera is just above the display, and flipping the tablet to the rear shows the well-polished metallic spun finish, 8-megapixel camera with auto-focus, and audio speaker (close to the audio jack). The 10.1-inch Super IPS+ display offers crisp and brilliant graphical viewing, and is also durable and scratch-resistant, thanks to the Corning Gorilla glass.

While the unique metallic spun finish is nice to look at, it is prone to ugly scratches; something you may want to take note when using the tablet especially if you are not using a sleeve case. Due to its compact form factor, it can be challenging to squeeze every necessary hardware components into the Transformer Prime, and this could have resulted in the placement of the internal speakers and microSD card slot being overlooked during the process. If you hold the tablet in landscape orientation, the right hand would muffle the internal speakers, while the left hand may accidentally press against the slightly protruded microSD card and eject it. But despite these flaws, it didn't diminish our experience when we were testing it with games, social communications and web browsing.

The docking station offers a standard-size chiclet keyboard with touchpad for navigation, power connector, USB and a standard SD card slot. You can continue to use the touchscreen even when the tablet is docked. We also noticed that the lock/unlock mechanism for docking the tablet has been improved; it is a lot easier to dock and remove the tablet now compared to the older version. And once you docked it, it feels like you are using a laptop instead of a tablet device. The Transformer Prime claims to offer 12 hours usage on its 25Wh Li-polymer battery, and with the docking station, you can enjoy a total of up to 18 hours.

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