The Asus Transformer Prime rocked up looking to build on the success of the original Eee Pad Transformer – offering up a tablet-come-netbook experience which created a whole new sector inside the tablet market.
Although it has now been superseded by the Transformer Pad 300 and Transformer Pad Infinity, the Prime is still a decent tablet and boasts an excellent array of specs along with the now updated Android 4.0 operating system.
We'll explore both questions in depth, but for those whole don't like to wait around for the punch line, we'll say that the super-thin and light Transformer Prime is still one of the best tablets out there.
Now the new iPad is with us, can the Transformer Prime still cut it against its Cupertino-based rival? We compare the two tablets in a first impressions video:
Available in both 16GB and 32GB flavours, the smaller capacity Prime will set you back around £350 (including keyboard dock), while the 32GB tab with dock is priced at £499 – so not particularly cheap, especially for a product which has now been usurped by newer models .
The most important spec on the Transformer Prime is the Nvidia Tegra 3 processor. Everything amazing about the tablet rests on this quad-core, 1.3GHz chip.
HD videos play smoother (and longer, with up to 12 hours of battery use for video) while games suddenly look fluid and dynamic, with water ripple effects, smoke, fog and explosions that mimic what you'd normally find in a PC game.
The super-crisp IPS display, which is similar to the one used on the iPad 2, is refreshingly easy on the eyes even in outdoor locations or with incandescent bulbs blazing around you.
The rear 8MP camera is a wonder of engineering. In several tests, HD videos recorded at 1080p looked smooth and clear, unlike the grainier results from the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Even the 1.2MP front-facing camera worked well for video chats, without the typical fuzziness of other tablets.
The Asus Transformer Prime also includes a free intuitive Asus webstorage app for offloading your files, and you can pop in a microSD card in a left-side slot up to 32GB each.
All of the typical connection options are here: Wi-Fi 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1, a 3.5mm headphone jack on the right and a micro HDMI port (also on the left) for connecting to an HD TV.
The 263 x 180.8 x 8.3mm tablet is wider than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, although the screen, at 1280 x 800p resolution and 10.1 inches, is the same size.
At 586g, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is lighter than the iPad 2 but a touch heavier than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, although nobody will notice a few grams.
The Prime was once the thinnest tablet on the market, but the Toshiba AT200 has now taken that accolade, although at 8.3mm, it's still mighty slender.
The 25Wh lithium-polymer battery lasts for about nine hours on a charge for normal use. Asus claims a battery life of 12 hours if you watch mostly videos, because of the way the Tegra 3 manages power.
The Transformer Prime has recently received an upgrade to Android 4.0.3, Ice Cream Sandwich, which is a marked improvement on the Honeycomb system it originally shipped with.