The Transformer Prime is the most hyped Android tablet of the year so we quickly said yes when ASUS requested a full product review of the world’s first quad-core Tegra 3 device. Unfortunately we only had about one full day with the Transformer Prime before we were allowed to post about it tonight, so we tried to touch on all the major high points of the device. Read on for our initial impressions.
ASUS Transformer Prime Highlights
The Transformer Prime comes available in two colors, Amethyst Grey and Champagne Gold. We happened to receive a Champagne Gold tablet and Amethyst Grey dock station, so we got a look at both options. Right away we noticed the high-end feel of the Transformer Prime thanks to its aluminum casing.
The bezel around the screen is a little wider than some tablets, but it tapers off on the back side around the edges so it feels slimmer in the hand. Sitting on the tablet next to each other, the Transformer Prime is a hair thinner than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (0.33 in. vs 0.34 in).
Inside the box we found a wall charger, data cable, manual, warranty card, and screen wipe.
Gaming with Tegra Zone
There are many benefits to NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 processor, but the most obvious one is the premium content available from Tegra Zone. There are currently about 25 games available, but that number is expected to grow to 40+ by the end of the year and 12+ are said to be optimized for specifically for Tegra 3.
Most of the titles that NVIDIA pre-loaded for us were still early demos, but they looked good in the early stages. All the Tegra 2 games we tried ran beautifully and we tested several other titles from the Android Market. New games from EA Mobile and Glu ran with no problems, but several titles from Gameloft were not yet supported.
Gameloft has shown they will support just about any device that sells, so we look forward to playing some of their future titles like Modern Combat 3 and Gangstar Rio.
Tegra 3 also supports just about any game controller, so you can sync up your Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, or Logitech gamepad up to your Transformer Prime. Gamers can also connect the tablet to an HDTV set and enjoy 3D graphics thanks to NVIDIA’s 3D Vision technology. We didn’t get a chance to try the 3D Vision experience yet, so check back later in the week for the results.
Some say benchmarks are pointless, but we still like to play around with them and compare the results. For this round of testing we compared the Transformer Prime (Tegra 3), Galaxy Tab 10.1 (Tegra 2), Galaxy Tab 8.9 (Tegra 2), Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus (Exynos 4210), and Sony Tablet S (Tegra 2). All devices were tested with the latest software and the Transformer Prime was running with the Normal power profile.
We did our best to stick with benchmarks that are freely available in the Android Market or the web.
Antutu: First up was Antutu which measures memory performance, CPU integer performance, CPU floating point performance, 2D graphics, 3D graphics, SD card readingwriting speeds, and database IO. Tegra 3 dominated in the RAM and CPU tests, but the graphics, database, and SD card speeds were comparable to the current generation of tablets.
CF-Bench: Next up we tried CF-Bench which calls itself the “premiere multi-core-capable CPU benchmark.” Tegra 3 scored about 2x higher in the native tests which gave it a higher total score, but Java performance was on par with the others. Even though the benchmark produces a final score, the developer notes that “you should take those with a grain of salt. It is simply not theoretically possible to produce a single number that accurately describes a device’s performance.”
GLBenchmark 2.1: Next we went with GLBenchmark 2.1 which measures “quality and performance of the underlying OpenGL ES 2.x implementation.” We performed the Egypt and Pro tests in 720p offscreen mode so the results wouldn’t be affected by different resolutions. The Tegra 3 easily outscored the competition on the Egypt test and the Exynos in the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus
NenaMark2: Moving on with graphics performance we tried out NenaMark2. This test is also an OpenGL|ES 2.0 benchmark for high-end mobile devices. Tegra 3 scored the highest framerate, but the Exynos 4210 inside the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus was close behind.
RightWare Browsermark: Finally we turned to another test called RightWare Browsermark to confirm the browser performance. Tegra 3 was faster than Tegra 2, but once again the Exynos 4210 (Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus) turned in the highest score.
Coming soon. I wanted to post the above results since they were finished and I will continue to update my first impressions.