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The leading-edge Retina widescreen display boasting 2048 x 1536 pixels provides extraordinary image quality. This is driven by the all new A6X chip with performance twice as fast as the previous-generation A5X chip which will provide ultra-fast processing of your work related, network and entertainment needs.
Apple is something of a remarkable company and the market dominance it has achieved over the course of the last several years is truly astonishing. Apple products have been embraced to an extent that they now form part of our every day vocabulary, with hardly a soul not recognising the familiar ‘i’ pre-fixed appliances (iPod/ iPhone/ iPad). The early indications are that it’s very good too, retaining the same design that made its predecessors so popular and adding a variety of improved hardware. It’s available with 16, 32 or 64 GBs of memory, according to your storage needs. A new A6X processor means that it should be the smoothest running, fastest iPad yet and it’s supported by Apple’s latest iOS 6 operating system. Critics of earlier iPads have been heeded as an improved front-facing camera has finally made its way into the tablet. The highlight feature and undoubted showstopper of the 4th gen iPad is its beautiful ultra-high-definition retina display. 4G connectivity is also much improved (there’s also a scaled back model without 4G compatibility) internet connectivity, although it’s not yet supported in the UK. Improved battery life is an added bonus and there’s full support from Apple’s App Store, including a range of Apps specifically designed for use with the iPad.
If you’re looking to buy a new tablet and simply want the best model available, the 4th gen iPad wins by quite some margin. Significant upgrades in both hardware and software mean that this is the tablet to beat right now and currently none of Apple’s competitors come close. If you’re already an 'New' iPad 3rd gen owner an expensive upgrade is less appealing, unless you’re a die-hard Apple fan or simply want the latest, optimized components. For anyone who doesn’t currently own a tablet though, the choice is obvious. The 4th gen iPad can do everything that its predecessor can, only better and it can also do more. We think that the hardware improvements are especially appealing and in particular that gorgeous screen. The 4th gen iPad is undoubtedly the tablet to own right now.
We’re always thrilled to hear that a new Apple product is coming out, as it doesn’t only usually mean that we’re going to see another quality product, but also that we get to indulge in our favourite guilty pleasure of unboxing a new Apple device. It’s a little geeky, yes, but we really don’t care when a process that’s usually fairly mundane is made this much fun. The packaging is exactly what we have come to expect from Apple; modern, minimalistic and sophisticated.
The hard cardboard box is barely larger than the 4th gen iPad itself and the outside is entirely white, with the only details being a picture of the tablet and the word ‘iPad’ proudly displayed on the side. Lifting the lid of the box brings you face to face with the 4th gen iPad immediately and it’s reassuringly familiar, bearing more than a passing resemblance to its predecessor, the 'New' iPad 3rd gen.
Where in the past it was desirable for electronics to come laden with additional accessories, these days we prefer a ‘less is more’ approach. The 4th gen iPad simply doesn’t need many external extras as everything you need has already been integrated and updates come directly from the internet. This is ideal for the fast paced society we live in as it makes the 4th gen iPad a true ‘all in one’ appliance that doesn’t require you to carry lots of separate bits and pieces. Once you have removed the tablet itself from the box, you’ll find the usual documentation (including a quick start guide), as well as a lightening connector to USB Cable (to physically connect to a computer) and USB power adapter.
We love Apple packaging as it doesn’t only provide a great first impression of a product that you’ve made a considerable investment in, but it’s also environmentally friendly. We always give credit where it’s due and Apple never leaves us with much waste, it’s a minor point, but small touches like this are what give a brand like Apple such an impeccable reputation.
Whenever a new Apple product comes out it’s inevitable that a lot of the hype surrounding it will focus on the design. This is because Apple has achieved the rare feat of transcending market niches with its products. In other words, investing in the 4th gen iPad doesn’t just get you the latest must-have tablet, but also the must-have multimedia device, on the go workstation, fashion accessory and so much more. In short, Apple products have become much more than electronic devices, embodying modernity and acting as a status symbol that the majority of us want to be associated with.
As previously mentioned, the 4th gen iPad looks a lot like the model before it, the 'New' iPad, which is no bad thing. Sitting side by side (switched off) it’s hard to tell the 4th gen iPad and 'New' iPad apart, it’s fortunate then that both happen to be stunning appliances. The 4th gen iPad is available in a choice of finishes, glossy black or classic ‘iPod’ white. We think that the black version looks classier if you plan on using it primarily for work, whilst the white is arguably younger and a little less serious looking. It has dimensions of 185.7 mm (width) x 9.4 mm (depth) x 241.2 mm (height), making it fairly compact. With the 4G compatible 4th gen iPad coming in at 662 grams (non 4G weighs 652 grams) it’s considerably heavier than the iPad 2, which isn’t ideal for a portable device. We think it’s still an acceptable weight so wouldn’t consider this a good enough reason not to get a 4th gen iPad.
The 4th gen iPad has phenomenal build-quality that lends to a premium overall feel. It’s made of a combination of glass and aluminium, with a special anti-scratch proof coating to keep everything looking pristine. It’s fairly durable too and whilst we wouldn’t subject it to any falls, a little due care should keep your 4th gen iPad working well for years to come.
What is arguably the most important aspect of the 4th gen iPad’s design is also its main feature. The front of the device, like most modern tablets, is dominated by a touch-screen display, but this isn’t just any old screen. Boasting a 1536 x 2048 pixels resolution, Apple has equipped the 4th gen iPad with a vastly improved ‘retina’ display over the iPad 2. Whilst the iPad 2 hardly had a shabby display, this is a completely different ball-game. It provides a whopping 264 pixels per square inch and it’s utterly breath-taking. Photos and videos take on new depth, as well as the sharpest image we’ve yet to see on a tablet. Colours are lush and true to life, whilst even blacks and whites look far superior to their reproduction on competing screens. The ‘retina’ display also takes gaming to levels previously not experienced on tablets, providing the most immersive experience yet. We could rave about how good the display is all day, but for anyone in doubt, just try going back to an older tablet after using the 4th gen iPad for a while and you’ll be lamenting the inferiority in no time. There is however no difference between the 'New' iPad and 4th gen iPad displays.
In trademark Apple fashion, the 4th gen iPad is very minimalistic in design, allowing your full attention to be drawn to the fabulous retina display. There are also 2 cameras, one of which is on the front for use with FaceTime (Apple’s video-chat service) and the other, is on the back for photos and video capturing. The front-facing camera has been improved to 1.2MP (from 0.3MP in the 'New' iPad). There are a few physical controls, although they’ve been kept to a minimum to keep the device’s sleek lines intact. The ever-useful home button sits directly beneath the screen, allowing you a rapid return to your home page at any time. There are also volume controls, a mute button and a power switch grouped in the top left hand corner of the 4th gen iPad. Everything’s comfortably within reach and for once it’s nice to find that there’s neither a control lacking, nor anything that we considered unnecessary. All-round the 4th gen iPad is wonderfully designed and well put together.
In terms of features the 4th gen iPad doesn’t represent a huge amount of progress from previous models. We’ve already delved into the main feature, the ultra high-resolution retina display that is absolutely to die for. But the Retina display was also present in the 'New' iPad. That’s not to say that there isn’t plenty to be pleased with though and anyone who hasn’t owned an iPad before will be especially impressed by what’s on offer.
Apple has however updated the iPad’s processor. The 4th gen iPad runs on the all new A6X processor. This provides faster running speeds than we’ve previously seen on tablets, allowing apps to open instantly and memory hungry games to run as smoothly as possible. Most importantly, the A6X processor equips 4th gen iPad owners well for the future as it is able to easily deal with newer, more demanding apps and software. A further benefit that the A6X processor provides is in ironing out any of the seams that users of Apple’s iOS 6 interface have experienced on older products. In fact it feels like Apple’s iOS6 operating system was made for the device as it never falters. It’s as easy to use as ever and the new processor provides the requisite power to make the experience smoother and faster than ever before.
Whilst the new A6X processor remains dual-core, it's approximately double the speed of the previous generation A5X processor. This is a step up for the iPad and allows you to really take advantage of the glorious retina display. The 4th gen iPad also trumps long-time console giants the PS3 and Xbox 360 on graphics, and this is where the 4th gen iPad could really come into its own. Never before have we put a tablet within touching distance of dedicated consoles for gaming, but that’s all about to change. The 4th gen iPad represents a departure from how we traditionally think of gaming as it has all of the graphical prowess of a home console and you can also take it anywhere with you, like a handheld console. Most importantly it’s also compatible with Apple TV, allowing you to wirelessly stream the game you’re playing over your TV. Another advantage that the 4th gen iPad has for gaming is support from Apple’s App store, where new games can be found daily. The only thing that consoles still have over the iPad is support for gamepad controllers, but we’d be willing to bet that it won’t be long until Apple adds gamepad support too. In short, the 4th gen iPad gives you all of the benefits of a console as well as more, in the ability to take it with you and an impressively wide selection of games downloadable from the App store.
Power was always going to be a bit of a worry with that impressive display’s running demands, but we should show more faith in Apple. The battery provides a more than ample 10 hours of usage, cut down to around 8 hours with heavy internet usage. This is really good as it means you’re unlikely to be left stranded without enough battery-life.
Like all Apple products, the 4th gen iPad gives you access to the App Store, where you can download various applications. A new range of apps specifically designed for use with the 4th gen iPad are being released constantly at the moment and are great for taking advantage of the beautiful display. Music can be bought and downloaded directly from Apple’s iTunes store and the simple to use iTunes software makes managing music between your iPad and home computer an absolute breeze. The 4th gen iPad also supports Apple’s virtual storage system ‘iCloud’, which allows you to wirelessly send data between compatible appliances. This is great for accessing information on the move and allows you to transfer data without the disturbance of physically connecting your iPad to a computer.
Another great feature, at least in theory, is the 4th gen iPad’s (dependant on model) improved 4G internet compatibility. This should provide super-fast internet speeds that will blow the competition out of the water. Unfortunately however, 4G isn’t yet supported in the UK. If 4G connectivity is your main reason for getting a 4th gen iPad, it might be worth waiting until Apple announces its plans for the UK.
As mentioned previously, the 4th gen iPad also comes equipped with two cameras. The front camera is a fairly standard affair that Apple intends for use with its FaceTime video-calling service (although it can just as easily be used with Skype or other VOIP services). The front camera has been upgraded to 1.2MP (from 0.3MP in the 'New' iPad). The back camera is where things get interesting. Dubbed the ‘iSight’ camera, it offers 5-megapixel resolution and a ‘5 element lens’ that Apple claim makes all the difference to picture quality. You won’t want to carry this in favour of a digital camera, but it’s perfect for fun snaps with friends or taking quick photos on the move. It can do video very well too, although the 4th gen iPad’s size is slightly prohibitive for filming. Think beach videos and fun-times with friends and you’ll be thrilled with what the ‘iSight’ camera has to offer.
Whilst the 4th gen iPad may not represent a complete departure from its predecessor, the 4th gen iPad is an incredibly well designed device with the sort of features that will be useful over and over again. It’s an incredible looking tablet, bearing Apple’s trademark design and the new A6X processor keeps everything on the inside running as smoothly as the sleekness of the exterior. 4G compatibility is excellent news for faster internet browsing, but it doesn’t yet mean much for UK users unfortunately (users will have to wait for Apple to announce a solution to this issue once 4G is available in the UK). The amazing high-resolution retina display is undoubtedly the best screen that we’ve seen on a portable product.
If you’re already a 'New' iPad owner you should take time deciding if upgrading to the 4th gen iPad makes sense to you personally, but for everyone else, there’s no question that the 4th gen iPad has raised the bar to new heights. The new processor is outstanding, it’s brilliant for games and who could resist that gorgeous display? If the high price doesn’t deter you and you want what is quite simply the best tablet currently available, the 4th gen iPad is the obvious choice.
Versatile design incorporating detachable keyboard, beefy Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor, stunning graphics capability coupled with 10.1" high resolution display for maximum gaming and viewing enjoyment. The latest Android ICS operating system and two top notch cameras are added benefits.
Over the course of the last few years technological innovation and consumer demands have moved in tandem. The majority of consumers have little time and we are frequently on the move, forcing the personal electronics market to take a shift in focus towards portable products. Initially the laptop reigned supreme, then we entered the smartphone era and now tablet computers are the order of the day. Offering greater portability than a full sized laptop and a more practical interface than a smartphone, tablets look set to be one of the major gadgets of choice for years to come. Since bringing the first iPad to production in 2010, Apple has enjoyed the lion’s share of dominance in the tablet market, but with increasing numbers of competing tablets being unveiled constantly Apple’s seat on top of the pile could be under threat for the first time.
Spearheading the charge to produce a tablet to topple the iPad is long-time international computer giant Asus with its new Eee Pad Transformer Prime. Don’t be put off by that mouthful of a name as the Transformer Prime is an excellent piece of kit that gives you all the portability of a tablet with a twist.
With the Transformer Prime, Asus has addressed a problem that’s plagued technology users since the tablet’s rise to prominence. Users’ requiring a device that gives the possibility of work on the move as well as entertainment and a comfortable interface for the home have to make the tricky decision whether to invest in a tablet or fully fledged laptop, or indeed face the costly prospect of buying both. The Transformer Prime takes away the need for you to choose between a laptop and tablet, as it is actually a hybrid that incorporates the best of both. On the one hand it acts as an attractive, professional looking tablet that is highly portable, whilst on the other it can be attached to its accompanying keyboard dock to transform into a traditional laptop. This gives you the compactness of a tablet to take with you and the practicality of a traditional laptop for comfortable use at home. With an Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor at the heart of things it’s got plenty of power and excellent running speeds too. Nvidia is known for graphics and doesn’t disappoint, making gaming a joy in conjunction with the Transformer Prime’s excellent high resolution display. The Transformer Prime also runs the latest Android Ice Cream Sandwich Operating System (the Transformer Prime has to be upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich on start-up), making set up incredibly easy and providing a simple solution to your digital content management . A lengthy battery life keeps you connected for longer and support from the Android App store provides regularly updated multimedia content.
If you don’t know whether you need a tablet or full sized laptop, but want a portable solution that can also be used to work effectively at home it’s well worth considering the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime. It’s easy to carry whilst using it as a tablet and can be docked with the detachable keyboard to provide a more comfortable working space for home. It also runs the latest Android software and is reasonably affordable, presenting an attractive iPad alternative.
There’s plenty to get excited about right away with the Transformer Prime as the slim protective packaging, barely thicker than the Transformer Prime itself, gives an early indication of the quality within.
Opening the box brings you face to face with the rear of the tablet, nestled into its enclosure face down to protect the precious screen. Even the rear of the device, bearing only the embossed Asus logo, looks professional and high quality. Removing the Transformer prime shows that its keyboard comes attached and there are a few other accessories accompanying it too. There’s an AV power charger to keep energy levels topped up and a USB cable for physical data transfer. You’ll also find a quick-start guide in addition to the usual documentation. There aren’t bags of extra accessories as you just don’t need them which is a testament to the excellent usability of the Transformer Prime. Any extras or updates are wirelessly downloadable directly from Asus via the MyCloud web storage service.
Since tablets first emerged manufacturers have spent an increasing amount of time concentrating on design. This change in focus was a direct response to consumer demand for tablets that not only work well, but also offer appealing looks. The consummate example of this trend can be seen in the success of the iPad which has gone beyond technology in becoming a fashion accessory in its own right. With the Transformer Prime, Asus has also put a lot of thought into design, albeit with specific emphasis on practicality and versatility of use, rather than fashion. It’s an intelligent ploy as the Transformer Prime is brilliantly designed, allowing you to maximise on the efficiency of your tablet use regardless of where you are.
The Transformer Prime is available in a choice of amethyst grey or champagne gold finish, both of which are eye catching yet professional (we prefer the grey for a slightly more executive look). All smooth edges and rounded corners, the Transformer Prime is as sleek as can be for extremely comfortable use. With dimensions of 263 mm (width) x 10.4 mm (depth) x 181 mm (height) it’s an incredibly compact device too making it easy to stow away in a bag. With the keyboard detached the thin frame is further reduced to an ultra slim 8.3 mm, making it a shade more slender than the latest iPad and securing precious points for Asus in the design sweepstakes. It’s also considerably lighter than the majority of its rivals, tipping the scales at a pleasing 586 grams (although the keyboard dock will probably need to be left at home as it weighs an additional 537 grams).
The obvious headline design feature of the Transformer Prime is its detachable keyboard, the result being that it bridges the divide between tablet and full sized laptop form. This allows the Transformer Prime to be used in the most effective way possible wherever you are. If you find yourself on a crowded train for instance, the tablet form is ideal allowing you maximum portability without taking up too much space. In contrast, when at home you can attach the tablet to its keyboard dock and enjoy the more comfortable home set up of a traditional laptop that you don’t have to hold. Our one complaint is that when the Transformer Prime is docked to its keyboard it appears to become top-heavy, meaning that you’re best off keeping it away from the edge of your desk to avoid accidents as any added weight may cause it to tumble. The detachable keyboard makes typing at home much easier than the (admittedly very good) on screen keyboard and also provides better controls for playing games. It’s an excellent keyboard too, with well spaced out and highly responsive keys making extended typing a pleasure. The dock doesn’t only add the functionality of a keyboard, but also adds power to the already impressive battery life (more on this later). The dock also includes a full sized USB port to support external devices like hard drives or memory sticks. It’s a fantastic system that gives Asus something that rival tablets can’t offer in terms of practicality and versatility of use, in fact the detachable keyboard works so well that we wouldn’t be surprised if we start to see more manufacturers following suit in the near future.
One of the most noticeable things about the Transformer Prime is how good it feels in your hands. Easily gripped and reassuringly sturdy, the absence of even the slightest creak from the tablet’s housing is indicative of its premium build quality. Considering the Transformer Prime’s fairly affordable price in comparison to some of its rivals we have to say that it feels more expensive than it actually is, giving away nothing in terms of build quality to the competing latest tablet releases. This premium finish is achieved through high quality construction, with the tablet’s back being entirely made of brushed aluminium and the front (touchscreen) of protective, toughened glass. This also makes the Transformer Prime extremely durable and, whilst dropping it isn’t advisable, it should be more than up to the rigours of travelling with the modern professional.
The front (or inside depending on if it is docked) of the Transformer Prime is dominated by a 10.1 inch touchscreen display and it’s outstanding too. It’s incredibly responsive allowing seamless navigation of the user interface and provides a stunning resolution of 1280x800 pixels. High definition videos and pictures look exceptional, with the impressive level of brightness making viewing a joy in any light setting. There’s even a boosted level of brightness to aid reading outdoors in bright conditions. Asus has also ensured that the touchscreen is well protected by making it out of scratch resistant gorilla glass, meaning that with a little care on your part it can stay looking new for years to come.
With the exception of the high quality touchscreen, the Transformer Prime is very minimalistic in design, although there are a few connectivity options crammed into its tight frame. In addition to physical volume controls there’s an SD card reader for external content like photos, a micro HDMI port to connect to an HD TV or monitor and the standard 3.5 mm headphone jack. All in all the Transformer Prime looks stunning and provides an innovative design package that includes all of the connectivity options you should need.
When a product is as well designed as the Transformer Prime and selling at a decent price to boot, we immediately have to worry that corners have been cut somewhere as a means of compromise. Fortunately there’s no such evidence on display from Asus here as the Transformer Prime is packed with genuinely useful features. As stated previously, the main feature is the Transformer Prime’s design, allowing it to be used either as a tablet or complete laptop. Whilst the ‘transformation’ feature of the design scheme obviously steals the show, Asus has still managed to pack in plenty of other features to keep you interested and improve the everyday usability of your tablet.
Aside from its clever design, the feature of the Transformer Prime that has been generating the most discussion is its new beefed up processor and it’s instantly obvious why. The processor in question is Nvidia’s 1.4 GHz Tegra 3 quad core chip which provides masses of power. It’s one of the most powerful processors around and its effects can really be felt with the Transformer Prime running at lightning fast speeds. Regardless of data heavy tasks like video editing or gaming, the processor keeps things running unbelievably quickly and smoothly with almost no noticeable background noise to bother you. The environmentally friendly amongst our readers will also be pleased to know that Asus has given the Transformer Prime a selection of 3 different energy settings to compensate for its powerful processor. ‘Power saving’ mode allows you to customise the energy output to your specification, ‘Balanced’ evens out the energy usage automatically and the regular mode provides maximum power. This is a useful feature both in being energy conscious and allowing you to maximise on battery life when not using the Transformer Prime for intensive tasks.
The Nvidia processor also handles the Transformer Prime’s graphic capabilities which, given Nvidia’s reputation, are unsurprisingly superb. Details look stunning on the high resolution display and there isn’t a hint of lag whether you’re playing a demanding video game or watching HD video. If you do enjoy the odd bit of gaming you’ll be pleased to hear that competing tablets simply can’t live with the Transformer Prime in this field. Not only do the graphics look stunning, but the processor keeps gameplay moving at a brilliant frame rate and the detachable keyboard provides a superior control option to rival tablets. The keyboard dock’s built in USB port also allows the use of a compatible control pad (wired Xbox 360 & PS3 controllers work or a compatible wireless gamepad) to further heighten your gaming experience. The Transformer Prime’s micro HDMI port also gives you the option of playing games or watching video through an HD TV or external monitor for a more immersive level of entertainment.
At the time the Transformer Prime hit the shelves the latest incarnation of the Android operating system, Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 (ICS), wasn’t out yet. This is unfortunate as it means that the tablet doesn’t come pre-loaded with the latest software, it’s a small complaint though as you’ll be prompted to update on turning the Transformer Prime on for the first time. The update is essential too as ICS is undoubtedly the best version of the Android operating system available to date, making content management incredibly easy. The user interface is extremely easy to use with clear menus dividing settings and there’s plenty of useful information on offer such as the ability to keep an eye on your data usage. Users wanting away from the restrictions that Apple imposes on its devices will be thrilled by how much tweaking and customization the Android interface allows, letting users apply a more personal touch to their Transformer Primes. A huge merit of ICS is that it gives you the option to close apps instantly when you are finished using them, preventing apps running in the background from sapping away the tablet’s power.
Another advantage that the Android ICS operating system provides is access to Android’s app Market Place. There’s loads on offer too with all of the major players making an appearance, like the Facebook app for social networking and BBC’s iPlayer catch-up app. Android still can’t quite match the depth of Apple’s App Store for content, especially for dedicated tablet apps, but there’s still plenty to keep you entertained. This is far easier to accept when you throw in the fact that Android supports flash content (which Apple products don’t) and consider the amount of extra entertainment that puts at your fingertips through the internet.
The Transformer Prime is available with a choice of either 32 GB or 64 GB of storage space depending on how much you’ll think you need. We would probably advise going for the 64 GB model as if you don’t it won’t be long before you’re wondering where the space has gone, especially if you plan on heavy multimedia usage. For added storage you can always supplement the Transformer Prime with an external storage device and you get 8 GB of free storage from Asus’ MyCloud web storage service. This is really useful as cloud storage allows you to access your content from anywhere, making it easy to pull up that document that you’d otherwise of forgotten at home at a moment’s notice. MyCloud also delivers any firmware updates for the Transformer Prime so that you can wirelessly download and install them wherever you may be.
MyNet is another useful feature which enables you to link up your Transformer Prime wirelessly with compatible devices. Digital media can be wirelessly streamed to or from the Transformer Prime via DLNA technology. This allows you to pump out music from the Transformer Prime to external speakers or watch HD video through a compatible big screen TV.
Asus has also included 2 fully integrated cameras in the Transformer Prime. The front-facing 1.2 megapixel camera is ideal for video chat, meaning that you need never be far from your loved ones even if away on business. The rear camera is a different animal altogether and boasting 8 megapixels, it’s one of the very best tablet cameras available. Photo details are extremely sharp and colour is reproduced with stellar accuracy. Video recording in 1080p high definition is excellent too, offering excellent clarity and smoothness. It’s questionable how much you’ll find use for these features due to the awkward nature of tablet photography, but it’s still reassuring having some of the best photography features about nonetheless.
Finally we have to turn our attention to the Transformer Prime’s battery life. An added bonus of the detachable keyboard dock is that it adds to the Transformer Prime’s usable battery life significantly. Despite its advertised longevity of 12 hours (not attached to the dock) you can realistically expect the Transformer Prime to achieve more along the lines of 10 hours if it’s in regular use, which is still highly respectable. Once you attach the Transformer Prime to the keyboard dock the battery life shoots up to an unbelievable 18 hours. Although this can only be achieved in conjunction with the dock, it’s still a staggering battery life that should allow you to go about your business without charging the tablet too often. This feature is also a huge plus for those who travel frequently and may not have the opportunity to charge the Transformer Prime regularly.
Recently manufacturers have been driving hard to unseat Apple on top of the tablet marketplace and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is one of the strongest contenders to do so yet. It’s unique design gives the user the ultimate in versatility, allowing the Transformer Prime to be used as a full sized laptop or be removed from its keyboard dock to act as a stand-alone tablet. This provides the most practical working set up regardless of your location and the keyboard dock also adds to the Transformer Prime’s battery life as an added bonus. The hugely powerful Nvidia Tegra 3 quad core processor keeps everything running in silkily smooth fashion and the graphics performance is stunning for gaming in conjunction with the outstanding 10.1” high resolution display. The touchscreen is instantly responsive and provides another method of input to go alongside the detachable keyboard. The latest Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 operating system provides easy content management, as well as access to thousands of apps from Android’s app Market Place. Flash compatibility means that there’s endless entertainment on offer via the internet too. Asus has even included a really impressive 8 megapixel camera so that you can take high quality snaps or record HD video on the go.
We highly recommend the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime and think that it’s arguably the best Android supported tablet on the market. Its combination of innovative design and high quality components makes it one of the best iPad alternatives available. Whether work or entertainment, the Transformer Prime is up to any task and we think it’s well worth looking into.
Unbeatable value for money, impressive performance, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Operating System, powerful processor, solid build quality, attractive design, but there’s no room for an HDMI port, no rear-facing camera, as well as no 3G. The good far outweighs the bad with how much quality the Nexus 7 provides at such a low price!
Choosing a new tablet computer isn’t the easiest of decisions these days. You can either go with the flow by getting an iPad, or go for a cheaper option and accept that it will almost certainly have some flaws as the manufacturer has been forced to make compromises to keep the cost down. However, all that’s set to change. The Nexus 7 is the new 7 inch tablet from Google and first impressions suggest it’s nothing short of phenomenal. Unlike most cheaper tablets the Nexus 7 looks great and with a quad-core processor under the bonnet it’s got plenty of power too. It’s the first tablet running Google’s latest Android operating system 4.1 Jelly Bean and everything runs beyond smoothly as a result. The Nexus 7’s small size is also a plus as it can easily fit in your back pocket, allowing you to comfortably take work and multimedia with you wherever you go. We were stunned by how good Google’s Nexus 7 is and see it as the premier choice for anyone looking for a high quality alternative to the iPad, or simply a brilliantly built affordable tablet.
Generally budget tablets seem to suffer most in the design stakes as manufacturers sacrifice appearance in favour of cramming more quality components inside the device. This couldn’t be less true of the Nexus 7 which looks every bit as stylish as any of its leading rivals. The 7 inch touchscreen display completely covers the front of the device, running from edge to edge and lending a sleek overall appearance. The glass adds a luxury feel to the device and the use of protective Corning Gorilla Glass should keep it safe from scratches. The curved back of the nexus is covered in a textured rubber for improved grip, also adding a cushioned effect that makes it very comfortable to hold.
At first you might think that a tablet with a 7 inch screen is too small, but given its quality the Nexus 7 actually fills a niche in the market that up until now was unoccupied. With total dimensions of 198.5 x 120 x 10.45 mm (width x height x depth) the Nexus 7 should fit in your back pocket or jacket pocket without too much hassle. It’s also an extremely comfortable size to use in one hand, making it ideal for daily commutes. At just 340 grams, it’s a good deal lighter than most of its larger competitors too. Best of all and as we’ve already touched on, the build quality is also first class without a hint of flex coming from the casing over prolonged use.
A few physical controls are neatly concealed on the edge of the Nexus 7 in the form of the power and volume controls, a headphone jack, as well as a micro-USB port. This brings us to our only complaints about the Nexus 7’s design, namely the omission of an HDMI port (negating connecting the Nexus to an HDTV) and micro SD card reader. Including these connectivity options would have been a big plus, but equally we’re not complaining when you look at how much you are getting at such low cost.
Having found no significant cause for complaint with the design or build quality of the Nexus 7, it was even more surprising to find that the features seem fairly flawless too. Where the Nexus is so different from the competition is that it’s not trying to be something it isn’t. The reality is that it’s nothing like budget tablets we’ve seen previously; instead it’s easier to think of as a high quality tablet that happens to have a ridiculously low asking price.
As we’ve already said, the Nexus doesn’t support micro SD memory cards, so there are two choices when it comes to storage. Google has given users the choice between a basic model with 8 GB of internal memory or alternatively a slightly bigger 16 GB model. With a price difference of around £50 between the two models we think it’s worth saving the extra pennies and going with the larger version, especially if you plan on using the device for memory hungry multimedia.
A feature that’s bound to make everyone stand up and pay attention is the Nexus 7’s hugely powerful Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor. At this point we’re utterly mind-blown as to how Google has kept the Nexus 7 so aggressively priced as this is the same highly rated processor that’s found in competing tablets that cost twice as much. There’s even 1 GB of RAM to back up the processor in the memory department. The result is stunning too as the Nexus 7 flies through any task you can throw at it speedily and smoothly. Apps, videos and even demanding video games are all handled with ease.
Whilst the hardware is very impressive, the smooth running of the Nexus 7 also owes a lot of thanks to Google’s latest Android operating system. The new OS, dubbed Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, is a joy to use and anyone who has used an Android device before will feel immediately at home. Fortunately it’s so easy to use that Android new comers will have an easy time getting to grips with the Nexus 7 too. The usual Google applications like Gmail and Maps are as useful as ever and there’s even a slightly less refined ‘Siri’ like voice control. One of the biggest plus points is the integration of Google’s Chrome web-browser, allowing you to login to Chrome on the Nexus 7 and continue viewing web-tabs that you already had open on another device. Google also make sure that your entertainment needs are taken care of by providing access to Google Play, from where you can download various apps and games, as well as sign up to subscriptions for movies (magazine subscriptions are on the way in the UK & it’s worth mentioning that you can only rent movies rather than buy them for now).
A feature that’s really deserving of another mention is the Nexus 7’s touchscreen display. It looks stunning with a resolution of 1280x800 pixels, far outdoing rivals like the Kindle Fire. As well as being extremely responsive for games, the Nexus 7’s screen is brilliant for HD videos too. The brightness is also really good and best of all is that the 7 inch size makes the Nexus 7 more suited to bed-time viewing than most of the competition. It’s ideal for video chat too, giving a crystal clear image thanks to the 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera. We weren’t bothered by Google’s decision to leave out a rear camera as tablets tend to be of limited use for photography and most of us carry smartphones with cameras anyway.
Our only small niggle with the Nexus 7’s features is that despite having built-in WiFi it lacks 3G. This isn’t tragic as you’ll still be able to get online from WiFi hot-spots or by tethering to a mobile, but it’s not ideal. Still, it seems churlish to complain about this too much as it’s hard to spot any other areas where Google has made any compromise at all with the quality of the Nexus 7. Besides, we think Google more than makes up for this with the Nexus 7’s 10 hour battery life, truly stellar performance for such a powerful little device.
When a product is this good you have to just hold your hands up and Google has really knocked it out of the park with this one. The Nexus 7 is a really stunning achievement and we think it’s going to be a big hit. From its powerful Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor to its sleek exterior, the Nexus 7 is top quality inside and out. The superb 7 inch touchscreen is a joy to use and unlike some bigger models can be comfortably carried with you at all times. Google’s latest Android Jelly Bean operating system keeps everything running as smoothly as could be and Google Play gives you plenty of entertainment options. It’s a shame that Google couldn’t squeeze in 3G, but equally at this price we aren’t overly worried. It’s still hard to believe that Google can offer the Nexus 7 with so many quality components at such good value and as such we consider it the newly crowned king of the affordable end of the tablet market. Don’t just take our word for it, check out the Nexus 7 for yourself and we’d be surprised if you aren’t every bit as impressed as us.
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