In our original review of the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime I did the best I could do given limited testing opportunity with the platform before the NDA lifted on all the reviews. I made the commitment back then to come back with additional findings after I had spent more time with the platform. Today I'm back to make good on that promise.

Two more Eee Pad Transformer Prime samples later and here we are. Next week retailers and etailers should begin shipping the first orders of the Prime out to customers. There were a number of gaps I wasn't happy with in our original review of the Prime, and I've spent the past couple of weeks trying to fill them. Even what I'm presenting today isn't perfect, but when combined with the original review it should paint a more complete picture of the Eee Pad Transformer Prime.

And I've got video, something I had to cut out of the original review due to time constraints:

The WiFi Story

I'm on my third Transformer Prime. The original sample was almost completely broken when it came to wireless connectivity. I had very little range on the integrated WiFi and performance typically hovered around 0.5Mbps, sometimes reaching as high as 2Mbps. ASUS originally claimed that no one else had this issue but it looks like the CNet reviewer also noticed it. That sample went back to ASUS for diagnosis but I don't have the results back from the autopsy yet. A simple guess would be an antenna that wasn't properly connected, although it could just as easily have been something more complicated.

ASUS overnighted me a second Transformer Prime; this one was tested at ASUS in California before making its way out to me. As I published earlier, I had issues with the second sample and any Apple wireless access points (Time Capsule or Airport Extreme). Using a Netgear AP I saw 16Mbps pretty consistently, but I could only get ~32Mbps if the tablet was at the right orientation with respect to the AP. ASUS' HQ eventually conceded that there might have been a problem with the second WiFi antenna on pre-production review samples. Apparently this issue was fixed in the retail lot, but may not have been addressed in what ASUS originally shipped us. Wait—second WiFi antenna?

It turns out that the Eee Pad Transformer Prime features WiFi antenna diversity. We've talked about antenna diversity most often with reference to the cellular chain on Apple's iPhone 4 and 4S, but here it's present on the Prime's WiFi. There are two antennas on the Transformer Prime, one located on either side of the front facing camera. In the second Transformer Prime sample, one of the two wasn't working. In my third review sample, taken from the retail lot that's on its way to vendors this week, both were fully functional. The result is peak WiFi performance that is virtually identical to the original Eee Pad Transformer.

WiFi Performance

There is no RF window on the back of the Prime where the two antennas are located. Aluminum does a fairly good job of attenuating RF signals, which contributes to worse range on WiFi than the original plastic Eee Pad Transformer. WiFi performance at the edge of reception as well as the maximum usable WiFi range are both noticeably lower than its predecessor. I'm still finalizing our tablet WiFi range tests to be able to quantify some of this stuff, but it's safe to say that if you were at the edge of WiFi coverage on the original Transformer, the Prime won't be any better.

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  • kishorshack - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    That graph is still a bit difficult to understand
    a typical graph comparing two transformers would have been great :|
    Reply
  • freedom4556 - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    While your video reviews are really cool and you should definitely keep doing them, I think you should have some sort of a sign-off at the end of them. The way it just cuts is really abrupt. You know, something simple like along the lines of "I'm Anand Shimpi and this has been the Eee pad Transformer Prime" or something. It'd add a little polish.

    Good review though, I much prefer listening to reading
    Reply
  • Matias - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    Sign in too, something like "Hi, my name is Anand from Anandtech and today I'll be reviewing..." you know?

    20 minutes is ok, good video.
    Reply
  • Andrew Rockefeller - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    I think this passage from an interview with Anand may sum up his feeling on extranious self promotion:

    http://www.theverge.com/2011/11/14/2560801/5-minut...

    "...when I first started attending industry events I noticed everyone always introduced themselves as Name from Publication. It always rubbed me the wrong way. If I'm asking a question, and my question is appropriately phrased, the publication I write for is irrelevant information."
    Reply
  • Belard - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    In asking the question at an industry event, I agree with your view and Anand's. Its a really KISS MY BUTT thing to do, like should you get a difference answer because who is asking?

    But this is about the video. A proper closing (perhaps with a fade to black) would be nicer and more polished. Even the video editor in Windows7 can handle such jobs easily - and I think his Macbook can as well.

    Also, his video can be embedded onto other sights, people may not know WHO is talking or where it came from.

    It is the end that is at issue.
    Reply
  • bungfinger - Tuesday, January 03, 2012 - link

    "Also, his video can be embedded onto other sights, people may not know WHO is talking or where it came from."

    yeah! because it's unfair to all the illiterate folk... who cruise geek sights for reviews on tech.. who can't read... that small inconspicuous sign over your left shoulder... wait... what?
    Reply
  • MrTeal - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    I know I always enjoy being told to stay classy. Reply
  • Graag - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    That would be a *great* sign off line.

    "That concludes our review. This is Anand Shimpi for Anandtech.com reminding you to stay classy."
    Reply
  • Belard - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    Also... OMG! He lost his hair! I remember about 10 years ago when he had... hair, on HIS HEAD!! Put a wig on man, please!!

    Don't take it personal Anand... I knew I would be balding when I was a teenager and my hairline started thinning in my mid-20s. I tried that Rogaine (sp?) crap for about 2 days, but that sticky nasty stuff felt horrible and the IDEA of putting sticky crap on my head every day for the rest of my life (at about $25 a month) seemed stupid.

    I shaved my head that day. And I keep it shaved. I've haven't seen my curls in years, I don't need a comb. Makes me look a bit tough too :)

    PS: Asus has done a great job with their tablets... It amazing how HP, RIM, Toshiba and others have screwed up.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    To be honest, there was about another 30 seconds at the end of the video that ended up being cut out which contained a more gradual sign off. I appreciate the feedback for sure :)

    I try to do these things in one take, it significantly reduces editing time and helps me get them done given the already insane schedule we have to work on at times. This one suffered as a result but I'll do my best to avoid the abrupt ending happening again in the future :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply

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