Is This the Future of Laptops?

Category: Laptops

The folks at Asus seem to be onto something with their Transformer Prime tablet. When attached to its docking keyboard, the Android-based Transformer Prime looks remarkably like a slimmed-down laptop. That resemblance has some wondering if the Transformer Prime can replace their bulky laptops. Let's take a look...

Can Transformer Prime Replace Your Laptop?

The Transformer Prime from Asus isn't a laptop, and it doesn't run Windows. But snap on the optional keyboard, fire up a few office apps (or the cool remote control software) and you might be convinced otherwise.

So, can the Prime tablet replace your laptop? It's possible, depending on what you need in a portable computer. Portability is the obvious first choice, and the Transformer Prime beats any laptop easily. The tablet alone weighs only 1.29 pounds and measures just 10.35 by 7.12 by 0.33 inches. Add the docking keyboard and the weight climbs to 2.47 pounds, compared to the Macbook Air's 2.38 pounds.
Asus Transformer Prime tablet

Battery life is another important aspect of portability. Most laptops give you only 4-5 hours. The Transformer Prime tablet will cruise for 9.5 hours on battery, according to Asus, or an astounding 18 hours when docked to the keyboard. Whether you believe that or not, Android tablets definitely burn less power than laptops.

A combination of installed apps and cloud-based software provides most of the productivity software that mobile users need, enabling the Transformer Prime to be a contender for serious business use. The Prime comes with the Polaris Office app, for editing locally stored word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation files (even when you don't have an Internet connection.)

Cloud-based office apps such as Google Docs and Google Drive give you the option to create, edit and store your business documents online. If you need to collaborate with others, or access the documents from other devices (your office desktop, for example), this is the way to go. Asus also offers a generous 8GB of free cloud storage.

Need access to programs (or games) that run only on Mac or PC platforms? Not a problem with the remote control program called MyDesktop that's included with the Transformer Prime. My Desktop lets you connect to another computer running Windows 7 or Mac OS X, and interact with it via the touchscreen or keyboard. You can see the MyDesktop software in action to understand how cool this really is.

Transformer Prime Hardware Specs

The Transformer Prime TF201 costs $499 and ships with 32 GB of internal storage and a microSD card slot. Connectivity options include 4G LTE, WiFi, and Bluetooth. Just to avoid confusion, I'll mention that there is also a Transformer Pad TF300, which is almost identical to the TF201 model. The TF300 sells for $379 (16GB) or $399 (32GB), and comes with the latest Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system. Aside from the lower price and OS upgrade, the most significant difference is that the TF300 uses more plastic in its design than the sleek aluminum case of the Prime.

The docking keyboard itself gets impressive reviews from professional writers. The keys are responsive, large enough, and laid out well. The inclusion of a trackpad makes the Transformer Prime's keyboard experience virtually indistinguishable from a laptop.

The 10-inch, 1280x800 pixel display is certainly small by laptop standards. But proponents of the Transformer Prime argue that it's good enough for serious work. The Prime does have a mini-HDMI port, so you have the option of adding a larger external monitor if you wish to do so.

The Transformer has Nvidia's 1.3-GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor, making it the first quad-core tablet. However, few Android apps have been optimized to take advantage of this level of performance. That will surely change as the Android and quad-core markets evolve.

Road warriors are always looking for something lighter and smaller to carry. Netbooks were yesterday's "next big thing." The Transformer Prime may be tomorrow's. Of course, your thoughts are welcome on this topic. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Is This the Future of Laptops?"

Posted by:

01 May 2012

desktop are 1000% more powerful and useless then lap lap will even be-desktop you can upgrade -- lap top not to much

about the only thing laptop have in their favor is portable--hard to carry you desktop around - lol

expect have been predicting the dead of desktop but it not going to happen-- it like MS with their window 8-- build for tablet with touch screen-- not build for normal computer use--tablet are growing but their are some that say tablet sale will flat line soon / not every one want one- so we come back to desktop ver laptop--- glues it your choice--- for more upgrade pick a desktop for potable glues you have to take a laptop

Posted by:

01 May 2012

My main concern with this will be the size of the monitor. For much younger people with better eyesight it may do, but for the older generation, probably not. In order to get a decent sized display you'll have to use an optional HDMI monitor.

Posted by:

01 May 2012

And what do you do when the "cloud" is not available? I do not have internet access outside of my home and must, when away, use WiFi services others offer. So what am I going to do if I can't find a McDonalds, Starbucks, or some other source of internet? And is the wifi offered fast enough to do the things I need it to do? Frankly, as a retired individual with fixed income, I can't afford to get the internet when I am away from the house unless it is free. I'm sure others have the same problem.

EDITOR'S NOTE: You'll only need an Internet connection if you want to go online, or use cloud-based apps. The Prime has local storage and apps that work fine when you're not connected. And yes, the wifi is plenty fast.

Posted by:

01 May 2012

I have used a lot of tablets I think that this is the best one that I have used. I have not purchased the docking station as of yet. And it has already replaced my laptop for the most part. The Splashtop Remote Desktop software works great when connected by WIFI. It would be great if the Internet connection worked but I have never successfully been able to log in.

Posted by:

Tom Springall
01 May 2012


Asus could be on to something. Maybe the Transformer will evolve into the hardware mashup that best supports the software mashup that is Windows 8.


Posted by:

01 May 2012

The "transformer" type devise will be the future devise for the masses as it will get powerful and more storage and laptops will be history.

It provides what the humans want in the digital world: meets most requirements in size, power, function and also cash.

Posted by:

01 May 2012

I've had a Transformer Prime for 3 months now and I'm quite delighted with it. It's all you say, plus the touch screen on the tablet is very responsive and accurate, and the display is crystal clear.

My only complaint? The pathetic documentation! The printed "manual" that's included gets the TF201 charged, booted and attached to the keyboard. I finally found a link for downloads here, but these manuals and FAQs are very high level. .

If you know of a better place with more complete information, I'd love to hear it!

Posted by:

01 May 2012

Compaq (later HP) was producing a tablet PC in this form factor a decade ago, with stats that would blow this puppy out of the water, including a full version of Windows XP. Nobody wanted them.

Posted by:

sheila h.
01 May 2012

I have a Samsung Galaxy 10.1 . I am quite frustrated in that I is very difficult to upload video using the wify email. The video is 20mb in 1080p. It is needed by a TV news dept. And I have attempted ten times using gmail and email both at home DSL/phone lines and DSL phone at work with faster speed. There is only one in/out on this tablet and THAT limits things. I just got a connection problem while typing this. I would NOT get a tablet on my own, even though I love its size and convenience for f/b and email. It was a gift. 16 gig. It limits what I an send and do. By the time I bought a good case, a stylus, and military grade vinyl type screen cover I spent another near $100 after the $ 449.00 for the tablet. I very much dislike how hard it is to get info from this tablet to another computer, like I have to do today with the video. Argggggg

Posted by:

01 May 2012


Posted by:

01 May 2012

A couple of years ago I bought a new laptop for home and set up a wireless network so that I can move it around the house. When I take it away I get internet by tethering my smartphone. For some months now I have been saying that, when the time comes to change computers again I will go for a tablet with docking station. It looks like Asus has just invented my next solution!!

Posted by:

01 May 2012

Seems like a rather limited netbook with grossly excessive price. And given Google's privacy policy, recent changes and their direction, I don't think I'd be very happy leaving my business in their cloud.

Posted by:

Ray Chadwick
02 May 2012


What's with the pounds and inches? The rest of the World went metric years ago!

Posted by:

Peter Ridgers
02 May 2012

A portable touch screen computer with a detachable keyboard and pointing device is a good idea (though it is far from a new idea). I wonder how reliable the connections between the screen and docking station will be.

So far I have resisted the pull away from totally open systems but the Transformer Prime may just be the push I need to try Android.

Posted by:

02 May 2012

It has the same problem as with all Tablets, you can't connect an external Wifi card for better wifi connection and you can't tether to a cell phone to get internet though that!

Posted by:

Steve G
24 Aug 2015

Although I think my laptop is faster and more versatile I enjoy the tablet for short times away from home and as a digital reader. I think I am going to look for a small laptop with HDD in the 11-13 INCH range for my next one. Call me old school but just can't get myself to trust the "cloud" stuff.

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