NVIDIA has been promising to put some impressive processing power in the palm of our hands with its Tegra 3 processor - previously known as Kal-El - for a while now. Teasing us with demos of dynamic lighting enabled by the chip's quad-cores and impressive energy efficiency statistics made possible by a fifth "companion core." While ASUS led us to believe that it would be launching the first tablet to be powered by the Tegra 3 - the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime - on November 9, it appears we'll have to wait just a little bit longer. ASUS has, however, provided the remaining details on the tablet to tide us over until the tablet's worldwide launch in December.
Basically a version of the Tegra 2-powered Eee Pad Transformer that has been beefed up on the inside and slimmed down on the outside, the Transformer Prime is just 8.3 mm (0.33-in) thick and weighs in at 586 g (1.29 lb), compared to the original Transformer's 12.9 mm (0.51 in) thickness and 690 g (1.5 lb) weight.
Alongside the Tegra 3 packing a quad-core CPU, 12-core GeForce GPU and Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing (vSMP) technology, the Transformer Prime comes with 1 GB of RAM and will be available with 32 GB or 64 GB of onboard storage, expandable via SD card. Its 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 pixel resolution, Super IPS+ Gorilla Glass display boasts a 178-degree viewing angle and 600 nits maximum brightness.
On the image capture front there's a front-facing 1.2-megapixel camera for video conferencing and a rear-facing 8-megapixel camera with auto-focus, LED flash, F2.4 aperture, back illuminated CMOS sensor, touch-to-focus depth of field and low-light noise reduction for taking stills and 1080P HD video.
Other specs include GPS, gyroscope, accelerometer, compass/magnetometer, SonicMaster audio, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, USB 2.0 port, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR and a micro HDMI port for outputting video. Despite its slimmed down profile, the energy management features of the Tegra 3 and a 25 Wh battery sees the Prime improve battery life to 12 hours of use, up from the quoted 9.5 hours provided by the original Transformer's 24.4 Wh battery. Battery life can also be extended to up to 18 hours when combining the tablet with the optional mobile dock.
With an aluminum enclosure featuring a swirl design, the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime will come in Amethyst Gray and Champagne Gold and will launch worldwide in December running Android 3.2 (Honeycomb), with ASUS promising an over-the-air update to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) shortly after its release. The 32 GB model will sell for US$499, while the 64 GB unit retails for $599. The optional mobile dock is priced at $149.