Asus first with Tegra 3 tablet: Transformer Prime has landed

There’s been lots of buzz about the next generation of Android tablets, and one of the most talked up models is finally getting released here, a couple of months after it debuted overseas.

The update to last year’s Asus Transformer, the Eee Transformer Prime updates both the inside and outside of the tablet, not only bringing the specs into 2012, but also the design.

Like last year’s model, the Transformer Prime arrives in two sections: the tablet and the keyboard dock. The tablet can exist by itself with just the screen or connected to the dock, with a keyboard, USB port, SD card slot, and extra battery offering more life, usability, and connectivity options than other tablets.

Unlike last year, the tablet can’t be purchased without the dock, effectively giving you more bang for your buck.

The tablet itself has gone through a few design changes since its predecessor, now sitting at 8.3mm thin and weighing 586 grams. It still offers a 10.1 inch screen with 1280×800 resolution, covered by Corning’s highly scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass, but now you’ll find a Super IPS+ panel offering better brightness here.

Inside, Asus has upgraded the dual-core processor to a new Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core chip, offering more power, speed, and graphics prowess. The battery has been updated too, bringing the touchscreen tablet portion of the package to a 12 hour life. The rear camera is now an 8 megapixel camera with flash, while the front supports 1.2 megapixels.

You can increase this, though, by hooking the Transformer tablet into its keyboard dock, offering both a full QWERTY keyboard for use, a little bit more thickness, and an extra 6 hours of battery life.

Out of the box, there’s Google Android 3.2 Honeycomb here, though Asus has promised that Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is available through an over-the-air update.

Even the dock has seen a change too, becoming thinner, built of aluminium and stylised more to match the ultrabooks Asus has been producing of late.

The Asus Transformer Prime is heading to stores now, available in 32GB and 64GB varieties for $799 and $899 RRP respectively.