When Asus released the Transformer tablet last year, we found ourselves loving the keyboard-equipped slate, as it was one of the more unique devices we’d seen all year. With the Prime, Asus has made some improvements, and in our quick hands-on, we think it might be love at first sight.

Taking design cues from the Asus Zenbook, the Transformer Prime is a hybrid device, bearing more than a passing resemblance to both a slick 10.1 inch tablet and a thin ultrabook.

Like the original Transformer, the Prime model arrives in two parts: the tablet and the keyboard dock. The casing on each of these has been changed, with each part now encased in aluminium, feeling sturdy and excellent in the hands. It’s easy to notice just how thin the Transformer Prime’s tablet section is, reminding us very much of another metal tablet we’ve had lots of experience with. At 8.3mm, the Prime manages to be even thinner than the iPad 2 (8.8mm), although only in the tablet section.

The screen looks to be one of quality, the IPS panel from the first Transformer upgraded to a new “Super IPS” model, which Asus says provides brighter colours in sunlight, something we didn’t get to test with the overcast and rainy day outside.

Under the hood, Asus has updated the dual-core Tegra 2 processor the one of the new quad-core Tegra 3 processors, making it one of the fastest tablets currently available and the only quad-core tablet released today.

The camera has been updated too, bringing the rear camera to 8 megapixels with 1080p Full HD video capture, while the front camera is still t 1.2 megapixels, which should be enough for video conferencing needs.