It always makes sense pitting the best against the best and the new iPad 3 and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime are the best tablets out there. That said, there's enough differentiating them to make this an interesting slate-off. On the one hand you've got Apple's new iPad with its retina display and intuitive iOS while on the other is the specced up productivity tool with more ports than the Death Star - the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime.
New iPad Vs Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime: Design
We'll start with the tablets at face value. The new iPad measures 9.4mm thick and sports a 9.7-inch LCD display. A front facing camera and a simple home button garnishing the fascia resulting in a virtually identical aesthetic to the old iPad.
The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime sports a different aspect ratio thanks to Android's native 1280x800 resolution spread across its 10.1-inches. This results in the screen being longer which is better for watching movies, but arguably worse for books and newspapers. With no physical buttons the overall aesthetic is clean and minimal, although we wish there was a little less bezelling.
Throw in the keyboard dock with it's complementary brushed metal finish and the full-sized QWERTY and track pad and the Prime gets a two for the price on one element with not a hint of bargain basement in sight.
New iPad Vs Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime: Screen
With "Retina Display" branding and a resolution of 2048 x 1536, the new iPad sports a pixel density beyond that the human eye can perceive at RVD (Recommended Viewing Distance - yes, we just made that up) and delivers incredible brightness, colours and viewing angles - perfect for text and web pages.
The Asus Eee Transformer can't compete in terms of resolution with its 1280x800 panel, however it does sport the first Super IPS+ display we've seen. This adds incredible brightness to the experience making it perfect for outdoor use and offers a saturated, vivid picture with fantastic viewing angles - better suited to a movie experience, especially with the inclusion of a keyboard dock as a stand.
New iPad Vs Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime: Interface
Black White. Day Night. Heaven Hell. iOS Android. The mobile dichotomy isn't just restricted to the phone-sphere - no, tablets are also split into two primary camps.
On the one hand, you have Apple's iOS. Packed with slick apps, perfect on the 9.7-inch display, stunning HD games and a simple user interface, Apple's tablet really is the one you can pick up and get to grips with instantly. That said, when you need to get on with some work, you'd better like your on-screen keyboard. If you do, you can purchase a document editor and away you go. If you don't however, then the iPad will be more of a leisure device, albeit a very competent one. You can invest in an iPad Keyboard dock for £56, but it doesn't offer the same fold-up convenience as the Prime.
The Asus Transformer Prime runs Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), the latest version of Google's robot-fronted OS. While not as intuitive as iOS, the new version looks great and adds stunning functionality into the Android mix with a dynamic multi-tasker and the option to disable even pre-installed apps in the back-end. Coupled with the trackpad / keyboard input, it makes for a very accommodating user experience. The inclusion of Polaris Office also means you're up and running with a document editor out of the box.
New iPad Vs Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime: Connectivity and Storage
If the new iPad nailed it in the screen section, then this is where the Prime shines. While both have Wi-Fi and bluetooth, the new iPad comes in 3G variants and the Prime packs a GPS. In terms of ports the Prime packs a micro SD card slot, a micro HDMI port, a full-sized SD card slot and a full-sized USB port in the keyboard dock.
Storage-wise, the new iPad comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB variants while the Prime simply ships with 32GB on board. A relatively inexpensive mass storage purchace will however give your Prime expandability options of up to another 32GB via micro SD and exponentially more via the SD card slot and full sized USB slot.
Naturally, the new iPad doesn't support Flash, however does offer a stable, speedy web-browsing experience. The Prime on the other hand is more subject to the occasional hiccup, but delivers every facet of the world wide web to your tablet.
New iPad Vs Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime: Camera
As you can see from the grid below, the cameras on both these tablets perform exceptionally. The Prime overall delivers more realistic shots though they can look slightly washed out in good lighting. The iPad on the other hand offers a much more contrasted experience which should please most users.
Moving onto detail and the Asus Transformer Prime edges just ahead. Thanks to its 8-megapixel sensor, it's little wonder, but the difference isn't significant.
Onto indoor performance and low-light is over-compensated for on the new iPad. In turn, the over-exposed shot makes the bricks in the image above look washed out. That the Asus Transformer Prime also has a flash puts it at a further advantage indoors.
In terms of macro, both tablets perform exceptionally. We prefer the iPad's UI and focusing process, and with the proof of the pudding being in the picture, you can see the iPad also delivered more accurate colours.
So if you're an indoor snapper, it's the Asus Transformer Prime all the way, however if you think you'll be using your tablet camera outdoors for the most part, check out the new iPad.
New iPad Vs Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime: Performance
The new iPad packs an A5X processor. Dual-core CPU, quad-core GPU, it handles apps well whether you're burning rubber or tweaking 18-megapixel images. Battery life is great with the 10 hours advertised being very believable, though the tab can feel a little warm.
The Asus Transformer Prime is powered by a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor. It runs blisteringly fast when compared to some of the notoriously laggy Android tablet experiences we've come across and powers through games incredibly. With the tablet itself coming in at just shy of the new iPad's battery life, the keyboard dock adds an additional 8 hours, taking the total to just under 18 hours, beating any tablet or netbook out there. There are also settings to under clock your Prime to better manage battery life.
Ultimately, neither of these tablets will leave you waiting.
New iPad Vs Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime: Conclusion
All in all, these are our two favourite tablets on the market. They fight well pooling an impressive set of specs and accessories in a bid to win this round-off.
If you have an iPhone, you'll already know how to use the iPad and will probably have a number of apps already purchased that can get you off the ground. If however you have an Android phone, the same can be said of the Transformer Prime.
Reading is more fun on the iPad, the aspect ratio, the screen, the plethora of iOS reading apps all come together to make it a book worm's best friend. Movies are much better on the Asus Transformer Prime however. Aside from the screen aspect ratio being better suited, there is no conversion process and most codecs are supported natively. If they aren't, a free download of MX video player and you're off - no iTunes necessary.
Add the keyboard dock into the mix and our personal preference is the Prime. 18 hours of battery life coupled with the multi-function and a price-tag of £499 and it isn't hard to see that if you're like us - looking for a combination of play and productivity, the Prime throws down the gauntlet and proves itself as the first Android tablet to take on the iPad and win.
Do you prefer the iPad? Want us to test anything in particular? Just comment below, tweet or get in touch on Facebook and let us know what you think.