Update 2: ASUS has issued an official statement on the matter and determined that the Prime's GPS is functioning as intended, which for many folks means essentially non-functional.

Please note that this product is not a professional GPS device ... To avoid inconveniencing users who demand a powerful GPS device, we made the decision to remove it from our specification sheet and marketing communications. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.


That means if you're actually unable to live with your Prime without true GPS, there's not a lot to do but sell it - because ASUS isn't going to (and apparently can't) do anything about it.

Update: it appears the GPS performance issue may be of varying severity per actual Transformer Prime tablet, and may not be equally affecting all units. This would suggest a potential manufacturing defect or software issue, though we have yet to hear from ASUS on this entire debacle. If it is a manufacturing defect and does not affect all units equally, this would reflect poorly on ASUS's quality control and testing procedures - making it very much a valid complaint from customers. Again, we're still awaiting an official response from our contacts at ASUS, which we assume will be coming in the next week (at least, we hope so).

It seems that consumers are finally starting to get their ASUS Transformer Prime tablets en masse, and that some of them have been decidedly unhappy with one aspect of the much-awaited tablet's performance, though in a slightly obscure area: the GPS.

The Transformer Prime is equipped with a GPS radio, allowing it to triangulate global position using satellite information. GPS is a pretty integral part of Android, and it seems many users have started taking its presence (and functionality) for granted. The issue definitely seems very real, as this XDA thread shows.

ASUS's responses to this issue have been varied. The number one suggestion to remedy GPS problems? Turn on Wi-Fi. This makes sense. Wi-Fi allows your device to use GeoIP (geographic IP location information) to tell your device approximately where you are, and in conjunction with Google Location Services (which uses a Wi-Fi MAC address location database Google has collected) makes triangulation by GPS far easier, because your device can more confidently determine where it is in the first place - this essentially is a form of aGPS (Assisted GPS), which smartphones use (via Wi-Fi or the cellular data network), which drastically reduces initial lock times.

Of course, the biggest complaints come from those attempting to use the device when not in Wi-Fi range (or not near any recorded Wi-Fi hotspots), for offline navigation and mapping purposes.

Some have speculated that the Transformer Prime's aluminum enclosure is reducing all radio signal strength coming out of the device (GPS is particularly affected by aluminum if there is no alternate "entry route" for signal). Others say there must be a software glitch.

Our guess? It's an aluminum tablet without a cellular data connection, being used without Wi-Fi. Of course GPS is going to suck. It seems to be sucking more than is normal for a tablet (although tests of our own with a Tab 10.1 and Acer A100 without Wi-Fi on yielded similarly crappy results - initial lock on took several minutes, though they did actually lock on while outdoors), but we're inclined to believe that may be caused in some part by the aluminum construction, as some have stated. ASUS has apparently noticed, and has actually removed GPS from the Prime's specifications page on their US website. That probably doesn't bode well for there being any kind of "easy fix."

However, given the problems some users are reporting (total failure to actually track relative position after attaining 9 or more satellites on GPS lock), there could actually be a manufacturing defect or software glitch preventing the Prime from accurately adjusting its position when in motion - something that isn't typical of merely having poor GPS signal.

The simplest solution at this point? If you're looking for an offline GPS system, don't buy a Transformer Prime.