Apr 16 AT 2:03 PM Dustin Earley 38 Comments

Transformer Prime GPS dongle is worse than we imagined


ASUS Transformer Prime owners who have experienced GPS issues with their tablet have been to hell and back. After several botched attempts at trying to fix weak signal issues with software updates, ASUS has moved forward with an alternative correction method. A week ago, word got out that ASUS was working on some sort of antenna dongle for the Transformer Prime. The dongle was said to be “very minimalistic,” and “flush fit with the bottom of the unit.” Today, we learned that is not quite the case.

Land of Droid has managed to score some pictures of the GPS dongle for the ASUS Transformer Prime that show just how “minimalistic” the dongle really is. Used with the Transformer Prime’s 40 pin connector, the GPS dongle is a bar shaped attachment that’s nearly as long as the Prime in landscape mode, and looks to be maybe an inch or two thick. It looks huge. And because of how it attaches to the Prime, it can’t be used with the keyboard dock or while it’s charging. The pictures of the GPS dongle found below are said to be of an engineering build, but won’t change much from the final product.

There’s two ways to look at the GPS dongle for the Transformer Prime. It’s great that ASUS is committed to their customers. They’ve worked long and hard to come up with a solution to the Prime’s GPS woes, and they plan on giving it out for free. On the other hand, it feels like the situation may have spun out of control.

ASUS made a poor decision in build materials and design which ended up affecting the performance of the final product. Instead of offering extended warranties and ridiculously huge GPS attachments, ASUS could have stopped production and recalled the Prime until things were straightened out.

Then again, plenty of Prime owners couldn’t be happier with their purchase, so maybe ASUS did the right thing in keeping the tablet on shelves. What do you think? Has ASUS handled the Transformer Prime’s GPS problems well, or is the GPS dongle the straw that broke the camel’s back? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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Via: Phandroid

Source: Land of Droid

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

    I love my Prime and pretty much never use the GPS, so I don’t really care. Plus you have to remember that ASUS no longer advertises the GPS feature on the Prime product details.

    • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

      Did they ever? I always thought it was a “freebie feature”, kinda like Bluetooth on the Nook Color. With work and effort, it kinda works but it’s not included in the specifications.

    • http://www.droidgamers.com Andrew Huff

      Yeah I’ve never used anything GPS related on my Prime either. That sort of feature is secondary on my list of things to look at when checking out a tablet. On a phone, that’s a different story.

    • colodroid

      couldn’t have said it better. kind of feel for those who decided to hold off til june for the tf700 as now it has been pushed back to a release date sometime this fall. glad like you i got my prime when i did and couldn’t be happier.

  • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

    Wow, is that ugly?!

  • Trinhbo

    I don’t get it. How can it be cheaper to design, build, and then test this new attachment? ASUS should have just recalled the existing units and replaced the tablet bodies.

    • professandobey

      For the folks like Taylor who say: “I love my Prime and pretty much never use the GPS, so I don’t really care.” why would a recall have been a better solution? Would you want to part with a device that you use frequently, to gain a feature you almost never use? I think this is an honorable compromise.

      • Trinhbo

        It can be optional. If you have the problem and care about it getting fixed, send it back in and get it replaced. Otherwise, you can hang onto it.

      • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Homncruse

        Agreed. Also, product recalls have serious long-term PR backlash that will stick with you for all-time, as opposed to a simple goodwill hardware fix (regardless of attractiveness).

  • fletchtb

    it’s not pretty, but if you leave the attachment in your car, it will always be there when you need it and out of sight out of mind the rest of the time.

    • nedkelly

      Spot on. I love my Prime and very occasionally use Google Maps on it when travelling, but like and old fashioned paper map, so no need for GPS. I have used it for SatNav once, when my wife was driving and although the GPS had issues, it did find satelites and we were able to find where we were going okay.

      I’ll leave mine in the glove box and if I think we might need it, I’ll use it,

  • Pallen

    I am very pleased with there efforts to try to fix a problem that some users are having issues with. I can’t think of any other tablet company that has gone to such effort to support there customers. This dedication to there customers makes me even more likely to stick with ASUS.

  • LilSmurf2009

    I honestly dont see the big deal, I mean they probably made it that big to it make appear as if it was part of the prime insted of a little dongle attach to it, Second even if it is that big the article made it seem like it was a big deal because u couldnt connect the laptop dock. Why would using the gps and the laptop dock at the sametime? I think that people should at least be garteful that they got a fix for it and its free. Good for Asus in my opinion.

  • SGB101

    they could of just said u was holding it wrong

  • ranwanimator

    I have an ATP, don’t really have need of the GPS and never use it, but I signed up for the dongle because, hey! Free dongle!

  • Sascha

    no wonder Android tablets have no chance against Apple’s iPad. They fail to deliver good hardware. A tablet needs to have GPS, mobile (3G/4G) and Wifi built in. Anything else is just a big fail.

    • Bradleyw801

      Yeah, if only we could be buying from Apple, where every mistake is OUR fault. Your WiFi isn’t working? We don’t believe you. Just try different WiFi. Your iPad is getting extremely hot? No, it isn’t, it’s supposed to do that. Don’t worry about it. Your iPhone 4 drops calls when you hold it in your left hand? No it doesn’t, all phones drop calls, it’s just the way the signal is showing up. Your new MacBook is riddled with viruses? No, Flashback and SabPab aren’t really an issue, just disable Java, you don’t really need it anyway.

  • Sirrx7

    Good for Asus!!! Samsung had been hounded for faulty GPS on their phones forever and they did nothing to make it up to their customers.
    At least Asus makes an effort to recognize and correct a problem. As has previously been posted, just leave the “dongle” in your car and forget it exists until you need it.

  • Vance

    Good for ASUS… I still have weak wi-fi connectivity on my Prime, though, which is sad and frustrating. I love it, though, and it is still superior to any alternative tablet currently available (including, strike that, especially, the crapple alternative).

    • professandobey

      Hopefully the dongle will help with that too.

    • bjo

      I think it would have been the killer for all concurrent, but with this GPS and WiFi issue, I think a lot of customer are waiting for the TF700. This is the case for me because a good WiFi signal is vital.

  • MoSDeeb

    Releasing this dongle is a good measure, but this is ASUS just cutting their losses. They should be running a swap program for units that are affected by this.

    • WlfHart

      It would be nice if they just did a back panel swap. (If indeed that was capable of fixing the issue.)

      • Pallen

        Apparently not since that would seem to be an obvious fix, I am sure if that were the cheaper and most effective fix they would have done that instead of designing a custom dongle for only one tablet. As any company just plain has to, they would be choosing the cheapest but most effective fix for the problem. A lot more than MANY other company’s would ever do for there customers.

  • epps720

    I don’t have a TP, but will most likely get one in the coming months (regardless of this GPS issue). Don’t really see the need for GPS but Kudos for trying to correct it. They really should be developing a correction for that Wifi, that’s the bigger issue.

  • Nathan D.

    Who even uses the GPS feature on a tablet anyways?

  • Max.Steel

    lol. GPS on a tablet.

  • spazby

    don’t need it but nice of asus to do this anyway

  • coloandroid

    based on faulty info in the media since day one in regards to the prime i registered two plus weeks ago and received a confirmation email last week as well as a personal phone call informing me mine would be sent out day one. glad i ignored the dates being thrown around or i would have been in line behind hundreds if not thousands of owners today. that said, it is free so i won’t say no, but seriously nobody with half a brain buys a wifi tablet for gps purposes. those that do bring down the collective iq scores of end users everywhere and substantially. honestly i think most of the gps whiners are kids, as an adult i have gps in my vehicles and a handheld device to go in the back country. if it was a 3g/4g capable unit then maybe you could use walking around? you would look like a complete dweeb but,…its wifi,gps though seriously about as useful as a dirt bike with chrome all over.

  • boone simpson

    I don’t use gps on a tablet, but I can see where someone might, if you have the prime playing a movie, or a game for the kids, with the nav directions pumping through the stereo, or by using overksreen to have gps on one windows and video on another (again for a passenger) it would be useful. I have seen people use ipads for navigation as well.

    Just cuz I wouldn’t use it, doesn’t mean someone won’t so good on asus for fixing it.

  • pragmatous


  • http://theinternet-allofit.blogspot.com Jorge Branco

    Anyone who buys a 10 inch wifi only tablet for its GPS capabilities is doing it wrong

  • smeghead68

    The GPS may not be important to some but this dongle will be a marketing boat anchor for them. Even though it is not important to most it will be brought up as a short coming over and over again.

    • Pallen

      A shame but true, buyers can be very superficial. ALL company’s have faux pas, its how a company deals with these that show a company’s true grit. Buying based on media splash and not real research can get you a product that is not supported by a good company. Check company’s out before you buy. How have they dealt with there faux pas? they have ALL had them. Who has done the best at getting ISC to there devises? Who reacts to there customers the best? Like any company out there ASUS is not perfect, but out of all my hours of tablet research I am most impressed with ASUS.

  • bittunas

    Asus could have given both the options to its customer as per customer needs

    1. Exchange of old transformer prime with a fixed gps issue transformer
    2.The external dongle for the old transformer

  • Subra

    I am gonna see if I can fix this thing in my car dashboard. Then it could be used as a car dock for my prime. Indoors, wifi positioning is enough for me.

  • Candor

    Myself personally, I have been waiting for a fix for the GPS. I use my GPS all the time weather it be for traveling for work or plotting storms so I can avoid them or just socializing my location with family. Although it would have been nice to be able to use the dock and the dongle at the same time, in the long run I am just happy there is a fix to the problem. I would rather do without the dock than not have a GPS.

  • tom

    Does anyone know if this dongle will also help with the WiFi singnal drop off that has been so widely reported with the prime?