The Asus Transformer Prime was the most pre-ordered Android tablet in history (admittedly short history, but history nonetheless!). After some manufacturer delays, setbacks, and being given the run around from Best Buy, I finally got my Three Kings – er – Christmas gift this past week and boy was it worth the wait!

Disclaimer: Nerdgasm ahead!

The Prime is the second tablet of the Asus Transformer Series. The tablet comes packed with extra high-end hardware, toting a Quad-Core Processor with 1 GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel rear facing camera, and a Micro-HDMI port with 1080p output. This beast and all its glory is also powered by its most impressive spec, a 12-core GeForce Tegra 3 GPU. This video card is head and shoulders above what the competition has to offer on any handheld device. NVIDIA claims the video card enables ‘desktop-like gaming’ and while we won’t be running Skyrim on Ultra-High settings anytime soon, the graphics are a sight to behold. The device comes in two flavors:  32 GB or 64 GB internal memory; both can be expanded to support an additional 32 GB via the micro SD slot.

Out of the box The Prime feels powerful, its lightweight and sleek-metallic design adds a regal quality to the device and what’s inside does not disappoint. The Transformer Prime is running Android Honeycomb 3.2 out of the box, but Asus has confirmed that as early as January 12th we will be able to get our hands on the new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS).

Anyone who has used an Android device will feel right at home with this tablet. What truly separates it from the competition is not the OS (as all Androids all relatively the same) but the quality of the experience. Switching between apps and screens inside of the tablet is seamless. I am the type of person who likes to have everything at their finger tips and the 10″ screen allows me to do just that. My screen is packed with weather updates, social network and news feeds, and a few dozen widget powered apps. At no point is there any lag or latency.

I figured I’d put my toy to the test and downloaded the recently released GTA III: 10th Anniversary game to the tablet and it played and looked better than it did when it was originally released for the PS2. Now must of you are thinking “It is a 10 year old game!” and you guys are definitely right about that. But, to run this huge open game, at the resolution that the The Prime outputs, and never have any unreasonable lag or delay is quite impressive. Hopefully developers will look at the processing power of this tablet and begin targeting those devices for gaming as the technology becomes more prevalent.

Like its predecessor, The Prime has the ability to convert itself into a laptop with the keyboard dock. The dock has a track pad, full keyboard, and doubles as both a cover for the tablet AND as an extra battery pack. When you dock the Transformer Prime you can have up to 18 hours of batter life!

Although I am happy to finally have my tablet in hand the wait was not exactly stress free. As the device (slowly) made its way onto the market it was plagued with WiFi and GPS issues. The Android community was also up in arms because of the locked bootloader that the device was shipped with. Asus finally responded via their Facebook page and broke the news that there is an update for the WiFi and GPS issues, and that the ICS update will unlock the bootloader. They did warn us however, rooting your device will void your warranty (what else is new?).

The Asus Transformer Prime comes packed with lots of power on a familiar operating system. I have always been in Apple’s corner in the battle between iOS and Android. Heck if I could find a way to attach my iPhone 4S to my hand I would! However, the power of this Android cannot be denied. It is by far the most powerful handheld device available to humans. Its beautiful design and power make it a great bargain even at the introductory price of $499. With Asus promising to unlock the bootloader, ICS being released within the next month, and all the features you’re used to seeing on an Android now being displayed on a powerful 10″ tablet? This device simply cannot be beat and that is not excluding the iPad.

It is safe to say that the Asus Transformer Prime was “fashionably” late to this party.