Android Jelly Bean Only Tweaks the Transformer Prime

Although the Jelly Bean OTA upgrade for my Asus Transformer Prime (TF201) installed without problems, I thought I’d pass along a few observations I made while using new version.

A lot of the buzz surrounding Jelly Bean has been about increased performance. The Transformer Prime with its quad-core Tegra 3 graphics chip is certainly a fast tablet, anyway. I normally run mine in performance mode, simply because I’m impatient and want things to happen as quickly as possible.

Although the desktop animations seemed a little smoother overall, I just didn’t see much change in performance with version 4.1. For the most part, application loading was about the same, as was switching between programs.

Both Chrome and the default browser might have been a bit faster and smoother, too. It’s hard to tell without the old version available for side-by-side comparison.

Swiping, apparently, is all the rage in this version of Android. For example, when using multiple tabs in Chrome, you can just swipe one side of the screen to move between them. That’s kind of nice. Since I usually run three or four tabs at a time, I won’t have to move my hand to switch them.

Simpler Picture-Taking

Another place where I find swiping a welcome feature is in the camera application. The shutter sound and closing diaphragm effect are gone. Now when taking a picture, the photo just slides off the right side of the screen and the camera is ready for a new shot. To look at a photo, just drag the photos back in from right to left. Since I take a lot of pictures with my Transformer, this feature will save me a lot of time and aggravation. In the past, I’d have to click the picture in the upper right hand corner, then click again to get the gallery. The whole process is now pleasantly streamlined and intuitive.

Once in the photo gallery, you can also pinch the picture to get into filmstrip mode. This lets you scroll through dozen of pictures a minute. Tap the photo you want to make full-screen.

Too Hot?

The only downside I’ve noticed is that the tablet once became really hot when browsing the Web over Wifi through my Samsung smartphone. My smartphone is rooted, and I use the hotspot function for Wifi when I’m “portable.” It’s run cool ever since, but I’ll have to keep an eye on it.

For me, most of the upgrade amounts to a lot of enhanced details. Nothing earth-shattering. Fortunately, no big, scary tech burps, either.