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Asus Transformer Prime on pre-order in UK for £499

The Asus Transformer Prime costs a quid under £500 from today -- but you won't unwrap it until January.

The Asus Transformer Prime has been officially slapped with a UK price. The first tablet to pack an Nvidia Tegra 3 chip costs £499 from today -- but you can't unwrap it until some time in January.

The hotly anticipated tablet is only available to pre-order now -- which is a dreadful marketing way of saying, "It's not ready yet but we don't want you to buy something else in the meantime." If you do want a Transformer for Christmas, Asus is lowering the price of the current Transformer to less than £299.

The model we tested was running Android 3.2 Honeycomb, but Asus promises the Tranformer Prime will update to Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest version of Google's Android software for tablets and phones, "hopefully in early January". We'll update our review when we can test it with the software you'll be using.

Inside there's a super-powerful new Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor and 12-core GeForce GPU. But the Transformer's unique selling point is its mobile dock, a keyboard that slots together with the tablet to form a laptop. The Prime will come with the dock for £500, and you can't as yet buy the tablet section on its own.

The cleverest thing about the mobile dock is that it lets you squeeze out the juice longer. On its own, the Transformer Prime tablet lasts up to 12 hours, but whack it in the dock and that extends up to 18 hours.

The Prime is just 8.3mm thin and weighs 586g. It also features a toughened Gorilla Glass screen, an 8-megapixel, 1080p camera with LED flash and a second 1.2-megapixel camera for video calls. It comes with 32GB of storage for your music, movies and more, as well as a microSD card slot and 8GB of free cloud storage for life in Asus WebStorage. Colour-wise you can choose from amethyst grey or champagne gold.

Asus is knocking a chunk off the price of the current model: from now until the new year the Transformer starts at £299 for the 16GB model on its own or £399 with the keyboard.

We know many of you are excited about the Transformer Prime, but is £500 too much? Is the current model a better bet? Prime us with your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.