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To the benchmarks
With a full set of performance results left over from our Transformer Prime review, we couldn't resist benchmarking both Transformers after their ICS updates. We'll get started with Linpack, a CPU benchmark that offers single and multithreaded tests.

The Transformer Prime has three different power modes, and Ice Cream Sandwich alters the Linpack performance of each one. Scores are down in the single-threaded test—only slightly for the balanced and normal modes but quite dramatically for the power-saver mode. However, multithreaded MFLOPS are way up across the board. The Prime's performance just about doubles with the balanced and normal settings. In power-saver mode, it's faster with ICS than any of the Honeycomb configs.

The original Transformer's performance increases aren't quite as dramatic, but it still delivers higher Linpack scores regardless of the threading. Indeed, the old Transformer sees a bigger gain in the single-threaded test than it does in the multithreaded one.

Next up: browser performance, starting with the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark.

Interesting. The original Transformer scores about the same with Ice Cream Sandwich as it did with Honeycomb, but the Prime is sluggish with Android 4.0. The slowdown is more pronounced in the balanced and normal modes, and it's enough to put the Prime slightly behind the Kindle Fire. How embarrassing.

FutureMark's Peacekeeper benchmark gives us another look at JavaScript performance, this time with some HTML5 thrown in for good measure. On the previous version of Android, the Transformers were able to complete two of Peacekeeper's HTML5 tests. Running ICS, the tablets complete only a single HTML5 test, the same number as the iPad 2.

With one test scratched from the total, it's no surprise to see the Transformers post lower Peacekeeper scores.

Curious to see how switching browsers might affect the Prime's performance, I fired up the Google Chrome beta for Android. Chrome scored higher than the default ICS browser in both SunSpider and Peacekeeper, but not by enough to match our initial Honeycomb results.

We had hoped to run several 3D performance tests, but the version of GLBenchmark we used in our initial Transformer Prime review doesn't work on Ice Cream Sandwich. That leaves us with Basemark ES 2.0 Taiji.

The latest version of Android boosts the graphics performance of the Transformers in this test. Frame rates are 1-2 FPS higher depending on the configuration, which works out to improvements of 11-14%.

Without a Fraps-like utility for Android, it's hard to say whether games are running any better on Ice Cream Sandwich. The half-dozen titles installed on these Transformers don't seem to run any smoother than they did on Honeycomb, but they were already running well on the old OS.