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MWC15: ASUS Transformer Book Chi Hands-on

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The ASUS Transformer series have come a long way. From a convergence Android tablet with an accompanying keyboard, the latest Transformer Book Chi aims to replace both your laptop and your tablet. Announced during CES 2015, the Transformer Book Chi series offers a Windows 8.1 experience while giving a flexibility of having an interchangeable notebook or tablet mode.

The smallest of the lot is the ASUS Transformer Book T90 Chi with an 8.9″ display and a compact keyboard that lacks a touchpad. This reminds us of the compact Sony VAIO P-series but ASUS lets you detach the screen fully for a tablet mode. The screen pushes a 1280×800 resolution on its 8.9″ IPS screen and it runs on an Intel Atom 1.46GHz Quad-Core Z3775 BayTrail-T processor that’s mated to 2GB of RAM. This is obviously better than the EeeBook X205 which lacks a touch screen display.

You get an option of 32GB or 64GB of on-board storage which can be expanded with microSD. On the tablet itself, it gets a 2MP camera in front and a main 5MP auto focus shooter at the rear. Overall it is 7.9mm thick and weighs 0.75kg inclusive of the keyboard dock. In the hands, it feels pretty solid with a nice matte finish and diamond cut finishing around the edges.

If you’re looking for something bigger, the ASUS Transformer T100 Chi is a slightly bigger upgrade with a 10.1″ Full HD (1920×1200) display and the dockable keyboard now comes with a reasonably larger trackpad as well. The rest of the specs are similar to its smaller T90 Chi but it also gets a much larger 128GB on-board storage version. In terms of slimness, the T100 Chi is incredibly thin at only 7.2mm for the tablet only. Obviously with a bigger screen and keyboard, the T100 is heavier at over 1kg.

For the ultimate powerhouse, it is none other but its top of the range Transformer T300 Chi with a larger 12.5″ Quad HD (2560×1440) or Full HD (1920×1200) display. Under the hood it gets a more capable Intel Core M 5Y71 processor with up to 8GB of RAM. For on-board storage, you have the option of either 64GB or 128GB SSD. Unlike its more affordable Transformer Book T90/T100 Chi, the T300 runs on Windows 8.1 Pro edition instead. While it claims to be thinner than a MacBook Air, the T300 with its humongous “tablet” feels quite heavy compared to other similar screen size ultrabooks in the market. When detached, the T300 Chi “tablet” feels too weighted and wide to be considered as portable.

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In terms of pricing, the T90 Chi starts from US$299 (about RM1,100), while the larger T100 Chi starts from $399 (about RM1,470). Meanwhile its larger T300 Chi starts from US$699 (about RM2,576) for its Full HD spec model. Availability wise, ASUS Malaysia will be introducing the Transformer Book Chi series locally at the end of this month. With up to 10 hours of battery life (up to 8 hours for T300), the Transformer Book Chi series is worth considering for most road warriors. If you need top notch processing performance, you probably need to look elsewhere with at least a Core i5 processor.

ASUS Transformer Book T90 Chi

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ASUS Transformer Book T100 Chi

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ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi

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