Propping it Proper: ASUS Transformer Book Chi

If you have read our First Look in April, we basically covered a very general preview of the ASUS Transformer Book Chi, which is mostly on the looks and basic performance. Now that we have put this 2in1 through the wringer, here’s what we think about it.

Asus T300 Chi

We have mentioned that the new T300 Chi is now lightweight, weighing about 720g, and you will notice the difference especially when comparing with ASUS older tablets like the Transformer Book Duet and TX300. However, once you’ve docked the tablet to the keyboard, together they weigh a good 1.4kg. Although it is still lighter than its predecessors, it is still quite a solid weight to lug around. The tablet itself, however, is thin measuring at 7.55mm. Together with the keyboard, it measures about 16.5mm.

ASUS managed to stuff all its components behind its screen. Basically, the keyboard is just a regular Bluetooth keyboard with rare earth magnets to dock the tablet. We assume the reason its keyboard is of significant weight is due to having to keep the tablet upright firmly without toppling over from the sheer weight of it.

Inside the T300 Chi is the new Intel Core M 5Y71 processor, running with 4GB or 8GB LPDDR3 1600 MHz SDRAM, and 128GB SSD. If you are using it pretty much like a tablet or just for basic productivity work when on the go, then 128GB is fine. However, don’t expect to be able to store loads of images or large movie files, since unfortunately, you are not able to increase the onboard storage. Thankfully it still accepts external storage, so you either have to lug an external HDD around, or you can keep your microSD slot in it permanently.

Asus T300 Chi tablet

When it comes to display, you have to hand it to the Transformer Chi. With 2,560 x 1,400 WQHD resolution display, everything you see and watch on the screen looks wonderfully sharp and vivid. I personally liked the long panoramic screen style especially when reading news in portrait mode. Makes reading a little more interesting, more so when peppered with sharp, contrasting images.

ASUS has decided to go fanless since they are using the Intel Core M, a low voltage processor. Our initial concern was the tablet heating up when more processing power was needed. Our concerns were right, since the tablet does get pretty hot when watching videos, so if you are holding the tablet or putting it on your lap to watch, by the third YouTube video, you will start to feel the heat. If you are charging it at the same time, be prepared to have some hot stuff in your hands.

The speakers for the T300 Chi are located on the right side of the screen when docked, and at the bottom if you use it like a tablet. It is not very impressive and flat sounding, but understandable since ASUS probably wasn’t able to fit something bigger in such a thin and small machine. If you want to enjoy your music and movies with better clarity and quality, then you would be better off using headphones.

Asus T300 Chi keyboard

One of the main selling point of the ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi is its full keyboard. Most 2-in-1s tend to attach a thinner keyboard on the cover since that seems to be a better way of making the whole unit lightweight. Given the fact that the T300 Chi comes with a real keyboard that that is deep and clicky, the coolest thing is that you can use the keyboard even with the screen detached from it. Thanks to its Bluetooth connection, you can even prop your screen in portrait mode (probably against your bag or something), while you type a long-winded document on the keyboard. We just wish they had found a way to dock it while in portrait mode as well.

The keyboard has its own battery and is charged when connecting the tablet to the keyboard using a microUSB cable. Surprisingly, the keyboard battery can actually last pretty long without having to charge. It is a shame that the tablet can’t last as long, needing a charge every few hours of moderate usage.

Opening and closing the laptop can be difficult especially when doing it one-handed. There is nothing to grab on to, nor is there any slot to slide your fingers in to pry them apart. Another bothersome issue was putting the machine to sleep. Usually with tablets, you would just need to press the power button to switch the screen off. However, this doesn’t work with the T300 Chi. Closing the lid isn’t foolproof either, and we had instances when we closed the lid but the screen was still on, making it pretty hot when we took it out of the bag, sometimes drained of juice.

Overall, we feel that with the price of the T300 Chi, you are getting quite a good deal. Despite the little things that might irk you, this machine gets the job done with a little extra. The magnets prop the screen up perfectly and should you prefer to view things vertically, you can, and beautifully.

PRICE RM3,199 (4GB)

Processor: Intel Core M 5Y71
Operating System: Windows 8.1
Memory: LPDDR3 1600 MHz SDRAM, 4GB, up to 8GB
Display: 12.5” Auto Full HD (1920 x 1080) Wide View Angle
Graphic: Integrated Intel HD Graphics 5300
Storage: 128GB SSD
Camera: 2MP 720p webcam
Networking: Intel Dual Band Wireless-N 7265 + Bluetooth 4.0 LE
Ports: USB 3.0, mini HDMI, microSD card reader, headphone/mic combo jack
Audio: Built-in Speakers And Array Microphone
Weight: 1.43kg
Dimensions: 317 x 191 x 16.5 mm

PCMark8 Home: 2310
PCMark8 Creative: 2211
PCMark8 Work: 2810

Value: 9
Performance: 9
Features: 9
Design: 9
Usability: 8

gold-awardTOTAL 8.9
VERDICT Working vertically and horizontally is now possible. And it is fun!




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