Hands on: Asus Transformer Book review

Solid laptop hybrid takes the form factor to new highs

What is a hands on review?
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Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1920 x 1080
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

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Is the tablet / laptop combo the ultimate dream? Do we so desperately need the choice that we'll fork over extra cash for plausible extra flexibility?

The hybrid market isn't yet mature enough for a definitive answer to have formed, so we'll reserve final judgement on Asus' Transformer Book until it's got some company - and we're not just talking about the Taiwanese giant's own competing Vivo line.

They're different, anyway; while the Vivo Tabs certainly incorporate keyboard and touchscreen portions to good effect, they're really just tablets with docking stations. The Transformer Book has a definite air of laptop about it.

The guts might have been refocused from the keyboard leaf into the screen, giving it a top heavy construction which fights with its hinge, but it's a laptop first, tablet second. We're almost certain, were a Transformer Book knocking around in our bag, we'd use its primary function much more regularly than we'd poke at its screen, even with Windows 8 at the helm.

asus transformer book review

The screen locks in to the base with a sturdy, often difficult latch. Once you've mated the two halves, it's going to be pretty tricky to accidentally separate them, which is a plus. You'll need the keyboard around for any serious connectivity, too; while there are cursory ports on the tablet (audio, micro USB, micro SD) we couldn't wrestle any confirmation from Asus that there would be any sort of breakout cable included when the unit launches in early 2013. We'd put money on it happening, though.

asus transformer book

The backlit keyboard feels pretty standard. Well-spaced island style keys, decent layout, short travel; about what you would expect of an ultrabook, although the lack of core components in the base means the keyboard is slightly more recessed than usual, and the base itself only about as thick as its ports.

asus transformer book

You'll find an SD slot, a pair of USB 3 ports, a DisplayPort output, and what looks like an integrated Ethernet port too, along with Asus' audio pride and joy, B&O ICEpower speakers. The trackpad has distinct but non-intrusive physical buttons, and feels fine. You may, realistically, use it more than the touch screen anyway. Gorilla-arm is not a pleasant thing.

asus transformer book

It's worth going in to detail on the Transformer Book's screen. It's really rather nice, a super-saturated panel running at full 1980p resolution, with a full ten touch points.

asus transformer book

And we really mean super-saturated; Windows 8's lurid Start screen was almost burning bright, and the test images we saw exhibited out of this world colouring. If you're looking for a screen with range, Asus has really pulled it off. The unit we tested did end up a little warm after some relatively light use, we suspect due to the Core i7 nestling inside, but we're not concerned about its capabilities.

asus transformer book

Asus isn't releasing specs or prices at this time, and the Transformer Book will probably get a few incarnations when it's finally released, but a bit of advanced snooping revealed something about the guts of the machine that Techradar tested: a Core i73517 running at 1.9GHz, with a potential 2.7GHz speed boost and 4GB RAM. It only scored 5.4 on the Windows Experience Index, which probably suggests that the standard Transformer Book won't feature a discrete graphics solution.

asus transformer book

Your results with the Transformer Book may vary, but we came away quite impressed with both its build quality and its potential. Pricing is obviously a concern, but if Asus manages to bring it in at a sweet spot – and if that latching mechanism doesn't push it too far in advance of Ultrabook prices -- we can see the Transformer Book doing rather well, particularly with a more modest configuration. The Transformer Book should hit the shelves in early 2013.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.


Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet PC
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity500 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD 4000
Wireless LANYes
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time8 Hour
Solid State Drive Capacity128 GB
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyTransformer Book TX300
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Keyboard BacklightYes
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformWindows
Processor Modeli7-3517U
Operating SystemWindows 8 Pro
Brand NameAsus
Form FactorHybrid
Processor Speed1.90 GHz
Processor TypeCore i7
Screen Size33.8 cm (13.3")
Number of Cells2-cell
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)1.90 kg
Cache4 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS, ENERGY STAR
Memory Card ReaderYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyIn-plane Switching (IPS) Technology
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Memory StandardDDR3-1600/PC3-12800
Height23 mm
Width340 mm
Depth219 mm
Screen ModeFull HD
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesTX300
ManufacturerASUS Computer International
Product ModelTX300CA-C4024P
Product NameTransformer Book TX300CA-C4024P Tablet PC
Product LineTransformer Book
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberTX300CA-C4024P
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.asus.com
Marketing InformationPrecision-Engineered Ultraportability

ASUS Transformer Book is the world's thinnest Windows 8 tablet with a 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor. Inspired by the beautiful Zenbook ultraportable, Transformer Book features a sleek profile and a precision-engineered all-metal design with unique spun metal finish that's the result of a sophisticated 32-step manufacturing process. Transformer Book is as striking as it is resilient and is perfect proof of the ASUS spirit of persistent perfection.

Package Contents
  • Transformer Book TX300CA-C4024P Tablet PC
  • Lithium Polymer Battery
  • AC Adapter
  • Keyboard Dock