Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi review

This 2-in-1 laptop takes thinness to a new level

Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi review

Asus has refined its old and heavy Transformer Book series into something far more elegant and light with the T300 Chi. The use of a magnetic latch and hinge is a unique choice in the 2-in-1 laptops world, allowing Asus to create a Windows 8.1 slate that's even thinner than some tablets.

At the same time, to get to such a thin form factor, Asus has made more than a few compromises with non-standard ports and truncated battery life. Despite these shortcomings, the Transformer Book T300 Chi is a great little all-in-one that's perfect for media lovers.

We liked

The Transformer Book T300 Chi is one of the first laptops to finally get the hybrid form factor right. Thanks to the use of a magnet latching system and Intel's fanless Core M processor, Asus has been able to produce a lighter tablet-laptop hybrid that's thin to boot.

The detachable Bluetooth keyboard also opens up a few alternative ways to use the device. Over the last few weeks, I propped up the screen while I used the keyboard as a remote for Netflix and stood the screen on its side, using it as a makeshift vertical screen. The best thing about all this is it's entirely seamless, letting you easily switch between tablet and laptop modes with ease.

We disliked

There are a few things Asus didn't get right in this go around with the T300 Chi, namely the micro-sized ports. It has helped Asus shave down it's latest Transformer Book into a much more svelte profile, but you'll need to carry around a set of cables and adapters to plug in something as simple as a USB drive.

At the same time, battery life is limited to an average five hours, maxing out at six at best. If you were looking for a device that'll last for a globetrotting plane trip, you would be better served with a tablet or a Chromebook for work.

Final verdict

Unlike the Surface Pro 3 and Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi feels much more like a machine destined for multimedia consumption, which it excels at. It's comes with a colorful, 16:9 display to kick back with and watch some movies streaming from Netflix.

At the same time, this is a pretty good device to read comics and books through the Kindle app, even if the app has not been optimized for high-resolution screens. It was also a pleasure having a beyond-HD touchscreen to play Hearthstone with.

For work, though, it falters behind the Yoga Pro 3 with a shorter battery life and a keyboard that's great, but not as good as Lenovo's mastered AccuType keys. Likewise, the Surface Pro 3 offers a 3:2 resolution screen that's much better suited for productivity and color accurate for photography work. If what you seek is a premium machine that'll stream anything from movies to games, the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi has your number.