Asus Transformer Book TX300 review

A well-built machine with bags of power and a unique twist

Asus Transformer Book TX300
A well-built machine with bags of power and a unique twist

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  • 3D Mark: Ice Storm: 29,117, Cloud Gate: 2,832, Fire Strike: 421
  • Cinebench 11.5: CPU performance: 580, OpenGL graphics performance 15.01fps
  • Battery Eater: 92 mins
  • Battery life (PCMark 8 Home test): 5 hours 6 minutes

With an Intel Core i7 inside, performance should be good even if it is last year's model. The 3rd Generation chip scored well in our benchmark tests, showing that raw power isn't a problem here.

Credit should go to Asus, as in every department the Asus edged last year's equivalent hitters such as the HP Envy Spectre XT.

However, in real life testing, things weren't so impressive. There was the typical lethargy found in Windows 8 which is annoying at the best of times, and we did experience several hangs.

Transformer Book review

We were regularly made to wait while apps opened, though this has been a complaint of Windows in general, which we're hoping will be ironed out in the forthcoming Windows 8.1 update.

Booting from cold was speedy, thanks to that SSD drive, and Windows was usable in just a few seconds, however, when Windows loaded we were presented with what appeared to be a semi-loaded Windows desktop.

The system was fully responsive and a touch of the Windows key fired the Start Screen into life, but it's just one example of a buggy experience across Microsoft's latest OS.

Detaching the screen from the keyboard was easy and speedy, with the tablet immediately usable.

Transformer Book review

Although, reattaching meant the system hung for about five seconds before the trackpad and keyboard were usable again. It's not a problem, but it's not totally seamless.

We became quite fond of the Transformer TX300 as a tablet during our time, and it's certainly refreshing to be able to detach the screen to play games more comfortably, and it feels like a realistic use.

We'd much rather have the added power and spacious design of this laptop device than have a tablet that's easier to hold, yet totally useless when it comes to writing emails or doing actual work.

Let's not forget, however, that any 13-inch tablet is ungainly, especially when it weighs just shy of 950g like the TX300.

Transformer Book review

Anyone who's used to an iPad or Nexus 7 will be shocked by the TX300's outrageous size, and you might need to work on your arm muscles to tote the Transformer Book with the same flippancy as the aforementioned tablets.

The dual-batteries do pay off to make a decent performance, but we're not sure all-day use is in the TX300's sights. Our benchmark scores revealed around five hours of use, which we'd up to around six with careful management.

The powerful processor and big, bright, full HD screen combine to sap power, and the dual cells prevent a dismal performance.

Transformer Book review

Graphically, the 3D Mark benchmarks, and the OpenGL test in Cinebench show a laptop that's no slouch in the gaming department.

There's enough grunt here for basic gaming, and we'd even suggest that titles like Sim City could be played if you're willing to take the graphics down a little.

We played HD movies without any trouble, and games from the Windows Store played smoothly.