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.
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.
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.
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.