Asus Transformer Book: More than meets the eye

Asus Transformer Book: More than meets the eye

Summary: The Transformer Book seems like a good idea, but the devil could be hiding in the detail.

TOPICS: Windows

ASUS has revealed a number of new Windows 8 tablets and hybrid devices today. By far the most interesting is the Transformer Book, a line of notebooks that features a detachable screen that allows them to be used as tablets.

The ASUS Transformer Book is described as the "world's first convertible notebook," allowing users to switch between working on a notebook and a tablet by simply detaching the screen. The idea is that the Transformer Book will give its owners the best of both worlds: a portable multi-touch tablet for leisure and a more traditional Windows-based notebook for productivity.

The Transformer Book boasts the latest Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor with discrete graphics, and 4GB of DDR3 dual channel RAM. Storage being provided by a combination of solid-state (SSD) and hard disk (HDD) drives. The Transformer Book also offers USB 3.0 support.

Also present are dual cameras, a front-facing HD camera and a 5MP rear-facing camera.

The Transformer Book ultraportable will be available with an 11.6-inch, 13-inch or 14-inch full HD 1920x1080 IPS displays, all with multi-touch capabilities. The screen can be attached to and detached from a full-size QWERTY keyboard as needed.

This is certainly an interesting idea, and goes to show just how much of an opportunity Windows 8 is giving hardware manufacturers to innovate and come up with reimagined hardware. That said, there are a lot of unknowns that could sink the ASUS Transformer Book.

First is price. As interesting as this hardware is, it will have to be priced carefully. It's unlikely that the market will support a premium price even for such an innovative device. I have a suspicion that this is not going to be cheap, and that could be a problem.

Another unknown is battery life. This device has two battery packs -- one in the main body, and another in the screen/tablet -- and these are going to have to offer up decent mobile performance in both configurations. It's going to need to equal the iPad when in the tablet configuration, and a MacBook Air when transformed into a notebook. Anything less than this will be disappointing.

Finally, there's no word on availability. Given that this hardware is powered by Windows 8 we're not going to see it any time soon, but I'm surprised that there's no guarantee that the Transformer Book will be available at the Windows 8 launch.

All in all, the Transformer Book seems like a good idea, but the devil could be hiding in the detail.


Topic: Windows

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  • Useful concept.

    with two different battery packs, it will not be a stretch to match Macbook Air's battery life. The Asus ultrabook already has more battery life than macbook air with win7, I don't see how this will be less. More so on Win8, which is considered more efficient. Challenge would be for the tablet part to match/exceed ipad battery life since it has a larger screen. Puny & restrictive storage specs of tablets should also be mitigated by additional storage on the keyboard dock. Overall I love the concept - I have always found it difficult to type more than a line or two on my tablet. Forget about preparing a document, power point presentation or coding on an tablet without any attachment.
    • Battery in the 'tablet'

      You can't ignore also the fact, that the Macbook Air has very,very thin display. If there is going to be an battery, that can power the i7 CPU for at least few (2-4) hours, that battery would be rather think. And adding that to the thickness of the base as well, will produce an 'laptop' that is far thicker than the Air, obviously heavier etc. Laptops with bulky displays aren't very attractive.
  • As an owner...

    As an owner of an ASUS Transformer TF300, this idea excites me a great deal. The TF300 is a fantastic tablet/laptop hybrid, and I find myself using is about as much on the dock as off.

    A full-bore Windows 8 transformer would provide much the same experience, but with a wealth of hard-core applications to choose from. Honestly, if I need a new Windows laptop in the near future (and for now my four year old, Win 7 powered Lenovo X61 is working just fine, thank you) and these things are available, I just can't see myself not going for one.
  • Can you say AWESOME!

    I love it. I'll take one NOW!
  • Processor architecture?

    Are we looking at x64 or ARM device? For me, it'll need to be x64, unless some developers can get off their bums and move or develop their apps for WinRT.
    I'm talking Windows Live Essentials, Microsoft Math, Skype, Desktop Skydrive app, Desktop Evernote app, and Zune.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • In the article it says...

      ... Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor.
  • World's First Convertible Notebook???

    I am still using my HP/Compaq TC1100, upgraded to a SSD and Win7, which will do most everything except the cameras -- it is just so-o-o-o slow compared to modern equipment. However, I believe it is a convertible notebook/tablet, along with really nifty docking stations to make it a desktop with optical drives etc. I would really like to see something similar offered.
  • the world's "first convertible notebook"?

    That will certainly come as news to owners of Lenovo's X220T.
    • once was enough

      we got it stop
  • Do not buy from ASUS, they don't honor their warranty.

    I bought a notebook from ASUS. The ASUS webpage describes the notebook as having a 2-year parts and labor warranty. The web page of the retailer from whom I bought the notebook describes it as having a 2-year parts and labor warranty. I called the retailer's customer support, and they told me it has a 2-year warranty.

    I call ASUS for warranty service and they tell me the laptop has a 1-year warranty. A dozen phone calls over 6 weeks plus two escalations and they still refuse to honor their 2-year warranty, in spite of the proof I have given them.

    Do not buy from ASUS, they don't honor their warranty.
  • Another Devil-in-the-Details: Wacom Digitizer Support

    As a current owner on an ASUS EP121 waiting for the next-best-thing, I really hope ASUS does not forget to include support for a Wacom digitizer pen, like their upcoming Tablet 810 model does. Otherwise, it feels like a huge missed opportunity.
  • Dual processors, perhaps?

    Is it possible that there will be Windows 8 running on the connected device, and Windows RT for ARM running on the disconnected tablet? This whole device sounds like a good idea, but the devil is [i]definitely[/i] in the details.
  • Re: Asus Transformer Book: More than meets the eye

    This product seems to branch right off the Transformer Prime 101/201 and the newer (have not seen it yet) TF700T.
    Now It is supposed to host Win8, and conform to the well established MC industry standard.

    Nice move, though, I am surprised that Asus are not trying to get their resolution up to speed with Apple's 'retina', that is rumored to become a standard for the coming McBook Air series.

    To estimate battery life on the Transformer Prime, it will yield ~ 10h work as a tablet and will support ~ 20h when connected to the keyboard.

    Reducing the mentioned yield by 25% due to CPU taxing, and, if implemented - an equivalent 'retina' resolution, I guess that an optimistic view would yield ~ 6h of tablet work and ~ 12h when docked to the keyboard.

    This is unless they figure out how to preserve battery through better heat dissipation, better fuel-cells, etc.
  • ASUS Hybrid Tablet

    As an owner and user of an HP TC1100 for several years I was hoping that HP would update the 1100 to an i7 w/8gb or 16gb memory and an SSD of ~ 250gb.
    The original cost of the TC1100 w/2gb (max) memory and an 80gb disk was ~ $2500 - in 2005....
    I love the WACOM screen because it is easier to rest my wrist on the screen when I write in the Journal or sign a document before faxing it back to the originator.
    I also - from the used market - picked up the dock that was offered and pulled the CD out and replaced it with a DVD writer. The capability to connect to a monitor on my desk helps the ease of use.

    I have also picked up the heavy duty hard rubber protector shell that has a clear plastic screen to protect the tablet screen. The WACOM touch capability still works even though I cannot physically touch the screen.

    I HP ever updates the TC1100 I'll buy one, until then I'll stick with what I have.
  • Yes, looks quite nice and versitile

    But if it came standard with a Linux distro then I'd probably spring for one!
    Mr. G. Anson
  • asus transformer book

    if they added the easy eye keyboard that would be a nice addition