Asus Transformer Book Detachable Ultrabook Review (Part 4)

8/12/2013 6:01:27 PM

Software and Warranty

We have to say that we are seeing this trend of PC makers putting less bloatware on their systems. Inside, you will find World Clock, Fresh Paint, Microsoft Solitaire Collection, Asus Tutor and some Xbox Live games, including Taptiles, Adera and Pinball FX. There is power management software Power4Gear Hybrid we mentioned earlier in the review. Oh, and you have 32GB ASUS WebStorage, free for 3 years. After that time expires, you still have 8GB free for life.

The Transformer Book TX utility

The Transformer Book TX utility

In case something goes down, you have one year warranty. Pretty standard for consumer PCs.

The Configuration Options

When Asus first unveiled the Transformer Book series one year ago, we got the impression that it will be available in in 11-, 13- and 14-inch screen sizes. Apparently, someone high up in the pecking order decided that would be a bad idea, because the company is only selling 13-inch model, and in one configuration. In the U.S., you will be able to get precisely the unit we reviewed today, a $1,499 machine with a Core i7 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB of SSD inside the tablet. Besides the U.S., the Core i5 version will be available in some areas. That one will have a 320GB HDD inside the keyboard dock, not a 500GB drive.

The Competition

It's getting a little tiresome ending all pre-Computex laptop reviews this way, but it's worth mentioning again: unless your laptop dies a sudden death leaving you without a computer, you should wait until Intel launches its next-gen Haswell chips before making a purchase. We don't know everything there is to know about those processors yet, but we have been promised a longer battery life and improved graphics performance, exactly what Ultrabooks need at this time. That's two very good reasons to wait, even if you do not like the clock speed, cores or Turbo Boost. In addition, all of our current favorite Win 8 devices (Dell XPS 12, Lenovo Yoga 13, Acer Iconia W700, etc.) are due for refreshing themselves, if not completely redesigned. So let's wait to see what will be published in Taiwan next month.

HP's Split x2 hybrid

HP's Split x2 hybrid

However, if you allow us to talk about some real competition, we would encourage you to consider HP's Split x2 hybrid with a 13-inch screen and keyboard dock includes both a spare battery and a 500GB hard drive. Unfortunately, it will also come with Ivy Bridge processors, and its specifications are not fully adequate (it will have Core i3 and i5, with a low-resolution screen of 1,366x768). However, with a starting price of $800 (dock included), it may attract those who don't want to spend $1,499 on Transformer Book. Finally, there's the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix, an 11.6-inch computer with the same internals. Unfortunately, we do not have the opportunity to review it, but I hope they will fix that soon.

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix


If you are willing to wait this long for the Transformer Book to go on sale, you can also wait a few more months for a possible Haswell refresh: it will bring longer battery life and stronger graphics performance. But is it worth waiting for? Depending on how much you want an independent 13-inch tablet. Though the dockable-tablet form factor makes sense for 11-inch systems, it becomes more relevant when you expand the screen size to 13 inches. After all, tablets that are big can be cumbersome to use, even when they are thin and quite light as Transformer Book. And this one doesn't have a Wacom digitizer, which rules out some scenarios where the slate form factor might come in handy. Meanwhile, the convertible laptops such as the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 and the Dell XPS 12 are generally milder, but still offers spacious keyboard, hand-free tablet modes, slightly longer battery life and similarly fast (or faster) performance.

However, before you dismiss it, there are some practical reasons for choosing the Transformer Book over those other machines. Number one is that spare battery. Almost no convertible Ultrabooks allow you to use two batteries at once. And unfortunately, many current hybrid computers (Surface, Acer Iconia W700) don't have a secondary battery in the keyboard. It's extremely unusual to find a spare hard drive inside the keyboard dock, and most Ultrabooks tend to top out at 256GB of solid-state storage. So if a large capacity and long battery life is what important, the Transformer Book may be a good choice - even if you rarely use it as a tablet. Take our advice and wait for Haswell.


·         Price: $1,499


·         Cute 1080p IPS display

·         Comfortable keyboard

·         Fast boot/resume time

·         The keyboard dock has a spare battery, a spare hard drive


·         Pretty heavy for a 13-inch touch screen Ultrabook

·         Released with a year-old CPU


·         The Transformer Book is an innovation concept when it was first launched. But this time when it's finally released with the old internals, you better wait for a Haswell version.

The Transformer Book is an innovation concept when it was first launched.

The Transformer Book is an innovation concept when it was first launched.


·         Product name: Asus Transformer Book TX300

·         Price: $1,499

·         Processor: Intel® Core™ i7 3517U Processor, Intel® Core™ i5 3317U Processor

·         Operating System: Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8

·         Memory: DDR3 1600 MHz SDRAM, OnBoard Memory 4 GB

·         Display: 13.3" 16:9 IPS FHD (1920x1080) Glare panel

·         Graphic: Integrated Intel® HD Graphics 4000

·         Storage: 320GB HDD With 128 G SSD, 500GB HDD With 128 G SSD

·         Card Reader: 2 -in-1 card reader ( SD/ MMC) card reader (Micro SD )

·         Camera: HD Web Camera *1

·         Networking: Integrated, BT 4.0 support (on WLAN+ BT 4.0 combo card)

·         Interface: 1 x COMBO audio jack, 2 x USB 3.0 port(s), 1 x RJ45 LAN Jack for LAN insert, 1 x micro HDMI, 1 x Docking Connector, 1 x mini Display Port, 1 x SD card reader

·         Audio: Built-in 4 Speakers And Microphone, MaxxAudio support

·         Battery: 2Cells 5000 mAh Polymer Battery, 2Cells 3120 mAh Polymer Battery

·         Power Adapter: Output :19 V DC, 3.42 A, 65 W; Input : 100 -240 V AC, 50/60 Hz universal

·         Dimensions: 340 x 219 x 7.5 ~23 mm (WxDxH)

·         Weight: 1.9 kg (with Polymer Battery)

·         Certificates: UL, TUV, CE Marking Compliance, FCC Compliance, BSMI, Australia C-TICK / NZ A-Tick Compliance, CCC, GOST-R, CB, EPEAT, Energy star, CECP, RoHS, JATE

·         Manufacturer Warranty: 2-year limited International hardware warranty. *different by country, On-line problem resolution through web interface (BIOS, Driver update), OS (Windows® 8) install/uninstall consultation, Bundled software install/uninstall consultation




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