Review: Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi

Review: Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
Review: Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi

The Chi is about as slim as the Apple MacBook Air (16.5mm versus the Air's 17mm). However, its slimness is actually quite remarkable, given it is a convertible laptop.

Such devices have screens that detach from their keyboard docks, allowing them to transform from a laptop to tablet.

Indeed, Asus calls the Chi, which weighs 1.43kg, the world's slimmest 2-in-1 convertible laptop.

In Asus' earlier Transformer models, the dock and hinge that held the tablet in place were chunky. You had to push a button to free the tablet from the dock.

Those foibles are now gone. To transform the Chi, simply pull the screen out of its hinge with more force than the magnets holding it. Putting it back is more tricky though, as you have to align the screen to two connectors on the dock.

The magnets are strong enough that I could lift up the Chi by the screen without the keyboard dock falling off.

But even the clever engineers at Asus cannot make the Chi less top heavy.

With the tablet weighing nearly the same as the keyboard portion, the Chi seems to be always on the verge of tipping over when it is placed on my lap. I alleviated this by resting my hands on the keyboard when typing.

Compared with the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, the Chi's keyboard feels more solid and tactile. It connects via Bluetooth and is powered by an internal battery. The touchpad on the Chi feels stiff and is smaller than the ones on typical laptops.

As a tablet, the Chi feels awkward to hold - it is too wide in landscape orientation and too tall in portrait mode. To be fair, I felt the same way with most Windows tablets I have tried.

Screen resolution is an impressive 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. But I have some quibbles about the overall screen quality.

For one, it is not as bright as I like. The display is also reflective, but the viewing angles are good. There is backlight bleeding from the edges of the screen, which can be distracting.

All the connectors are of the micro variety because of its slim build. A USB adaptor is included.

The Chi uses the same Intel Core M chip as the new Apple MacBook. This chip does not need a cooling fan, though the Chi felt warm when I was running benchmarks on it.

Performance is adequate for daily computing tasks such as Web browsing or e-mailing. But this is not a computer for games or heavy multitasking. Battery life is decent, at 5hr 41min while playing a video at maximum brightness and volume.

A slim and attractive Windows convertible at a relatively affordable price.


Price: $1,498

Processor: Intel Core M-5Y71 (1.2GHz)

Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300


Screen: 12.5 inches, 2,560 x 1,440 pixels

Connectivity: 2 x micro-USB, micro-HDMI, microSD card reader, audio jack

Battery: 32 watt-hour


Feature 4/5

Designs 4/5

Performance 3/5

Value for money 4/5

Battery life 4/5

Overall 4/5

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