Asus Transformer Book Trio Review
Having an established presence in Android and Windows, Taiwan based Asus has been relentless when it comes to developing a wide array of products for its portfolio. Seriously though, they have their arms in everything! From standalone tablets, to snazzy convertible ones, they’re not afraid to experiment with the form factors. Well, the Asus Transformer Book Trio TX201LA is one of the company’s latest projects that’s aiming to be an all-in-one solution. Featuring three different modes, it’s part laptop, part tablet, and giving us the choice of running Android or Windows 8. Is it the Swiss Army knife of mobile computing? Let’s dive in and find out.
The package contains:
- microUSB cable
- Wall charger
- Keyboard dock
- Keyboard dock charger
- Slip cover
- Wire management ribbon
- Owners manual
Premium is the name of the game here, but it’s not as svelte or daring with its approach.
Looking at the tablet portion by itself, there’s no questioning that Asus is generous with its design. It’s not cheap at all, but in fact, it’s very far from it – mainly because it’s sporting a solid metallic casing, brushed aluminum from the look and feel of it. There’s a chrome bezel around the side that gives the tablet a decent contrasting accent, however, the tablet by in large is bigger and heavier (26.69 oz) than the 10-inchers we're used to. Well, that’s due to the larger 11.6” screen it’s boasting.
Overall, we’d go as far to say that the design is somewhat typical from Asus. It’s neither bland nor daring, but right up there with some of its more established models – like the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity.
The top, left, and right sides of the tablet are clear of anything, but the bottom edge is home to all of its ports – these include the microSD card slot, microUSB port, docking port, docking hinges, and 3.5mm headset jack. Along the top-right section in the rear, its power button and volume control are raised and easily accessible.
Sporting both a front-facing 1-megapixel camera and a rear 5-megapixel auto-focus one, we’re just confused as to why Asus decided to place the rear camera in such an odd location. It’s actually sitting in the bottom right corner in the rear, which is an inconvenient spot because our pinky finger is constantly getting in its way.
A timeless practice, it’s not a shocker to know that the Asus Transformer Book Trio comes with a keyboard dock. Not only does it feature a full-sized QWERTY keyboard and delivers an extended battery life to the tablet, but it’s the brains of the Windows 8 portion of the entire system. Meaning, it’s tucking along the Transformer Book Trio’s 4th generation 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-4500U processor, 4GB of RAM, and 500 GB HDD. Along the left and right sides, it’s blessed with all the usual ports that any laptop is given – like the audio jack combo, 2 USB 3.0, proprietary charging, microHDMI port, and Mini Display ports.
Setting the tablet into the dock is a painless process, as the hinges line up and lock into place. The keyboard has large sized keys, good travel, and clicky responses, but it doesn’t have any backlighting whatsoever – so it’s challenging trying to type in the dark. There’s a trackpad too for laptop style interaction.
Looking at the entire system, it’s thicker and bulkier than other tablet/keyboard combinations out there. Compared to Asus’ prestigious Zenbook Prime Touch line of ultrabooks, the Transformer Book Trio’s design isn’t as impressive, but then again, we have to bear in mind that it’s a convertible style mobile computing system.
1080p goodness is in tow with this 11.6-incher. However, its weak brightness makes it ineffective outdoors.
For a tablet, its 11.6-inch 1080p IPS LCD display is highly regarded as above average in size. Needless to say, it’s more than spacious, but for a Windows 8 laptop, it’s tiny and puts it in the below average size. Nevertheless, its 190 ppi pixel density count is effective enough to enable us to view miniscule text without too much strain.
Unfortunately, the display’s brightness output is rather weak, as it falls a little short of 350 nits, which makes it ineffective when viewing under sunny conditions. For an IPS LCD screen, there’s a hint of saturation with color – albeit, we can adjust its color temperature to our liking.