Asus Transformer Book TX300 Buying Guide
Update and Current Details:
Release Date: Finally official word from Asus. It's going to be available on May 21st! It's true, and you can see the Facebook post here.
Review Summary and Links: So far Engadget has done a nice write-up. They are skeptical about the merits of a 13-inch tablet and the slightly dated processor, especially considering the Intel Haswell are coming soon. That said, it's best to read the review here and judge for yourself.
Official Details and Specs: Make no mistake about it. The Transformer Book TX300 is an incredible convertible laptop. You might remember the original Eee Slate which at the time was the world's fastest tablet computer. If you're looking for a powerful tablet experience, the TX300 might be the best option for you. One missing element is however a digitizer stylus input which is something the EP121 Slate did have. Because there is no official weight and dimensions listed currently, there could be some last minute spec changes. Keep that in mind.
The Transformer Book runs Windows 8 and can be bought with either Intel Core i7-3517U or the Intel Core i5-3317U processors. It comes with 4G of DDR3 1600MHz dual channel RAM and a 128GB MSATA Gen III SSD in the tablet and a 500GB HDD in the keyboard dock. Asus put a lot of time and planning in this Transformer and they have made fast transfers of 5Gbits/s possible between tablet (pad) and keyboard dock storage.
The tablet portion is 13.3-inches which puts it into a category that not many other tablets go. The Eee Slate was big at 12.1-inches, but this is more than that obviously. The IPS panel is a 1080p HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 with 350nits of brightness. There is your typical rear facing camera at 5MP and a front facing HD camera.
Let's talk ports and connectivity. The Transformer Book keyboard dock doesn't lack features that's for sure. The most impressive feature I feel is the backlit keyboard. That's just something quite unique and very nice to have. The keyboard has an ambient light control that automatically adjusts brightness based on surroundings. The dock has a full size SD card (SDHC/SDXC) reader, mini display port, LAN port, two USB 3.0 ports, and stereo speakers. The tablet or "pad" portion of the TX300 features a 2-in-1 Audio Jack, micro HDMI port, micro SD card reader (SDHC/SDXC), microphone, stereo speakers, and dock port. A nice feature is the quad-speakers when connected in laptop mode.
History of the Transformer Book: The Transformer Book was showcased twice. Once at Computex 2012 in June, and most recently at IFA 2012 in Berlin in August. Asus is marketing this as "the world's first Transformer Ultrabook". Given the naming of this tablet keyboard duo, it makes sense. The size of the Transformer book was mentioned by Asus that it will be as large as 14-inches. Now that's a whopper of a tablet! It's hard to say right now whether Asus will go as large as 14-inches but expect an 11.6-inch and 13-inch Transformer Book.
Based on the early specs, the price was expected and still is expected to be expensive. When Asus said Ultrabook, that automatically means it has a standard of features and hardware that don't come cheap. You won't be seeing a "made for mobile" processor like a Tegra or Snapdragon. Instead the Transformer Book uses the latest and greatest Intel Core Series processors. During the Asus IFA 2012 presentation, slides were show which indicated Intel Core i7/i5/i3 as being possible in the Transformer Book. In the Computex 2012 press materials, Asus mentioned the Transformer Book having discrete graphics. We haven't seen that mentioned at the most recent IFA 2012 so it's unclear whether that will be a feature or not.
Hands-On Video Reviews:
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Recommended Links and Articles about the Transformer Book: