Earlier in the year, Asus showed us how thin a Windows tablet could be, and shortly, Australians will be able to see for themselves, as the company releases its Air-like machine.
An announcement made at CES in January is about to make landfall locally, as Asus delivers its own take on the air-like computers we’re used to seeing today.
It’s called the “Chi”, which translates to “air”, and tells us ahead of time really what Asus is targeting with this release (hint: it’s probably Apple’s MacBook Air).
The official name is the Asus Transformer Book Chi T300, though you can probably call it the Chi for short, or just T300, and for this machine, Asus has taken the approach of building a machine made of aluminium, making it super slim, and throwing in the sort of components that will make the machine reasonably fast, very quiet, and stable enough to run a full version of Windows 8.
“We’ve designed the Transformer Book Chi T300 as the perfect companion device for highly mobile professionals,” said Portia Chang, Asus Region Director for Australia and New Zealand. “T300 Chi offers the versatility of a high-end tablet, with the practicality of an Ultrabook – a non-compromise solution whether you’re on the road for business, or relaxing at home web browsing or watching a movie.”
Like previous Asus Transformer machines, this one will be made of two parts, comprising of the tablet section — with the screen and computer — and then a keyboard section with a battery, selection of ports, and of course, the keyboard and mouse.
Previously, these sections would link up with magnets and little metal clasp connections, but Asus has been doing work here to make sure they dock with ease, the two sections coming together and staying put without so much of a button needed to be pressed to pry them apart.
As such, Asus has thrown in what it says are the world’s strongest magnets, a claim that concerns us just a little, especially if you carry around a hard drive.
We’ll test this one later, but for now, it’s a claim that stems more from the ease of use a magnet system will bring to tablets holding a keyboard dock in place, and means the two sections — keyboard dock and screen — should stay together the way a laptop normally features them until you decide to pry them apart.
The screen here offers up a 12.5 inch display running either a 1920×1080 Full HD or a 2560×1440 WQHD touchscreen, with In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology used for the screen practically guaranteeing solid viewing angles and an RGB colour gamut that is 20 percent wider than most other standard displays helping to provide more accurate colour reproduction.
Inside the screen, you’ll find the guts of the computer — it’s a tablet, after all, and can therefore work without needing a keyboard or mouse — and here, Intel’s fifth-generation technology is being used, delivering an Intel Core M equivalent to that of a Core i7, between 4 and 8GB RAM, 128GB solid state storage, along with WiFi and Bluetooth.
That tablet section is slim and light, too, measuring 7.6mm and weighting 750 grams, and will fit with a keyboard dock (weighing 700 grams and measuring 16.5mm thick), both included in the box, bringing an extra battery to the package to charge the tablet battery if you’re running out of life, all the while bringing a keyboard and mouse, as well as a couple of ports.
“Asus has led the market in 2-in-1 laptop devices since the category emerged,” said Chang. “The Transformer Book Chi T300 is a result of pairing our winning design with the latest technology, to create the thinnest, lightest and most powerful Transformer Book to date.”
It’s not the only tablet Asus is bringing out this week, though, showing off the “Chi” edition of its Transformer Book T100, a model we saw in late 2013 that is in need of an update, and is getting one with a new display, metal body, and thinner look.
As such, this generation — the T100 Chi — can lay a claim to the world’s thinnest Windows tablet, coming in at 7.2mm, and updated with a Full HD touchscreen 10.1 inch display (1920×1080) up from the basic HD (1366×768) 10.1 inch screen on the original model.
Windows 8 is included, as is a copy of Office 365 for a year, and there’s 64GB of storage and 2GB RAM here, as well as the extra battery in the keyboard section, with the whole thing together — keyboard and tablet section — coming in at just over a kilogram together.
Pricing for this model will be a slight step up from the original Asus Transformer T100, with the recommended retail price of the T100 Chi coming in at $699, up from $599 in the first model. This should be in stores next month, a little after the T300 Chi, which is seeing release now from $1299 in Harvey Norman, Dick Smith, JB HiFi, and other Asus retailers.
There’s no word on whether Australia will be seeing the 8.9 inch edition of these computers, the T90 that was shown at CES earlier in the year, but we are checking and will let you know when we do.