ASUS Transformer Book Hands-On: Full-Powered, Full HD Windows 8 Hybrid

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How do you improve one of the best Ultrabooks? You add touch and let people detach the display to use it as a Windows 8 tablet. That’s the gist of the ASUS Transformer Book, which sports a full HD touch screen, Core i5 or Core i7 processors and both a 128GB SSD and 500 GB hard drive in the dock.

Here at CES 2013 we went hands on with the Transformer Book and found the design to be just as solid and premium as the Zenbook Prime. Changing from notebook to tablet mode is fairly simply; just flick the switch on the left side of the base and pull up on the screen. 

In tablet mode the Transformer Book feels a little bulky because you have a 13-inch screen in your hands, but at least you don’t have to keep the keyboard attached as you do with the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga and Dell XPS 12. We also like that the dock has a backlit keyboard, which some Windows 8 hybrids lack.

The tablet portion of the Transfomer Book features micro HDMI and microSD Card slots, plus a stereo speaker and audio jack. The dock houses a full-size SD Card slot, miniDisplay port, Ethernet and two USB 3.0 ports.

When plugged into its base, ASUS estimates about 7 hours of battery life for the Transformer Book. Pricing and availability haven’t been nailed down, but the company is targeting a starting price of $1,299.

We can’t wait to really put this Windows 8 hybrid Ultrabook through its paces.

AUTHOR BIO
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptopmag.com, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
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  1. Pat Says:

    A nice tablet.. The only problem is battery life when using it only in tablet mode. Another problem is going to be changing the battery when the battery no longer holds its charge properly. And if you want to upgrade the SSD too, that will be difficult to do with the screen the way it is.. There is no easy way to change the battery, SSD and HDD..

    That is why I’m kind of liking the DELL XPS 12 which allows you to at least change the battery and SSD easily. I’ve also seen Lenovo IdealPad yoga’s as offering a way to changing the battery by sending it back to them, through warranty.

    So I guess if you want to be able to do it yourself, DELL XPS 12 wins..

  2. Gene Says:

    You can send in the Transformer book just as easily as you could either of the others to replace the battery or SSD. The reviewer neglected to mention that there is also a 500 gb drive in the keyboard dock.

    This form factor and Asus build quality will trounce the flip screen gimmick on the XPS 12 and the Yoga. I have the new Asus Vivo Tab RT and it easily out Apple’s Apple in design and build quality. Not an easy thing to do. One place Asus has really been ticking me off is the zero information on launch dates and pricing. Just tell us when we can buy one already.

  3. Lou Says:

    I agree that this looks pretty nice. I was already considering getting the ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A but may wait for this guy.

    I’m primarily looking for an UltraBook with a keyboard; If I can rip off the screen and get a tablet, it’s a small bonus. I really like the fact that the keyboard/dock provides additional ports, battery, and storage and is not just a keyboard cover.

    It’d be also good to know if (a) the memory can be replaced by the end-user; 4GB feels a little low and (b) if the spinning hard drive in the ‘dock’ could be end-user replaced with another SSD.

  4. M Says:

    Originally, I wanted the Taichi but it was so expensive I’m thinking of getting the XPS 12. Now, I may think of getting this Transformer. Quick question though, can this close as ordinary laptops do?

    I was just wondering how come there is no announcement for thunderbolt and Haswell ultrabooks?

  5. Garalor Says:

    i’m considering this or the Lenovo Helix.

    Helix has no HDD in dock, and only 11″ screen. But maybe the smaller screen is an advantage compared to the 13″ in Tablet mode.

    Helix comes with included Wacom Stylus. And can be attached reverse on the dock.

    But i think i will test both. And with testing i mean, open realy big excel sheets, word docs and PDFs at once and than look what happens while browsing and typing stuff. and copy past big text and so on.

  6. Ed Says:

    Docking part should have SSD hard drive and dvd and also a wacom stylus pen would be nice. This will definitely be a best seller.

  7. wingle Says:

    Hi

    I am looking to get a notebook that can multi-task to make my workflow easier. I think this is it. One question…. can it run auto-cad software as the specs seem to suggest. I like the 13″ display….. wish it was 14″ though, and I love the fact that it can be transform from a laptop to a tablet, and with that extra 500gb space on its dock, you not only cud use it as a storage drive or backup but you have the flexibility of selecting which file you want to travel with. Also it gives the ability to the user to switch from serious work mode with the dock; to an easy walking around lime mode with just the tablet only and not having your hardcore work file. I am not happy with the short battery time in tablet mode… Asus please do better. That like finding the right girl that rocks your world, but she cant give you no more than one hour per week when you want to see her all the time. Ouch!!!! better sweet….. not cool.

  8. ahashan Says:

    I’m in Dubai.
    where it is available ?
    I need this…

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