Asus shows off Windows 8 and RT lines
A collection of inventive systems, from dual-screen laptops to high-powered tablets.
Most of these Asus laptops, tablets, and desktops have been seen or mentioned before, but the company brought several upcoming new systems to New York for a press event this week (unfortunately timed for the same day as Apple's iPad Mini unveiling).
Some, such as the dual-screen Taichi or the Windows RT VivoTab, have already generated significant buzz. Others are not quite as high-profile, or else revamps of existing products. A quick rundown is below, along with price and release dates where available.
Clearly the most interesting new Asus system, this dual-screen laptop has a panel on each side of the lid. Both are 1080p IPS screens, and can be used together or one at a time in either laptop (open) or tablet (closed) modes. There's also an included stylus for precision work. Intel Core i5 and Core i7 models will run $1,299 to $1,599, and be available in November.
Asus Transformer Book
The Transformer Prime was a favorite Android tablet/hybrid, so it makes sense that Asus would try to adopt the concept for Windows 8. The Transformer Book runs the full version of Windows 8 (not RT), with a powerful Intel Core i7 processor.
Asus Zenbook series
A few expansions to the excellent ultrabook Zenbook series. We've reviewed several of these, all either 11-inch or 13-inch models. New models, with 14-inch and 15.6-inch displays are on the way, as well as touch-screen models. The Windows 8 Zenbooks should be available in November, ranging from $699 to $1,999.
Another ultrabook line, the VivoBook looks at first glance a lot like the Zenbook line. But rather than adding touch a few existing models, the VivoBook is built with touch in mind (perhaps like the Acer Aspire S7). Screen sizes will go from 11-inch to 14-inch, and Asus says it will be available in a "selection of vibrant colors." No price or release date yet, but as these will be available with Intel Celeron, Pentium, Core i3, i5, and i7 CPUs, expect prices to be all over the map.
Asus VivoTab RT
The VivoTab RT is a typical-looking Windows RT hybrid with a detachable keyboard. We have a , noting that: "The Vivo Tab RT takes some getting used to...Windows RT isn't the most user-friendly OS...But once you get a grasp on things, the tablet works well. There are features that are useful (despite being somewhat buried) and the UI is refreshingly elegant." But at $599, it starts at $100 more than Microsoft's Surface RT tablet.
There's a second VivoTab tablet as well. Like the upcoming Surface Pro from Microsoft, the VivoTab Smart runs Windows 8. Instead of a snap-on keyboard, it uses a Bluetooth keyboard and a Smart-Cover-like case as a stand.
Asus All-in-one ET2300
Not as snappily named as the Zenbook or Vivo, the ET2300 is a typical-looking all-in-one, looking a lot like recent models from HP, Vizio, or others. But, the screen has a double hinge that allows the screen to lie flat, which Asus calls a "digital canvas." Besides a 10-point touch screen, it will also have four USB 3.0 ports and two Thunderbolt ports.