TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi has a lot going for it. For one, it's impossibly thin for a tablet and laptop two-in-one. Its high-resolution 12.5-inch display certainly makes it stand out in the specs department too.
But the hybrid's thinness isn't without some compromises, and one thing immediately noticeable is the lack of USB ports on the tablet -- there's only one micro-USB. Furthermore, Asus hasn't made price or any release date information available for now. I reckon though, given its premium positioning, this won't be cheap.
Display and design
I managed to get some hands-on time with the Chi here at Computex, and the two-in-one certainly impressed. The tablet portion felt solid, and while you think something this slim will have a lot of flex, the Chi was solid through and through. Impossibly thin at 7.3mm, the tablet looks just like a sliver of metal, with barely enough space internally to hold the powerful Intel Broadwell M hardware.
Even the keyboard portion is very flat, which may not offer the optimal typing experience. When docked, however, the keyboard is a little raised, which may help somewhat. I noticed that the weight seems to be balanced towards the top, but this makes sense, because it will help to support the tablet when both parts are conjoined.
The 12.5-inch display comes with a 2,560x1,440-pixel resolution, which makes for super-sharp clarity. While it's unwieldy to use with one hand, I think the Chi will be great for reading comics and watching videos.
Specs and features
Unlike the 12-inch Microsoft Surface Pro 3, the Chi only has one micro-USB port. This means you'll need to use a hub if you want to connect a hard drive for more storage. There's also no microSD card slot either, so if you want more storage space, you'll likely have to use an external reader.
The one thing that the Chi does better over the Surface Pro 3, however, is the availability of 4G connectivity. This will make for a more portable notebook -- you won't have to depend on Wi-Fi networks to get online.
The Chi's Intel Broadwell M chipset has a fanless design and will support up to 4GB of RAM. It runs the latest Windows 8.1 software.
I like what Asus is doing with the Transformer Book T300 Chi, but until pricing and full specs are released, it's hard to exactly say it's better than its closest competitor, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.
The Chi is an exciting product from the Taiwanese manufacturer, and has generated plenty of buzz here at the show. I'm looking forward to reviewing one when it's ready.