Asus Transformer Book V takes functionality to the extreme with five modes

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Aloysius Low/CNET

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- For the person who can't make up his or her mind between getting an Android or Windows tablet, Asus seems to have the perfect solution with the Intel-powered Asus Transformer Book V.

The Book V is a combo device that features an Android phone that docks into a tablet that turns it into an Android tablet, while also being able to run Windows 8.1 on its own. That device docks into a keyboard tablet, and users can switch between Android and Windows seamlessly.

Sound intriguing and exciting? I think so. In fact, I think it offers users the best optimal solution, letting them use either Android or Windows at their own whims.

Design and display

Unfortunately, no one really got to try out the Book V. Locked inside a glass box like the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi, the Book V could only be admired from afar. While there were prototypes on display shown off by zealously protective Asus employees, people weren't actually allowed to play with the Book V on their own.

Therefore, I can't tell you how the whole setup handles, or whether switching from Android to Windows and back is as seamless as Asus claims.

What I can tell you are my quick impressions of the design of the Book V, and Asus seems to have used what the company is familiar with -- the PadFone. If anything, the Book V resembles the PadFone more than the Transformer line of hybrids.

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Aloysius Low/CNET

Unlike the Chi with its 2,560x1,440-pixel 12.5-inch display, the Book V has what appears to be a 12.5-inch HD display instead. This means a resolution of only 1,280x720 pixels at best. Now, this is odd, as the 5-inch phone runs on a full-HD (1,920x1,080-pixel) resolution.

My guess is that to keep processing requirements and power consumption down on the Windows side of things, Asus chose to go this route instead.

Specs and software

The phone runs Android 4.4 with the Zen UI skin on top, and has 2GB of RAM. The phone part of the Book V will have up to 64GB of onboard storage and a 8-megapixel camera. Processor-wise, it will pack Intel's Moorefield quad-core Atom processor, and will use Intel HD Graphics. It has a 2,550mAh battery, which is pretty decent.

In Android tablet mode, the phone is the "brain" behind this, so nothing really changes apart from the resolution dropping to HD (1,280x720 pixels).

The Book V's Windows tablet runs Windows 8.1, and will have the latest Intel processor (though Asus didn't exactly say which one). It has 4GB of RAM, and up to 128GB of onboard storage.

I'm guessing that like the Asus Transformer Book Trio, Asus will make file transfers between OSes easy.

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Windows or Android? You decide! Aloysius Low/CNET

Outlook

If you're the type who's undecided between getting an Android or Windows tablet, the Book V is likely the one for you. As a bonus, you also get to use the devices as a notebook, or simply just as a phone and a companion tablet/laptop.

This does give the Book V incredible value, though if Asus were to take this to the extreme in future iterations, I expect to see Windows Phone included as well. With pricing and availability yet unknown, it's hard to make a call on whether the Book V will be worth throwing money at. I don't expect the Book V to be cheap, though, but it will likely be priced cheaper than if you were to buy three separate devices.

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Asus Transformer Book V

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