LAS VEGAS--We've seen plenty of laptops with screens that detach to form tablets. In the wake of Windows 8, it was practically a requirement that ever major PC maker have one of these systems, usually called hybrids or convertibles. But, nearly every example had the same quirk -- an awkward detachable hinge that made the traditional clamshell form look odd.
Still others were hampered by low-power Intel Atom processors. While better than their Netbook forebears, they still don't provide the same processing kick as a full Core i5 or i7 Intel CPU.
The Asus Transformer Book, first announced around the time of Windows 8's release, solves those two problems. At first glance, it's a standard-looking 13-inch ultrabook, with a 1,920x,1080-pixel IPS display and Intel Core i7 processor. But, the hinge mechanism for releasing the screen is so cleverly designed, you might not even notice it at first (at least from the front, there's a bit of lip that overhangs the lid in the rear).
Pop the screen off, and it's a Core i7 slate-style PC, which works at least as well as any similar configuration we've tried. That's to say it's a bit of an acquired taste -- Windows 8 still doesn't feel fully baked for slate-only use.
As with most Asus products in the U.S., exact price and release date are still sketchy; stay tuned for details.