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Asus Transformer 3 Pro brings big power in a small 2-in-1 frame

Asus declares war on the Microsoft Surface with its new Transformer 2-in-1 Windows tablet range.

Nic Healey Senior Editor / Australia
Nic Healey is a Senior Editor with CNET, based in the Australia office. His passions include bourbon, video games and boring strangers with photos of his cat.
Nic Healey
2 min read
Aloysius Low/CNET

Slim, portable and packed with power. That's the best way to sum up what Asus wants from the Transformer 3 Pro. And no, it's not just the name that bears a resemblance to Microsoft's Surface Pro range. There's also the detachable keyboard, kickstand, pen and well, the whole thing, really.

On the top of the range, an Intel Core i7 processor provides the power, you can get up to 16GB of RAM and an impressive 1TB of storage via an SSD drive, and there's also a Thunderbolt 3 port for connectivity.

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  • 299 by 210 by 8.5mm thick and a weight of 795g (11.7 by 8.3 by 0.3 inches, 1.7lbs)
  • 12.6-inch display with 2,880x1,920-pixel resolution display and a 275ppi pixel density
  • Core i5/i7 processor
  • Thunderbolt 3 port

Meet the family: Asus unveils 3 new Transformer 2-in-1 PCs

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Gamers get a nod as well, with an external GPU option from Asus' gaming arm ROG. The ROG XG Station 2 has the brand new GTX 1080 graphics card that's currently wowing the gamer world. Asus even says that the 3 Pro will be ready to deliver high-end VR experiences, which until now has been the domain of the big and bulky desktop PCs.

Nic Healey/CNET

In the mere minutes of hands on time I had with the 3 Pro (after bullying my way passed the thronging photographers) I was impressed with the combination of durable design with low weight and thin profile. I was even more impressed, in a different way, with just how much it looks like a Surface, even down to the connectors on the keyboard. I get that there's not much you can do with a 2-in-1 design by its sheer nature, but if it wasn't for the Asus logo on the back you might not tell the difference at first.

In the same family is the Asus Transformer 3. That's also using Intel's 7th generation processors, offers up to 512GB of SSD storage and also has a Thunderbolt 3 port. Asus hyped the battery life of the Transformer 3, claiming a solid 9 hours.

The 3 drops thickness and weight down to just 6.9mm and 695g (0.27 inches and 1.5lbs) but still has the same screen size and resolution.

The third family member is the Transformer Mini. This ditches the Core processor for an Atom X5, but that in turn boosts the battery life to around 11 hours.

Both the Transformer 3 and the Pro have Harmon Kardon speakers for an improved sound experience despite the small form factor. Asus also offers an universal dock with an array of ports, including USB-C 3.1, USB 3.0, HDMI, VGA, RJ45 LAN, and a 3-in-1 SD card reader.

Pricing for the Transformer 3 Pro starts at $999 (that converts to AU$1,395 and £685) but you can be sure it'll go up from there. The Transformer 3 is a little cheaper, starting at $799 (AU$1,115 or £545). There was no pricing immediately available on the Mini.

Check out the rest of CNET's Computex 2016 coverage here.

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