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CNET First Look
Asus Taichi gives you two screens in one laptopThe Asus Taichi 21 offers a clever dual-screen design in a slim Core i7 chassis, but with a few headaches.
I'm Dan Ackerman and we are here taking a look at the Asus Taichi 21. This is one of the more invented Windows 8 laptops that we've seen. You may have seen it at CES or previously, now we've actually got the final version here. And of course from the front this looks like a standard ultra portable laptop. It's got an 11-inch display. The catch is, unlike a lot of other hybrid where the screen flips over or fold or somehow detaches, this system simply has an entirely separate display on the back of the screen. Now, the one on the back of the screen over here is a touchscreen. You can move your finger on it like that and that's pretty essential for Windows 8. One of the real weak spots of the system is that the inside screen is actually not a touchscreen. You've gotta use this big track pad here or a separate mouse or the keyboard in order to control it. That becomes a little bit confusing because we should all be used to reaching up and touching our Windows 8 screens by now, as pretty much every new Windows 8 system out there. At least they have it on the back, they don't have on the front. As far as I'm concerned, that is a big downside of this system. That being said, later versions of this, hopefully later in this year will have touchscreens on both sides at least because Intel is gonna require touchscreen for future systems that wanna use that Ultrabook name, which the system does. This version is an Core i7 version, which means that's actually pretty powerful and ran any of the test and apps that we wanted to run very smoothly, very quickly and both screens are 1920 by 1080 screens, which is very high resolution, so, big plus there. The connections are mostly once that you'll need adapters for it, whether it's a dongle for an Ethernet jack over the HDMI port or VGA port, so you might be walking around with a pocket full of adapter cables and things like that. But you can also fold the lid down and just keep the back screen on and then it becomes basically a Windows 8 tablet, although, a slightly thick one. Another fun trick is you can actually put a separate screen on the interior screen and the exterior screen, treating the outside one like it's an external monitor. The Asus Taichi is really more of a clever proof of concept than anything super practical. Maybe if you wanna, you know, show a PowerPoint presentation or video to somebody while you're looking at it without turning your machine around. That's a good reason to use it or maybe playing video for the kids while you're doing some work. That's maybe another reason. I can't think of too many people who run into that situation all that off and at least often have to make this your main machine, but I'm definitely looking forward to a future dual touchscreen version of this. I'm Dan Ackerman and that is the Asus Taichi 21.