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Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons
Andrei Girbea Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Asus Transformer Book TX300 review – the HYBRID

38 Comments

  1. Dawin

    March 21, 2013 at 4:49 am

    Hi. Very nice for your review. I would to ask you one thing, in Asus TX300 has mini-disport port, but did it provide us a mini-display port to vga adapter in a box? or we need to buy it on the other hand in the market? Thank you!!!

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 21, 2013 at 5:55 pm

      this particular unit that I played with did not come with any adapters. But I can’t confirm if the final retail unit has an adapter or not.. I’d say NO though (based on past experiences, as Asus tend to only offer USb to Ethernet adapters and mini-VGA to VGA with their devices, if needed), but I’m not 100% sure.

      • Dawin

        March 22, 2013 at 4:33 am

        Based on your understanding, what do you think about this Transformer notebook and a normal notebook which cannot transform it into tablet? Which is the better choice in your opinion? Some people say, with many functions it will be easily to break down or not reliable as long as a normal notebook which only has one function as a laptop.
        I need your advice. Thank you in advance.

        • Andrei Girbea

          March 22, 2013 at 4:27 pm

          Well, the question is: do you need the detachable tablet? If you do, then the TB is the one for you.

          Otherwise, it’s the classic looking laptop. A 13 inch “classic” ultrabook will be cheaper, lighter, more compact and, at least in theory, sturdier, since you don’t have to care about the connectors between the tab and the docking station, like with the TB.

  2. Gautam

    March 22, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Great review, thanks! I am going to buy either this or a thinkpad helix – hope you get to do a review on that when it comes out as well. My goal is to use them as a regular work computer (reading, writing, coding, light matlab) with heavy multi-tasking. But a lot of what I do involves reading and ideally annotating pdfs, so the detachable slate portion seems great.

    One question: what use cases do you see for the detached slate? You said it seemed too large and heavy to use as a couch tablet. Given the lack of pen support — what do you think you or most consumers would actually use it for? With the relatively low battery life when detached, and the weight, I was wondering if it is any better than a regular touch ultrabook for my purposes. Will I really be able to take just the slate to a cafe, say, and spend a few hours reading a paper?

    Thanks!

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 22, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      I guess it could be used for content consumption: movies, browsing. I found that browsing on this machine in Portrait mode is quite nice, since you have the large canvas. But this thing is massive and weighs about 1 kilo, so not as comfortable to use as an iPad or something similar.

      As for that later question, yes, you will be able to do that with this machine. But, if you want something for reading a paper or some multimedia while traveling, you can get that from an iPad mini or a nexus 7, which are far more portable and affordable.

      So, I’d only get this machine if I’d really need its power. Plus, without the digitizer, I really don’t see many reasons why you’d want to use this thing in tablet mode… but maybe you will find some :)

  3. Eino Anttila

    March 22, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    Thanks for the review! I’m a musician so I’m so pumped up about this hybrid laptop. There’s infinite amounts of uses for using a huge tablet for performing and writing music. Combined with the upcoming Leap Motion controller, this could be an amazing thing when performing live and creating live visuals live with just the tablet. You could then configure and create the visuals just with the whole laptop and for the performance, pull the screen off and use it as the tablet.

    I’d say it’s first and foremost and beautiful laptop that’s no heavier than say, 2010 MacBook or a MacBook Pro and even the tablet is lighter than say, the Acer Iconia W700 tablet which is also a i5 tablet with pretty much same specs.

    What differents the Asus Transformer Book from the other hybrids is that it’s 13″ which to me at least as a 13″ AND 15″ MacBook owner is the perfect size. 15″ is too big for anything other than work for me. The Transformer Book is the perfect size and the perfect way of doing the hybrid – as a real laptop with proper size keyboard and the proper size touchpad. AND with storage on both the keyboard and the screen, there’s way more storage to do work stuff, to play games and to all in all enjoy full Windows 8 rather than do only “tablet stuff”.

    I have the Nexus 7 and I think it’ll keep it’s place in my pocket, but this is THE hybrid laptop and it’ll definitely be replacing my older MacBook with bootcamp Windows 8.

    To be able to pull the screen here and there to play Modern UI games or to just enjoy the Modern UI in a more touchy, closer fashion, it’s awesome to have that possibility of pulling the screen off. That’s how I see it, it’s a screen that you pull off, not really just a tablet that you have a keyboard dock for.

    Just as long as the hinge works and won’t break down in the first three months… That’s my main concern but we’ll see how it is when all the other’s reviews are up.

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 23, 2013 at 10:25 am

      Thanks for the feedback. I am concerned about the hinge too, but like I said, the issues I’ve encountered might be isolated to this particular unit, since it is a press-sample and it might have seen some harsh action during PR events, etc. so we’ll have to wait for other reviews, like you said

      • Eino Anttila

        March 23, 2013 at 11:15 am

        I actually asked ASUS Sweden when the Transformer Book is coming to the Nordic countries and here’s the answer I got on March 5:

        Here’s my question:

        “Hello,

        any idea about when the Asus Transformer Book starts shipping in the Nordic countries? I really want this hybrid “ultrablet” but of course with the scandic keyboard.”

        Here’s the answer from ASUS Sverige:

        “Hi Eino, This model have had some production issues and because of that there is some delay in the shipments. I would guess that it will land in nordic with nordic keyboard in one and a half month but it’s hard to say untill the problem has been solved. BTW, we have a finnish ASUS FB site as well

        BR, ASUS Anders”

        So I’d guess the production issues and thus the huge delay in shipping are much about the hinge and that they’re trying to perfect it.

  4. Gautam

    March 23, 2013 at 1:28 am

    Thanks, that is very helpful! I think I will have to try it, but your advice does confirm my feeling that the Thinkpad Helix is more the right computer for me. By the way, I find devices like the nexus 7 /iPad mini to not really work for me for reading papers. I need something that can show the whole page of the pdf on one screen, otherwise it becomes pretty difficult to see entire tables, figures etc., and the constant zooming and panning is a bit of a pain.

    Keep up the great work!

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 23, 2013 at 10:22 am

      Then the larger screen is what you need. I liked it too button be frank, i can’t get pass the weight. So I for one will have to wait for the next-gen or even next next gen devices if I were to switch :P

    • John

      March 30, 2013 at 1:50 am

      Yeah I think portrait mode is one thing the video review missed.
      For professional usage reading pdf without having to resize is great, on a 13′ laptop it is just the right size for me as I find myself reading with my laptop turned 90. In tablet mode that would mean 1/2 the weight of my macbook pro and no keyboard in the way. Also would fix the awkward page turning as the tablet rotates the screen automatically and let you just flip pages on the screen.
      I have been looking forward to that computer just for that functionality and I think, once the production cost lower, having processing power with 13′ portrait mode (i.e. closer to A4 paper or magazine size) might finally bring some new uses for the tablet format other than couch surfing (think office or school use).

      • Andrei Girbea

        March 30, 2013 at 4:09 pm

        hey John, thanks for the feedback. if there are other things I might have missed in the video and you were interested in, do tell, so i can be more careful in my future clips. thanks

  5. TJ

    March 23, 2013 at 1:50 am

    Excellent Review the best I have read on the TX300 thus far.

  6. Eino Anttila

    March 23, 2013 at 11:39 am

    How does the texture on the screen/tablet and the top of the keyboard and especially on the touchpad and it’s sides feel?

    Usually PC touchpads have way too much friction on the material so it’s annoying on the skin and wonkyness with the cursor in the way they work when being compared to the best-of-the-class style touchpads on MacBooks. My plastic white MacBook touchpad works perfect in Windows 8 so it’s not just Windows, it’s the hardware.

    Also, how would you compare the keyboard itself to a MacBook keyboard. It does look a lot alike after all, but is it on par with the real deal?

    Then, how is the texture on the back of the screen/tablet? Does it have the Transformer Pad style circly texture, which is super nasty on the tips of my fingers. Like, hideous, can’t stand it for two seconds. Or is it smooth like say, an iPad or a Samsung tablet? Or even super smooth like a Nokia phone? Or much like the MacBook Pro screen’s back? Or would you say it feels exactly like a ZenBook screen’s back? This is super important to me, cause I’d hate if it felt nasty all the time. I have the Nexus 7 and I really don’t like how it feels in my hands. Then again, I absolutely adore how my Lumia 920 feels on my hands, butter smooth.

    Then, same thing with the clear spaces on the sides of the touchpad, on the keyboard dock. How’s the texture on that? Is it super smooth to use a mouse on it, like on, say the plastic white MacBook (my most preferred feel, it’s butter smooth and feels warm, humane and cozy) or a bit frictional like the MacBook Pro, or may the ZenBook – I don’t yet have any experience on that.

    That’s how I always use my little A4-Tech optical mouse or the Microsoft Wedge Mouse – on top of the laptop. Highly enjoyable and smooth on the plastic MacBook, especially when using Windows 8, cause you can do everything so quick. Then again, on the MacBook Pro it feels a bit like using the mouse on a chalkboard – kinda nasty. I’d hope the Transformer Book to have a smoother feel when using a mouse on it.

    How would you say?

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 23, 2013 at 4:26 pm

      The Keyboard: it looks the same but it’s not really the same. The plastic used for the keys on the MBPs is smoother and also the keys are a bit firmer.

      The texture on the back of the tablet is identical to the one on the Zenbooks and the Transformer Pad Infinity (concentric circles). So it’s not smooth, but it’s actually not that bad either. You’ll barely feel it, it’s not like on the Transformer Pad Tf300, that has a plastic back.

      The palm-rest is once again not as smooth as on the White Macbook. It can’t be, that’s shinny plastic, this is metal. It does feel close to the back of the ipad here though. So I don’t think using the mouse on top of it it’s a good idea. It might scratch it too, since this is metal and metal will scratch eventually

      • Eino Anttila

        March 24, 2013 at 2:15 am

        Thanks for the answer, very cool! Alright, have to feel out the ZenBook and the Transformer Pad Infinity. Hope it’s not that bad for me neither. The plastic Transformer Pad just left that stigma of “eww” on my fingers. :D

        I’m using a mouse on the MacBook Pro all the time, and I haven’t seen any scratches at least with my mouses. I’d think it’s not that bad either on the Transformer Book to use a mouse on it, if it’s at least near the quality of the MBP.

        Very good to know that the tablet/screen feels close to the back of the iPad too. That’s perfectly fine after all.

        Let’s just hope the hinge will be fixed to a super sturdy one. I HAVE had one 1600 euro ASUS laptop’s screen split in half starting after just a couple months and then going on for almost couple years and finally breaking apart. It WAS though made of “eco-friendly materials”, which was my thought of saving the world. But still because of that, that they dare to sell something so weak with such an amount of money, my faith in ASUS is not on the strongest size with the quality of their plastic. But we’ll see and let’s keep our fingers crossed.

        At least the Nexus 7 feels quite sturdy so they might have gotten better with these things over this year.

  7. Mathias Skov

    March 30, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Thanks for the review, it’s awesome!

    Just a quick question. Is it true that there is going to be a Transformer Book with a 5 MP camera on the back? Because it looks like it if you look around a bit on “transformerbook.asus.com”.

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 30, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      yes, some versions will have a back camera. this particular one did not

  8. Ken

    March 31, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Thanks Andrei for the great review. I have been waiting for this machine for what seems forever but the lack of a digitizer is definitely a deal breaker for me.
    When you mentioned the track pad being jumpy, do you mean the cursor would jump lines for no reason?
    I have a TF810C and this issue makes the track pad almost unusable.
    I wonder if it is an Asus trait; bad news is that they have been slow to address the multiple bugs on this machine.
    Here’s hoping the delay in production means that they are ensuring they get these problems sorted.
    Now waiting for the lenovo helix release…. Overall seems to be a much better package and will eagerly await your review of it!
    Cheers

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 1, 2013 at 9:44 am

      Yes, it skips lines some times, but it doesn’t happen very often. It’s an issue I’ve seen with most Asus Zenbooks and transformers over the years.. From what i know, the TX300 was delayed so they can fix some bugs and manufacturing traits. Not sure if this is one of them though, but hopefully it is

  9. Juan Aguilar

    April 1, 2013 at 7:34 am

    Thank you for your excellent review!

    I really don’t care much about a detaching screen. I think tablets have a place in a well established niche, at least for the next few years.

    I have been waiting to find an Ultrabook with full HD (1080p), discrete graphics, a Core i7 processor and a multi-touch screen of 14″ or less, something like the ASUS Zenbook Prime UX32VD (also reviewed in your website) but with the touch screen feature.

    In your view, can you recommend a current device with these features or should I wait a little longer?

    Thank you!

    • Juan Aguilar

      April 1, 2013 at 7:41 am

      I forgot to add that I would like it to have the possibility to expand the memory to a minimum of 8 GB RAM.

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 1, 2013 at 11:52 am

      discrete graphics and a touchscreen under 14 inch… that’s tough, very tough. There are some 14 inchers with discrete graphics, but neither has a touchscreen, from what I know. See this article: http://www.ultrabookreview.com/2071-best-gaming-ultrabooks/

      There are also some 14 inchers or smaller with touchscreen, but not with discrete graphics… So frankly I don’t believe there’s an option for what you need right now. So you will probably have to wait for next gen ultrabooks to hit the stores, by the end of this year.

  10. Roel

    April 10, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Thanks for the extensive review. One more thing though; are the keyboard and trackpad operational when the screen is detached?

    I am afraid the answer is no, because it looks like the communication between keyboard and screen/tabled is through the connector. But than the question would be, is there an extension cable possibility? Or is communication possible via bluetooth or so?

    This means you could place the tabled on a stand and use its detached keyboard. Why? More comfortable when working for ours on a computer (as a freelance worker I often bring a stand and external keyboard). For me, this would be an interesting option for future laptops.

    Many thanks in advance.

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 10, 2013 at 11:58 am

      the answer is no, and from what I know, there’s no extension cable. Also, there’s no Bluetooth for sure, BUT, you can buy a bluetooth compatible keyboard and use it with the tablet alone, if you want to

  11. Rahul Kapoor

    April 11, 2013 at 6:15 am

    you mentioned that this device doesn’t have or support widi???

    can you confirm pls.

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 11, 2013 at 10:57 am

      the unit I tested did not offer WiDi support

  12. Thomas

    April 16, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Hello Andrei, really great review! Does the tablet (pad) have a port for 4g cellphone SIM/micro card?
    I am looking forward to buy one of these, I was stuck between the zenbook and this one. I like Intel’s ad where a woman transforms her notebook into a tablet in a train station and I thought to myself, why change my current 13″ for another 13″, which is only slimmer? Convertible will suit well my professional needs and home media usage for about the same price.
    Best Regards from Brazil!!

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 17, 2013 at 2:24 pm

      There’s no SIM card on this one unfortunately.

  13. Rich

    April 17, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Thanks for the review. I’ve been waiting on this thing for months, but the repeated delays have me reconsidering. My vendor said last week that my preordered i7 unit will ship to me on 4/18, this week (on 4/16) they said they don’t know when it will ship. Other sites are now posting a ship date of 5/16. For me, this is so close to the new Haswell release and subsequent better convertibles that I’ll probably just cancel my TX300 order and wait for the next gens to come out later this year.

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      Yea, it’s a tough call. If you can wait till the end of the summer, it’s probably better to cancel the order…

  14. Benoît

    April 24, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Very good exhausted review. Nice work really!

    Unfortunately, I was going to buy it but given the maximum battery life (whatever the battery mode I choose), I won’t because I was expected to carry it with me all day long without taking the recharge cable. I was hoping for this device, given the two batteries, to run at least 8 real hours (Economy mode and keyboard activated, with WIFI on and 50% screen lighting).
    So instead I’ll get the Zenbook UX32VD even if I was really thrilled about having a touch screen.

    Nice work though!

  15. Sripal

    April 25, 2013 at 4:52 am

    i was waiting to get one of these , since its showcased last year

    i loved the thought of 13.3 inch tablet for the weight of 10.6 surface pro (~950grams) ,

    First i came to know that it doesn,t have pen (though cheaper vivotab 810c has it) but it doesn’t bother me even though i was hoping to use with photoshop.

    then the ASUS website showed that it has 38whr battery. that for me is a deal breaker .
    because with surface pro with 10.6 in and 42 whr has poor battery life.
    now reading and seeing your review . its clear asus made a huge compromise with battery for making the device thin
    Acer w700 on the other hand has 52 whr battery . but looks terrible.
    Asus should have easily accommodated a 50-60whr battery on a 13.3inch device.

    Any way i still definitely buy this one.
    waiting for availability in India. Because based on reliability of the device it is not safe to import .

    fingered crossed if core i5 model available (1200$)would be a steal.

    may be in future if Intel core 4th generation Haswell comes and get in this device . It may improve battery life greatly and save this beautiful piece of tech .

  16. lee

    March 4, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    Thanks for your review.
    I’ve just got one, but I’m terribly dissapointed with a problem I found out. Have you heard about problems with the hard disk?
    When I search for the hard disk units I have:
    OS C: 122GB
    Data1 (D:) 222GB
    Local Disk (E:) (I click on this and it says “acces dennied”
    so where are the 500 GB of the base?

    Thanks for our help

  17. young

    June 28, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    hello please i need help !!!!!
    i have the tx200ca computer but 3 days ago ,the keyboard dock stop working , all the ports on the keyboard stopped working too ,the only working part of the keyboard is the charging point , i have had this laptop for 2 months and i have not really used it because i am not always home , i have tried everything possible to try to make it work but the pad wont read the keyboard dock , and the dock dosnt read it too , i ran device diagnostics and it says everything is fine , someone help please !!! did i press a button that deactivated the keyboard dock or is a technical problem , i will be grateful if anybody can help

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 1, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      I don’t remember any button that would disable the docking on this series, but I haven’t tested the TX200. It’s probably best to contact Asus support in your country.

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