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Asus Transformer Book TX300 review – the HYBRID

Asus Transformer Book TX300 review – the HYBRID
Posted by: Andrei Girbea | Last updated on: 20 Mar 2013 | See the comments
Summary: The Asus Transformer Book TX300 is a versatile machine, capable to go as a Windows 8 tablet or as a regular laptop. It meets most of my expectations, although there are still things to brush for the next generation. But if you're after a hybrid, you should definitely give it a look.
Rating: 3.5 / 5   Price range: $1300 - $1500

THE GOOD

IPS screen, powerful hardware, good build quality, good keyboard and trackpad, fair battery life

THE BAD

some light bleeding on the screen, the hinge does not grip the tablet properly, rather large and heavy for a 13 incher

WHERE TO BUY:

Today we’re going to review the much awaited Asus Transformer Book TX300. The one I’m playing with is a press-sample, but it should be very close to what’s been on sale in the last weeks in several countries throughout Europe.

On a first look, you might think that the Asus Transformer Book is one of those sleek ultrabooks we’ve been seeing around lately. But it’s actually something else: an Intel Core powered tablet running Windows 8, bundled with a multifunctional docking station. So in other words, it’s a hybrid that you can use both as a tablet and as a laptop.

Asus announced it many many months ago and at that time, it stirred  some noise. However, those who we’re planning on buying the Transformer Book in 2012 we’re left hanging, as the TX300 just recently hit some stores in Europe, with worldwide availability expected for mid Spring this year.

But was it actually worth waiting for the Transformer Book? Is it the best of both worlds: tablets and laptops? Or is it better than the other hybrid designs out there? We’ll read this review and you’ll find out.

Asus Transformer Book TX300 video review

But before we get to the actual review, the video below will tell you most of the things you should know about the Transformer Book.

The Specs sheet for the Asus Transformer Book TX300

Asus Transformer Book TX 300
Screen 13.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 px resolution, IPS, glossy
Processor Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7-3517UM CPU, 1.9 GHz
Chipset Intel HM77
Video integrated Intel 4000 HD
Memory 4 GB DDR3
Hard-disk 128 GB SSD and 500 GB HDD
Connectivity Wireless N, Gigabit Lan, Bluetooth 4.0
Ports tablet: microSD card-reader, micro-HDMI, HD webcam
dock: 2 x USB 3.0, mini-DisplayPort, LAN, SD card-reader
Baterry 38 Wh on tablet, 23 Wh on dock
Operating system Windows 8
Size tablet: 340 x 213 x 4 ~11 mm (WxDxH)
340 x 219 x 3 ~13 mm
Weight about 1.9 kg (0.95 kg tablet, 0.95kg dock)
Extras 4 speakers, backlit keyboard

Design and exterior

We’ll start off with the design. The Transformer Book borrows much of its aesthetics from the Asus Zenbook line. The tablet itself is a slab of glass and metal, with aluminum covering it’s rear.

However, this isn’t the slate you’ve been used to lately. First of all, it’s massive, as it offers a 13.3 inch screen and a thick bezel. It measures around 340 x 213 x 11 mm, so it’s nowhere as portable or as easy to use as the iPad or some of the other Windows or Android tablets out there.

The Transformer Book is not an average tablet

The Transformer Book is not an average tablet

And then, it’s also rather thick and heavy, weighing just over 2 pounds (0.95 kilos). But, as you might have guessed by the massive cooling grill on the rear of this device, this tablet is not made for couch-use, it’s a completely different beast, as you’ll find out a little bit later.

For now, let’s get back to the slate. Having a quick look around the sides, you’ll notice a power button and what looks like a pair of microphones on the top edge of the Transformer Book, a volume rocker, a State LED, a microHDMI port and a 3.5 mm jack on the left edge, and a very thin cut on the right edge, which, to be frank, I’m not entirely sure what it’s suppose to do.

And there are some things on the bottom as well: a microSD card reader, the charging port, two latches used to connect the tablet to a docking station, and the proprietary port used for that.

A sturdy and beautiful device

A sturdy and beautiful device

Now on to the docking station. To start with, it’s incredibly solid and the aluminum cast feels both premium, but also reliable. The docking unit integrates a keyboard, a trackpad, a bunch of ports on the sides and some extra goodies inside. About that ports, on the left edge there’s the charging port, identical to the one used on the tablet.

The docking station does add plenty of goodies

The docking station does add plenty of goodies

Asus went for this magnetic connector instead of the classic pin, and I can’t say it’s a better or worse approach. It just works. Next to it there’s an SD card-reader and some discrete status LEDs hiding behind punctured aluminum grills. On the other side you’ll find a full-sized Ethernet plug, two USB 3.0 ports (with USB-host support) and a mini-Display Port connector. So basically, you’ve got all the things you’re going to need here.

Latched to its docking station, this can be a versatile laptop

Latched to its docking station, this can be a versatile laptop

Inside the docking there’s a hard-drive and an extra battery, that keeps the Transformer Book running longer when the slate and the dock are attached.

Speaking of that, latching the two together is extremely simple and the hinge itself feels sturdy. The connection between them is not as snug as I would expect though, at least on this test unit, so the slate tends to wobble a bit in place (see the video for more details about that). And that’s going to be annoying when reaching for the screen, as the connection is not firm enough so the tablet won’t move at all when touched.

It's extremely easy to latch/unlatch the two parts

It’s extremely easy to latch/unlatch the two parts

Screen

Anyway, let’s move along and talk about the screen. There’s a bright and vivid 13.3 inch IPS panel with 1920 x 1080 px resolution on the Transformer Book. So everything is just right here: the texts are sharp, the colors vibrant and you’ll have no problem whatsoever with the viewing angles either.

Light bleeding around the edges of the panel might be disturbing, or at least it was on my test unit. But I can’t say that’s really a deal-breaker for me, since the light spots are mostly visible on dark-static scenes and sometimes when watching movies that have black bars below and on top of the content.

The screen is one of the best parts of this device

The screen is one of the best parts of this device

But there’s more about this display. As you might have got by now, this is a touchscreen and supports up to 10 touch-points. It works as it should and I had no problem performing gestures, taps and all sorts of commands on it or on its frame, including those Windows 8 gestures. However, this screen does not include an active digitizer, and as a result, it will not work with a precision pen. Or in other words, it’s not good for inking, sketching, drawing, note taking and so on.

And then there’s that wobbling connection between the screen and the dock I was talking about earlier. On my test unit, it was just a nuisance, nothing more. But in time, it might have unwanted effects on that fragile port that keeps data flowing between the slate and the dock. Thus, since the actual tablet is heavier than a regular laptop screen, Asus should have definitely developed a stronger hinge here, able to keep-in-place the extra bulk.

Keyboard and trackpad

The keyboard on this Transformer Book is actually one of the best I’ve seen on an Asus device lately. It’s backlit and the keys offer good travel and feedback (although it’s still a bit shallow, but it’s above average in the ultrabook class), so I can say that this keyboard is superior to the one on the Zenbooks. There’s no layout issue either, except for the small arrow keys.

And as an extra note, you’ll notice a special Blue key on the upper-right side of the keyboard, meant to open a management interface designed for the Asus Transformer Book.

A good backlit keyboard

A good backlit keyboard

But before we’ll talk about that, let’s focus a bit on the trackpad. This one is spacious and works with all the Windows 8 side gestures. The click buttons are integrated within the tactile area and they are a bit stiff and noisy. In fact the entire surface is clickable. Now, I’m not a big fan of this approach, but it will do. In fact, that’s how I can summarize the trackpad on this machine: it will do, as it works fine most of the time, although the cursor can get unresponsive or jumpy from time to time.

And a decent trackpad

And a decent trackpad

Hardware and performances

OK, so all these aside, let’s see what you can actually do with this machine.

Like I said in the beginning, the Transformer Book is a Windows 8 powered tablet. This means that you’re getting the Metro touch-friendly interface, with its apps in the Windows Store (I’m not going to get in depth in this review), but also the classic desktop and the ability to run all the software you’re already familiar with from your other PCs.

We’re talking here about serious multitasking, Office, Photoshop, Windows Media Center and so on. Programing or video editing software can be cranked too, as long as you’re working on smaller projects, and even games.

I’ve tried Civ 5 and Starcraft 2 on it and they all ran fine with 13 x 7 resolution and medium details, but remember that this is not primarily a gaming computer, as there’s only that much you can ask from the integrated Intel HD 4000 chip inside it. The clip below will show you some of the games I’ve tried on a Core i7 powered Asus Zenbook Prime a while ago, which is pretty much similar to the hardware we have here.

Bottom point, most of the programs nowadays are going to fly on the machine, given its specs:

  • an Intel Core i7-3517U processor clocked at 1.9 GHz;
  • Intel HD 4000 graphics;
  • 4 GB of DDR3 memory;
  • 128 GB Sandisk U100 SATA III SSD inside the tablet, used for the OS and the important apps;
  • a 500 GB Hitachi 5400 rpm SATA II HDD inside the docking station.

Anyway, the processor, the memory and the SSD are all inside the tablet. Thus the slate is a stand-alone computer of its own that can handle pretty much all the things a regular laptop can. When having it attached to the docking station, you get the extra ports and you can access the regular hard-drive, where you can store most of your content.

The SSD inside this particular unit is decently snappy, as you can see from the benchmarks below. It’s an U100 Sandisk model, so it’s not a regular mSATA drive, thus I’m not sure how easy it would be to swap it for another faster one. Unfortunately, I can’t pop-open this Transformer Book and have a look at the internals, so I can’t tell for sure what kind of drive is used here. The HDD is however pretty slow, but I’m pretty sure this is a 7mm 2.5 inch drive and it should be easily replaceable once you remove those Philips screws holding in place the rear-panel of the docking unit.

Last but not least, there’s only 4 GB of memory on the Transformer Book and it would be great to find out if its soldered to the motherboard or if there’s any spare memory module you can use in case of an upgrade (based on what various programs are telling me, I’d reckon there isn’t). Still, since I can’t open the sample, there’s no way to tell you all these things for sure.

Anyway, I’ve ran a couple of synthetic benchmarks on the Asus Transformer Book. Once again, this is the Intel Core i7-3517U version with 4 GB of RAM and the 128 GB Sandisk U100 SSD, running Windows 8. The results are below:

  • 3DMark 11: E990, P530;
  • 3DMark Vantage: E9239, P2361;
  • PCMark 07: 4495;
  • Windows Rating: 5.3;
  • CineBench 11.5: OpenGL 13.53 fps, CPU 2.30 pts.

One more thing I should mention. Since this is a Core powered device, it has a fan inside. As a result, you’ll hear it spinning. It is never too noisy, but you’ll hear it nonetheless when working in a quiet room, especially when you’ll push the system a bit harder. The back of the device is going to get warm too, around the cooling grill, but luckily it never gets uncomfortably hot, not even when running Full HD movies or games for several hours.

So all in all, with the Transformer Book you get a very fast hybrid that you can use when needed as a tablet, or as a laptop. With Windows 8, you get some touch-optimized software, but more importantly, the legacy software and the true multitaking you won’t find on most other tablet operating systems these days. And on top of that, the device is fast, boots from cold in just around 10 seconds and resumes from sleep instantaneously. What’s even cooler, it can last in stand-by for weeks, so there’s little point in actually turning it OFF. Ever.

Battery life

Speaking about the battery life, the tablet itself houses a 38 Wh battery, and under the keyboard there’s a 23 Wh one as well.

Those being said, you can use the tablet as a stand-alone device and you’ll get between two and 4 hours of daily use on a charge, based on what you’re doing on it.

A new power-brick, with a magnetic power connector

A new power-brick, with a magnetic power connector

The methodology for the results on this section is simple: I’ve used BatteryBar and I’ve ran each activity for 15 minutes (not the best approach, but that’s what I could do, given the limited time I had with this unit). I’ve then recorded the start and the ending capacity of the battery showed by that app, and based on that, I’ve got the average results shown below, extrapolated per hour (there’s an error margin though, as we know that a battery does not discharge linearly).

Anyway, here’s what you should expect when using the tablet as a stand-alone device:

  • 7.5 Wh – Power Saving, Screen at 0% while editing texts using the on-screen keyboard;
  • 10 Wh – looping a 720p video in Power Saving mode, Wi-Fi OFF;
  • 12 Wh – everyday activities (browsing, videos, editing texts and photos, music) in Balanced mode, screen at 50% , Wi-Fi and Keyboard illumination ON;
  • 15.5 Wh – looping a 1080p 40 mbps movie from SSD, with screen at 100% in High Performance mode;
  • 21 Wh – looping a 4K trailer from Youtube, with screen at 100% in High Performance mode;

And then, you can connect the tablet to the dock. In this case, there are two different ways you can use the combo. In the first scenario, you get to access everything there is available on the docking unit: the keyboard and trackpad, ports and the external hard-drive. In this case, you’ll get an average of four hours of life out of this computer.

  • 6.5 Wh – Power Saving, Screen at 0% while editing texts using the physical keyboard;
  • 11 Wh – looping a 720p video in Power Saving mode, Wi-Fi OFF;
  • 14 Wh – everyday activities (browsing, videos, editing texts and photos, music) in Balanced mode, screen at 50% , Wi-Fi and Keyboard illumination ON;
  • 18 Wh – looping a 1080p 40 mbps movie from HDD, with screen at 100% in High Performance mode;
  • 21.5 Wh – playing Civilization V, with screen at 100% in High Performance mode;
  • 24 Wh – looping a 4K trailer from Youtube, with screen at 100% in High

In the second scenario, called Notebook Mode, you can only use the keyboad and the trackpad on the dock, while all the other features are turned OFF, and in this case the average battery life will jump to 5+ hours. In this case, BatteryBar wasn’t working properly, so I only have two tests, while discharging the battery from 100% to 7%:

  • nearly 5 hours – everyday use in Balanced mode, screen at 50%, Wi-Fi ON, keyboard back-lightning ON, while performing various tasks (browsing, editing photos and texts, listening to music, watching some clips on Youtube and so on);
  • around 6 hours while looping a 720p clip in Power4Gear Energy Saving mode, with screen at 50%, Wi-Fi OFF, Keyboard illumination OFF.

If I got things right (and please correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s the conclusion I was able to get based on my tests, as neither Windows or any other piece of software actually sees the secondary battery), the battery inside the dock seems to power the hard-drive and the ports when in regular mode, while only the battery inside the tablet takes care of the hardware inside it. In other words, when having the tablet and the docking connected in this mode, you’re actually getting shorter battery expectations than when using the tablet alone. In notebook Mode, the battery inside the dock and the battery inside the tablet join forces, and as a result, you get significantly longer battery life.

Now, you can change between the two modes from the Asus Transformer Book management console, accessible by pressing that Blue button on the keyboard. It’s the Battery UP feature in the right lower corner. Besides that, the interface also offers extra info about the laptop and access to a couple of other Asus tweaks, like the Asus Splendid software that changes the color settings of your screen or the Audio Wizard.

The Transformer Book TX utility

The Transformer Book TX utility

Speakers and other details

Speaking of audio, you get two speakers on the back of the tablet, and another two on the sides of the docking unit (only usable when the Notebook Mode is OFF). I’d say that the sound quality is good, although short of impressive, as you can hear from the video review on top of this page. There’s also no distortion, but on the other hand, the sound system is not very loud.

As for heat and noise, I’ve told you all about them at the end of the Hardware and Performances section, so look for those details over there.

4 speakers: 2 on the tablet, 2 on the dock

4 speakers: 2 on the tablet, 2 on the dock

But there are some extra details I should mention.

First, the webcam, which I’d say it’s decent for video calls and conferences, paired with those microphones and the ambient noise-reduction software. But it tends to produce very grainy and washed-out videos unless there’s a lot of light in the room.

And then, there are the connectivity options. This unit comes with Wireless and Bluetooth, plus a Gigabit Lan port on the docking. The wireless card is a Qualcomm Atheros AR9485WB-EG and it performed well during all of my tests, although signal strength in congestioned areas or when further away from the router is not its strong point. And it doesn’t support WiDi either.

Prices and availability

The Asus Transformer Book starts at around $1300 for an Intel Core i5 configuration with the 128 GB SSD and a 320 GB HDD inside the docking unit.

The version tested here, with the more powerful processor and the larger HDD, sells for close to $1500, or 1500 euros in Europe.

Wrap-up

Anyway, as we draw closer to the end of our review, I believe some of you might find the Transformer Book as the next step for laptops. You get all the power and the features of a laptop, but you also get to detach the, let’s call it “screen”, and end up with a tablet you can carry around for your presentations or even use for everyday content consumption.

Although, since this is a large and heavy slate, it’s not really the ideal couch-budy, but it works nonetheless.

The Transformer Book is for sure a device to consider

The Transformer Book is for sure a device to consider

On the other hand, the Transformer Book is one of the several hybrid designs out there right now. The Asus Taichi, the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga and ThinkPad Helix or the Sony Vaio Duo 11 are a bunch of other interesting ones you should check out. And while there are plenty of things to like about this Transformer Book, there are still a couple that you might not.

For some of you, the lack of a digitizer might be a deal-breaker, the rather massive and heavy body (for a 13.3 inch machine), or the light bleeding on the screen. For me, it’s the wobbly connection between the tablet and the dock, that kind of spells trouble down the line, although this might well be an issue with my sample and not a general problem. And then, there’s of course the OS and all the annoying incompatibilities between the Metro and the Desktop Windows interface that will for sure annoy those coming from Windows 7. But that’s a different story.

In the end, it’s up to you to take all the things in this review and decide if the Asus Transformer Book TX300 is the right choice for you. Since it costs 1300 euros and up, you should really give it a proper thinking before buying it. But on the other hand, it is in short supplies all around the world, so there’s probably no haste anyway.

And that pretty much wraps up this Asus Transformer Book TX300 review. I do hope you enjoyed and if you have any questions or thinks to say about the article or the tablet/laptop, just leave a comment. I’ll be there to reply.

Andrei Girbea, aka Mike, Editor-in-Chief and a huge fan of mobile computers. Since 2007, I've only owned smaller than 12.5" laptops and I've been testing tens, if not hundreds of mini laptops. You'll find mostly reviews and guides written by me here on the site.

36 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

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