Review: Asus T300 Chi

James Dartnell takes the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi for a spin, and reveals why although it may have its critics, it ultimately delivers as a stylish travel product. ASUS review

The Transformer tablet range were initially Android offerings that have now transformed into products that can compete with the best Ultrabooks. The Chi lineup features the 12-inch T300, the 10-inch T100 and the 8.9-inchT90.

As two-in-ones go, there’s no arguing that the T300 is a stylish, slick product. It has a great tactile feel, and a simple design, as well as being very light, at 1.4kg. It features an all-aluminum one-piece design, leaving it screw-less, and seamless. In comparison to a number of its competitors, Asus has done a fantastic job of simplifying the device’s appearance. By opting for a fanless Intel Core M setup, Asus has brought us a slick convertible laptop, where less is more. It looks and feels like a traditional laptop, which should be a major plus for conventional consumers.

Complementing the appealing design is its fantastic 2560×1440 screen resolution, and pixel density of 235ppi, higher than the Macbook Air’s 127; the design sharp but the screen arguably sharper.

On business trips, the chunky laptop – unnamed – I’d been using for work tasks before the Chi felt like a bag of lead in comparison, and thick; the Chi is only 16mm thin when the keyboard and tablet are folded together.
The magnetic hinge that joins the two components is a great addition; the device has a stable feel when opened. In fact, the uneducated user could be forgiven for thinking that the device was exclusively a laptop since the magnet is so secure.

Another important plus point of the T300 Chi is its quality internal performance. It features an Intel Core M 5Y71 processor, and a CPU similar to that in the MacBook. It’s also got 8GB of RAM and 128GB of built-in SSD storage. It’s also got stamina. Having put the device through its paces, with scores of tabs and applications open, as well as hours of video streaming, the battery power did not easily wane.

Ultimately, all these positive traits may matter little if you’re an ardent Windows 8 critic. There’s nothing that can be done to convince customers that it’s worth getting used to the operating system. However, if you’re not put off by the mutli-coloured blocks of Microsoft’s most recent OS, then the T300 is certainly a safe bet.

There are also other concerns which can be hard to ignore. Connectivity is the main issue; there are no full-size USB ports or an SD card reader, while the keyboard dock doesn’t have a wire connection to the tablet, and needs to be charged separately via a microUSB socket. However the Bluetooth-connected keyboard can be used from a working range of up to 20 metres.

Still, if you’re looking for a slick business laptop to be used on-the-go then there are major things going for the T300 Chi. Inconveniences aside, it’s an extremely satisfying product to use, which is what matters. Maybe not one for office use, but one I’d certainly recommend for anyone who lives life on the move.

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