The "1-Minute" Review
- Combined with the keyboard, weighs a hefty 3.7 pounds
- Icons and text are too small in Windows mode
- File sharing between tablet and laptop has limited uses
- Poor battery life
The Asus steps up the hybrid market with their Transformer Book Trio. Not only is it a tablet and laptop, the detachable keyboard can plug into a monitor, effectively making it a desktop PC. The 3-in-1 design is possible as the tablet and keyboard section both have their own internal hardware and operating systems. Combined, the Trio measures 0.93 x 12 x 7.6 inches and weighs 1,678 grams (3.7 pounds). While on the heavier side, reviewers point out the convenience of having an all-in-one device outweighs the slight heft.
The display detaches to become an 11.6-inch tablet with a full HD resolution of 1080p and IPS technology. While colors tend to run fairly true, critics note that the black levels appear more gray and take away some depth from movies and games. As a tablet, the Trio runs on a 1.6GHz Intel dual-core processor and 2GB of RAM. Critics note that the UI is smooth without any lag despite and the processor is powerful enough to run most apps and games easily.
When connected with the keyboard, the Asus Transformer Book Trio switches over to the Intel i7 2.4GHz dual-core processor with 4GB of RAM. Firstpost states, "The PC Base station packs in enough grunt to easily manage most menial tasks and then some" and benchmark tests back up the claim ranking The Trio above other hybrid competitors like the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro though lower than the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 due in part to its slow hard drive. Since the keyboard itself comes with its own CPU, RAM and hard drive it can hook up to a monitor via VGA or HDMI cable and be used as a Windows 8 desktop. In terms of storage, the tablet comes up with up to 64GB of internal memory while the keyboard dock comes with up to 1TB.
Both the tablet and keyboard dock also come with separate batteries though critics quickly found out that two batteries didn't mean longer battery life. Experts eked out around 6 hours of moderate use from the tablet though they add that the keyboard dock adds an additional 8 hours of life.
While the tablet section comes loaded with Android OS, the keyboard base has Windows OS installed. Users can switch between Android and Windows in laptop mode by pressing a button on the keyboard. In order to change OS, reviewers note that users will have to first power on the keyboard and wait for the boot sequence to finish. Still, when both operating systems are live, most experts found the changeover to be fairly instantaneous. Once in Windows, users can also drag and drop files between the tablet and PC portion via the file sharing app Asus Console. In theory the idea sounds good, but when Digital Trends tested it out they found that it had limited use. They state, "The calendar, for example, can only import from Outlook on the PC side, and while importing or exporting videos…is not difficult, it's not any easier than using Dropbox." In addition, critics note that icons and text are so small in Windows 8 mode that simple tasks can often be daunting. The display does support 10-point gestures for Android and Windows 8, which experts describe as "highly accurate and fluid."
Despite its adaptability, reviewers are split on their impression of The Trio. PC Mag says, "…the problematic design and very high price outweigh the benefits offered by the otherwise decent performance of the Transformer Book Trio in either laptop or tablet mode." Mobile Syrup, on the other hand, states, "It's not going to appeal to everyone, but it's a great choice for someone who doesn't want to carry two specialized devices."
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