Gadgetslab: Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi

I’ve been using a hybrid device at home for quite some time now and the ability to seamlessly go from lazily swiping the screen while browsing websites to hunkering down and getting work done through a physical keyboard is second to none, convenience-wise. So much so that I sometimes find myself absent-mindedly swiping my non-hybrid laptop at work and wondering why the Gadgets website isn’t moving. The Transformer Book T300 Chi, Asus’ latest entry to the 2-in-1 market, arrived this month at the team’s home base. Alas, I can swipe a laptop screen at work again.

Specifications:

OS: Windows 8.1 64-bit

Dimensions: (W x D x H) 317.8 x 191.6 x 7.6/16.5mm; 720g/1.43kg (without/with dock)

CPU: 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core M-5Y71 processor; burst speeds up to 2.9GHz

GPU: Integrated Intel HD Graphics 5300

Memory: 8GB DDR3 RAM; 128GB SSD; expandable via microSD

Display: 12.5-inches IPS WQHD multi-touch screen; 2560×1440 pixels

Dock: Detachable chiclet Bluetooth keyboard with multi-touch trackpad and microUSB charging port

Battery: 32Whrs, up to 8 hours up time

Camera: HD front facing camera

Connectivity: Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0

Ports: microUSB 3.0; mini-HDMI; headset jack; DC charging plug

Design: 5/5

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t love at first sight with the Chi. As opposed to the plastic-y aesthetics of its little brother, the T100, the T300 is all-aluminum and is made from one piece meaning there’s no obvious screws or bolts ruining its design stride. Add to the superb build its slender 16.5mm thin body, 1.43kg heavy frame, and chrome edges, and you have a real premium looker you’d be proud to whip out in public.

Because I knew that it was a hybrid ultrabook, my first instinct was to detach the locking mechanism keeping the two halves together. Yet there’s no release button anywhere in the body. A quick search online revealed that the tablet and dock are kept together by tiny rare earth magnets, and you’d have to put a bit more effort into prying the tablet off the hinge. Make no mistake, that magnetic connection is strong so there’s no worry about anything coming loose at inopportune times.

Hardware: 4/5

Running the show is a dual-core Intel Core M processor humming at 1.2GHz bursting up to 2.9GHz. While the two cores may be off-putting to some, the M series sits snugly between the Atom and Core families in terms of power, performance, and price. It’s able to take on heavier workloads than the already impressive Atom, while at the same time being less of a battery hog than the Cores.

The processor is paired to a whopping 8GB of RAM for the benefit of multi-taskers and memory- intensive apps, while 128GB of SSD ensures the T300 is up and running in no time at all. Given that the Chi has a crisp WQHD display prime for tons of multimedia, the user available storage is a bit disappointing. Good thing there’s a microSD slot giving users extra wiggle room for more files.

User Experience: 4/5

I own an Asus T100 so I pretty much expected the Chi to blow me away and it didn’t let me down.

The lightweight build is a boon for people such as myself who dislike lugging around heavy loads. The durable aluminum finish also reassured me that it won’t get dinged up even when I carelessly threw it in my bag and mosh pitted against commuters in the MRT.

Just as gorgeous as the device itself is the screen in all its 2560×1440-pixel glory. Colors come out sharp and properly saturated making multimedia usage a joy. Whether it be watching 4K videos, editing photos and videos, reading eBooks, or just plain-old browsing the web, the display produces outputs that might just ruin other laptop screens for you.

Despite the seemingly modest specs, the T300 Chi is a handy, portable work station. The generous RAM serving means I can Photoshop without glitchy performances while doing some multi- track editing on the side. It can even handle some light gaming! During the duration of the review, I frequently Alt+Tabbed to sessions of The Sims 4 and Plants vs. Zombies and as long as I didn’t push the graphics settings too high, frame rates remained consistently in the 30+ mark.

Battery life was so-so during moderate use, lasting around five hours while browsing the Internet at about 80 percent brightness. This drops down to a lowly two and a half hours with gaming and multimedia manipulation. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself scrambling for the nearest wall socket when working on-the-go.

Value: 4/5

Though a bit pricey at PHP 46,995 for our review unit, the T300 Chi’s svelte aesthetics, tough body, and portable performance more than makes up for the cost of admission. If you have some cash to spare and need something light for the occasional out of town trips, Asus’ latest hybrid should be one of your top choices. However, if you’re looking for a portable that’s as powerful as your souped-up desktop, this isn’t your cup of tea.

What’s Hot:

  • Premium build and looks
  • Brilliant display
  • Thin and light

What’s Not:

  • Subpar battery
  • Lack of built-in storage space

Bottomline:

Can I keep it?

Final Score: 17/20

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