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Review: Asus T300 Chi – tablet meets laptop

Asus T300 ChiUpon unpacking the Asus T300 Chi, the first thing that strikes you is the sleek, cold metallic feel of this 2-in-1 laptop cum tablet. At 7.6mm, it is impressively slim. To achieve this size, Asus found a way to do away with conventional USB ports which at first glance may be a cause of concern to a user. It’s only after seeing a USB accessory that you finally figure the transformer connects to a Micro USB 3.0 port allowing you to plug in your external USB and external disks. Of course, we would want more ports, but that’s the price to pay for the size of the Chi T300.

It’s only after seeing a USB accessory that you finally figure the transformer connects to a Micro USB 3.0 port allowing you to plug in your external USB and external disks. Of course, we would want more ports, but that’s the price to pay for the size of the Chi T300.

2-in-1

For gadget fanatics, the most impressive feature is how the touch-screen tablet connects to the keyboard to transform it to an above-average 12.5-inch laptop.

The T300 Chi display connects to the keyboard using two stable magnetic docks. But that’s where the use of the magnetic dock ends. Any communication between the screen and the keyboard is via Bluetooth so you can impress colleagues by remotely typing on the tablet with your wireless keyboard.

For the uninitiated, it can be frustrating to work the touchpad before a Bluetooth connection is established through a button at the top-left side of the keyboard. And even after a connection is made, you will find it easier (and enjoyable) to scroll pages on the touch-screen as opposed to the touchpad on the keyboard. It is truly a learning experience for this transformer.

Another deviation is that the power button is at the top left of the detachable tablet, meaning you may have to view the T300 Chi more as a tablet with the ability to convert to a laptop. However, in trying to strike the balance between a tablet and a laptop, Asus has pulled out all the stops to ensure users enjoy the best of the two aspects.

Asus T300 Chi Source: Microsoft

Asus T300 Chi Source: Microsoft

As a laptop, it is extremely portable although you might be deceived by the size when you carry it around. The aluminum finish plus the battery on the tablet makes the display a bit heavier (720g) than the keyboard. If you are not too keen, the tablet may topple over even when connected to the keyboard.

Specs

The Windows 8.1 T 300 Chi is powered by Intel Core M  – a revolutionary processor that is designed for high-end tablets, laptops and hybrids –  which does away with a noisy fan while still keeping the device cool. However, you will notice the back of the tablet heats up after a few hours of use, which is better than having the heat emanate from the keyboard section which is the norm for laptops. With an average battery life of 6 hours, you might have to recharge the T300 Chi at least once in 24 hours of use.

The screen could be brighter but the fact that it has 2560 x 1440-pixel quad-HD display makes viewing of videos pleasant. In terms of screen display, it outperforms other devices in its range like Windows Surface Pro 3 and the HP Spectre.

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Asus

The T300 Chi SonicMaster sound is slightly less impressive considering the high standards Asus sets for its audio specs in other devices. Even on full speaker volume, you might need to be near the speakers located to the left and right of the device.

In addition to the micro USB, the T300 has one micro-HDMI port and a mic/headphone jack.  The transformer book comes with 8GB RAM and either 64GB or 128GB storage plus a slot for a micro card reader.

At a lower than norm price range of Sh64,000 ($710), the Asus T300 Chi is the closest attempt of seamlessly bridging the gap between a tablet and a laptop.

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