Asus' Transformer Book Chi family is an inexpensive Surface Pro alternativeBy Shawn Knight
During Asus' press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show, the company announced a new family of Windows-based convertible tablets. The Transformer Book Chi family will debut with three models including the low-end T90 Chi as well as the high-end T300 Chi that we first saw at Computex 2014.
Described by Asus CEO Johnny Shih as the ultimate dream machine and compared favorably to Apple's MacBook Air, the flagship T300 Chi features a 12.5-inch display operating at a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440. Under the hood is a fanless Intel Core M processor (your choice of the Core M 5Y10 or the 5Y71), up to 8GB of RAM and a 128GB solid state drive.
Carved out of aluminum, the chassis measures just 0.65 inches thick with the keyboard attached and only 0.3 inches without it so it is indeed slimmer than a MacBook Air. But at 3.1 pounds with the keyboard (1.6 pounds without it), it's also a little heavier in its notebook configuration.
Pricing starts at $799 with the 2,560 x 1,440 display however it can be had for $100 less if you opt for a 1080p screen.
If that's more than you're looking to spend, the T100 Chi checks in with a smaller 10.1-inch screen and a resolution of 1,920 x 1,200. It's powered by Intel's Atom Z3775 Bay Trail chip and comes with your choice of 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. Expect to pay $399 for the opportunity.
Last but not least is the T90 Chi, the cheapest of the bunch with a starting price of $299. Even smaller still at 8.9 inches, the T90 ships with a 1,280 x 800 resolution display and the same Atom hardware and storage options as the T100. One key difference with this model is the fact that its keyboard doesn't include a touchpad, likely due to lack of real estate.
All three Transformer Book Chi convertibles will be available starting next month.