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Asus releases Transformer 3, 3 Pro and Transformer Mini detachables

by on01 September 2016

Higher-priced model uses Skylake, lower-priced uses Kaby Lake

During a press event before the IFA tradeshow in Berlin this week (September 4th – 7th), Asus announced two  2-in-1 detachable notebooks that take direct aim at Microsoft’s Surface Pro lineup.

In fact, the new devices are so similar in design they appear to be bordering on copyright infringement, should Microsoft find it necessary to produce patents for the original design.

Asus 2-in-1 detachables with 12.6-inch IPS display panels

asus transformer 3 pro back

The Asus Transformer 3 and Transformer 3 Pro were originally announced at an ASUS Zen press conference in late May, when the company signaled its entry into direct competition with Microsoft over the Surface Pro market.

asus transformer 3 155 degree kickstand

Both devices feature a kickstand extending back 155-degrees for various angle adjustments, just like the 150-degree kickstands on every Microsoft Surface. The company will sell detachable keyboards that clip into place, just like the Smart Keyboards introduced for any iPad 2 or later Apple tablet and the Type Cover for any Surface device.asus transformer 3 keyboard colors

The Transformer 3 Pro will ship with a backlit Cover Keyboard offering “laptop-grade 1.4mm key travel,” while the Transformer 3 will ship with a non-backlit Transformer Sleeve Keyboard also offering 1.4mm key travel. Both keyboard types are available in Stone, Charcoal, Taupe and Amber.

Transformer 3 Pro T303UA (Skylake, air-cooled)asus transformer 3 pro t303ua

The device features a 12.6-inch IPS wide-gamut display with 3K/WQHD+ (2880x1920p) resolution (275ppi) at a 3:2 aspect ratio and covers 121 percent of the sRGB color space. The display is capable of up to 450 nits brightness and covers an 80 percent screen-to-body ratio. It also includes 16GB of LPDDR3 2133MHz memory, up to a 512GB SATA 3 M.2 SSD or up to a 1TB PCI-E 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD.

asus computex briefing transformer 3 lineup

The company said in May that the Transformer 3 Pro will feature more powerful Skylake chips from the previous generation, while the standard Transformer 3 series will feature ultra-low voltage Kaby Lake chips with a fanless design. Some early reviews have pointed out that the Transformer 3 Pro body has venting at the top while the Transformer 3 does not, indicating that the premium model is air cooled while the other uses heatsinks.

The company’s official product page lists Intel’s 6th-gen Skylake series Core i5 6200U (2.3GHz base, 2.4GHz Turbo) and Core i7 6500U (2.5GHz base, 3.1GHz Turbo) as the two configurations. There one model currently available for pre-order with a Core i5 6200U / 512GB / 8GB RAM for $1255.

As for peripherals, there is a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel IR front camera, Bluetooth 4.1, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, one USB 3.0 port, one HDMI port, one Thunderbolt 3 port, multi-format memory card slot, dual 2W stereo speakers with microphone, USB Type-C port for power and a 39Wh lithium-polymer battery. The tablet without keyboard measures 8.35mm thick and weighs 1.74lbs (790g). Asus will price this device starting at $999 for the base model.

Transformer 3 T305CA (Kaby Lake, fanless)

asus transformer 3 t305ca

This device has the same 12.6-inch IPS wide-gamut 2880x1920p display as the Transformer 3 Pro, with up to 8GB of DDR3L memory at a lower 1866MHz memory speed and up to a 512GB SATA 3 M.2 SSD. As for peripherals, it includes the same 8-megapixel rear and 5-megapixel IR front cameras, Bluetooth 4.1, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and dual 2W stereo speakers with microphone, but only includes a 3.5mm audio port and a single USB Type-C port for charging and data.

While the official product page does not list processor specifications, Asus CEO Johnny Shih said during the Computex keynote speech that they would indeed be Intel Kaby Lake chips. According to UltrabookReview, the device is built on Intel Core fanless hardware and will use Intel’s Kaby Lake Y-series Core M chips inside a 4.5W TDP.

The tablet without keyboard measures just 6.9mm thick and weighs 1.53lbs (695g) and it uses a 38.5Wh lithium-polymer battery. The device is expected to be priced at $799 for a 256GB storage option bundled with keyboard, with pricing for the 512GB option coming at a later date. Sources suggest it should become available by the end of the year.

While the Kaby Lake processor should add a small 12 to 19 percent performance improvement over similar Skylake chips, along with additional media features like native HEVC main10 decoding for 4K video playback, the other notable difference between the Transformer 3 Pro and the Transformer 3 appears to be the lack of an additional USB port and HDMI output, meaning any 4K display output will be limited to just one screen at a time.

Transformer Mini T102HA

asus transformer mini t102ha

At the entry-level of its detachable notebook lineup, the company is also releasing the Transformer Mini T102A to serve a follow-up to the Transformer Book T100HA and Transformer Book T100s.

This device features a smaller, 10.1-inch 1280x800p display with 16:10 aspect ratio and will use a quad-core Intel Atom x5-Z8350 Cherry Trail processor, accompanied by up to 4GB of RAM and up to 128GB of eMMC flash storage.

The machine has a 2-megapixel IR front camera, a fingerprint reader, Bluetooth 4.1, 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity, one USB 3.0 port, one micro USB port, one micro HDMI port, one microSD card reader, 1.5-watt stereo speakers and microphone, and a 3.5mm headphone port.

The tablet without keyboard measures 8.2mm thick and weighs 1.2lbs (544g) without keyboard, or 1.74lbs (789g) with keyboard. It also features an lithium-polymer battery with up to 11 hours of movie playback time. There is one model currently available for pre-order with an Intel Atom Z8350 / 4GB RAM / 128GB SSD for $423.72. They are expected to become more widely available starting in September bundled with the keyboard cover for around $500.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 for comparison

microsoft surface pro 4 back

By comparison, the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 has a 12.3-inch display with a 2736x1824 resolution (267ppi) and 3:2 aspect ratio. It also includes up to 16GB of LPDDR3 1866MHz memory and up to a 1TB PCI-E 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD.

It is available with three processor options – a dual-core Core m3 6Y30 with 900MHz base clock (2.2GHz Turbo), Intel HD 515 graphics and 4.5W TDP, a dual- core Core i5 6300U with 2.4GHz base clock (3GHz Turbo), Intel HD 520 graphics and a 15W TDP, or a dual-core Core i7 6650U with 2.2GHz base clock (3.4GHz Turbo), Intel Iris 540 graphics and a 15W TDP.

The machine has an 8-megapixel rear camera with autofocus, a 5-megapixel IR front camera, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, one USB 3.0 port, one Mini DisplayPort, MicroSD card slot, dual front-firing stereo speakers, front and back microphones, a 3.5mm audio port, Surface Connect charging port, Surface Pen and a 38.2Wh lithium battery. The tablet without keyboard measures 8.45mm thick and weighs anywhere between 1.69lbs (766g) and 1.73lbs (786g), depending on configuration. Microsoft’s prices range anywhere between $899 and $2699.

Last modified on 04 September 2016
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