Sunday, April 20, 2014

Asus Transformer Book Trio TX201LA

Why You'll Dig it:

Asus Transformer Book Trio TX201LA is unlike any hybrid device we've ever seen. Not only is there a complete Windows 8 system hidden inside its keyboard, there's also an Android tablet packed in behind the screen.

Switching between operating system is simple. Detach the screen from the keyboard and you have an Android 4.2 tablet - the change takes place in an instant. You can also use the dedicated "instant OS switch" button at the top of the keyboard to switch between operating systems when the keyboard dock is attached. The transition takes less than a second and you don't need to worry about losing your progress either, as each operating system runs in the background while the other is in use, so you can pick up instantly where you left off.

You can use the keyboard and touchpad to control both operating systems, which will be welcome news to those who don't like using Android's onscreen keyboard or who want to keep oncreen fingerprints to a minimum. it certainly makes browsing the web easier if sites aren't configured for mobile viewing.

A nice feature, though, is the ability to connect the keyboard dock to a monitor over its Mini HDMI or mini DisplayPort output. As the Windows PC is inside the keyboard, you can use it on a large screen while someone else uses the tablet.

Of course, with twice as much hardware the Trio is a little bulkier than many hybrids. Its combined weight of 1.7kg (1kg for the keyboard dock and just 700g for the tablet) makes the Trio TX201LA surprisingly heavy in your hand. The tablet es actually a fraction lighter than Samsung's Galaxy NotePro 12.2 tablet, but at 9.7mm deep it's almost 2mm thicker. It's still comfortable to hold in both hands, but we often had to rest it on our lap or the edge of our desk when using it for long periods. The Trio's combined height of 32mm when closed is also considerably thicker than an Ultrabook, but it's easy enough to fit in a bag when traveling.

The Trio doesn't have the widest range of ports, but it should cater for most users. As well as two video outputs it has two USB3 ports and combined headphone and microphone jack on the keyboard dock. The tablet has a microSD card reader that supports cards up to 64GB, a Micro USB port and another combined headphone and microphone jack.

The microSD card is particularly useful as the tablet has only 16GB of internal storage. The keyboard dock, on the other hand, has a 500GB hard disk, so you'll want to store most of your files here. Transferring files between the two is easy. The tablet's storage appears as a drive in Windows Explorer, so you can drag and drop files from one to the other.


The Trio's dual-operating system isn't just for show - some seriously capable hardware powers each device. In the Windows-based keyboard dock you'll find a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U processor and 4GB of RAM. This is the processor found in many Core i5 Ultrabooks. It's more than capable of handling everyday office tasks and running multiple applications at once.

The tablet, meanwhile, has a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z2560 processor and 2GB of RAM. This would be sluggish in a laptop, but it's a great choice for Android. The operating suystem felt smooth and responsive when we were flicking between pages. The tablet completed the SunSpider JavaScript test in a respectable 1,280.3ms, quicker than the Google Nexus 10, so you shouldn't have any trouble browsing the web or watching videos.

The Trio's keyboard is a joy to use. Ideally, we'd like a little more room on the wrist rest, but the keys are well spaced and give plenty of tactile feedback while typing. We like the responsive touchpad, too, and its smooth surface makes it easy to perform multi-touch and Windows 8 gestures.


The touchscreen disables itself when you're using Windows 8 with the keyboard dock connected. This isn't too much of a loss, though, as the screen's 1,920x1,080 resolution would be tricky to use accurately with touch support. It still works when you switch to Android in the keyboard dock, though.


The Trio's rear 5 megapixel camera is less impressive, as both our indoor and outdoor shots had a kind of milky haze. Images were relatively detailed when there was enough light, but even outdoor shots in bright sun were noisy, with muddy patches of pixels.


CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U / 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z2560
STORAGE: 500GB hard disk + 16GB SSD
GRAPHICS: Intel HD Graphics 4400
DISPLAY: 11.6in widescreen IPS touchscreen (1,920x1,080) OPERATING SYSTEM: Windows 8, Android 4.2 DIMENSIONS: 32x303x194mm, 17kg
POWER CONSUMPTION: 1W standby, 11W idle, 31W active
WARRANTY: Two-years

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