Asus introduced a new family of Windows 8.1 convertible tablets at its CES press conference this morning. The Transformer Book Chi family spans three models between 8.9" and 12.5". Each one has a fanless aluminum chassis, an IPS display, USB 3.0 connectivity, and a keyboard dock that attaches via neodymium magnets. All three will be available in February.
The biggest of the bunch is the T300, whose 12.5" display is available in two configurations. The 1080p version starts at $699, while a 2560x1440 unit costs $100 more.
Users can also choose between Core M 5Y10 and 5Y71 processors. Both are dual-core chips with quad threads; the 5Y10 has 800MHz base and 2GHz Turbo frequencies, while the 5Y71 is clocked at 1.2/2.9GHz. Interestingly, Asus claims the T300's performance is better than that of Lenovo's Core M-based Yoga Pro 3. Perhaps the Chi has a more effective cooling solution, allowing the CPU to maintain higher Turbo frequencies under load.
The T300 comes with either 4GB or 8GB of memory. All versions have 128GB of "iSSD" storage, which is apparently a reference to SanDisk's single-chip SSD. That drive just so happens to be available in capacities up to 128GB.
At 0.65" with its keyboard dock attached, the T300 is slightly thinner than Apple's MacBook Air. It's also a little heavier, at 3.1 lbs, but the tablet is only 1.6 lbs and 0.3" on its own.
One step down the line is the new T100, which has a 10.1" screen with a 1920x1200 resolution. This model is powered by an Atom Z3775 processor with quad Bay Trail cores clocked at 1.46GHz base and 2.39GHz burst. The starting price is $399, which presumably refers to a configuration with 32GB of eMMC storage. A variant will also be available with 64GB of internal flash, but it looks like the memory is capped at 2GB.
According to Asus, the T100 offers 10 hours of battery life. I didn't see any other run-time specs during the live stream of Asus' press conference.
As one might expect, the T100 is thinner and lighter than its 12.5" sibling. The tablet is 0.28" thick and 1.2 lbs, while the complete clamshell is 0.52" thick and 2.3 lbs.
If you want something even smaller, the T90 serves up the same Atom hardware in an 8.9" package that weighs 0.88 lbs for the tablet and 1.6 lbs with the dock attached. This version is a little thicker, at 0.65" with the dock and 0.3" without. It also has a relatively pedestrian 1280x800 display resolution.
The T90 has the same storage options as its Atom-based brother. However, the bundled keyboard lacks a touchpad, probably because including one would have compromised the size of the keys. Starting price: $299.
To complement its new Transformers, Asus has an optional active stylus with a "pencil-like feel" and palm-rejection mojo. There are a couple of case options, too. One is a conventional tri-fold design for the tablet, while the other encases the tablet and keyboard "while maintaining the detachable function."
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