Asus Transformer 3-series are laptops in disguise


— 4:00 PM on May 30, 2016

At Computex this morning, Asus announced a new generation of its Transformer convertibles. The three models are denoted as Transformer 3 Pro, Transformer 3, and Transformer Mini.

The Transformer 3 Pro's styling falls in line with other professional-targeted convertibles, with its integrated kickstand and magnetic cover-keyboard. In contrast, the Transformer 3 uses its origami-folding cover keyboard as a stand. The Transformer Mini appears to be a smaller version of the Transformer 3 Pro, although Asus's information is light on details about that particular device.

When Asus introduced the Transformer line in 2011, it was at the forefront of the two-in-one revolution. Things have changed significantly from those early days when Nvidia Tegras powered most devices. These days, the Transformer 3 and 3 Pro have roughly the same form-factor as its predecessors, but pack way more powerful Intel Core-series CPUs. Additionally, there's been some refinement on the design side, with integrated stands and colored keyboard covers that allow for a degree of personalization.

The keyboard covers on the Transformer 3 and Transformer 3 Pro are very similar. Both keyboards have 1.4-mm key travel, LED backlighting, and a glass-covered touchpad with handwriting support, courtesy of the pressure-sensitive Asus Pen.

Windows 10 aims to make computer security more user-friendly with passwordless unlocking, and both the Asus Transformer 3 and Transformer Pro leverage that feature with their dedicated hardware. The Transformer 3 packs a fingerprint sensor which will unlock the device with a finger swipe. On the Transformer 3 Pro, the front cameras and an IR sensor are used to power Windows Hello, which grants access to the machine when it sees your smug mug.

The specs for the new Transformers are below. Asus hasn't released official specs for the Transformer Mini, so we relied on what little info GSMArena had on hand.

  Transformer Mini Transformer 3 Transformer 3 Pro
Display 10.1" 12.6" 2880x1920px 12.6" 2880x1920px
CPU Atom X5 7th Gen Intel Core
unspecified model
Core i5-6200U
Core i7-6500U
Graphics ? ? Intel HD Graphics 520
Memory ? 4 GB LPDDR3 1866 MT/s,
expandable to 8GB
16 GB LPDDR3 2133 MT/s
Storage (GB) ? 256, 512 128, 256, 512, 1000
I/O ? 1x combo audio jack
1x USB 3.1 Type-C
1x combo audio jack
1x USB 3.0
1x HDMI
1x Thunderbolt
Cameras ? 5MP front
13MP rear
8MP front
13MP rear
Networking ? 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 4.1
802.11ac Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 4.1
Dimensions
(WxDxH)
? 11.9" x 8" x 0.27"
303.0 mm x 202.0 mm x 6.9 mm
11.8" x 8.3" x 0.33"
298.8 mm x 210.1mm  x 8.4 mm
Weight 1.17 lbs
530 g
1.53 lbs
695 g
1.75 lbs
795 g
Price ? $799 $999

The Transformer lineup also has some specialized accessories that ought to cover more specific usage patterns. For business users, Asus offers the Universal Dock, a small dongle that provides an SD card reader, VGA and HDMI video outputs, along with Ethernet, USB Type-A, and USB Type-C ports. Music lovers can grab the Audio Pod, a four-speaker omnidirectional Bluetooth speaker intended to fill a room with music for situations when the internal speakers aren't enough.

Asus intends to let gamers make full use of their Transformer by pairing it with the ROG XG Station 2. The XG Station 2 is Asus' external graphics docking station, which allows users to tap into the power of a desktop graphics card. The station connects to the Transformers through a Thunderbolt connection, albeit limited to PCIe x4 speeds. The new Transformers are reasonably priced, starting at $799 for the Transformer 3, and $999 for the Transformer 3 Pro.

   
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