Third time’s a charm: Trio of new Asus Transformer tablets debuts

Asus wants to sell you a Microsoft Windows tablet regardless of whether you like size small, medium or large. The company debuted three new Transformer Book Chi tablets on Monday at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in a range of sizes and prices.

Transformer Book Chi T300 demo

The flagship Transformer Book Chi T300 reminds me of a [company]Microsoft[/company] Surface Pro but you won’t get quite the same level of performance. This $799 2-in-1 device with 128GB flash storage uses a new 1.2 GHz [company]Intel[/company] Core M processor to balance out battery life. Even so, Asus says it’s more powerful than the [company]Apple[/company] iPad Air; it made several references to Apple’s 2013 tablet, noting that the new T300 is just 7.6 millimeters thin. That is pretty thin for a full Windows 8.1 device, helped by the fanless design.

chi vs air

That 12.5-inch display can be configured up to 2560 x 1440 resolution, and I thought it looked crisp in the demo area. One thing I don’t care for is the aspect ratio: This is an unwieldy long tablet in portrait mode due to the wide-screen ratio:

Transformer Book Chi T300 portrait

The keyboard dock is standard fare for Transformer Books: Reasonably good key travel and a decent — but maybe slightly small — trackpad. In my limited time with the device, I couldn’t really get a feel for performance, which will be an important aspect at this price.

For $399, you can opt for the Transformer Book Chi T100 with all-day battery life and 10.1-inch full HD screen.

ASUS Transformer Book T100 Chi_back

This uses an Intel Atom processor, so while you can work for hours and hours, Windows 8.1 will be a little slower by comparison to the T300. You’ll only get 32GB of storage for this price, although a 64GB option will be available. It too has a keyboard dock so you can use it like a laptop when you need to, or undock for tablet mode.

Even less expensive, at $299, is the Transformer Book Chi T90; an 8.9-inch computer with 1280 x 800 resolution. Essentially, this is just a shrunken-down version of the T100 for those looking to carry a smaller Windows computer with Atom processor. As a result, the keyboard dock is a bit more cramped.

ASUS Transformer Book T90 Chi

Asus says it sells more 2-in-1 computers than anyone, which doesn’t surprise me: It was one of the first to try this form in earnest and has stuck with it over the past few years. New chips and better displays are making for more attractive Transformer Book laptops, so if the 2-in-1 approach appeals to you, these are worth the look.