This morning at CES 2014, Asus announced a new lineup of devices including an update to its Transformer line which we previewed a week or so ago, the Padfone Mini and a range of more consumer-friendly Zenfone devices. Let’s take a look at what’s happened.
Transformer Book Duet TD300
The Transformer Book Duet TD300 (herein the TD300) follows a growing trend in Windows land, offering users a dual-boot option between Windows 8.1 and Android; each best optimised for different purposes. Windows as a desktop / traditional OS, and when in tablet mode especially, Android because — let’s face it — it’s better.
Featuring a one-touch switch, users can instantly switch between Windows and Android seamlessly, meaning that (amongst other things) users can benefit from the best of both worlds; Windows for the power of certain apps, and Android for those instances where an Android app is available but has no option for Windows.
Besides this key feature, we’re looking at a 13.3″ display with multi-touch running at 1920×1080 Full HD, powered by an Intel Core i7 processor with a whopping 4GB RAM. The Keyboard dock is reminiscent of the Macbook Air tapering design, supporting USB 2.0 and 3.0, with 128GB storage in the tablet side of the combo, and 1TB of storage in the keyboard dock.
The full specs are as follows:
- Dual-OS – Windows 8.1 Standard / Android 4.2.2
- 13.3-inch Full HD IPS multi-touch display
- Up to Intel Core-i7 processor [specific configurations not listed]
- 4GB DDR3L 1600 RAM
- Up to 128GB SSD in Tablet
- Up to 1TB HDD in Dock
- 38WHr battery, estimated battery life around 5 hours in Windows 8.1 and 6 hours in Android 4.2.2.
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR
- Tablet ports: Micro SD card, Headphone jack, DC jack
- Keyboard dock ports: 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 10/100Mbit/s LAN, HDMI 1.4, audio combo jack, DC jack
- Tablet measures 342.7 x 216.3 x 12.9mm; dock measures 340.9 x 217.6 x 16mm.
Pricing will start at $599 USD with a Core i3 and 1366×768 screen. $699 USD gets you an upgrade to 1080p. Other configs are still unknown, and availability remains to be announced.
The full press release, for those who want it, is available here: [showhide]
Las Vegas, NV (January 6, 2014) — ASUS today announced Transformer Book Duet (TD300), the world’s first quad-mode, dual-OS laptop and tablet convertible that allows users to switch between Windows and Android in either laptop or tablet modes with just a single push of the Instant Switch button or a virtual key on the tablet. With a powerful Intel® Core™ i7 processor at its heart, Transformer Book Duet runs up to twice as fast as existing tablets based on ARM® processors. ASUS SonicMaster technology and dual speakers ensure that Transformer Book Duet delivers incredible audio for immersive entertainment.
Quad-mode, dual-OS laptop and tablet with Instant Switch
ASUS Transformer Book Duet (TD300) is an extremely capable device that is able to function as an Android or Windows 8.1 tablet or notebook. Users can simply switch operating systems with a single push of the Instant Switch button or a virtual key on the tablet.
By offering both operating systems, ASUS provides users the ability to run supported Android applications and a vast array of native Windows applications. Transformer Book Duet features a powerful Intel Core i7 processor with Intel HD graphics and 4G DDR3L 1600 RAM, giving it performance that’s up to twice as fast as existing tablets powered by ARM® processors.
The patented ASUS technology that powers Instant Switch offers many performance and productivity benefits over other dual-OS solutions, such as fast, smooth and seamless switching and the ability to resume each OS from where the user left off. As it does not use OS virtualization, Instant Switch also allows each OS to harness the full power of Intel’s latest processor technology.
ASUS Transformer Book Duet (TD300) delivers striking visuals on its 13.3-inch 1920 x 1080 Full HD IPS touchscreen display. This multi-touch display features sensitivity and responsiveness that exceeds Microsoft’s requirements for Windows 8.1. For audio, it comes with ASUS SonicMaster technology for true-to-life sound through the tablet’s dual speakers.
In addition, Transformer Book Duet has a front-facing HD camera with a built-in digital mic for video chats. The tablet display has 128GB of SSD storage that can be supplemented by a 64GB Micro SD card, while the keyboard dock houses up to a 1TB hard disk drive. The dock is also home to USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, a LAN port, and HDMI 1.4 output with 1080p support. In terms of connectivity, ASUS Transformer Book T300 has 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 with EDR.
ASUS Transformer Book Duet sports the same stylish concentric-circle finish found in other ASUS offerings. The Transformer Book Duet has compact dimensions, with the tablet measuring 342.7 x 216.3 x 12.9mm; and the dock measuring 340.9 x 217.6 x 16mm. Together, they weigh around 1.9kg, making it supremely portable and flexible for those on the go.[/showhide]
For those that like to alternate between a tablet and a laptop, the Transformer series is great, but what if you’re more of a road warrior, looking for a hybrid between tablets and smartphones? What if you’ve seen the previous PadFone line, but you want something a bit more portable? PadFone Mini is that device.
In essence, the PadFone Mini is a 4″ smartphone that docks into a 7″ tablet form, and unusually for Android, it runs on an Intel Atom processor. The Mini supports dual-SIM, and will ship with Android 4.3 with an upgrade to Android 4.4 promised soon. The Mini also runs ASUS’ custom skin called ZenUI which is optimised to help users leverage the combined potential of the smartphone and tablet modes. Spec-wise, the smartphone side has 8GB of storage (and up to 64GB more via MicroSD), an 8 megapixel camera and a range of colours: black, white, red, blue and yellow. There’s no pricing here either, yet.
ZenFone 4, 5 and 6
If a combined phone/tablet isn’t for you, then ASUS’ range of new smartphones might be more to your liking. Ranging from 4″ to 6″ devices (as the name might imply), the ZenFone range all run Android 4.3 with an upgrade to Android 4.4 promised, but the features do vary across the range, as shown in the table below:
|ZenFone 4||800 x 400||1.2 GHz Intel Atom||5mp||1GB RAM||1170mAh||$99|
|ZenFone 5||1280 x 720||2 GHz Intel Atom||8mp||1GB RAM||2050mAh||$149|
|ZenFone 6||1280 x 720||2 GHz Intel Atom||13mp||1GB RAM||3230mAh||$199|
As with the other ASUS announcements, pricing and availability are TBA, but once we know, you’ll know. Stay tuned for the rest of our CES coverage.
Will Asus go back to making Android only Transformers? I have no need for Windows and would rather not pay the OEM tax for it. Although if it could boot and switch to Ubuntu instead I could be convinced.
TD300 sounds almost perfect! Especially like the idea of the additional 1TB storage in the keyboard.
I would love an 11-inch version though and the option for 8gb RAM.
Hmm, I like the sound of the TD300 asking with it’s full HD screen. Will wait for reviews before thinking about getting out as my laptop is on the way out.