ASUS has long been a tough competitor in the tablet arena, pioneering the detachable tablets since 2011 made them a strong contender until to this day. One of their highlights for 2016 is the Transformer 3 Pro, which is their highest performing Windows 10 tablet to date.
ASUS Transformer 3 Pro T303UA Specification
- 6th Gen Intel Core i5-6200U
- 12.6″ (3:2) LED backlit WQHD+ (2880×1920)
- 85% NTSC Color Rating
- Integrated Intel HD Graphics 520
- 8GB LPDDR3 RAM
- 512GB SATA3 M.2 SSD
- 1 x USB Type-C Port (Thunderbolt ready), 1 x USB 3.0 Port, 1 x Micro SD Slot, 1 x 3.5mm Jack, 1 x HDMI output
- Wi-Fi AC, Bluetooth 4.1
- Front Camera : 2MP
- Rear Camera : 13MP
- Dual Stereo Speakers | Harman Kardon
- Dimensions: 298.8 x 210.1 x 8.35 mm (WxDxH) | 10.5mm with Keyboard Cover
- Weight: 790g Tablet /
The Transformer 3 Pro carries either a 6th generation Core i5-6200U or a Core i7-6500U, accompanied by 8GB of RAM and 512GB SSD storage. Together with a 12.6″ IPS screen with 2k resolution that gives the transformer 3 pro a vivid screen experience.
Now, we already had hands-on with its mainstream version the Transformer 3 which is powered by a fanless Core m3 processor. It can do today’s light application from web applications, office, light LOL / DOTA 2 gaming or even editing photoshop photos in moderate resolutions.
Check out our quick review of the Transformer 3
Now the Transformer 3 Pro is a more serious version built to combat with the likes of the Microsoft Surface 3 Pro, ASUS’ edge over others is its versatility using several enhancements like the ROG XG 2 Station for added graphics power.
Check out our ROG XG 2 Station Hands-On experience
We will get this question out of the way to avoid the agony. The Transformer 3 Pro is for professionals who needs a more mobile device than a laptop, something that can do everything just fine. If you thirst for more performance, then we suggest you go to ASUS’ upcoming ZenBook 3 Deluxe or performance-centric ROG thin laptops like the GL502 / G702.
What does it feel to carry a tablet that is Core i5 powered?
A tablet should feel light and portable, something the Transformer 3 Pro was able to deliver. Despite its size of 12.6″ in the display, anyone who encounters the tablet will definitely say it’s an ideal size for the right job with the likes of web developers, bloggers, accountants, consultants or more.
The Transformer 3 Pro feels solid, made with a metal body with sandblasted body for a feel similar to Macbooks in our experience.
We had our fair share of editing articles with the Transformer 3 Pro and needed to move to another location. The fast change of models of the Transformer 3 Pro gave us the advantage to just simply close the laptop by storing it in the bag and leave.
Now unlike laptops where you mainly hold the keyboard part to lift, this time you hold the screen to lift. If you are long used to closing the lid by bringing in the down, we suggest to keep it easy on the Transformer 3 Pro and do it the other way. We had several occasions we thought of using a laptop and just closed the screen downwards and slammed into the keyboard. (Sorry ASUS)
The keyboard has magnetic lips the locks into the lower chin of the tablet, this gives the keyboard some elevation for ergonomics and also an indication for Windows 10 to switch from either desktop or tablet mode.
Major ports are located on the right, while the MicroSD and 3.5mm audio jack is at the left.
The kickstand hinge at the back is very strong, it locks into 2 modes which are the regular stand and up to 155 degrees back for a lowered viewing experience. You mostly use the 155 degrees mode when you are standing and looking at the tablet downwards. Both modes are easy to use and the solid hinge gives assurance that the Transformer 3 Pro won’t break anytime soon.
The keyboard is backlit with great travel distance similar to a 13.3″ laptop. It has a nice feedback and sound which we love in a typing device, size is a bit cramp, though. The trackpad is smaller than usual and a bit clunky when pressed as the whole keyboard sinks when you apply decent pressure. Fortunately, just use your fingers at the touchscreen when navigating instead of the mouse pointer, that’s the purpose of a tablet anyways.
The setback we only encounter is that the magnets aren’t that strong, we sometimes get to detach the tablet when handled too fast. This prompts the question if the OS should transform into tablet mode or stay in desktop mode, quite annoying when you encounter it.
How’s the performance?
In our experience, we didn’t use the Transformer 3 Pro to anything too brutal like games. We tested out Overwatch at low settings as we were able to play just fine at 43-50fps. Other than that, we use it for blogging like opening 10-15 Chrome tabs, Photoshop for editing with Spotify at the background, Microsoft office open and a few Netflix on the side.
If there is a bottleneck in the PC, we say it’s the dual-core Core i5/i7 processors. We understand the limitation of the device for not having a quad-core CPU, but again this hinders the potential of portable PCs to make a mark in the industry.
The Transformer 3 Pro easily hooks up to any monitor via HDMI should you need more screen estate. This, for example, is the ASUS MX34V which features the best 34″ screen for working professionals.
Check out our review of the ASUS MX34V Monitor
Fans are located at the top of the device blowing upwards, we have, to be honest that the noise is above average for its size. It’s even noisier than 14″ laptops in our experience, especially in heavy load. While the concentration of heat is above the upper part of the ASUS logo where the processor is located.
How does it sound?
Imagine two speakers of high-end smartphones playing at the same time. That’s what the Transformer 3 Pro feels like, its not that loud to the point of irritation. Speakers are clear and has good range to produce audio from vocals, instruments but not impressive on the low (bass) tones.
How’s the battery
ASUS claims that the Transformer 3 Pro can charge to 60% in 60 minutes from 0%. In our experience, this was close as we got up to 56% in one hour of charging, quite fast for a device especially a PC.
Overall, we can last 3-4 hours with high-brightness and backlit keyboard on. For us, we don’t conserve on battery until we encounter the 20% warning. In light usage scenarios, it can definitely go more than 4 hours if needed.
It’s for who?
As we said earlier, the Transformer 3 Pro is an awesome device but not for all. If you search for power that is for rendering videos or big resolution graphics then skip this one. But if you are a professional who needs a portable device to use in commute in trains, plane trips or even quick one-on-one presentations to clients…then this is a good contender for you.
The Transformer 3 Pro is ASUS’ best tablet to date, it has a great display, decent keyboard and performance for everyday use. Professionals who need a device for quick transfers will definitely love this. As our job as online content creators, we loved the MicroSD slot which we can transfer large data from our phone in a snap.
Our review unit costs Php69,995 for the Core i5-6200U / 8GB / 512GB SSD variant. For us, if you would purchase the Transformer 3 Pro along with the intention of using an external GPU like the ROG XG Station, then we suggest go all the way to the Core i7-6500U variant for Php79,995.
Right now, the tablet space is still not that competitive as compared to similarly priced laptops. But just remember that they offer more back for the buck when it comes to portability and the everyday “WOW” factor. The Transformer 3 Pro may not be that powerful in its price range, but its a dream tablet to have if you need a portable device for your work.