ASUS is again taking on the 2-in-1 laptop-plus-tablet device market. With their new Transformer 3, the sleek tablet is measured at 6.9mm and weighs in at 695 grams, lighter than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with pretty much the same thickness.
Just like the other mid-ranged 2-in-1’s, you’ll only have a two limited positions to use the Transformer 3 because of it’s keyboard design. The Transformer 3’s physical design and build quality is getting ahead with the iPad and the Microsoft Surface with ASUS’s spin lines pattern aluminum trademark and an eye-catching chamfers front and back. On the top-left side of the tablet is the well-placed volume key and power button which also acts as a fingerprint sensor. One thing that I was saddened about the body is its lack of I/O ports, which only has 1 USB-C and a headphone jack — very similar to Apple’s MacBook.
Keyboard feels responsive and has good travel distance, but since it’s made as a case, theo body isn’t sturdy enough leaving you with minor sinking either left or right depending on your surface. We loved the backlit keyboard as it’s a much appreciated gesture, especially our unit was gray which comes with a black body, black KB which is hard to see when you have the screen brightness turned at maximum.
The touchpad could use some improvement, we liked that it’s the same glass as other premium laptops of ASUS, but pressing on the buttons result to flexing on the keyboard which sometimes feel squishy. Additionally, we would like to raise the attention of ASUS that the palm rejection software on this one could still improve as we always get multiple mistakes to the point we ended up turning off the trackpad.
As far as performance go, the Transformer 3 runs on Intel’s Kaby Lake Core m3-7Y30 and 4GB of RAM which is somewhat satisfying for the price tag. Which is enough for a round 15 Chrome tabs all active, opened microsoft applications, music & video playback and even light photoshop editing.
If you want a more powerful version of this, you might want to look for its bigger brother, the Transformer 3 Pro. As for the battery, ASUS is claiming that the device can last up to 9 whole hours but we got a little bit more than 5 hours with multiple chrome tabs open, volume 80% and brightness at max which is good enough for us.
We played League of Legends and Dota 2 for testing, we were getting decent 34-40fps for both games which is very acceptable considering the fan-less processor. Though expect the processor to heat up at the lower right portion of the tablet at the back.
The 128GB SSD will leave you around 118 usable storage and around 90GB when Windows 10 is installed. Jugging 90GB for your files will be more than enough especially for light application work, if it doesn’t it’s always good to carry a flashdrive or use cloudstorage.
On the other hand, ASUS didn’t sacrifice anything on the display even with its small form factor. The Transformer 3 features a 3K resolution panel. It’s somewhat an overkill but we’re not complaining. The colors appeared bright and vivid with no over-saturation. Plus, I the viewing angles are good enough that you can watch some movies with your friends.
A problem we encountered with the 3K resolution screen is the lack of adaptation for 3rd party apps, applications such as photoshop were not scaled properly so you’re left with a screen with small icons and tool bars on a 12.6″ screen.
One thing that I was surprised when I used the Transformer 3 is its amazing speakers. The Transformer 3 features a four-speaker system that is said to be louder and clearer than ever — and I promise you, it didn’t disappoint. I was so hooked with playing music with the Transformer 3 that when I used other laptops, I found myself looking for the same quality and loudness. Around 80% volume is enough for 3-4 people watching at the tablet to hear proper audio quality.
Dillema with the ports
With the single USB-Type C provided port, we were challenged in how to play a simple Dota 2 or League of Legends as we need to have the laptop charged and using a mouse at the same time. Unfortunately, at our current resources we were not able to do so…we had to charge the unit at a good 70% before proceeding in gaming and use a USB-Type C adapter for the mouse.
This is one challenge you will face in this setup is the adaptability of ports, having USB Type-C port simply means you need a hub for your display, mouse, hard drives and even printer. One good point to do is buy a bluetooth mouse which cost around Php1,500 to Php4,000.
This Promate MacHub will be a good alternative accessory while ASUS has no official USB-Type C hub for the Transformer 3. It cost Php2,200 for a complete series of ports like USB 3.0, SD Card Slot, Micro SD card Slot and power input to charge the tablet while using the hub.
The ASUS Transformer 3 has the capability of being a productivity machine for people who doesn’t require that much power. People may find that lack of I/O ports the deciding point but if you’re okay with that it’s form-factor and built quality is really good that it will surely be an eye-catcher to anyone.
With the price starting at Php49,995, the Transformer 3 is in a good position to entice everyone who wants a to start their 2-in-1 laptop-plus-tablet journey without the sacrifice of performance and quality.