Laplet? Tabtop? There needs to be a "phablet" like pseudo-word for what the Taichi is. It's both a Windows 8 laptop and a Windows 8 tablet in the one unit. Presumably it's designed so you can get the best of both worlds, right?
The Taichi is Asus' flagship Windows 8 convertible. It's a device with the form factor of an 11.6-inch laptop, with the added benefit of a touchscreen on the lid. The theory goes that when the device is closed, you can use it as a full-fledged Windows 8 (not RT) tablet. Even when the screen is open, you can share content to the lid display. That includes movies, presentations or whatever the person on the other side wants it to be.
That's where it started getting weird for me.
Say for example you're at home with the kids and you need to get some work done, but they really want to watch the new Ice Age movie. Asus last night demonstrated that you could put the movie on the lid screen while you did all of your important Excel-related business on the other side. But that's crazy, because it means the person you're sharing content with can't do it sitting next to you, they have to be directly across from you. That means you're removes the social element from content sharing. You're physically blocked off from the person you're sharing stuff with, which just feels a little anti-social to me.
This device makes much more sense if you use it by yourself. The screens are amazingly bright, the backlit keyboard is a blessing and the specs are just right.
The theory goes that when you need to get work done, you use the laptop, but when you get home and want to do some content consumption and couch surfing, you use the tablet. You'll run into problems when you want to use either option outside of those scenarios, though. I've found that using a tablet when you're on the move becomes uncomfortable when you have to lug around a device that's over 700 grams. That means the Taichi is in trouble, because it has to carry around the bulk of a laptop and a tablet. That means it tips the scale at 1.25 kilograms. That's way too heavy to use when you're anywhere but sitting down.
If you are using it in the right situations, though, this is a great device. It's awkwardly lovely. It's the Zooey Deschanel of the Windows 8 convertible world.
Like most Windows 8 devices, though, you really have to go hands-on with it to understand the benefits. You can only learn so much about a device when you see it on paper. All I saw before I went hands-on with the Taichi was a cool concept for a Windows 8 device. Now that I have used it — albeit briefly — I understand why someone would love it.
The Taichi is for the person who wants the computing equivalent of a Padfone, a device Asus also makes. The Padfone is for people who want both a smartphone and a tablet in the same ecosystem, but don't want to pay over $2000 to get it. In the same vein, the Taichi is for folks who want a great laptop that can also be a tablet for when you're too lazy to open the lid. It's a great idea.
The Asus Taichi goes on sale in mid-November at authorised Asus resellers, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Bing Lee, Dick Smith Electronics, BSR, The Good Guys, Retravision and Radio Rentals.
There are two configurations set to go on sale. $1599 will nab you an Intel Core i5 1.7GHz processor with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, or you can drop $1899 on an upgrade to a 1.9GHz Core i7 processor and a 256GB SSD.