Asus popularised the cheap detachable laptop, but they have always been chunky little things. Not the Transformer Book Chi. Asus claims the new 10.1-inch T100 Chi is the thinnest Windows tablet ever made. And the 12.5-inch T300 Chi — combined with its keyboard — is now thinner than a MacBook Air.
Sure, thin isn’t everything, and even the 7.2mm thick T100 Chi probably won’t quite reach the same threshold of portability as Apple’s 6.1mm-thick iPad Air 2. Still, I’m sure there are folks out there hankering for an ultra-thin Windows tablet with a tailor-made keyboard anyways.
And those people (you?) will actually have three choices this time around: the T90, the T100, or the T300. The $US300 T90 and $US400 T100 are both budget machines with quad-core Intel Atom Bay Trail processors and either 32GB or 64GB of solid state storage, but the T100 features a 10.1-inch, 1080p IPS screen compared to the smaller, lower-res 8.9-inch, 1280 x 800 one you’ll find on the T90. The T90 does weigh a little less, though.
The Transformer Book Chi T90
If you’re looking for something with processing power and screen real estate closer to a standard laptop, the T300 Chi starts at $US700 for a 12.5-inch 1080p screen, or $US800 for a 2560 x 1440 screen, powered by an Intel Core M processor in a fanless design with a 128GB SSD. It also features a new neodymium magnetic hinge to attach the screen.
Unfortunately, none of the machines have room for a full size USB port, using a miniature USB 3.0 socket instead to help you transfer files. Asus is also promising “virtually all-day battery life” from the new machines.
Asus says we should expect the Transformer Book Chi to start hitting shelves in February.