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Asus' Transformer Book Chi line offers a cheap alternative to the Surface Pro

Hayden Dingman | Jan. 6, 2015
Nine months after we snuck an unauthorized hands-on with the Asus T300, this tablet/laptop hybrid line is finally ready for prime time.

But there are two catches: storage and performance.

The T100 and T90 rely on 32 or 64GB eMMC storage, which is hardly laptop-like even when compared to the Surface Pro. Likewise, the T300's tiny 128GB SSD won't blow anyone's mind.

On the performance side, according to Asus the T90 and T100 both run on the 1.46GHz Intel Atom Z3775 processor, which turbo bursts up to 2.4GHz when needed. The T300 will include either the brand-new Intel Core M 5Y10 (baseline) or 5Y71 (a tad better) processor. The 5Y10 clocks at 0.80GHz and bursts to 2GHz, while the 5Y71 rests at 1.2GHz and bursts to 2.9GHz.

Neither is face-meltingly fast, but there's an upside--both the Atom and the Core M draw very little power, which means very little heat, which means Asus can get away with a fanless design for the Chi series. However, no fans doesn't exactly mean no heat, and I'll be curious to see how the T300's temperatures hold up in real world use. (Even the ultra-slim Surface Pro 3 has a fan.)

Those sorts of questions will have to wait until the full release and review, though. I reached out to Asus to hear when the Chi series will go on sale but haven't heard a hard answer yet. We'll update this article if we learn more.


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