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Keyboards are the weak link in Asus's Transformer Book Chi series

Michael Kan | Jan. 6, 2015
Asus took a jab at the MacBook Air and iPad with three new PC convertibles it claims offer better design and performance. Unfortunately, the products fall a tad short of offering the premium feel found in competing Apple devices.

Along the opposite edges of the tablet are two thin audio speakers. They offered adequate sound but nothing impressive. The tablet also contains a micro-USB and HDMI ports.

The two other Chi models, the T100 and T90, have the same basic design but are smaller and less powerful.

The T100, for example, has a 10.1-inch, 1920-by-1200-pixel screen and runs an older Intel Bay Trail-T processor. In general, the T100 performed much like the larger T300 and ran smoothly until the battery ran low. According to Asus, the product can run for 10 hours unplugged. It comes with a $399 price tag.

The smaller T90, which has an 8.9-inch screen, was more problematic.

 

While the T90 is cheaper at $299, its keyboard is hard to use. There is no trackpad on it, and the tablet is not attached with the help of magnets, but by simply shoving it into a groove along the keyboard's edge. That grooved connection didn't always hold, so the tablet tended to fall down.

We also weren't impressed with the device's screen, which has a 1280-by-800-pixel resolution. Colors were dim even with the brightness turned all the way up. The small screen also makes the device difficult to use when the tablet is switched into Windows 8.1's desktop mode. Some icons were hard to touch simply because they were so tiny.

The products may be far from perfect, but they come with relatively low prices that could entice some users to give them a try. The Transformer Book Chi devices will arrive in February and will come with the attachable keyboards included.

 

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