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Product snapshot: ASUS Transformer AiO PC blends Windows 8 and Android

Elias Plastiras | April 12, 2013
It is a desktop PC or is it an Android tablet? Actually, it's both and the tablet can be used as a monitor

This all-in-one has a removable screen that's actually an 18.4in Android tablet.
This all-in-one has a removable screen that's actually an 18.4in Android tablet.

ASUS has released a triple threat of a machine that should do well to confuse lots of non-technical people (and even many techies). Its Transformer AiO (all-in-one) desktop product looks like a regular all-in-one PC, but there is something special about it: its 18.4in monitor is actually an 18.4in Android tablet that can be used independently of the system (and Windows 8). You can pull it out of the base and take it with you to use on the couch, at the dinner table or anywhere else around your home. But the big question is, who wants to use an 18.4in tablet?

Asus Transformer pad vs iPad head to head comparison

Let's explain the product a bit more: when the screen is docked to the PC on the desktop, it acts as a monitor so that you can run Windows 8 normally as you would on any other computer. As soon as you pull the screen off the dock, the screen automatically turns into a tablet that runs the Android 4.1 operating system rather than Windows 8. It's this bit that has the potential to be confusing, but what you need to know is that you are essentially getting two products in one: a desktop PC and an 18in tablet that doubles as the 18in monitor for that desktop PC (so three products if you want to count the monitor).

Here's the 18.4in tablet being held out of its PC base.
Here's the 18.4in tablet being held out of its PC base.

The Transformer All-in-one has two CPUs to facilitate this design: an Intel Core i5 CPU is what runs in the desktop base (or a Core i7 depending on the model), while an NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor is what runs in the tablet itself.

The reason for this double operating system solution is basically to make the tablet as portable as possible. If the tablet were to run Windows 8 natively, then all the processing power of the base would need to be in the tablet instead, and the tablet would only be docked just to access more ports, the optical drive and to charge up. By using the Tegra 3 processor to run Android 4.1 on the tablet, you get a thin, passively-cooled product that still runs a feature-rich operating system -- and it won't need as much battery power to do so. (ASUS claims the battery in the tablet can last up to five hours).

 

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