Asus Taichi 21 First Impressions

I ordered my Taichi just two days ago from us.ncix and they supposedly only had one in stock which I luckily got overnighted to me. They were top notch with service and went the extra mile for me by shipping the item right away and even making a special trip to UPS to make sure I got it the next day as the pick up for that day had already been done.

Now onto the Taichi.

Pros

-It's a great laptop all around, as long as you can live with some cons.

-The keyboard is outstanding. I type a lot, all day long really, and the keyboard couldn't be better. And this coming from a Thinkpad owner of 10 years.

-The touchpad is flawless, it works like a charm. I've never used a touchpad this good. I think it's pretty on par with mac touchpads, both on desktop and modern areas of Windows 8.

-The build quality seems top notch and it's a gorgeous piece of hardware. Sure, you have to handle it with care because of the screen on the lid but overall it's a great build.

-The 1080p Screens are top notch, the viewing angles are great, the colors look great, the text is sharp, a lot to like there.

-The size is good for a laptop. Enough space for a great keyboard. I got good vision, but the screen on desktop is very useable at 1080p resolution. I don't have to zoom or anything, that said, I am young and have great vision.

-The lid collects finger prints but you can't really see them from a far, so that's great because I was concerned about the laptop looking bad all the time due to finger prints.

-It has a tablet on the lid! Sure, this is not your light and small ipad, but it works well, the colors are great and I do plan to replace my tablet and laptop with this one device.

-Backlit keyboard. This is a huge pro for me and one of my requirements.

-Comes with a good quality laptop sleeve, VGA and Ethernet adapter. That's $100 in accessories right there.

Cons

-Battery life. I'm not fully sure how long it'll give me, but it's not looking good so far. I knew this going in though and I can live with it as I'm plugged in most of the time. For tablet use I just need 2 to 3 hours for meetings, etc. and then I can charge it up even in my car. So that wasn't a concern for me. The way I see it you will likely get around 3hrs with heavy use and 4hrs with light use, but I've had it too little so can't fully say.

-The digitizer pen is not as great as Wacom pens. I knew this going in too but it's a bit disappointing anyhow. When I write it lags a bit and I can see it writing after me as opposed to with me. The palm rejecting is a bit out of tune and I find myself touching the screen when I have the pen close to the screen. Perhaps some update will fine tune this a bit but so far it's not great. Lastly, it has no eraser head and the eraser button doesn't work on Microsoft's metro pdf app, there's no way to erase in this app with this pen, I can erease just fine with my Wacom pen on my thinkpad. That said, the eraser button works fine on pdf annotator and onenote.

-The Asus "management" software is a bit weird. For example, I turned off wifi and then when I turned it back on it wouldn't turn on. The auto brightness never ever gives you the top brightness even if you choose to get full brightness. The only way I got full brightness was by disabling auto brightness. The screen switcher was a bit off at first but after some updates it seems to be doing fine.

-The brightness is a bit low, specially if you leave the auto brightness on, however, I find it adequate on both tablet and laptop mode, that said, I haven't tested it on bright sunlight yet.

-The size for a tablet is a bit big, but if you want mainly a laptop and second a tablet then this is the best option in my opinion. I was expecting it to be lighter for some reason, as I have a HP TouchPad with a cover on and that package seems like two pounds to me, so you would think another .75 pounds wouldn't be so much, but it feels a bit heavy, that said I can live with it.

-I had read on some tech sites that using a tablet with 16:9 aspect ration on portrait was a bit ridiculous, and you know what, it kind of feels weird. I guess it's something to get used to, but don't expect it to feel natural right off the bat.

Subjective Items

-No touch screen in laptop mode. To me this is a pro as the laptop screen doesn't have finger prints and it's matt which I love, I don't think I could stand a glossy screen for work all day. Also, the touchpad works so great that you may not miss touch so much in laptop mode. I can easily pinch to zoom, scroll, pull up charms, etc., all from the touchpad.

-The audio is a bit low for my taste. I had read that the audio was pretty loud, but I wouldn't consider it loud, I would consider it adequate but that's about it. I was expecting a bit more bang. That said, I listen to a lot of loud music and may be a bit deft already, so your mileage may vary.

-This vs the surface pro? I went with this one because for just another $150 (vs surface with cover), I get a backlit keyboard, two screens and an adjustable screen that I can easily use in my lap, bed, couch, anywhere at the craziest angles, which I tend to do. The surface wouldn't work for me in the same way and I would've had to adjust. That said, I wanted mainly a great laptop with a nice enough tablet. I think the surface pro is a good tablet (not great due to low battery life too)and an OK laptop.

-The keyboard lacks media buttons for pause/play/next track, etc. Those are useful while playing music. It also lacks the new windows keys that come with some keyboards for charms, search, etc. That said, it's a small keyboard and they couldn't have put everything in there. The other thing is that the function keys, F1 to F12, are primary vs the other items like brightness and volume. I prefer it the other way, but again this is subjective.

**Lastly, this is a warning. The 128gb version, which is the one I have, only comes with 63gb of available space out of the box. This is crazy! I was expecting more like 90gb after windows, etc., but Asus has a 20gb recovery partition and a 4gb OEM partition in there, so that's pretty substantial and I plan to kill at least the recovery partition and get my space back**

So the final verdict.

I love it so far. Sure it has some drawbacks, but there's no perfect hybrid out there right now. I was planning to wait for second generation models but come on, life's too short to be waiting and waiting, I've been waiting long enough and this is 90% what I wanted so I'll take it and enjoy it. The battery life is the biggest limitation/con in my opinion, but I plan to buy an external battery of some sort to have around for emergencies or long meetings/seminars.

I may update this as I use the device more, but for now, I give it four stars!