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Asus' dual-screen Taichi Windows 8 tablet / laptop hybrid available for pre-order starting at $1,299

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Asus Taichi
Asus Taichi

One of the more exciting things about the upcoming Windows 8 launch is that OEMs are stepping up their games in terms of creative and unusual hardware designs. Earlier today, Dell started taking pre-orders for its convertible XPS 12, and now Asus' unusual dual-screened Taichi tablet / laptop hybrid is on pre-sale at Amazon, B&H, NewEgg, and TigerDirect. In addition to the two 11.6-inch 1080p displays, the Taichi has a Core i5 processor running at 1.7GHz, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of solid-state storage, and two USB 3.0 ports. That base model will set you back $1,299, so it's not as inexpensive as other ultra portable computers — though it is the only one with two screens. Like Dell's XPS 12, the Taichi weight a bit more than most tablets, clocking in 2.75 pounds, but that's still a pretty reasonable size for a small laptop. Like most of the other upcoming Windows 8 hardware, the Taichi will be available starting on October 26th.

Additionally, Asus also has started taking pre-orders for the Vivobook X202, which is a higher-spec'd version of the Vivobook we heard about earlier today. Compared to the Taichi, the Vivobook X202 has slightly lower specs — it comes with an 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 touch-capable display, a Core i3 processor, a 500GB hard drive (no solid-state storage here), and an estimated five hours of battery life. If you're looking to get the full touch-compatible Windows 8 experience, this is a pretty affordable option — pricing starts at $599, and it'll also be available at the end of the month.