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Asus mixes Windows with Android for crazy 5-in-1 Transformer device

A 4K laptop and a Surface Pro competitor debut alongside Asus' new Transformer Book V

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Computex is Taiwan's biggest annual exhibition of new technology and Asus is traditionally the company that makes the splashiest announcements at its outset. Keeping that spirit going, Jonney Shih has today revealed a new Transformer Book V, which runs either Windows or Android, in either laptop or tablet mode, and adds a dock for an Android smartphone on its back. It's an expansion of the Transformer Book Duet concept, only this time the Android part of the operation is handled by a 5-inch, Intel Atom-powered smartphone.

The Book V is smaller than the Duet at 12.5 inches and gives a choice between running Windows 8.1 or Android 4.4, switchable nearly instantaneously via a dedicated button. What the new device doesn't seem to do, however, is provide any better reason for why anyone would want such extreme versatility.

Asus' other announcements for Computex are slightly more conventional. The Zenbook NX500 is a new 15.6-inch laptop with 4K resolution (3,840 x 2,160) and aluminum unibody construction. It can be specced to include an Nvidia GeForce GTX 850M graphics chip with 2GB of video memory and a high-end Core i7 CPU from Intel. The NX500 should provide an intriguing alternative to Apple's MacBook Pro, whereas Asus' other big new launch, the Transformer Book T300 Chi, will be doing battle against Microsoft's Surface Pro 3. This 12.5-inch Windows tablet is only 7.3mm thick, comes with a 2,560 x 1,440 display, and unlike the Surface Pro, doesn't require a fan to keep cool. A detachable keyboard transforms it into a laptop.

Overhauling pretty much its entire product lineup, Asus has a new Transformer Pad, new Fonepads and MeMO Pads, a new 32-inch 4K monitor, and even a refreshed 802.11ac Wi-Fi router that still looks like a piece of threatening alien technology. Completing the set of multifunctional devices is the Transformer Book Flip, which runs Windows 8.1 on a 13.3-inch 1080p display that can be rotated from 0 to 360 degrees, very much as with Lenovo's Yoga series. There also 14- and 15.6-inch options and affordability seems to be a major emphasis with this device.

As varied as Asus' new products may be, both in their software and physical characteristics, there is one recurring theme throughout them: Intel processors. The Taiwanese company is using Intel's Core and Atom chips in almost everything it has to sell, asserting itself as one of the biggest supporters of the chipmaker's push into mobile devices.

New Asus products at Computex 2014


ASUS Zenbook NX500