Asus has been steadily iterating on its notebooks' 2-in-1 form factor for some time, and this year is no exception. At CES 2015, the company has unveiled the new Transformer Book Chi series, three new laptops running Windows 8.1 that also happen to be some of the thinnest hybrid tablets ever made.
Some of the thinnest Windows tablets ever made
All three tablets — namely, the T90, T100, and T300 — run on Intel processors, though where the smaller T90 and T100 are powered by Atom processors, the flagship T300 has a current-gen Intel Core M under the hood. The T90 measures at 8.9 inches and is 7.5 millimeters thick, making it the thinnest tablet of its kind, though its 1280 x 800 display is far from high end. The 10.1-inch, iPad-sized T100 comes in at 7.2 millimeters thick, making it the thinnest Windows tablet to date. Finally, the 12.5-inch T300, which we saw way back at Computex last year, is thinner than a MacBook Air when docked, which is a plus since a screen this size can handle a little more serious work than its smaller cousins. All three feature Bluetooth keyboards, come with Type B USB ports that are compatible with USB 3.0, and can stay cool without ever needing fans.
The Chi series starts at $299 with the T90 tablet, going up to $699 for the Full HD T100, and $799 for the T300. All three will see release this year.
Update: We just had a few minutes to play around with the Transformer Book Chi, and it looks like Asus got a lot right here. For starters, the screen on the T300 is fantastic, with beautiful viewing angles and gorgeous colors. Both the keyboard dock and the tablet itself feel very solid and light from a hardware perspective, but there's one big problem with the setup — it feels terribly top-heavy. That's an unfortunate fact of life when dealing with a tablet and keyboard dock combo, and it's not a deal-breaker, but it certainly feels odd if you're used to using a traditional laptop.
Unsurprisingly, using the tablet on its own (it pops out of the magnetic dock with ease) is a bit awkward — a 16:9, 12.5-inch tablet just has some strange dimensions to contend with. The smaller T100 and T90 make a bit more sense for that configuration, but the hardware itself is decidedly underpowered compared to the larger model. Still, they're priced closer to products like the iPad Air and Amazon Kindle Fire HDX, so a bit less horsepower is to be expected. There's no doubt the convertible form factor isn't for everyone, but Asus remains high on the list of companies doing a solid job with it.