As the originator of the convertible tablet, Asus has had plenty of experience in building affordable, versatile hybrid devices. Most Asus tablets in the Transformer line have been solid, if unspectacular, and ultimately more concerned with utility than aesthetics. That hasn’t changed entirely, but the introduction of the new Transformer Book Chi line is a clear attempt to inject a bit of style to the Transformer’s substance. With the Asus Transformer Book T90 Chi and T100 Chi, the Taiwanese manufacturer has largely succeeded in producing portable hybrid devices that look good and perform well for productivity-minded users.
The first thing that stands out about the compact 8.9-inch T90 Chi and mid-sized 10.1-inch T100 Chi is the slick styling. Both tablets feature a smooth aluminum unibody design which provides excellent build quality and feels great to hold compared to tablets constructed from two or more separate pieces. That comfort is aided by the fact that both tablets are surprisingly thin and light. The smaller T90 Chi measures just 9.53-by-5.39-by-0.30 inches and weighs 14.11 ounces, while the T100 Chi clocks in at 10.43-by-6.87-by-0.28 inches and 20.11 ounces. With the streamlined detachable keyboard included, Asus claims they’re the thinnest hybrid devices on the market.
Comparing tablets, the Transformer Book T90 and T100 Chi have a similar layout. Holding either of the tablets in landscape mode, the left edge features a volume rocker and Windows button near the top, a stereo speaker grille at the center and a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack and micro-USB socket below. The USB socket is also used for charging the device. Along the right edge, there’s a microSD card slot, a micro-USB 3.0 port, and a micro-HDMI port, with the other speaker grille just below. The top edge is empty, while the bottom edge features the connection points for the detachable keyboard. A 5-megapixel camera is located near the top right corner of the back panel, while a 2-megapixel camera is placed on the front panel. When it comes to the detachable keyboard dock, the only major difference between the two tablets is the absence of a trackpad on the Transformer T90 Chi’s keyboard.
Resolving the Details
One obvious difference in a head-to-head tablet comparison between the two Transformer Book tablets is the display. The Transformer T90 Chi employs a basic 1,280-by-800 pixel panel, while the T100 Chi features a high-definition 1,920-by-1,200 display. The differences aren’t significant, but the T100 Chi does offer a slightly sharper picture thanks to an increased pixel density. Both are IPS panels, which means viewing angles are excellent. Color reproduction is generally accurate, and both panels produce excellent contrast and vivid image quality. One potential problem is glare, as using either display under direct sunlight or bright overhead lighting can render it difficult to see despite the screen’s decent brightness.
Under the Hood
The Asus Transformer Book T90 Chi and T100 Chi are both powered by the same hardware, with a quad-core Intel Atom Z3775 processor clocking in at 1.46 gigahertz and two gigabytes of RAM. It isn’t going to set the world on fire, and it pales in comparison to tablets built for high-performance applications, but the Atom Z3775 chip provides enough horsepower to handle most of the applications it’s likely to encounter. The relative lack of power isn’t likely to be a problem for the Transformer Book’s productivity-minded consumer base, as the Windows 8.1-powered hybrid devices are clearly more oriented toward work than play. The battery life offered by the Transformer tablets doesn’t quite measure up compared to tablets with class-leading longevity, but it’s more than adequate at around ten hours.
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi Unboxing
Nebraska Furniture Mart make pretty good videos, and this one is especially informative, even if it’s about a different model (the 300 is older, has a bigger screen, is a tad slower, and has shorter battery life). Personally I really like unboxing videos. You do get an impression of what the product is like, how much thought and care goes into their packaging – and sometimes they are relaxing, too! If you live in Nebraska and want to buy a tablet PC to go with your furniture, you know where to shop! For the rest of us, there’s Amazon’s superb customer service and unbeatable prices. Check the price of the Transformer Book T300 Chi now.