The Asus Transformer Books have started life as Android devices with folding keyboards. Since then, the series have evolved and now also include models that are able to run Windows, which create an even better laptop experience. The Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi is the most powerful one of those devices and features specs that are even able to rival popular ultrabooks.
This device plans to create the perfect combination between portability and the casual use of a tablet with the versatility of a Windows machine. That being said, the T300 does have some flaws as you will read below in our Asus laptop review.
Here is our Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi review. For more Asus Laptop reviews please check out our laptop reviews page.
- CPU: 1.2GHz Intel Core M 5Y71 processor (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 2.9GHz with turbo boost)
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300
- RAM: 8GB DDR3L (clocked at 1600MHz)
- Screen: 12.5-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 (WQHD) capacitive multi touch IPS display
- Storage: 128GB SSD
- Ports: micro USB 3.0, mini HDMI, microSD card reader, headphone/mic combo jack
- Connectivity: Intel Dual Band Wireless-N 7265 + Bluetooth 4.0 LE
- Camera: 2MP 720p webcam
- Weight: 3.14 pounds
- Size: 12.5 x 7.5 x 0.65 inches (W x D x H)
Design and Features
The Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi is definitely a sleek and premium looking device that features a black anodized metal finish with a small edge that shows the metal beneath.
The laptop is also very slim. It’s only around 18mm thick when the two sections of the keyboard and the tablet are combined. However, at 3.14 pounds, it’s actually heavier than an Ultrabook similar in specs. The reason for this is the glass that is used to cover the touch screen of the tablet. While this can make the tablet tip backwards, this won’t be the case all that often.
The slim design is possible because Asus redesigned the hinge mechanism on the device. On previous models the docking mechanism had a bracing which allowed the tablet to rest on the keyboard with ease. This means that it had a somewhat thick bump on the casing when the tablet was closed.
This isn’t the case on the new model. The Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi solely relies on magnets to keep the tablet in place, which is a good thing.
What We Didn’t Like About the Transformer Book:
- Something that is inconvenient about the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi is its hinge mechanism stiffness. It can be unpleasant and unfamiliar to open the device laptop-style. But these are just minor things about the overall design of the computer when compared to two other serious flaws.
- The first major flaw is that the dock of the keyboard doesn’t have a wired connection to the tablet anymore. The keyboard is no longer capable of providing battery power or extra connections for the tablet. You will now have to recharge the tablet separately via an USB cable. This means that the keyboard is just a regular Bluetooth trackpad and keyboard.
- The second major flaw is that pretty much all the connectivity options are on the tablet. Asus tried to keep the design as slim as possible but this also means you won’t get an SD card reader or any full sized USB ports.
- While not having an SD card reader isn’t such a big deal, the lack of any full sized USB ports is simply unforgiveable. The device is supposed to be a laptop contender and the decision to get rid of the USB ports is ridiculous at best. There is a dongle included in the package that lets you use the port as a full-sized USB 3.0 one but it’s simply not the same thing. This makes us wonder why a full sized USB port is possible on the Microsoft Surface but not on the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi.
You do get a microSD slot so you have the option of expanding the storage on the device but a normal SD card slot would have been nice, especially if you want to transfer photos from your camera on the go. The device also features a combined microphone and headphone jack and a microHDMI port.
The device doesn’t quite feel like a tablet, nor does it feel like a laptop. The size of the device means that you won’t carry it around as a regular tablet but it is nice to have the possibility to get rid of the keyboard and use the touchscreen on the tablet for navigation instead. However, we would have enjoyed a smaller tablet for everyday use. And as a laptop the device simply falls short regarding the features we’re normally used to.
That being said, the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi is pretty powerful and compensates the shortcomings of its design. Inside the device there is a CPU that is similar to the one in the new MacBook. It comes with an Intel Core M 5Y71, 8GB of RAM and 128GB SSD storage. This means that the hybrid laptop can easily compete with lower end regular light and thin laptops.
The 12 inch screen has a 2,560×1,440 resolution and makes use of an IPS LCD panel. The brightness is wonderful on the device and the colors are accurate and nice as well. There is a 97.7% sRGB coverage and the color temperature is ideal at 6605K. Its Delta E of 3.3 is decent as well.
While the resolution is definitely impressive, Windows 8.1 can’t really handle such high DPI displays. Applications will look either too small most of the times, too pixelated or a combination of both. But the main let-down is the backlight bleeding. This is most noticeable when trying to watch a movie that has black bars on top and on the bottom of the picture.
The Intel Core M CPU is definitely a lot slower than Core i5 or Core i7 ones present in premium Ultrabooks but the processor does get the job done.
For everyday use, the device performs quite nicely. While it will hiccup here and there, especially if you have many tabs open in the browser, the computer will generally handle all your daily activities with ease. It will struggle with more demanding tasks, such as hardcore gaming and video and photo editing but this is to be expected from a device that is clearly intended for everyday work and not as a professional work tool.
Keyboard and Trackpad
Even though we were a little concerned by the wireless connectivity between the tablet and the actual keyboard dock, it does work quite nicely. The keyboard is well laid out and spacious and features all the function keys you would normally expect from a conventional laptop. The keys have a decent amount of travel and we got used to them very fast, so no problems there.
The surface of the trackpad is also quite smooth and the tracking was accurate and quick. The single-click surface was very responsive as well. That being said, the trackpad is a little on the smaller side and it doesn’t have that immediateness of a non-wireless model.
The Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi is mostly meant to be used in a landscape position so Asus put speakers on both its sides for stereo sound. This feature is quite nice and does add depth to what you are listening to.
The sound quality is quite mediocre however and you will want to use headphones with the device or at least a Bluetooth speaker. But to be fair, if you use the hybrid laptop in a quiet environment, the speakers prove to be more than good enough.
Heat and Noise
Because the device uses an Intel Core M CPU means that it is fanless and thus noiseless. This also means that it won’t get very hot. But we did encounter some problems when we tried to record the temperature of the CPU because the laptop simply hung up when we tried to run our tests at 100% CPU usage.
The Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi really struggles with battery life. In the PowerMark test, running a loop of 5 minutes of video play and 10 minutes of web browsing, the laptop ran for just 5 hours and 35 minutes at 40% brightness.
This is a very poor result when comparing it to the 10 hour battery life on most ultrabook laptops, not to mention regular tablets running Android or iOS which can deliver more than 10 hours.
This result is very, very disappointing.
- The device is very slim.
- It features a stylish metal design.
- The keyboard and trackpad are surprisingly good.
- The display is very bright and features high-resolution.
- The processing performance on the device is very impressive.
- It has poor connectivity when compared to traditional laptops.
- The device has a very poor battery life.
- The hybrid design of the machine has a lot of issues.
- The screen of the laptop has major bleeding problems.
The Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi is an interesting take on the laptop hybrid running Windows. However, it has very poor battery life, severe issues with bleeding on the screen and other problems that make the device fall short as a tablet and as a laptop.
So there you have it. This was our Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi review. Make sure you check out our other Asus laptop reviews before deciding which computer to purchase.