Announced back in 2015 at CES in Las Vegas the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi is not the most up-to-date 2-in-1 device out there though it still has some nice features including a thin and sleek tablet part, a Bluetooth keyboard and an Active Stylus Pen. Provided by Asus Switzerland, the device has been happily serving us as a testing device for Insider builds over the past few weeks and months. In this mini review I’d like to briefly highlight some of the pros and cons of this device.
Design and Build Quality
Asus did a very good job in terms of design and build quality with the Transformer Book T300 Chi. Being only 7.6 mm thin and weighing only 720 g, the tablet part of the device looks just incredibly sleek and it also feels very comfortable in the hand. The keyboard part on the other on the other does not feels as premium although it’s still acceptable. In total the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi weighs 1,42 kg which is – given the size – quite heavy and thus limits the portability of the device.
The Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi features a 12.5” WQHD (2560 x 1440, 16:9) display. Given the high resolution and the relatively small display, it should come as no surprise that everything on the screen looks pleasantly sharp and crisp making it a joy to read texts and watching movies. Also colors look very nice and I especially like the relatively deep blacks though the whites are a bit too greyish for my liking. Furthermore, I’m quite satisfied with the brightness spectrum. As far as screen size and ratio are concerned I’m probably spoilt by the – in my opinion – perfect aspect ratio of 3:2 of my Surface Pro 4. Especially with its very large bezels on the left and right of the screen, the device does look oddly wide. Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that this aspect ratio is better suited for watching movies.
Being a Bluetooth keyboard, the T300 Chi’s keyboard has several advantages but also disadvantages: Probably the most obvious advantage is that you can use it to type also when not physically connected with the tablet part (though you might need to find a stand for the tablet). In terms of disadvantages I’d consider the most annoying one to be that you’ve got to turn it on separately and – even more annoying – also charge separately which means taking another cable with you. For those of you worrying about delay I can reassure you: I never experienced any kind of delay problems. In terms of typing experience I’m also pleased though it is a bit loud.
While it’s not the biggest one out there (which is completely understandable given the size of the keyboard overall) I must say that I was quite surprised by how good the touchpad actually is: The surface is comfortably smooth, the integrated buttons – while maybe slightly too loud when clicking – feel great and it supports all the multiple-finger-gestures of Windows 10. No complaints here.
Active Stylus Pen
Included in our review package was also a battery-powered pen which Asus calls Active Stylus Pen. Let me be clear: It’s definitely nowhere near as good as the latest Surface Pen but nevertheless it gets the job done for some quick notes and annotations. And of course it works perfectly fine as a mouse replacement.
Asus chose to put the two speakers of the Transformer Book T300 Chi on the left and right side of the tablet. While the placement is definitely better than on the device’s back but I much prefer my Surface Pro 4 in terms of speaker placement. Regarding quality I’d rank them as being of standard quality while they can get acceptably loud.
Powered by an Intel Core M-5Y71 with a base clock of 1.2 GHz the Transformer Book does not belong to the most powerful 2-in-1 devices on the market (though you’ve got to keep in mind that it’s almost two years old) though it has been quite reliable and performant enough for the tasks (browsing the web, watching movies, using Office and Store apps, etc.) we’ve been using the device. That being said, there are of course much more powerful 2-in-1s (including ones from Asus) available for purchase. On the other hand, our model has quite a lot in store in terms of memory by offering 8 GB or RAM. At the end of the day, the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi offers still enough power for (most) daily tasks.
As I’m using the device with Insider builds installed I don’t want to make any comments about the battery life of the device.
While our model did come Windows 8.1 pre-installed we’ve of course updated it to Windows 10 in order to be able to test the latest Insider builds. The installation and setup process went very smooth and we did not encounter any problems with Windows 10 in general as well as in terms of drivers.
At the end of the day I’m really happy with the Transformer Book T300 Chi as our testing device for Insider builds. While there are surely things which should be improved by Asus, I think that overall the T300 Chi is a really nice device and I’m looking forward to using it for many more hours.