Thursday, August 15, 2013
ASUS TAICHI Review – A look at the latest in laptop and tablet hybrid design
A rising company in the personal computer hardware market is ASUS, who came on my radar when I reviewed the Google Nexus 7 Android tablet that was based on the ASUS Nexus 7 model. Based in Taiwan, ASUS was the fifth largest computer hardware maker in 2012 after HP, Lenovo, DELL and Acer, according to industry estimates.

The company was founded in 1990 by four computer engineers that used to work for Acer, another Taiwanese company. ASUS had sales of $14 billion in 2012 and 12,500 employees worldwide with roots in manufacturing computer parts like motherboards (the brains of a computer). It produces a wide range of computer hardware products that includes desktops, laptops, tablets and routers under the ASUS, Transformer and Nexus brands. In June 2013, it launched the ASUS Fonepad, a 6” tablet that includes a 3G smartphone. (I need to get one of these to play with.)

 

ASUS TAICHI- The Laptop/Tablet Hybrid model
The ASUS TAICHI is a laptop/tablet model that comes with two screens, one for tablet mode and the other for laptop. Previous models I have seen that offer both a tablet and laptop user experience use either a single-screen swivel or a detachable screen configuration (see my Feb 2013 blog for a
review of a detachable screen model). ASUS has taken this hybrid concept to another level and created something cool with the two screens.

 

The ASUS TAICHI is two devices in one. It is thin at 0.7”, weighs only 2.8 lbs, and uses Windows 8 for its operating system. Its dimensions are 12” x 7.83” with an 11.6” screen. This machine has an INTEL 1.7 GHz dual core processor, so it has decent  speeds (2+ GHz is preferred). It comes with two cameras, two USB ports, VGA & HDMI connections for external monitors, 4GB RAM and has 128 and 256 GB memory options. There is no ethernet port though, so you will have to rely on wi-fi for your internet connection.

TABLET EXPERIENCE

The tablet experience, with an 11.6” touch screen, offers more real estate than other tablets, but I found it a little heavy holding the tablet for extended periods using one hand. In couch potato mode this was not a concern as it sat on my lap. Battery life was 3-5 hours depending on usage, whereas tablets normally have 8-10 hours of battery life and weigh 1-2 lbs depending on whether they are 10” or 7” tablets.

 

LAPTOP EXPERIENCE
The laptop experience is like using a slick ultra-thin metallic shell laptop with a backlit keyboard weighing 2.8 lbs. When you are in laptop mode the user experience is based on the Windows 7 interface, and it will switch to Windows 8 when you go into tablet mode. Ryan Winsborrow from nerds4hire.com says he was frustrated when switching from tablet to laptop mode or vice versa when using Internet Explorer as they were two different versions of the web browser and did not sync together. he was able to configure to work on the Windows 7 version only, but it is not very touch-friendly to use, I like the Window 8 IE browser better in tablet mode.

The two-screen approach offers a smoother transition between modes versus others I have played with. It is less clumsy to use compared to a swivel or detachable screen approach, which I found very appealing, plus it was all in one device.

RATING: 4 out 5

The ASUS TAICHI is a cool computer toy for the person that wants it all. It ranges in price from $1,200 to $1,500 depending on the configuration you choose. Basically, it is in the price range of the ultra-thin laptop choices currently in the marketplace but with a second tablet touch screen as part of the package. Winsborrow rated the ASUS TAICHI 4 out of 5 as well as he also found it heavy for a tablet and thought the battery life could be better, but overall we liked its compact size and versatility as an everyday work device for mobile people!
- Martin Seto
About Me
Martin Seto

 
Martin Seto is the principal of Reflex Media, a media consultancy practice offering media owners digital publishing, event management and ad sales help. His media expertise also include working with ad agencies as a media buyer/planner for tv, radio, print, outdoor, magazine and online. He has been in the advertising and media industry for 25+ years and he has been an instructor/speaker with Centennial College and at magazine conferences across Canada. He can be reached at marty(dot)seto(at)
reflexmediasales.com or 416-907-6562, and on LinkedIn.

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