The Good: The device delivers fast Windows8 all-in-one, giant tablet with Android and effective platform to use them all together.
The Bad: the desktop technology causes the use of Windows 8 on tablet unreliable and one might prefer waiting to buy it till late current year when category matures.
The Bottom Line: it would be wise to wait to see how market develops though Asus has tried to use the hybrid tablet for creating compelling Windows 8 device in Transformer AIO.
Where To Buy
|B&H Photo Video|
|J&R Music and Computer World|
|Optical Drive||DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM|
|Graphics Processor||NVIDIA GeForce GT730M|
|Graphics Controller||Plug-in card|
|Processor||3rd Gen Core i3 Intel i3-3220|
|Memory||4 GB / 8 GB (max)|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 8 Google Android|
|Built-in Devices||Battery,Stereo speakers|
|Type||Personal computer – Yes|
|Product Form Factor||All-in-one|
|Tablet Specifications||NVIDIA Tegra 3 Quad-core CPU/2 GB DDR3/32GB flash/Wi-Fi/Bluetooth 3.0 EDR|
|Size installed||4 GB / 8 GB (max)|
|Speed of memory||1600 MHz|
|Form Factor||SO DIMM 204-pin|
Chipset / Processor
|Type||3rd Gen Core i3,Intel 3 i3-3220|
|Number of Cores||Dual-Core|
|Max CPU Qty||1|
|Chipset Type||Intel B75 Express|
|Capacity||1 x 1 TB|
|Interface Type||Serial ATA-300 Serial ATA|
|Type||1 x Serial ATA Integrated|
|Controller Interface Type||Serial ATA 300|
|Type||DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD RAM|
|Image Aspect Ratio||16:9|
|Horizontal Viewing Angle||178|
|Vertical Viewing Angle||178|
|Monitor Type||LED – Yes|
|Diagonal Size||18.4 in|
|Max Resolution||1920 x 1080 ( Full HD )|
Controller Of Graphics
|Graphics Processor / Vendor||NVIDIA GeForce GT730M|
|Video Memory||2 GB|
|Mode of Sound Output||Stereo|
|Speaker(s)||2 x Right / left channel|
|Sensor Resolution||1 Megapixel|
|Supported Wireless LAN||Yes|
|Data Link Protocol||Bluetooth 4.0 ,IEEE 802.11 ,Fast Ethernet , Ethernet ,Gigabit Ethernet , IEEE 802.11b , IEEE 802.11n ,IEEE 802.11g|
|1 x USB 2.0,|
|4 x USB 3.0|
|1 x HDMI|
|1 x LAN|
|1 x Headphones – Mini-jack|
|1 x Microphone – Mini-jack|
|1 x Headphones/microphone – Mini-jack ( Tablet )|
|1 x USB 2.0 ( Tablet )|
|Slots: 2 SO DIMM 204-pin|
|Type of device||Power adapter|
Asus has taken idea of such an all-in-one hybrid from Sony Vaio Tap 20 and given us Transformer AIO at $1299. The device demonstrates the exciting amalgamation of semiportable tablet and all-in-desktop. Instead of being like Sony totally by relying on the touch-friendly interface of Windows 8 for achieving the mix with seamless and single hardware piece, Transformer AIO gives 2 computing devices. The Intel Core i5 CPU based unit with display of 18.4-inch as one device and taking display out from the cradle, screen switches to the built-in chip Nvidia Tegra, becoming like a giant Android tablet with weight of 5.6 pounds.
There are benefits associated with Asus’ design of Transformer AIO. Tablet portion has weight equal to half of Viao Tap 20 and this way making the movement from a room to next easy. Android and Windows 8 could be run concurrently due to two CPUs. Access to larger library with touch-designed applications is provided by Android.
A downside with Transformer happens to be base-station-with-removable-tablet model which introduces much complexity than any self-contained alternative as Viao Tap 20. One has to monitor two application sets along with 2 locations for storage and maintaining 2 different devices. The desktop function for running Windows 8 over the tablet tends to be unreliable and sluggish. Also the base station that’s chunky is not much elegant.
Such issues could put the potential buyers off. It is thought that more of hybrid designs for desktop will be seen this year so waiting for six months might do one good so that other compelling desktops in the latest category would give room for choice.
Unlike Sony Vaio Tap 20, Asus Transformer AIO gives feeling of a desktop initially. Regardless of the fact where Transformer’s display could be used, one has to find home for base station. 2 power adapters are includes with Asus Transformer, one being for base station, the other for tablet.
As desktop the device is a machine with clunky look and much small display for this price. Through an HDMI port, external monitor could be connected to the base station of Transformer. Windows extends desktop environment to the tablet automatically and to the external monitor when it is connected. It isn’t the same like using 2 monitors of 27-inch or 23-inch, though Transformer could make use of whatever screen space is available.
The Touch Screen
Credit goes to Asus for touch screen of the display. In the Android mode or Windows 8 one, input of touch feels responsive, even when two people play air hockey together. Also, noticeable drag is about none.
Swapping Between Modes
The process of swapping between the usage modes is majorly seamless. With tablet in the docking cradle, Android or Windows 8 could be used and moving in between these is quite an easy matter: hitting a button on display’s right edge or moving to icon of Mode Switch which shows the two operating systems.
As the tablet and base units both have got their separate CPUs, one never has to disable an operating system for starting another and also one doesn’t need to reboot. There isn’t any data loss or status change while moving between the operating systems. Once tablet is removed from cradle which is as easy maneuver and there is Android. Though, as Windows 8 still runs on base unit, one can make use of desktop software in order to virtualize the Windows 8 over tablet.
A trick to smooth experience of virtualization is to minimize input lag. It is easily done over hardwired network and less so on any wireless connection at local level which Asus has got to make available here. Asus opted to make use of true connection of Wi-Fi to bridge gap of remote desktop between tablet and base unit, and company recommends specifically the network with 5.0GHz, 802.11n. This could mean router replacement. If the mode of remote desktop is to be used often, one should ensure that signal is quite strong in the places one has to use it.
It is simple to set up connection between the devices. Both Android and Windows 8 must be put on this same network , then Splashtop program has to be launched in one of the OS, an account is made and then Splashtop is again launched in other OS. Afterwards, the account is signed in to. When all is set, tablet automatically will go in the mode of remote desktop and lets one use Windows 8 even away from base station. The operating systems could be swapped between on tablet still.
Ease Of Use
Out of box, Transformer AIO could be used as household computer for day-to-day use or as general-purpose machine for home and office, but then tablet could be pulled away in order to watch any movie, browse Web or play any Android game. A little support from the tablet’s back allows one to stand it independently. When a monitor is added to Transformer, tablet could be handed off to anyone else and Windows could be still used continuously.
Hardware And Performance
The capabilities offered by Transformer as Windows8 all-in-one are impressive. Base unit might not be quite an elegant hardware piece but it still houses full-fledged and quad-core desktop chip with the processor of Core i5-3350P. Mobile variant is the Nvidia GT graphics chip with 730M which is more capable compared to the embedded chips that are common with this range of price.
Asus doesn’t include any great new PC features but apart from screen size, it is a good all-in-one package at this price and one should be quite content with the core components of PC by Asus. Comparing its performance with other all-in-ones within the same range of price, it is quite competitive and only core i7 Toshiba LX835 outperforms this model at $1,349.
Whole PC games at good enough image quality and frame rates could be played by Transformer along with chip of GeForce GT 730M, e.g. Far Cry3, though input lag is very severe with desktop mode to the Windows8.
The Transformer as tablet offers the core components like that of any Android tablet of higher-end from last year. The 32GB of SSD equals storage capacity that is of the previous year’s Asus Transformer TF700. Also 2GB memory in Transformer AIO surpasses the unit’s 1GB RAM.
There are issues of portability with the Transformer due to the display of 18.4 inches. Due to the weight of tablet, 5.6 pounds and the size HWD 11.5×18.3x.7inches it is not so easily carried around without noticing its weight. However it is easy to maneuver compared to Vaio Tap 20 which is almost 12-pound.
The device is not the all-purpose replacement wholly for e-reader or any other common 10- or 7-inch tablets, though it is normally used in bed, couch or table, even could be set up for kids so that Netflix could be watched in any other room.
Travelling with this tablet also becomes limited because of the battery life. According to Asus, it lasts for 5 hours while watching movies over Android at only half brightness and in Windows 8 desktop mode, the battery life tends to be 3 hours and 23 minutes, somewhat similar to that of Vaio Tap 20. With only MP3s being played by the Transformer, the battery lasts for 15 hours
Both the tablet and base unit is equipped with reasonable options of connectivity. There are 4 USB3.0 inputs on base and a port for USB 2.0 that is occupied by keyboard receiver and wireless mouse, along with a slot for SD card and set of jacks for analog audio for a microphone and headphone. Due to HDMI output on base, external monitor could be added and even a television could be connected. There isn’t any HDMI-in which could have been welcome to connect cable box or game console. Also, there isn’t separate HDMI output in tablet, though it has port for Mini-USB 2.0, Card reader for microSD, volume rocker and microphone jacks as well as the headphone.
Much effort has been put by Asus in Transformer AIO. Not that it is very elegant version but it could be a quite powerful one. It has good versatility with the 2 operating systems as well as option to have a second user added if external display is connected.
Before 2013’s end, next generation of CPUs will enable lighter designs and also power-efficient ones. For those willing to buy right now, Asus is an option available, with large Android tablet and solid Windows8 system.