ASUS Taichi 21 hybrid Ultrabook (preview)
ASUS serves up a two-screen laptop that also doubles as a slate device
- Use it as a tablet or as a notebook
- Battery life is sure to be low
The ASUS Taichi is an innovative device that can be used either as a laptop or as a tablet. It has two screens, both of which are Full HD and based on IPS technology, and it will be available in Intel Core i5 or Core i7 configurations.
Price$ 1,599.00 (AUD)
Note: we have now completed a full review of the ASUS Taichi 21 Windows 8 hybrid Ultrabook.
One of the new form factors that will showcase Windows 8 is an 11.6in, dual-screen laptop from ASUS called the Taichi. The Taichi features a traditional clamshell notebook form factor, but the main difference is that its lid houses two screens: one conventional inward-facing screen, and one out-facing screen. The reason for this dual-screen setup is so the Taichi can be used both as a laptop, and as a tablet.
The Taichi's two screens are both based on IPS panel technology, so they have wide viewing angles, and they both feature a Full HD resolution. However, the inward-facing screen has a matte finish and a rather noticeable, wide bezel around it, while the out-facing screen is protected by scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass and is prone to reflecting light.
You can use the two-screen setup in different scenarios: you can duplicate the screens so they show the same content, you can have the out-facing screen show something different to the in-facing screen, you can have the out-facing screen switched off when using the laptop traditionally, or you can use the out-facing screen on its own in tablet mode with the lid closed. These modes can be invoked through a dedicated key on the keyboard — you can't miss it as it's blue rather than white — and changing modes isn't as seamless as it should be.
With two screens, the battery life of the Taichi takes a hit. How much of a hit will depend on the brightness levels of the screens and how often you use the second screen. ASUS claims that a comparable, traditional laptop could last up to five hours; the Taichi with two screens running will last only three hours. ASUS has put forth an idea that the Taichi can be used in a boardroom or any other type of scenario where a presentation can be given to colleagues sitting across from you without you having to turn the notebook around. Having experienced many of these types of meetings in which laptops are often turned around, we think this is a plausible scenario.
For us, the Taichi represents a decent hybrid device that can be used either as a laptop or as a tablet, without having to deal with docks or any other bits and pieces. Use the Taichi in its traditional laptop form for your document creation and productivity tasks, then close the lid to use the Taichi as a tablet for browsing the Web or viewing photos. One thing that we noticed in our brief viewing of the Taichi at its Sydney launch is that the screen did not rotate depending on how the tablet was held. We're hoping this is just a quirk with the unit we were shown because not being able to use the tablet in portrait form would be very inconvenient.
As for the touch responsiveness of the screen, we were able to easily bring up all of Windows 8's new bars and drag and close apps with the gestures that we are now used to. The only thing that is a concern is the number of fingerprints that end up being visible on the screen over time, and also the friction of the Gorilla Glass, which can sometimes make it awkward to perform gestures. But these are concerns for most touchscreen devices, not just the Taichi.
The Taichi will be available in mid-November in two configurations. The entry-level configuration will feature a third generation Intel Core i5-3317U based model with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid state drive, and it will cost $1599. The high-end version will have an Intel Core i7-3517U CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 256GB solid state drive, and it will cost $1899. Both will have Intel HD 4000 graphics, dual-band Wi-Fi with WiDi support, as well as two USB 3.0 ports and two cameras — an out-facing 5-megapixel autofocus camera and an in-facing 1-megapixel webcam. ASUS states a weight of 1.25kg.
Check out our Beginner's Guide To Windows 8 if you want to learn more about Microsoft's latest operating system.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
- 2 Sony Xperia XZ review: turbo-charged last-gen phone
- 3 Hisense Series 7 ULED 4K UHD TV review
- 4 Sony X9300D and X8500D UHD 4K TV review
- 5 Moto X Force review: Leading features from a mid-range phone
Latest News Articles
- Razer's revamped Blade Pro laptop marries a GeForce GTX 1080 with 4K G-Sync
- Tobii's new eye tracker adds head tracking with an emphasis on PC games
- Apple to announce new Macs at a special event October 27
- HP Omen 17 review: Great gaming performance at a great price
- Acer's swanky Swift 7 launches as the thinnest laptop ever
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: The new best Android phone
- Japan Robot, gadget and car expo slideshow
- Panasonic DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review: Best all-round TV ever?
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCJava Developers - Federal Government experienceNSW
- CCSenior Project ManagerNSW
- CCAcquisition Marketing Executive - B2BNSW
- TPCRM Business AnalystVIC
- FTTechnical Support OfficerWA
- CCSenior Digital BA (iOS / Android)NSW
- CCSenior Business Analyst - experience in IDAM a MUSTNSW
- CCJava Developer - CQ5VIC
- FTSenior AEM Support AnalystVIC
- FTCRM AdministratorACT
- FTSenior Architect, Markets and ProductsNSW
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Manufacturing ConsultantQLD
- TPService Desk AnalystVIC
- CCTesting Business Analyst (Gold Coast based)QLD
- TPProject CoordinatorNSW
- FTIT Manager - Infrastructure Strategy and OperationsNSW
- FTSenior Analyst ProgrammerNSW
- FTJava DeveloperACT
- FTBusiness Analyst - Health Industry - Melbourne CBDVIC
- CCPHP DeveloperNSW
- CCProject Manager - DigitisationQLD
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCSiebel DeveloperACT
- FTBusiness Analyst - PIMAsia