While sturdily and intelligently designed, the Chi suffers a few flaws that a hybrid device shouldn't have but still stands on good value.
The Asus T300 Chi is one of the new models in the line of laptop-tablet hybrid devices that have reached the market. This is the age where people want good portability while also getting the best performance and easy storage too. So does the Chi live up to expectations ?
The overall design of the Chi is quite simple and elegant. With the dimensions as follows: 375 x 99×256, its size is small enough to be portable comfortably and with a weight of 1.43kgs with both the keyboard and screen together it’s certainly light but I still feel that it was a little heavy for an Ultrabook looking laptop-tablet hybrid. Also one of the key unique things about this device is that it’s fanless. Though it heats up quite quickly but then eventually eases out.
The Chi is fitted with an Intel Core M processor which is rated at 0.8GHz and loaded with a 4GB RAM for the review piece that we got. The GPU is an Intel HD Graphics which is standard enough for such devices. Storage is at a miserly 128GB which means that you just cannot stuff all your data into this and frequent empty outs will be required.
For the operating system it has the latest Windows 8.1 OS which is great because the Win 8.1 is an OS made for touchscreen devices according to me. The OS is best experienced when you have a touchscreen device so the Chi is definitely one of those devices meant to have the Win8/Win 8.1.
Camera and Sound
The audio system is Built-in Speakers and Array Microphone by SonicMaster. Encoding issues and other technicalities did initially produce some inconsistent sound volumes and quality but I got the best result from one sample 320kbps song at full volume that gave me the best possible sound this device had to offer. From that output I can surely say that for a hybrid device it has good enough volume and quality output but personally for me I would love a bit extra.
The camera is stated to be a HD Web Camera and a 2MP rating to it but after switching it on and moving it around it started to lag. The picture quality was also grainy to say the least and colors were as close to natural as possible. For a tablet though, this is quite standard and inspite of some small drawbacks it’s still quite good enough for a skype chat and some selfies.
Ports and Connectivity
All ports on this device are micro ports. The screen has micro USB ports to attach a HDD or mobile and has a Micro SD card reader at the bottom which I did not even notice when I glanced through it. There is also a Micro HDMI slot to connect to a projector or external source. Connectivity wise it’s got the 802.11 ac Integrated chip and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity features. The Bluetooth is strong enough on both the screen and the keyboard since the claimed maximum distance between each while still being connected via Bluetooth is 5m. We gave a rough try to that claim and at an estimated distance of about 3m between my dining table in the hall and the far end of my bedroom the keyboard and screen still collectively function on Bluetooth.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard is nice and compact. It allows for quick typing and the keys when tapped do not become a nuisance because of the noise feedback from the taps. Soft keys meaning quieter typing and since it’s a little compact it’s easier to type faster. The touch pad also is a nice smooth surface while the buttons also are very soft. The keyboard though has its independent power source which is a letdown. Also the keyboard has a different way of working. Just connecting the screen to the dock won’t make the keyboard function but rather the Bluetooth has to be switched on the keyboard via a power button on the top left.
The 12.5 in screen size and 1920×1080 Full HD display is quite efficient. After watching an animation movie rated at 1080p, the colors are quite vibrant and the resolution is very good. But not to forget that it doubles up as a touch display and a normal laptop screen and it does a good job. The screen though when doubling up as an independent tablet is quite big for touch typing with two hands.
There are two buttons on the on the tablet, one of which controls the volume and the other is for toggling between the metro menu and the standard desktop which to some may be an unnecessary addition but that depends on personal preferences really.
The battery is rated at 32 Whrs which took about 2 hours 45 minutes to charge from 0 to 100%. The total time it lasts from 100-0 is stress tested by browsing the internet, having 100% brightness on the screen and also a movie played in the background all at once. The time that the 100% charge lasted was about 4 hours and 10 minutes which means that for a basic user it will last much more longer
Since the keyboard battery is different the discharge rate of that keyboard is very small. In an estimated timeline, I lost only 7% battery after about 4 hours of use and that too was 7% decline from 54% battery to 45% battery. In perspective that will tell you just how good the battery life of this keyboard really is.
I wouldn’t completely discount the Chi. It’s not a poor device as I initially thought it would be or that Asus has lacked badly in any aspect while making this device but for certain features and functions there are some unnerving drawbacks which probably could have been better handled during development.
But then again there is no device in this world that doesn’t have drawbacks. Technology is not 100% perfect on any given day. Same goes for the Asus Transformer T300 Chi.The price of this device stands at AED 2699 which is the same as flagship smartphones when they initially enter the market. So if you are indeed looking for something to complement your smartphone while at the same time is easy to carry around then this is certainly one to consider.