Tablets and laptops are often used for different purposes. Even so, there are also many days when someone might want the flexibility of a tablet, along with the convenience of using the keyboard and touchpad found on a laptop, without the need to carry two separate devices. In these scenarios, a 2-in-1 detachable laptop makes sense if you're okay with a smaller 12-inch device for your notebook tasks.
Asus offers its new Transformer Book Chi Series in two sizes (10-inch and 12.5-inch models) and three models total. We had the privilege of testing the flagship Chi T300 which features a WQHD 2560 x 1440 resolution, 12.5-inch screen and an Intel Core M processor. This high-end convertible machine runs around $899 (though other configs can be had for $699 - $799), which puts it right up there with some ultraportable notebooks, yet it promises the best of both worlds.
After spending time with the Chi T300, we feel this machine is a very good option for a user who wants both an ultraportable notebook and a tablet without having to carry both. This system is very capable of executing everyday tasks such as browsing the web, editing documents, listening to music, and other standard computing tasks. Overall performance of this system was solid and its benchmark scores reflected this.
The build quality and styling of the Chi T300 is also very attractive and it feels sturdy in the hand. As an added bonus, the Asus Transformer Book Chi T300 also takes advantage of the Intel Core M's fanless capabilities, so this 2-in-1 detachable laptop is also completely silent, unless your senses are keen enough to hear the movement of electrons.
Our biggest complaint about the Chi T300 is its battery life. The fact that the Chi T300 lasted for just over three hours in the strenuous Battery Eater Pro test and five hours in our web browsing test is somewhat disappointing. Given this, we wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving our house for the day without a charger in our bag and hopes of finding a power outlet at some point.
At the end of the day though, it really depends what functionality you value most. There are ultrabooks out there for a similar price as the Chi T300 that offer better battery life and possibility even greater performance. However, these machines may not offer you the flexibility and usage modes that the Chi T300 offers, and that’s where this machine really shines.