Asus Taichiâ„¢ 21 Notebook PC Review

Laptop, tablet or art? Asus Taichi™ 21 dual screened ultrabook fuses advanced technology, meticulous craftsmanship and elegant design simplicity with a high gloss piano black appearance in a slim profile.

 

Looking like Tony Stark might have been using it in the Iron Man 3 blockbuster movie or from the Museum of Modern Art, the Asus Taichi Ultrabook™ is obviously designed as a competitive option to Microsoft Surface and Apple’s iPad turned into an ultraportable.

The Asus Taichi Ultrabook arrives!

Profile of the ASUS Taichi Ultrabook

The 11.6” convertible Ultrabook™  or 13.3” dual Full HD 1080P display screens with stunning vibrant colors reminding me of the clarity and vibrancy of OLED monitors and video that plays as if there’s a separate graphics card. You will hear cinematic sound quality as one would expect of the high standards legendary of Bang & Olufsen.

Numerous modes to view the screen allow personal, demo and public viewing. You see one screen with the Ultrabook™ lid closed which is the display serving as a tablet with swipe control and the other with the lid open, like an ultraportable. With the lid open, it performs like a laptop. With the lid closed it performs like a tablet. The display switches from tablet to an ultraportable monitor almost instantaneously. Two other modes, make the Asus Taichi™ Notebook intriguing, the Mirror Mode unique to Taichi™ allows two back-to-back screens mirroring the same image and the Dual Screen Mode allows the back-to-back screens dual usage. With both screens active the Asus Taichiaccepts input via the touchscreen, pen or keyboard simultaneously.

The cameras, one on each side of the back to back displays. The tablet sized camera is 5 MP autofocus while the netbook side has a standard 720p camera designed for video conferencing.

The ASUS Ultrabook™ has an enviable almost instanteous startup with a Intel® Core™ i7 -3517U 1.90 GHz 2.40 GHz. 4 GB RAM, 64 bit operating system with x64-based processor complete with a stylish stylus for pen applications for users that prefer a physical pen and its own protective sleeve with a lens cloth in a pocket to retain the high gloss appearance.

Nearly 50% of the C drive is committed to the built in system of100 GB with 117 GB free in a D drive, leaving one yearning for additional storage. There are 2 3.0 USB ports and 1 HDMI.  Air vents are at the rear on the bottom.

While having the convenience of being both a tablet and an ultraportable, it performs neither function exceedingly well, similar to most hybrids. As a tablet it’s too heavy, but convenient to be able to flip the top and change to a tablet. It’s underpowered for a laptop, and overpowered for a tablet.

We saw an earlier version of this at the Consumer Electronics Association Industry Forum and the main issue it had then was the same problem it has today, it would be a good computer if it was a computer or a good tablet if it was a tablet but it is neither a good computer or tablet in combination.

Preloaded software includes Microsoft 8 and most everything you need for functions on the go, without the familiarity of the larger programs you may be accustomed to on a laptop or desktop pc. Fortunately WordPad is resident to serve as a wordprocessing program, SnagIt editor for images, Waves MAXXAudio, Camtasia Studio for screen captures. Granted this is an ultraportable so you have to give up something somewhere.

If you’re a business person, it is an impressive presentation tool but won’t do you much good during business conferences for hours of wordprocessing as it is a power hog eating your battery life. After an hour at a conference I had to plug it in as the power had already drained to 63% but surprisingly the more I tested it, the longer the battery lasted.

The biggest drawback of all, which is the easiest to fix and you know will be fixed as this is an early adopter’s device, is that all of things we’re talking about will be updated in future versions.

While the potential business applications seem limited this is simply because of the limited amount of application available for this style of computer at this time which is expected to expand this summer 2013. This is the future of computing where the peripherals are key to flexibility and we rely heavily on the cloud.

If you’re an early adopter, the Asus Taichi Ultrabook™ is an extremely exciting piece of equipment. You can see the future in it, and until it arrives at least you’ll have something to envy. Everywhere someone has seen me use it they have asked about it. The Asus Taichi™ 21 shows exceptional promise, and I’m looking forward to the seeing the
improvements in the newer Asus Taichi™ 31.

ASUS Taichi Ultrabook with case and stylus

 

The specifications for the Asus Taichi™ 21 Notebook PC I tested are:

Processor: Intel® Core™ i7 3517U Processor

Operating System: Windows 8

Chipset: Intel® QS77 Express Chipset

Memory: DDR3 1600 MHz SDRAM, OnBoard Memory 4GB

Display: 11.6” 16:9 with 10 fingers Touch FHD (1920
x 1080)

Graphic: Integrated Intel® HD Graphics 4000

Storage: SATA III SSD 256 GB

Camera: HD Web Camera 5M with Auto Focus 1080P
Camera x2

Networking: Integrated 802.11 a/b/g/n Built-in
Bluetooth ™ V4.0 with external cable supports 10/100 Mbps Ethernet

Interface: 1 x COMBO audio jack, 2 x USB 3.0 ports,
1 x micro HDMI, 1 x Docking Connector, 1x Mini VGA Port, 1x Volume up/down, 1x
Screen switch

Audio: Bang & Olufsen ICEpower®

Battery: 35 Whrs Polymer Battery

Power Adapter: Output 19V DC, A,  45W, Input: 100-240 V AC, 50/60 Hz universal

Dimensions: 33.92 x 22.7 x 17.4 cm (WXDXH)

Weight: 1.25 kg (2.75 lbs)

 

For more information go to the Asus Taichi™ website

 

 

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