At $799, Asus' Transformer 3 starts $200 lower than the beefier Transformer 3 Pro, but what you get in return is a system that at 1.5 pounds and 6.9mm thick, is even thinner and lighter than its already pretty svelte sibling. Like the Pro 3, the Transformer 3 draws heavily on designs from existing detachables, except in this case Asus is imating Samsung's TabPro S instead of Microsoft Surface Pro line.
Update: We've confirmed with Asus that the Transformer 3's $799 starting price includes its folding keyboard.
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There's a fingerprint reader built into the top right corner of the system that works with Windows Hello, which gives you the ability to log in to your computer with a single touch. The Transformer 3 also features active stylus support with up to 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, which may mean the Asus Pen may come included.
Another big win for the Transformer 3 is its keyboard. The Transformer 3's folding keyboard flips over to protect the screen when not in use, or can be positioned to give you two different viewing angles while you're typing. Not only is it backlit, but it also features a pretty impressive 1.4mm of travel, which prevents you from bottoming out while typing like you do on a number of other detachables.
I also like that Asus managed to equip the Transformer with quad speaker setup, which could prove to be big advantage for mobile media enthusiasts.
However there's still one thing I wish Asus had included on its list of improvements. Even with the flexibility you get from Thunderbolt 3, as Apple's 12-inch Macbook has shown, a single USB port simply isn't enough.
So like its more expensive Pro sibling, Asus' Transformer 3 borrows a lot from existing 2-in-1s while also taking the time to improve on a number of their finer points. And if the Transformer 3 can live up to Asus claim of a 9 hour battery life, it could be on its way back to the top of the 2-in-1 dogpile.
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