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ASUS Transformer Book Chi: Trio of MacBook Air Killers

LAS VEGAS -- Entertainment when you want it, business when you need it. ASUS’ line of Transformer Book 2-in-1s offers the flexibility to adapt to your needs, and with its new Chi Series of detachable notebooks, there's not one, but three silent all-aluminum convertibles looking to end the Macbook Air's long reign as best overall laptop. The 12.5-inch Chi T300 also looks like a much more practical and comfortable 2-in-1 than the Surface Pro.

The new lineup leads off with the 12.5-inch T300 Chi, which offers the choice between a 2560 x 1440 WQHD display for $799, and a 1920 x 1080 version for $699. The T300 Chi features the latest Core M CPU from Intel, and, like every Chi Series device, offers silent fan-less operation and a wide range of colors on its high-gamut IPS touchscreen.

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The T300 Chi will come with your choice of 4 or 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. When attached to the removable keyboard, the T300 Chi retains a super slim profile, measuring just 0.65-inches thick, thinner than the both the 11-inch and 13-inch models of the Macbook Air. Even the heaviest configuration of the T300 Chi weighs just 1.56 pounds in tablet mode, and just 3.13 pounds when combined with the keyboard dock.

The 1.25-pound (sans dock) T100 Chi is the next size down with its 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 display. Unlike the larger T300 Chi, the T100 Chi uses an Intel Atom processor for increased battery life. ASUS claims the T100 Chi is the thinnest Windows tablet, measuring just 0.28-inches thick.

The Transformer Book T90 Chi rounds out ASUS’s trio of 2-in-1’s, offering a super portable 8.9-inch 1280 x 800 display and another World’s Thinnest title for 8.9-inch tablets with its thickness of just 0.3-inches. It weighs just 0.88 pounds, or 1.6 pounds when attached to the dock.

Every Chi Series 2-in-1 features an all-aluminum unibody design with laser-cut chamfered edges for a feel that’s both strong and luxurious. The keyboard dock is plastic. Each Chi 2-in-1 also comes with 5-megapixel cameras on the back, and 2-MP cams in front. Additional features include a microUSB 3.0 port, microSD card slot and 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi with Bluetooth 4.0.

Are you already a fan? Vote for the ASUS TransformerBook Chi to win our Readers' Choice award at CES 2015

During a brief hands-on with the T300 Chi at CES 2015, I marveled at the thinness of ASUS' 2-in-1. Even the largest 12.5-inch T300 Chi made the sea of nearby Macs look fat.

I liked the use of neodymium magnets for attaching the Bluetooth keyboard. The tablet slid into the keyboard dock with ease, and even when holding the system by the keyboard, the tablet portion stayed securely attached. I never had to worry about the strength of the Chi Series' magnetic connection. The Chi T300 offers a typing experience that's a lot more comfortable than the Surface Pro 3.

In 2014, ASUS became the worldwide leader in 2-in-1 systems, and with the Transformer Book Chi Series  already drawing comparisons to the Apple Macbook Air , the Chi Series seems poised to truly combine the best of laptops and tablet into a single device.

The entire Chi Series line will be available in February.

Sam is a former penguin trainer and archery instructor who dabbles in esports and has lived on three different continents. If you have some comments on new tech or the best noodle spots in NYC, drop a line @SamRutherford.