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ASUS Transformer Book Hands-On: Full-Powered, Full HD Windows 8 Hybrid

How do you improve one of the best Ultrabooks? You add touch and let people detach the display to use it as a Windows 8 tablet. That's the gist of the ASUS Transformer Book, which sports a full HD touch screen, Core i5 or Core i7 processors and both a 128GB SSD and 500 GB hard drive in the dock.

Here at CES 2013 we went hands on with the Transformer Book and found the design to be just as solid and premium as the Zenbook Prime. Changing from notebook to tablet mode is fairly simply; just flick the switch on the left side of the base and pull up on the screen. 

In tablet mode the Transformer Book feels a little bulky because you have a 13-inch screen in your hands, but at least you don't have to keep the keyboard attached as you do with the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga and Dell XPS 12. We also like that the dock has a backlit keyboard, which some Windows 8 hybrids lack.

The tablet portion of the Transfomer Book features micro HDMI and microSD Card slots, plus a stereo speaker and audio jack. The dock houses a full-size SD Card slot, miniDisplay port, Ethernet and two USB 3.0 ports.

When plugged into its base, ASUS estimates about 7 hours of battery life for the Transformer Book. Pricing and availability haven't been nailed down, but the company is targeting a starting price of $1,299.

We can't wait to really put this Windows 8 hybrid Ultrabook through its paces.

Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.