Every once in a while, a product comes along which gracefully solves a social problem through technical innovation. Often, you want to show a piece of content--a presentation, a website or maybe even a video--to just one or two people, but you don't want them staring over your shoulder to look at your laptop screen and you don't want them to see the IM that popped up from your wife while you were shooting through that PowerPoint deck.
With a second 1920 x 1080 screen on the back of its lid, the ASUS Taichi notebook allows you to show a different set of content to the person sitting across from you than you see on the primary screen. The lid screen also serves as the main screen when you flip the clamshell closed and use the Taichi as a Windows 8 tablet.
Available in 11.6- and 13-inch form factors, the ASUS Taichi seems like any other Windows 8 Ultrabook when its back lid is off. On the inside, it sports an Intel Ivy Bridge processor, and on the outside, it has an uber-thin aluminum chassis with a backlit keyboard and generously-sized clickpad. ASUS did not disclose precise specs like the weight and thickness. We do know the device has an SSD, which should not be a surprise in this form factor.
At the company's press event here in Taipei, we were able to get a first hand view of the Taichi as an ASUS rep held it aloft and rotated it around for us to photograph and film. However, we were not allowed to touch the device, so we can't say how light it feels or how responsive the keyboard seems.
We were impressed with the brightness and vibrant colors on both the font and back screens, particularly when an ASUS rep played a trailer for "The Dark Knight Rises." We also noted the presence of an ASUS application on the primary desktop, which shows the content of the back lid on it. So you can be sitting there reading personal email on the primary screen while you direct a presentation to your client who is sitting across the table from you and staring at the back of your lid. You can also make the second screen a complete mirror of the first.
We can't wait to spend some alone time with the Taichi so we can really put it through its paces, but until then, check out our video and gallery for a closer look at this truly incredible new product.