Asus has unveiled the next step in the evolution of the hybrid note/tablet at the company's "We Transform" press event at Computex 2013 in Taipei, Taiwan. In addition to two CPUs and dual operating systems, the Transformer Book Trio adds a powerful desktop element to the mix. Other devices introduced by chairman Jonney Shih include 6- and 7-inch Pads, a wireless media center and a touchpad mouse.
The intriguing three-in-one Transformer Book Trio might well be what happens if you leave a particularly frisky pair of last year's Transformer Book and All-in-One in a locked room for any length of time. Bringing aspects of notebook, tablet and desktop computing into one portable product, the Trio features an 11.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 resolution IPS display that can be docked to the keyboard base for Windows 8 notebook mode, or separated for Android (Jelly Bean) tablet mode. The keyboard section can also be connected to an external monitor and used in PC-in-a-keyboard fashion.
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Named the PC Station dock, the keyboard module has its own 33-Wh Li-Pol battery (for six hours between charges), comes with either a 4th gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processor at its heart, and there's up to 1 TB of HDD storage available. The tablet part of the equation sports a 2 GHz Z2580 Atom processor and up to 64 GB of solid state storage. There's a 19.5-Wh Li-Pol battery that should be good for 15 hours of Android tablet use, and can be charged while docked in the keyboard – er sorry, PC Station – module. Support for up to 10 simultaneous touch points is available as an optional extra.
The dual operating systems give users access to more than 700,000 apps from Google Play and 50,000 in the Windows Store, and users are promised smooth syncing of files, photos, videos and emails between operating environments, as well as the ability to continue browsing when moving between notebook and tablet modes.
The best of the rest
As mentioned in the opener, Asus had more technology to show off at Computex than you could shake a stick at. The Transformer Pad Infinity is billed as the first Nvidia Tegra 4 tablet, packing 1.9 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex A15 processing power and 72-core GeForce graphics. There's support from 2 GB of DDR3 system memory and 32 GB of eMMC storage, plus 5 GB of Asus WebStorage for life.
The Android 4.2 tablet module has a 10.1-inch, 2560 x 1600 resolution LED-backlit IPS display panel capable of supporting up to 10 simultaneous touch points. There's a 5-megapixel, f/2.4 aperture autofocus camera to the back and a 1.2-megapixel webcam up front. It has SonicMaster-enhanced audio, both a micro-HDMI port and a microSD card slot, Bluetooth 3.0 and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi with Asus Miracast streaming that caters for TV gameplay without cable clutter.
The keyboard dock boasts a full-size SD card reader and a USB 3.0 port, and has also been given a multi-touch trackpad. The 31-Wh Li-Pol battery in the Pad and a 16-Wh battery in the keyboard dock give a combined battery life of 13.5 hours between charges.
Next up is the MeMO Pad HD 7 tablet with a 1280 x 800 IPS panel. This is the only model we have pricing for, at US$129 for an 8 GB model and $149 for 16 GB. It comes in blue, white, pink and green and features a quad-core processor, a 1.2-megapixel camera at the front as standard, and an optional 5-megapixel camera at the rear.
There's a new 3G phablet called the Fonepad Note FHD 6, too. It's smaller than its predecessor but packs more of a power punch, and features a 6-inch 450-nit Full HD IPS display, Intel Atom Z2560 dual-core processor running at 1.6 GHz, 2 GB of RAM and 16 or 32 GB of storage. The 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera is paired with an 8-megapixel camera at the back, the latter being capable of recording 1080p video, and dual microphones help cancel annoying echoes. It runs Android 4.2.2, comes with a stylus input, and has a microSD slot.
Bringing up the rear are two Vivo devices. The VivoPC can be used as a wireless media center, and has 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports and both HDMI and VGA . There's easy access to its insides to slot in SATA 6 2.5 or 3.5 HDD storage or fill up the two SO-DIMM slots with up to 16 GB of DDR3 RAM. Then there's a combined touchpad, mouse and PC remote called the VivoMouse that puts the Windows 8 touch experience right in the palm of your hand.
If you've got one hour and 15 minutes to spare, you can watch the full "We Transform" press event in the video below.