So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
ASUS Taichi 21 hybrid Ultrabook (preview)
ASUS serves up a two-screen laptop that also doubles as a slate device
- Use it as a tablet or as a notebook
- Battery life is sure to be low
The ASUS Taichi is an innovative device that can be used either as a laptop or as a tablet. It has two screens, both of which are Full HD and based on IPS technology, and it will be available in Intel Core i5 or Core i7 configurations.
Price$ 1,599.00 (AUD)
Note: we have now completed a full review of the ASUS Taichi 21 Windows 8 hybrid Ultrabook.
One of the new form factors that will showcase Windows 8 is an 11.6in, dual-screen laptop from ASUS called the Taichi. The Taichi features a traditional clamshell notebook form factor, but the main difference is that its lid houses two screens: one conventional inward-facing screen, and one out-facing screen. The reason for this dual-screen setup is so the Taichi can be used both as a laptop, and as a tablet.
The Taichi's two screens are both based on IPS panel technology, so they have wide viewing angles, and they both feature a Full HD resolution. However, the inward-facing screen has a matte finish and a rather noticeable, wide bezel around it, while the out-facing screen is protected by scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass and is prone to reflecting light.
You can use the two-screen setup in different scenarios: you can duplicate the screens so they show the same content, you can have the out-facing screen show something different to the in-facing screen, you can have the out-facing screen switched off when using the laptop traditionally, or you can use the out-facing screen on its own in tablet mode with the lid closed. These modes can be invoked through a dedicated key on the keyboard — you can't miss it as it's blue rather than white — and changing modes isn't as seamless as it should be.
With two screens, the battery life of the Taichi takes a hit. How much of a hit will depend on the brightness levels of the screens and how often you use the second screen. ASUS claims that a comparable, traditional laptop could last up to five hours; the Taichi with two screens running will last only three hours. ASUS has put forth an idea that the Taichi can be used in a boardroom or any other type of scenario where a presentation can be given to colleagues sitting across from you without you having to turn the notebook around. Having experienced many of these types of meetings in which laptops are often turned around, we think this is a plausible scenario.
For us, the Taichi represents a decent hybrid device that can be used either as a laptop or as a tablet, without having to deal with docks or any other bits and pieces. Use the Taichi in its traditional laptop form for your document creation and productivity tasks, then close the lid to use the Taichi as a tablet for browsing the Web or viewing photos. One thing that we noticed in our brief viewing of the Taichi at its Sydney launch is that the screen did not rotate depending on how the tablet was held. We're hoping this is just a quirk with the unit we were shown because not being able to use the tablet in portrait form would be very inconvenient.
As for the touch responsiveness of the screen, we were able to easily bring up all of Windows 8's new bars and drag and close apps with the gestures that we are now used to. The only thing that is a concern is the number of fingerprints that end up being visible on the screen over time, and also the friction of the Gorilla Glass, which can sometimes make it awkward to perform gestures. But these are concerns for most touchscreen devices, not just the Taichi.
The Taichi will be available in mid-November in two configurations. The entry-level configuration will feature a third generation Intel Core i5-3317U based model with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid state drive, and it will cost $1599. The high-end version will have an Intel Core i7-3517U CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 256GB solid state drive, and it will cost $1899. Both will have Intel HD 4000 graphics, dual-band Wi-Fi with WiDi support, as well as two USB 3.0 ports and two cameras — an out-facing 5-megapixel autofocus camera and an in-facing 1-megapixel webcam. ASUS states a weight of 1.25kg.
Check out our Beginner's Guide To Windows 8 if you want to learn more about Microsoft's latest operating system.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Nova 3e: P20 in a pinch
- 2 Oppo R15 Pro review: A compelling mid-tier option with lots of value and few compromises
- 3 LG E8 OLED TV (2018) and SK10Y soundbar review: If you've been on the fence about OLED, now might be the time to jump it
- 4 Nokia 6 (2018) review: Simple. Solid. Supreme.
- 5 Samsung Q9F Series QLED: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Alienware angle towards portability with Alienware m15
- Razer announces new headset, keyboard and mouse
- IFA 2018: MSI expand Prestige range with new P65 Creator
- IFA 2018: ASUS launch first TUF gaming laptops
- IFA 2018: ASUS upgrade Vivo and Zenbooks
PCW Evaluation Team
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
- Hands on with Huawei's Mate 20 Pro
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Oppo Find X: Full, in-depth review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies