Technically, Asus foreshadowed Microsoft’s trend-setting 2-in-1 Surface family with an Android-powered Eee Pad Transformer dating all the way back to CES 2011. But it took the Taiwanese company a little too long to understand full Windows was the correct software path for convertible tablets, and now one can’t help but feel the Transformer 3 roster outright clones the Surface Pro 4.
The design, productivity and versatility principles are identical, and even the actual kickstands and detachable keyboards of the Asus Transformer 3 and Transformer 3 Pro look eerily similar to those of the competition.
Still, with a sharp 2,880 x 1,920 pix res 12.6-inch display, up to seventh-gen Intel Core i7 processing power, 16GB RAM, and 1 TB of solid state storage, the Transformer 3 Pro has plenty going on to make prospective buyers not wonder where they’ve seen the hybrid before.
Both the top-of-the-line model and the non-Pro Asus Transformer 3 offer USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, premium Harman Kardon audio, fingerprint recognition, as well as USB 3.0 and HDMI ports.
The Transformer 3 obviously cuts a few performance corners, capping off at 8GB RAM and a 512GB SSD, also packing an unnamed Intel Core “Kaby Lake” SoC that’s likely not an i7. The kickstands and keyboards differ too, with the Pro variant delivering a touch of extra flexibility and typing speed, with a resulting $200 price gap. Namely, the Asus Transformer 3 Pro will start at $1,000… someday soon, while the Transformer 3 is set to cost $800 and up.
But wait, there’s more. Microsoft may have halted Surface Mini production in the eleventh hour last year, but an Asus Transformer Mini is in the pipeline, with a 10.1-inch detachable screen, sleek built-in kickstand, 790 grams weight when docked to its keyboard, 8.2mm waist, and everything else up in the air. Let’s hope the little guy can also pack a punch… at a starting price of $500 or so. Ideally, even less.