The idea of using a full-fledged Windows computer in the form factor of a tablet continues to improve thanks to Microsoft’s push of the Surface Pro as well as enhancements from Windows. With that comes clones from competitors, often at much less money. That’s certainly the case with ASUS’s Transformer Pro T304UA-XS74T, regularly priced at $1,299.99 from Costco.
In this post, I detail some of my thoughts and impressions after using the tablet and included keyboard & stylus over the course of a few weeks. Please note that this is not an in-depth review, so no benchmarks, color accuracy notes, etc. but rather brief thoughts regarding critical aspects of the package. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section.
But first, it’s important to note some of the package’s crucial specs:
- Intel Core i7-7500U dual-core CPU (2.7GHz base / 3.5GHz turbo)
- 16GB DDR3 RAM @ 1866MHz
- 512GB M.2 SATA3 SSD (SanDisk)
- 12.6″ 2160×1440 (3:2) display
- 1x USB-A (3.0 / 5Gbps), 1x USB-C (3.0 / 5Gbps), 1x HDMI, 1x microSD, 1x 3.5mm
- Windows 10 Professional x64
And now, the thoughts:
- Price & Value: At nearly $1,300, it’s almost half of what you’d get from a comparable Surface Pro (2017) and its companion keyboard & stylus. If you catch the ASUS on sale (for example, it was just $899 from Costco a few weeks prior to writing this post), it has an even larger financial advantage. Combine that with Costco’s four-year warranty, and it’s hard to say no.
- Performance: While not a new 8th-gen CPU by Intel (quad-core vs. dual-core), the i7-7500U is still plenty fast for day-to-day tasks and advanced duties from time to time. While the rear of the tablet gets hot with the latter, I haven’t observed any thermal throttling (as per HWiNFO64). The fan can also kick in and be heard, but is otherwise relatively quiet.
- Audio: I wasn’t expecting much from speakers in this form factor, and it’s for good reason as they aren’t going to blow you away. They still get the job done, however, and aren’t unpleasant to listen to.
- Display: I never used a device with a 3:2 aspect ratio before, but I quickly became a fan for both productivity work as well as media consumption. The 2160×1440 resolution keeps text and images crisp and detailed. Viewing angles are excellent. Brightness could be better, but as long as you aren’t using this in direct sunlight, it likely won’t be a problem.
- Ports: Compared to other tablets, you get a full-sized HDMI port in addition to USB-C. While the latter isn’t Thunderbolt 3, it can still handle hubs. It also supports charging, so you aren’t restricted to using the proprietary barrel connector.
- Fingerprint Sensor: It’s fast, accurate and doesn’t leave me missing IR cameras for Windows Hello facial login. As long as you place your finger in the middle of the button, it should work every time.
- Battery Life: I haven’t monitored the battery closely, but did find that it lasts a fair amount of time, given everything that’s packed into the tablet. For media playback and general web use at moderate brightness levels, it should last you quite some time.
- Keyboard: Tablet keyboards can be tricky, but ASUS nailed it. With plenty of key travel and feedback, the keys are a breeze to type on. That is, once you get used to the smaller size of them. That being said, they aren’t much smaller than traditional keys, but it is noticeable depending on what you came from. There are no media shortcut keys, but the keys are backlit with three different brightness options. In fact, I’m typing this post with the keyboard attachment and have really been enjoying it.
- Trackpad: The trackpad relies on Microsoft Precision drivers, so it supports two, three and four-finger gestures without problems. There is no rattling from the trackpad, even with light taps, which I was excited about given the fact that nearly every other non-Apple laptop rattles with said taps. Tracking and clicking are good as well, and is about as good as we’ll get on non-Apple computers.
- Stylus: While supporting 1,024 levels of pressure as opposed to the Surface Pen’s 4,096 levels, I’m not enough of an artist for that to even remotely bother me. It’s still plenty good for writing and, of course, navigating the Windows 10 UI with precision. There is a metal pocket clip, a button to emulate a right-click and a separate button to enable an erase (software dependent). It does utilize a AAAA battery, but it doesn’t feel clunky or gimmicky. I do use it quite a bit as I’d rather not get as many fingerprints on my screen.
As you can tell from the above, I found little to fault about the package as a whole. I’m extremely satisfied with ASUS’s offering, especially compared to the much more expensive Surface Pro. If you manage to purchase it below the normal price of $1,300, you too may end up enjoying this setup as much as I did.