Asus Transformer Book Trio is Something Else – Really

Asus might not always have the most popular or practical products, but you can never, ever accuse them of being boring. The dual-display Taichi raised eyebrows at Computex 2012, and the Transformer Book Trio is doing the same at Computex 2013.

Trio refers to desktop, notebook, and tablet – that’s what Asus is packing into this one device. Actually, calling it duo might be even more appropriate – you’re literally getting two computers in one device.

We’ll start from the beginning, with the display attached to the keyboard. At first, you’ll be running Windows 8 in this mode. Then, things get interesting. With the press of a button, you can instantly switch to Android – and yes, switching between operating systems really was that fast in the demonstration. You can also detach the display from the keyboard, and use it as a tablet. The tablet can only run Android when separated from the keyboard – which makes total sense, given how the Trio is designed.

As said before, the Trio is essentially two computers in one. The keyboard dock, called the PC Station, will have a 4th generation Haswell Intel core processor inside, along with a 750 GB HDD. The display/tablet has its own 2.0 GHz Intel Atom Z2580 processor, with storage available up to 64 GB. That display/tablet, by the way, is a 1920 x 1080 Full HD IPS offering with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Both parts also have their own batteries – 33 Whr for the keyboard dock, 19.5 Whr for the display/tablet. Put together, that’s a battery life of about 15 hours. So, put simply, the guts of the keyboard dock run Windows 8, while the guts of the display/tablet run Android. The keyboard dock has two USB 3.0 ports, an RJ45 port, and a DisplayPort.

Lest we forget, this is called the Trio. When the display is separated from the keyboard, all that computing power inside the keyboard doesn’t have to go to waste. Instead, you can connect the keyboard to any other display with Bluetooth, which is where the desktop part comes in – without the display/tablet attached, it’s a desktop computer stuffed into a keyboard. You can forget about things like a discrete graphics card, but you have to appreciate the gumption it takes to pull something like this off. Apparently, this also means Asus doesn’t think of Windows 8 as a proper tablet OS. Or, maybe not – maybe there’s something to be said for making the splash of being able to toggle operating systems. People do like choices.

It won’t surprise you that Asus did not have anything to say about how much the Transformer Book Trio will cost. It’s two computers in one, and that screams not cheap about as loud as Jonney Shih screamed about the Memo Pad HD 7 being $149. Still, the Trio is slated for a Q3 release, so we should know what the damage will be sooner rather than later.