Is the ASUS Transformer Book T90 Chi more than the sum of it’s parts or is it just a bluetooth keyboard and standard Windows tablet?
ASUS have created waves with their Transformer Book T90 Chi. Most hands-on reports I’ve read so far are very positive and it appears to be rapidly gaining fans in comment sections across the web. It might be because it’s loosely associated with Intel Core M (only the T300 has core M, the T90 Chi uses that ‘classic’ Baytrail-T platform) or that it looks svelte. It might be because of the price or it might be because it looks like a very cute mini laptop.
The T90 Chi is using a high-end Baytrail-T CPU, comes with 2GB RAM, a USB3.0 port and a free year of Office 365. It also comes with a digitizer layer and (although unconfirmed at this stage) the package includes the stylus. If there’s one active niche in small Windows tablets it’s the OneNote/Evernote/Sketching crowd and maybe that’s the reason the T90 Chi is getting a good response. Or maybe it’s just the complete package that appeals.
The problem with the T90 is that the T100 Chi offers a lot more for just an extra $100 and 250 grams. Full HD screen, HDMI output, larger battery, larger screen, larger keyboard. Why would you chose the T90 over the T100? One reason might be that the 10-inch tablets aren’t really great handheld tablets and aren’t really good productivity devices. An 8-inch tablet is a better mobile tablet and an 11.6-inch laptop is the better choice when it comes to portable productivity. If you’re looking at a capable mobile tablet (and the Z3775 CPU is about the best you can get in the Baytrail-T processor range) then why not buy one with a matching keyboard? At the very least it will protect the screen.
Two issues with the T90 Chi.
I have two problems with the T90 Chi. The first is that, like the ASUS Vivotab Note 8, it doesn’t have HDMI output. Miracast is OK for streaming a video if you’ve got an adaptor but nothing compares to the quality and responsiveness of a directly-connected monitor and with a free Office 365 license you really could get some Word and Powerpoint work done over it. The other issue is that of mobile data. Surely it’s time that all mobile tablets had 3G or 4G?
So is the ASUS T90 Chi just a Windows tablet and Bluetooth keyboard riding on the back of the Chi marketing or does it really have a useful place in the market? The Acer W4 with 3G and HDMI costs around the same price as the T90 Chi. Wouldn’t that be a better ultra-mobile solution?