Excited about the ASUS T90 Chi? Here’s a thought.

Updated on 06 January 2015 by

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 Transformer Book T90 Chi Back

ASUS Transformer Book T90 Chi Back

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?

More from us. (No silly ads.)

14 Comments For This Post

  1. Garry says:

    I have to agree with the Mobile Broadband aspect it should be there and an option. However the lack of HDMI is not really something I ever use as this will be a on the go blogging tool primarily for me. I know I don’t need a Windows Machine for this but I want the ability to do more in depth stuff if I need too. My only issue is that it is not a physical dock but it seems that this is true of the Two other models as well. Hoping the price is good in the UK as I am pretty sure I’m gonna buy one on release, would be ace if I could get it before MWC so I can take it there with me.

  2. Andrewhl2 says:

    There’s an hdmi port on the keyboard, you can see it on some pics…

    But I agree, I’m getting disappointed at the increasing number of 8 inch tablets that lack an hdmi port. Miracast is just a laggy mess.

    Give me an hdmi port on the new encore 2 write tablet (8 inch) and i’m sold.

  3. Chippy says:

    It can’t be an HDMI port on the keyboard as it’s just a Bluetooth keyboard. It must be a USB charging port.

  4. Andrewhl2 says:

    Looks like an HDMI port to me.

    See pic: http://i.imgur.com/mQetnje.png

    From here: http://www.technobuffalo.com/videos/asus-transformer-book-chi-t90-first-look-a-lovely-windows-machine/

  5. Chippy says:

    It certainly looks like one!

  6. digi_owl says:

    Or the scale is throwing it off and it is a micro-B for charging the keyboard.

    Anyways, do the Intel chips support myDL or MHL?

  7. Jon says:

    According to Liliputing.com, it uses Bluetooth to wirelessly connect the keyboard to the tablet. I doubt Bluetooth can handle the bandwidth required for HDMI.

  8. Mark says:

    Does it have a mouse pointer input on the keyboard?

  9. Chippy says:

    No. Pen or touchscreen must be used.

  10. digi_owl says:

    I guess a bluetooth mouse may also be a option.

  11. Lindsay says:

    Well I think this it the sweet spot for an ultraportable. The screen will be great (I have a Dell Venue Pro 8) and a connectable keyboard that can fold up with the tablet is much better than a separate bit of hardware – this thing gives you choice. As for HDMI – really? I see this device (given its price point at 299 euros/dollars or whatever) as a very portable device that will let you do a fair bit of productivity and enjoy media and the odd game. I lamented the disappearance of small clamshell devices and this one fits the bill. go for the 10 if you need HDMI but the footprint of this device seems significantly smaller that the 10 inch and its light too at around 7-800gm. I’m getting one….

  12. Yadlo says:

    Ths screen is small and has a low definition but I wonder if autonomy will be ok with that bluetooth keyboard. The 90T is really thin so the battery must be small. Asus din’t say a word about it, that’s not a good sign.

    The max tablet angle seems to be 110-120°because of the light keyboard. I hope there will be other 9″ hybrid tablets with heavier keyboards and better ergonomy for ultramobility too. I loved to use my old netbooks on my knees.

  13. Bob says:

    Love the form factor– fits a big enough keyboard while it should still fit in a large pocket.

    I just wish there was a mouse nipple on the keyboard, IBM style.

    (And cherry trail, 4GB Ram, HDMI out, and simultaneous dock and charge!.. THEN it would be perfect. Nice to see a pen option though; possibly the closest device yet to portability nirvana)

  14. scoobie says:

    The pen is Synaptics according to reports

Recommended Reading

Top Ultra Mobile PCs

Dell Latitude E7440
14.0" Intel Core i5-4200U
GPD Pocket 2
7.0" Intel Core m3-8100Y
Lenovo Ideapad Flex 10
10.1" Intel Celeron N2806
Viliv S5
4.8" Intel Atom (Silverthorne)
GPD Win 2
6.0" Intel m3 7Y30
Acer Aspire E11 ES1
11.6" Intel Celeron N2840
Medion Akoya Mini
10.2" Intel Atom (Diamondville)
Acer Aspire Switch 10
10.1" Intel Atom Z3745
Toshiba Portege Z930
13.3" Intel Core i5 3427U
LG G8X THINQ Dual Screen
6.4" Qualcomm Snapdragon 855