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Asus Taichi review

A Windows 8 laptop with an extra screen in the lid

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1920 x 1080
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Dual 1080p screens
  • Bang & Olufsen audio
  • Comfortable, backlit keyboard
  • 256GB SSD
  • Windows 8

Against

  • Average battery life
  • Only 4GB RAM
  • Dim screen
  • Huge price tag

Anything one screen can do, two screens can do better. Such is the thinking behind Asus's latest premium notebook-tablet hybrid, the Asus Taichi.

The second screen fitted to the lid of the 1.25kg (2.76lbs) chassis enables you to turn this ultra-portable laptop into a tablet and take full advantage of the touch-optimised Windows 8 operating system.

As with previous Asus products such as the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A or the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity, the Asus Taichi is a gorgeously designed with a tapered wedge that measures only 3mm (0.12 inches) at its thinnest point.

Lift the lid and the gunmetal grey brushed metal effect reminds us of the excellent Samsung Series 9 ultra-portable laptop while, as ever, comparisons will be drawn with Apple's MacBook Air.

Asus Taichi review

Although the Asus Taichi is, first and foremost, a laptop, it doesn't stop impressing when you shut the lid and begin swiping through Microsoft's latest version of Windows.

We've seen plenty of hybrids already, from the rotating Dell XPS 12 to the sliding Sony Vaio Duo 11, but the Asus Taichi makes a particularly strong case for the dual-screen approach.

The display will automatically switch when you close the lid, and there's also a dedicated display key built into the keyboard that enables you to either switch screens or use both simultaneously.

Asus Taichi review

Swapping screens takes little over a second, and the system automatically calls up the live tiles of the Windows 8 Start interface. The drawback is you can expect the glossy lid to be covered in smudges and fingerprints within minutes.

It's no surprise that the Asus Taichi doesn't come cheap. The likely £1,500 (around AU$2,310/US$2,415) price tag certainly lifts this above a casual purchase, but the Taiwanese company has made sure you get plenty of tech for your money.

Our review unit came sporting an Intel Core i7-3517U CPU clocked at 1.90GHz. The 4GB of RAM is admittedly lacklustre given rival Ultrabooks now regularly arrive with at least 8GB RAM, but the 256GB SSD is one factor keeping the speed up.

Asus Taichi review

It really comes down to whether Windows 8 can deliver in the long term. The Asus Taichi is an extremely well-designed laptop, but success as a tablet depends on continued app development and mass-market familiarity with the layout of Windows 8.

At present though, it offers an excellent example of how a hybrid machine should work, and we feel the versatility comes in particularly handy while on the move.

Commuters especially will value the ability to tap out an email on a proper keyboard before jumping on board a bus, train or taxi, flipping the screen down and using the Asus Taichi to catch up on the latest episode of Mad Men.

Tech Specs

Product TypeUltrabook/Tablet
Green CompliantYes
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD 4000
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time5 Hour
Solid State Drive Capacity256 GB
HDMIYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
DVINo
Product FamilyTAICHI 21
Keyboard BacklightYes
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformWindows
Processor Modeli7-3517U
ColourBlack
Operating SystemWindows 8
Brand NameAsus
Form FactorConvertible
Processor Speed1.90 GHz
Processor TypeCore i7
Screen Size29.5 cm (11.6")
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)1.25 kg
Cache4 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS
TouchscreenYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyIn-plane Switching (IPS) Technology
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
vPro TechnologyNo
Ethernet TechnologyNo
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Memory StandardDDR3-1600/PC3-12800
Height174 mm
Width339.2 mm
Depth228 mm
Screen ModeFull HD
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
ManufacturerASUS Computer International
Product Model21-CW011H
Product NameTAICHI 21-CW011H Ultrabook/Tablet
Product LineTAICHI 21
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberTAICHI21-CW011H
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.asus.com
Marketing Information

One TAICHI, Two Screens - Endless Flexibility

ASUS TAICHI™ is an incredible fusion of notebook and tablet for unparalleled mobile flexibility. Lid open, TAICHI is a powerful notebook with a crystal-clear Full HD screen, Intel® Core™ processor and backlit keyboard. Lid closed, TAICHI is a lightweight tablet with a slim, tapered profile and a multi-touch Full HD screen for intuitive fingertip control with Windows 8.

Package Contents
  • TAICHI 21-CW011H Ultrabook/Tablet
  • Lithium Polymer Battery
  • AC Adapter
Limited Warranty2 Year