ASUS Transformer Book Trio: Design Details
Looks-wise, there’s nothing users haven’t seen before. The Trio is completely encased in aluminum, like most of ASUS’ more premium products. And since it’s from ASUS’ Transformer line of products, the Trio has a brushed aluminum look, instead of the usual circular swirl that you’d find on the Zenbook line of Ultrabooks.
Besides looking good, the rigid aluminum build makes the Trio tough and durable (compared to cheaper polycarbonate builds). There were no creaks or flex to be found anywhere on the machine, which is a strong sign of good fit. In another sense, because of all these factors, the Transformer Book Trio can endure a fair amount of 'abuse' resulting from consistent daily use.
The excellent build quality of the machine also extends to the interior of the notebook. The keyboard has rigid keys that are comfortable to type on, but are a little on the wobbly side. It also has a big and sensitive glass trackpad that's excellent for navigating with.
Since in its combined form, it’s actually two devices, the Trio also weighs like two separate devices. Together, the 0.7kg Android tablet display and 1kg PC Station weighs a pretty hefty 1.7kg compared to other notebooks (like the 1.4kg Lenovo Yoga 11S) that are similar in size.
Even when compared to other premium Ultrabooks which usually weigh around 1.3kg, the Trio is still heavier. Having said that, we’d like to remind readers that it is an amalgamation of two devices, and should be taken as such. It’s more like having a 700-gram 11.6-inch Android tablet, and a 1kg portable PC.
Unfortunately, 0.7kg for an Android tablet is a little on the heavy side, even when considering the screen is substantially larger than usual 10-inch tablets. The problem with having such a heavy display is that it takes quite a toll on the machine's connective mechanism. It's strong enough to hold the display in place so that when you prod the display it won't wobble. However, there is some leeway that allows the the display to move slightly forward.
This means that if you were holding the device up, it will wobble even when you shake it gently. While this isn't a build flaw on ASUS' part as the display won’t detach even if you shake it vigorously, we felt that more could have been done to ensure the display is connected firmly to the dock.
Android Tablet Display
The display of the Trio is essentially an 11.6-inch Android tablet that runs a dual-core Intel Atom Z2560 processor. Judging from its component list, it’s likely positioned as a mid-range Android tablet.
While its full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) IPS display is acceptable on a Windows 8 Ultrabook, it pales in comparison to some of today’s latest flagship tablets like the ASUS Transformer Pad TF701T (2560 x 1600 pixels), Apple iPad Air (2048 x 1536 pixels), or Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) (2560 x 1600), which have much higher resolution displays. Having said that, it's not much of a loss on an Android platform where there aren't many tablet optimized apps, let alone those that are made for those beyond full HD resolutions screens.
Fortunately, the Trio’s Android tablet display has a build quality that’s usually reserved for much more premium products. It feels solid, very much like the Transformer Pad TF701T, but since the Trio's tablet has a bigger screen, its overall dimensions have also increased somewhat.
It’s 0.8mm thicker than the 8.9mm thick TF701T, as such the Trio's tablet portion has a 9.7mm thick profile. Compared against the new Apple iPad Air, the Trio’s Android tablet display is a full 2.2mm thicker. At the same time, don't forget that the build, finish and screen size are completely different on both products.
As for the Android operating system (Android 4.2 Jelly Bean) itself, it’s almost the same as the version running on the TF701T. It uses the same ASUS made skin over Android, as well as a few extra apps (like ASUS Webstorage and ASUS SuperNote 3.1) from ASUS. While the apps could be useful, we felt that -- like the ASUS skin that comes with the device -- they won’t be missed if they’re not present. However, users who aren’t particular about how their Android OS looks like, this should't matter much.