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2-in-1 notebook mega shootout: Acer vs. ASUS vs. HP vs. Lenovo

By Kenny Yeo - 23 Jul 2017

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

The ASUS Transformer 3 Pro is well designed and has the sharpest display of the lot.

The ASUS Transformer 3 Pro is probably the most polished Surface Pro 4 clone in the market today, and that should be taken as high praise. It has a 12.6-inch touchscreen display that supports a very high resolution of 2,880 x 1,920 pixels, which gives it a pixel density of 275ppi, which is slightly higher than the Surface Pro 4. Because of the higher resolution, the display on the ASUS Transformer 3 Pro is even sharper than that of the Acer’s. And like the Acer, the Transformer 3 Pro also has an integrated kickstand behind the display that adjusts for angles of up to 155 degrees.

The Transformer 3 Pro also matches the Surface Pro 4 for portability, measuring just 8.35mm thick and weighing 800g. In the hands, there is hardly any difference between the two. Obviously, the bundled keyboard adds heft to the unit, but it isn’t so bad. With the keyboard attached, the Transformer 3 Pro becomes 12.5mm thick and weight increases to 1.15kg, which means it is still fantastically light and portable.

The integrated stand gives users the flexibility to use the Transformer 3 Pro at a multitude of angles.

The Transformer 3 Pro is available with either an Intel Core i7-6500U processor (2.5GHz, 4MB L3 cache) or the Intel Core i5-6200U processor (2.3GHz, 3MB L3 cache). The unit we tested has the more powerful Core i7 processor. It also gets a generous 16GB of LPDDR3 RAM and 512GB PCIe SSD. Graphics duties are handled by the integrated Intel HD Graphics 520 integrated GPU. On paper, this makes the Transformer 3 Pro one of the more powerful detachable notebooks.

Unfortunately, the Transformer 3 Pro doesn’t have fancy liquid-cooling like the Acer and relies on the old-school combination of heatsink and fan. Speaking of which, we found the Transformer 3 Pro’s fans to be really aggressive and trigger-happy, often turning itself on even when there isn’t anything particularly taxing running. It is also really loud too, and can be distracting or even annoying for some users.

The Transformer 3 Pro comes with a full-size HDMI port, USB 3.0 port and a USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 port.

In terms of ports and connectivity, the Transformer 3 Pro supports 802.11ac (up to 867Mbps) and Bluetooth 4.1. There’s a single full-size USB 3.0, a USB Type-C port supporting Thunderbolt 3, and another full-size HDMI port. On the opposite side, there’s a microSD card reader and a standard 3.5mm audio jack. 

Like the Acer, the Transformer 3 Pro’s keyboard dock and ASUS Pen comes bundled as standard. The ASUS Transformer Cover Keyboard features 1.4mm of travel and features backlighting as well. The keys are well-sized and pleasant to type on. Likewise, we found the glass trackpad to be responsive and accurate and have no qualms about using it for extended periods. 

The keyboard has a surprisingly amount of travel, and the trackpad was responsive and accurate.

The ASUS Pen features an aluminum chassis and feels good in the hand and matches the Microsoft’s Surface Pen for sensitivity and accuracy. The ASUS Pen features 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity and exhibited very little lag. It uses an AAAA battery and the claimed battery life is around 10 months.

Though the Transformer 3 Pro may be a Surface Pro 4 clone, it is hard to deny that it is a very well executed one. The display is superb and performance is generally very speedy thanks to the powerful processor and fast PCIe SSD. The keyboard and pen also works very well. The only downer so far is the over enthusiastic cooling system and loud fan.