Microsoft and Intel have been pushing for the world to move towards 2-in-1 convertibles for quite some years now. But it is only with the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 that this segment has come to near perfection, with Windows 10 running. Of course, for those who are comfortable with the iOS universe, the 12-inch iPad Pro is an option, and a powerful one at that; there’s the smaller 9-inch iPad Pro as well.
However, there are other OEMs like Asus, Huawei and Acer which are also vying for a share of this pie. The Asus Transformer Pro 3, which was first showcased at Computex 2016 in Taiwan by the company, is now available in India. With a premium price tag of Rs 1,44,990, this one is not just a Surface replacement, it’s a straight up competitor for the Microsoft device. So is Asus Transformer Pro 3 a good enough option? Here’s our review
Specifications: 12.6-inch (3:2) LED backlit WQHD+ (2880x1920p) 60Hz Glare Touchscreen with 85% NTSC | Intel Core i7 6500U Processor | 16GB RAM, upto 512 GB SSD storage | 13MP rear camera, 2MP front camera| Infrared camera for Windows Hello | Multi-format card reader | WiFi 802.11 AC (WIDI Support) | Bluetooth | Built-in Bluetooth V4.1| Universal dock| Battery 39 Whrs Polymer with USB Type-C charging | Dimensions: 298.8 x 210.1 x 8.35 mm, weight 790 g
Price: Rs 1,44,990
Asus Transformer Pro 3 review
I first saw the Asus Transformer Pro 3 at the Computex 2016 event, but was more interested in checking out the ZenBook 3 at the time. At first glance, the Transformer Pro 3 looks and feels exactly like the Surface, which isn’t that exciting. But on closer inspection, you can see that Asus has done a excellent job. The all-metal design is very premium, and the gold looks classy. It has an integrated metal kickstand at the back, again similar to the Surface and Asus says you can set it up at a 170 degree angle as well, which is pretty cool, but a little unnecessary.
There’s a separate keyboard, which attaches just like the one on the Surface. Asus says the keys have 1.4mm travel, and this is a backlit keyboard. Even with the keyboard attached, the Transformer Pro 3 remains a sleek device, which you can easily carry around. But then again it’s hard to ignore the similarities with the Surface.
So what’s good?
The display on the Asus Transformer Pro 3 is 2880×1920 pixels with 3:2 ratio, and when you switch on the device, it’s evident this is a gorgeous one. The blacks are deep, the colours are crisp and vivid. Whether you are just typing out text or looking at spreadsheets, or planning to watch Netflix all day on this thing, then this screen is perfect. I watched Season 3 of Black Mirror on this device, and I was most impressed.
The overall audio quality is also quite good. I didn’t feel the need to crank up the volume to full while watching my shows. If you’re one of those who likes to consume video content on their portable devices, then the Asus Transformer Pro 3 is more than capable of delivering on that front. The display and the sound quality don’t disappoint, and given you can use this as a tablet which has its own stand, so portability is not an issue.
On the overall performance front, I didn’t face any problems as such with the Asus Transformer Pro 3. My primary tasks on this were video consumption, writing, editing copies, and as usual I had about 8-10 tabs open on Google Chrome when browsing on this device. With 16GB RAM and Intel Core i7 processor, this is more than capable of handling your daily tasks, especially if that includes spending considerable hours on the Microsoft Office Suite. The touch feature on the display is also fast and responsive, and I didn’t notice any lag as such when relying on this functionality.
The keyboard lives up to the claims and while it takes sometime getting used to the smaller surface area, I had no trouble typing out articles, including this review on the Transformer Pro 3. I usually take time adjusting to a different kind of keyboard, and it was the same with this device. Overall, I like how responsive the keyboard is, and it’s a good thing that Asus has made it a backlit one, which means you should not have trouble typing out in the dark.
Asus Transformer Pro 3 also has support for a stylus. I’m not much of an artist , but I found the stylus to be responsive even with a fairly light touch. But I’m still not a fan of writing with these things on a display, given I’m left-handed and it’s not the most comfortable way to write for me. Still my handwriting was legible with the Asus Stylus Pen on the OneNote app, which I consider a win.
So what’s not so good?
It’s not all perfect for Asus Transformer Pro 3. Despite the beefed up specifications, there is a lag at times with the device. On one instance, the device refused to boot-up for me, and I had to rely on the Power and Volume down button to reboot it.
This also has support for Microsoft’s Windows 10 Hello log-in, but that never worked accurately. I’m not sure what happened here; and I tried logging in more than once, but it refused to work.
The battery on this is not impressive at all. I’d say the Asus Transformer Pro 3 will give around 6-8 hours at best, which is not great considering this thing has comes with a hefty price. I would expect a device costing close to one and a half lakh to have a 10-hour battery life at the very least.
Let’s face it, not all of us need a convertible device which costs a bomb. Most of us are happy with a regular laptop for our basic daily needs of typing, presentations and the late-night video-session, even if it might be underpowered and slightly heavy. Not all of us are artists either, and require a stylus at all times.
Asus Transformer Pro 3 is for those who need a powerful, yet easy to travel device and one that won’t let them down. The Stylus is an addition to your creative needs, should you have time, inclination and skills for the same. Asus delivers on the performance front, and the keyboard is certainly one of the better ones. But the battery letdown is a problem.
If you are considering a Surface alternative, and don’t want an iPad Pro, then Asus Transformer Pro 3 is an option. But is it better than getting a Surface Pro 4? I’m not entirely convinced.