"Convergence" as a word may now have been designated socially reprehensible, but that doesn't mean convergence as a concept is dead.
We all still want a single gadget that does everything, and the Asus Transformer Book Trio is aiming to be just that by combining laptop, tablet and desktop in one, dual-OS-wielding mega-device.
In truth the Trio is a bit of a jack of all trades and master of none, but that doesn't prevent it from being a usefully flexible friend for the gadgeteer with a finger in many pies.
The Trio is no sleek, ultraslim runway model – like the Macbook Air or the Acer Aspire S7. But true to its 'transformer' name, the Transformer Book Trio can work either as a laptop, a standalone tablet, or a fully functional desktop machine.
In terms of connectivity, Asus has tried to cram as many usable ports onto the Trio as they possibly could. You get two USB 3.0 ports, mini HDMI and mini DisplayPort, plus a combo headphone/microphone jack. While there is no SD slot here (boo!), there is a microSD slot on the bottom of the tablet portion of the Trio.
Performance in spades
When we say performance, we don’t mean a high-end Intel quad core behemoth. Asus did however fit the Transformer Book Trio with two different processors: an Intel Core i5-4200U in the keyboard dock and an Atom Z2560 in the tablet portion. This gives the Trio more than enough processing power to punch through anything you can throw at it. However, we were not enamoured with the amount of RAM on the computer side – 4GB is barely enough for today’s intensive needs, but at least they managed to fit in 2GB on the tablet. Even so daily use with the Trio is sufficiently speedy, with nary a hiccup.
The interesting thing about the Trio is of course its multiple modes. Asus is marketing the Trio to have, well, three modes – laptop, tablet and desktop.
Disconnecting the 11.6 inch IPS screen (which holds the innards for the tablet) is simple – press a latch in the middle, and slip the tablet from the dock. You can then use it as per your normal tablet usage.
Once docked, you can switch between two operating systems - Window and Android - with just a press of a button.
The last mode is what Asus calls the Desktop mode. When you undock the screen/tablet, you just need to connect it to an external display, and boom – you have yourself a desktop computer.
If you are looking for a machine that you can easily playback your media, the Trio's a good bet.
The IPS screen gives a boost to watching media, coupled with a large viewing angle and decent colour reproduction. It is not a high-end gaming rig by any means, as it does not have a dedicated graphics card but lower-end, casual games will run just fine. On the Tablet side, your 16GB of storage should be sufficient for most tasks.
Seeing that there are two different batteries in the Trio, you would be expecting a long life from this machine yes? Depending on what you mean by long life. We tested the docked configuration on Windows mode, and we managed to get about 6 hours of usage (Wifi on, 50 per cent screen brightness) while the docked Android managed to last for about 12 hours of continuous usage. Of course this halves when you undock the tablet away from the dock – but you can still have your movies on your tablet for that KL to Taipei flight without any problems.
Asus Transformer Book Trio
The nearly two kilo multi-mode machine is quite good on paper, and ticks almost all of the boxes in the real world. We would love to have a thinner profile plus an SSD storage. The keyboard can be iffy for some, but should be sufficient for most people. All and all, it is something we would recommend to people who want to carry less, yet do more.