The Asus Transformer Book V is all about options: it's a three-in-one machine offering five modes of use and two operating systems.
A neat trick, perhaps – but is it really worth your hard-earned money? Is it a jack-of-all-trades, or does it fall flat as a master of none? We had some hands-on time with the machine at Computex 2014 to try and find out if this machine's unconventional form could unlock a world of convenience.
Don’t let the numbers confuse you. The Transformer Book V runs two operating systems in five different modes: it's an Android laptop, tablet and phone, and also a Windows 8.1 tablet and laptop.
We see the arched eyebrow - how can a device run two operating systems? The Android-powered smartphone (unnamed as yet) slips neatly into the back of the Transformer Book V and brings up the Android home screen on your Windows-powered tablet screen. Take it full size and switch between operating systems as you fancy with a touch of the dedicated icon on the displays, or the button on your keyboard. Simple. There was no lag at all, but that might change if you load up the devices with content.
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Conveniences include discreet checking of your phone. When tablet and phone are joined and docked onto the keyboard, you only need to focus on one screen, instead of having to face up to the fact that you're obviously working as you constantly sneak peeks at your phone.
Even when the phone's screen is minimised and you're checking your emails in laptop mode, if you receive a message a notification will pop up and you can reply directly from the mode you're in. Same goes for calls - slip the phone out and take your call somewhere a little more private or use the speakers on the tablet to answer your call directly in laptop mode.
Another massive advantage as far as we can tell is the copious amounts of storage you get with this device. The smartphone contains up to 64GB storage, with a microSD slot to boost that by up to another 64GB. As for the tablet, it packs 128GB of storage, with the option of another 64GB via microSD, while the keyboard holds up to 1TB of memory, with a USB 3.0 and 2.0 slot to plug in your external hard drives. You don't even have to do the maths to know that you could store a decade's worth of movies in this massive-brained device.
As for charging, it's also a 3-in-1 experience. Just plug the charging cable into the tablet and all the devices drink their fill at the same time. Also, there's the added bonus of the entire device leveraging on the phone's speedy LTE 4G abilities.
The 12.5in Transformer Book V may be plastic, but it's solidly built and feels good in the hand. At 1.75kg, it's portable and somehow keeps its form factor slim.
The tablet attaches magnetically to the keyboard with nary a wobble sideways and gives great viewing angles on its HD IPS display, even on the spotlit show floor. We'd love to give it a good shake to see if it holds – alas, there were too many ASUS executives hovering around for us to attempt that.
The ASUS executives were coy about giving us the price, but they did say it’s supposed to be a mass market product, which means it should be affordably priced. The only detail they revealed was that it’s going to cost less than if you were to buy a ZenFone 5 and a 2-in-1 separately.
It sure is interesting, giving users new ways to use the device, but whether it's worth it all boils down to whether its price is way greater than the sum of its parts. The Asus Transformer Book V is due out in Q4 2014 in black or white.
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