With new ZenBook 3 Taiwanese manufacturer aims to compete with Apple, but the new model is a hybrid tablet ASUS Transformer 3 Pro Microsoft certainly complicate life. If you can, of course. When a line of Transformer devices on the market was dominated by 2-to-1, but things are changing. And ASUS Transformer 3 Pro demonstrates why.
But first let me talk about the system of naming ASUS products as to understand not just in it. The original Transformer brand was reserved for the Android-based devices and Windows models were produced under the name of the Transformer Book. But now everything has changed: in the line of Transformer (with any additive) releases Windows tablets. The addition, by the way, affects a lot. Tablets ASUS Transformer 3 Pro are equipped with powerful processors and a lot of interfaces and conventional Transformer 3 (without Pro) neither one nor the other.
In Europe, Asus Transformer 3 Pro is available in six configurations. For the entry-level model will have to pay 1,200 euros, you get a Core i5-6200U processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD.. We got to test a top plate with a processor Core i7-6500U, 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD. It costs from 1,600 euros in Europe. You can purchase a tablet in gold (Icicle Gold) or gray (Titanium Gray) colors. Flat-screen keyboard is available with all models, but ASUS Pen – only with top configuration. Separately ASUS Pen will cost 40-50 euros.
ASUS Transformer 3 Pro can not be called remarkable – at least, the tablet gray colors. We can not say that ASUS has created a terrible device, a tablet looks very modest. Neither the front nor the back there is no design elements, monotonous style, nothing breaks. The same applies to the scope and the docking keyboard. However, all components are made very strictly and carefully, so much lack, we do not see here. On the other hand, the design is not unique advantage of ASUS Transformer 3 Pro.
Workmanship can be called convincing. The case has dimensions of 298,8 x 210,1 x 8,4 mm, thanks to aluminum and magnesium alloy weight is less than 800, the surface quality is felt, it is fairly well resistant to the accumulation of fingerprints. Despite the large number of transitions between the different components, we have found uneven gaps or other defects. The rear panel is integrated rack with two loops, which work with very easily. The angle of the rack can be freely changed a small clamp there between 0 and 155 °, 90 °. All buttons and ports are distributed on the sidewalls box, fresh air is drawn from the upper end, there is thrown out the hot air. The plate is resistant to twisting deformation, no complaints here.
Flat-screen keyboard is also done with high quality, in the thickest part of the thickness is about 4 mm, torsion keyboard lends itself only with great effort. The surface of the plastic keyboard, touch it feels a little rough, but fingerprints do not remain. Weight 340 g is also quite typical. Connection to the plate with a magnetic electrical contacts. Of course, on your lap or other uneven surfaces with such a system to work is inconvenient. The tablet and the keyboard is held firmly due to strong magnets, but these scenarios is preferable to mount a fixed angle as that of the same Surface Book. The keyboard can be set from two angles.
The philosophy of ASUS interfaces proved very interesting. In ZenBook 3 are available only two ports, one of which – the audio connector, from compact ASUS Transformer 3 Pro has five ports. On the left edge you can see the required 3.5-mm audio jack for headphones and microphone, as well as microSD card slot; on the right edge of the present interfaces USB 3.1 Gen 1, HDMI and Thunderbolt 3; It is connected to the last charge. Also, the tablet supports WLAN 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.1. Overall, ASUS Transformer 3 Pro we get quite modern interfaces, and their set is much better than the same ZenBook 3 or many direct competitors, for example, the Surface Pro 4.
The tablet is equipped with Harman Kardon speakers technology, they are integrated on the front side and ensure a decent volume level, even without significant low and medium frequencies. When the volume level to 50% distortion is not noticeable. Overall, we assess the quality of the speakers slightly above average. ASUS has equipped the tablet with three cameras. On the rear side using a 13-megapixel sensor without autofocus and flash, front camera has a resolution of 2 MP.
They are complemented by an infrared camera for authentication through Windows Hello. In our tests, the camera works reliably, although recognition takes more time than entering PIN-code or password.
To work without a good keyboard can not do. Microsoft and some other vendors do not always think about it, so the tablet owners have to re-buy a keyboard for a decent amount. Fortunately, the ASUS Transformer completes nominally 3 Pro docking keyboard.
After the first meeting, it became clear that this is not a cheap solution, far from it. The keys have a decent size 16 x 14 mm, the switching point is well palpable, in the course of 1.4 mm can be called sufficient. As a result, gain is obtained accurately and without errors, the keyboard does not feel “wooden”, you can print lots of text without fatigue. All the keys are well-signed, there is a uniform and bright enough light with four brightness levels. Is that the Left Shift too small.
Touch-pad size of 105 x 62 mm We also liked. He accurately determined the touch, two built-in button can be felt well enough, with a deep way. You can complain about except that the lack of optical resolution buttons and touchpad surface. Is that the touchpad slightly “swings” in the body, and such a problem occurs, and other users.
ASUS Pen Pen included the most expensive configuration, it is enclosed in high-quality metal casing and is made on the conscience, is that the center of gravity could be a little lower. The pen detects 1,024 levels pressing two buttons at the bottom third of the easier to work with a stylus.
ASUS Transformer 3 Pro tablet was introduced in May with ZenBook 3, the two devices on the market come almost simultaneously. But to equip the difference between them is very significant. The ZenBook installed generation processors Kaby Lake, ASUS Transformer 3 Pro have to settle for a precursor skylake. We conducted comparative tests, the difference in performance is small, but in the case of the new architecture 4K playback and video encoding provides significant advantages. Therefore, ASUS decision seems strange.
We tested the top-end configuration with the Core i7-6500U processor, the Intel, which has two cores with support for Hyper-Threading. Under load, the clock frequency is increased from 2.5 GHz (base) to 3.1 GHz (Turbo), TDP of 15 watts. Processor age more than a year is made on 14-nm process technology, as well as his successor Kaby Lake Core i7-7500U. The L3 cache in both cases is 4 MB. It supports all major functions except for vPro, relevant for the corporate market. Graphic HD Graphics core 520 refers to the GT2 category and is fitted with 24 actuators EU blocks. IGPU clock frequencies ranging from 300 to 1,050 MHz, the memory, as in the past, taken from operative.
With the available memory capacity is no problem, ASUS has installed 16 GB LPDDR3.
The good news is that ASUS Transformer 3 Pro provides more than enough performance for office applications, browser, email, etc., and not only because of the large amount of memory. In tests, PCMark 7 and 8, we received 5,200 and 2,500 points, respectively, rated the performance tablet occupied the upper third. But in the CPU demanding applications is quickly becoming a “bottleneck.” In Cinebench 11 test, Core i7-6500U scored only 3 points in Cinebench 15 – 263 points. Compared with other hybrid laptops good results, but still limit performance CPU noticeable. Some other performance models was 10-20% higher. On the performance of office applications affecting 512 GB SSD, which was unable to give more than 463 and 413 MB / s read and write.
Games of it is better not to think, because there is a “bottleneck” is not only a CPU. In 3DMark Ice Storm, we got 24.000 points, which is closer to the Core-m system, from the Core i7 we expected from 42.000 to 56.000 points. In more demanding runs Cloud Gate and Fire Strike situation is even worse.
In such scenarios, working as photo editing and video editing, ASUS Transformer 3 Pro gives you speed below the expected level. Even with optimized applications a very modest result, a large amount of RAM does not help.
The reasons for such a low CPU performance quickly became apparent. As ZenBook 3, ASUS has decided to be safe with respect to temperature. Even at full load Core i7-6500U not heated above 62 ° C, but the CPU and GPU frequency decreased to 800 and 500 MHz. If only loaded by CPU, clock frequencies ranged from 1.6 to 1.8 GHz, much lower than the base frequency of 2.5 GHz.
Low temperatures are typical not only for the processor, but also for the body. Under low load, we obtained an average surface temperature of 29 with a maximum of 32 ° C. After a lengthy load (about 15 minutes), the average temperature was 33 degrees, the maximum – 41 ° C.
The level of noise hybrid plate showed good. At low load most of the time it works completely passive, the fan spins from time to time for a few seconds. At full load, the noise level reaches 39.8 dB (A), but it is of low frequency and do not irritate.
energy picture corresponds well with the throttling of the processor, and temperatures. Under full load, CPU power package for a short time increased to 16 W, but then rapidly decreased to 8 watts. The complete system in our tests consumed 8 to 26 watts, nothing outstanding.
Accordingly, the record battery life we got. Battery capacity 39 Wh identical to the Surface Pro 4, but the ASUS Transformer 3 Pro consumes it faster. At low load, which we pretended to Battery Eater Reader’s test, the tablet did not last six hours under high load Battery Eater Classic – a little more than two hours. Even worse results in the PCMark test battery 8. Here we got two and a half hours. So ASUS Transformer 3 Pro does not always survive a long flight or a trip on the train without a socket at hand. If you are going to spend the day at the university or at work, it is best to take a charge.
As regards power BS, as in the case ZenBook 3 it is 45 W, the USB Power Delivery technology not supported, despite the USB Type C. At least the connector, charging is performed quickly, one hour, we obtain the charge from 0 to 60%.
The display was not quite normal. Let’s start with the IPS panel manufacturer – BOE. He used to make components for some laptops ASUS, but in our tests we have not yet met.
The combination of diagonal and resolution is also very unusual. ASUS Transformer 3 Pro uses a panel with a 12.6-inch diagonal with a resolution of 2.880 x 1.920 pixels, which gives quite the detail of the picture. With regard to 3: 2, it is all depends on personal preference. In any case, the panel provides a wide viewing angle and high-quality color reproduction. The display covers 117% the sRGB color space, but nominally shades of blue give too much as the average color temperature is about 7,800 K.
Contrast our tests was 993: 1, brightness we have not the highest – 318 cd / m², but for the uniformity of illumination, we have received 90%. The brightness is sufficient for working indoors, but on the street it is still not enough.
The touch screen in our tests proved to be a good, it responsive to touch everything.
We have already tested ZenBook 3 and about ASUS Transformer 3 Pro, we had high expectations. In the end, a hybrid tablet specifications proved to be very interesting, despite the old processor. Before we can be the strongest competitor Surface Pro 4. As shown by the first exposure, ASUS really targeting the rivalry with Microsoft. Tablet equipment was more complete, and the interface Thunderbolt 3 from rival Microsoft is not. For other criteria, such as housing, we have parity. There ASUS Transformer 3 Pro also showed their best side.
Unfortunately, ASUS made a few missteps. The main drawback – low CPU performance, which is too early to include throttling. Of course, performance is more than sufficient for office applications. On the other hand, the question arises why such a strong chip lost most of their potential? Core i7 Processor works with Core m speed, especially noticeable in games. Also, the battery life is poor. In the PCMark test, we received a very modest results, the same applies to the Battery Eater. The same tablet Surface Pro 4 can not be called revolutionary, but it provides 40% more battery life. Of course, the battery capacity is limited by the weight and the available space. But ASUS still should consider the experience of competitors.
The disadvantages we have attributed wobbly touchpad that worked, the rest very firmly. We liked the keyboard, typing was comfortable.
But general recommendations, we still can not give, because the flaws are too significant. And in terms of price / quality Transformer Pro 3 does not glad. Of course, in our test configuration, the tablet was less comparable Surface Pro 4, but still 1,600 euros in Europe. Price is very decent. Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 with Core i7-6500U processor, 8GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD will cost much cheaper. Another competitor – the hybrid tablet Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 510 with processor Core i7-6500U, 8GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD.
Of course, the ASUS has done a lot right, but from the Transformer line, we expected more. Let us hope that the successor will be able to overcome the disadvantages without sacrificing the advantages of the series.