Asus Transformer 3 Pro T303: Can this 2 in 1 of Asus compete with the Surface Pro 4?

The arrival of Windows 10 opened a world of possibilities to the tablet sector, following the wake of Microsoft’s Surface Pro. It is one of the few interesting products that left the version of Windows 8, and that has reported to the company great benefits and a successful line. Other manufacturers have taken the witness to try to improve the sector of the tablets with Windows 10, where they are Asus with the Transformer 3 Pro, a very serious competitor of the Surface Pro 4.

It is a tablet with Windows 10 that is sold with a detachable keyboard to be able to do laptop when necessary. Generally manufacturers refer to this type of product as a two in one, taking the best of both worlds, although often fail to excel in either. Although everything depends almost on the hardware, that they include and how the user is willing to take advantage of their possibilities.

Features and design

The Transformer 3 Pro is a tablet with a thickness of 8.35 mm, which is not the lightest in the world with 790 g, but is adjusted to the size and processor that has a 12.6-inch display. The casing has enough strength and durability, and although it has good feel and cannot tell if it is plastic or metal, it is made of an aluminum and magnesium alloy. On the sides of the screen are two stereo speakers, with a great power of use and they sound certainly good.

In the back includes a support made of the same material, and can be reclined up to 155°, almost lying down. It stays perfectly at the chosen angle, and having so much twist enables its use even lying, half reclined, to use it stably in the lap, or by those who put their feet on the sofa. In this section, Asus has sought comfort of use for the user, and has found it.

PROCESSOR Core i5-6200U, 2.3 to 2.8 GHz, 2 cores / 4 threads, 7.5 W of TDP
GRAPH Intel HD 520 at 1 GHz
SCREEN 12.6 “, 2880 x 1920 px. IPS, gloss finish
CAMERA 13 Mpx Rear and 2 Mpx Front with Infrared Face Recognition
PORTS 1x USB 3.1 Gen. 1 Type C (5 Gbps)
CONNECTIVITY WiFi 2×2 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.1
BATTERY 39 WHr type Li-Po battery, 45 W source
DIMENSIONS 298.8 x 210.1 x 8.35 mm
WEIGHT 790 g
ADDITIONAL FEATURES 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB-C-compatible Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 and charge, 1x HDMI
PRICE 1299 dollars

The box includes a 45 W charger, a digital pen and a keyboard that integrates a touch panel. The latter remains magnetically attached to the tablet, communicates, and draws power from it through a specific seven-pin connector. The keyboard is backlit, with enough brightness for the times when it may be necessary, and the keys have a displacement of 1.4 mm. Its weight is 340 g, which puts the total weight of 2 in 1 in the 1.13 kg.


Image Source: Google Image

The quality of the keyboard is good but the keys are a little tougher than you might want to spend time typing with it because it will cause it to fail more when typing because you do not squeeze them with enough force. In addition, although the trackpad is soft and pleasant touch, doing the clicks on it requires enough strength and it becomes somewhat cumbersome to use. For times of need, it gives size, but the touch panel will make it necessary to use a mouse with the tablet in an extended use.

The connectivity section is well covered, considering that it is a 2 in 1 and not a laptop. On the right side includes a Thunderbolt 3 compatible with USB 3.1 type C USB connector, a USB 3.0 and an HDMI output that will be very useful to use it for serious work with an external monitor and an extended keyboard and mouse. For this type of tablets, it is better to use them with a Bluetooth mouse for convenience, and the tablet also includes WiFi 802.11 ac. On the other side also includes a micro-SD card reader and a 3.5 mm jack.

The Transformer 3 Pro includes two fairly decent cameras, with a front of 2 Mpx, functional for video conferences, and a rear of 13 Mpx. The latter has enough quality to take good photos, and usable in any photo album, even if you really have nothing special. On the front also includes a series of infrared sensors that enable its use with the Windows Hello facial unlock, and omnidirectional microphones with noise cancellation to be able to use without problems to Cortana, the inseparable companion of Windows 10.

You may also like to read another article on Lab-Soft: ASUS surprises Lenovo with a 14-inch notebook lighter than its ThinkPad Carbon

Transformer 3 Pro T303UA Performance

This tablet with Windows 10 is oriented to do advanced work , with a use of several applications at once professional or even some design with Photoshop, and that is why Asus has included in it a Core i5-6200U processor, although there is a version with A more powerful Core i7-6500U. This type of devices center their performance in being accompanied by an SSD to give them a fluid performance in the boot, opening of files and change between applications, but not so much to carry out heavy work with them.

The integrated graphics is also at the core of this type of devices, being a HD 520. This is a basic graphics, but it will play video to 1440p YouTube or other sources on the screen of the computer without problems. The model received for analysis comes with 8 GB of DDR3 memory at 1866 MHz, which will be sufficient for the use of tablet with aspirations of laptop that has the Transformer 3 Pro.

CORE I5-6200U
CORE I7-7500U
CORE I7-6500U
CINEBENCH R15, CPU 262 cb 333 cb 312 cb
CINEBENCH R15, OPENGL 32.1 bp 47.1 FPS 38.9 cb
PCMARK 8, HOME 2772 cb 3438 2907 cb
PCMARK 8, CREATIVE 3176 cb 3922 3497 cb
PCMARK 8, WORK 3587 cb 4295 3798 cb

The aspect ratio 3: 2 of the screen makes it necessary to try to play with the tablet have to resort to unconventional resolutions. The HD 520 is not particularly good in this area, but will play at a minimum of 1920 x 1200 pixels at 30 FPS in games like World of Warcraft, or 40 or 50 FPS in League of Legends, although it will be advisable to reduce the resolution to gain fluidity and do not jerk.


Image Source: Google Image

Fortunately, the tablet has a Thunderbolt 3 port with USB connector type C, which opens the doors to the sector of external graphics cards (eGPU). It is a land that is in diapers and expensive, and the cheaper external graphic boxes are situated about 350 dollars like those of Akitio. In this case, you could also use a Thunder 3 of 300 dollars with a graph of low consumption like a GTX 1050, GTX 1050 Ti or RX 460, all below the 75 W.

I was able to test it with an RX 480 on an Akito Node, and a GTX 1050 on a Thunder3 from the same company and, apart from the notable limitations to the FPS produced by the processor and memory when combined with the RX 480 – and even with The GTX 1050, but to a much lesser extent – in the first case in ultra could play God Ex: Mankind Divided to about 29 FPS, compared to 46 that could be achieved in a computer with a Core i7-6700K with DDR4 -3000. Asus points out that the perfect companion of this tablet would be its ROG XG Station 2, although it is not yet for sale.

In the storage section, the Transformer 3 Pro includes a 256 GB SSD, which is more than enough for the tasks ahead. The SSD has SATA3 interface, and although it could be missing that was more advanced storage like the one a SSD with interface PCIe, to work would not be great difference between both types of storage. Even so, Asus gives you the option of configuring your computer with a PCIe-type SSD of up to 1TB for those with a larger budget.

The SSD has typical speeds, with 529 and 341 MB / s of sequential read and write, and 150 and 160 MB / s of random read and write of files of size 4 KB. They are typical values ​​for this type of storage, with no gray points in its performance.

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Screen: A digital pen as a great companion

The screen of the Transformer 3 Pro is 12.5 inches with a 3: 2 aspect ratio and a resolution of 2880 x 1920 pixels. It’s good to work with this tablet with the keyboard on, and it’s a good point to keep in mind. The tactile section is well covered with the addition of a digital pen that will allow to be more productive in design applications and other professionals, or simply not to fill the screen of fingers – although it is cleaned very easily.

One gray point is that it is not compatible with video via the USB connector type C it includes, tested with a LG 27UD88-W monitor. It is also not a big problem, since it includes an HDMI connector, but being able to use a single connector for data transfer with the monitor’s USB hub, sending video signal and recharging the tablet at the same time would have been an additional convenience. At the moment these monitors with USB type C are not overly extended, but they will be in the near future, and for the cost of the tablet would have been desirable this point.

The color reproduction is very good , and the brightness is only above 300 nits – a good value if it were a typical laptop -, which together with a glossy screen finish will not allow it to be used either outdoors or with points of light behind. You see the reflexes a lot and at certain times makes it difficult to use, and that with a professional orientation is a disadvantage. Asus adds to the tablet the program Splendid, that allows to modify the color of the screen, including the addition of a blue filter.

Also included next to the tablet is a digital pen called Pen. It has 1024 levels of accuracy, and in day-to-day usage it is extremely reliable. Transformer 3 Pro includes varied software to take advantage of, and for example you can fill in the search fields by typing in a box that appears at the bottom of the screen. I do not find it useful to interact with Windows 10 with the pen, but it is in design and note-taking applications.


Image Source: Google Image

Temperatures, autonomy and noise

The tablet includes 8.35 mm of thickness a fan, with hot air being ejected by the upper area of ​​the screen when you have in landscape mode. This type of systems, having a moderately powerful laptop processor – compared to an Android or iOS tablet – require active cooling to keep temperatures cool.

In the field of temperatures, the maximum that can reach the back of the carcass is about 32°C , in the central area of ​​the air expulsion zone, so there will be no feeling of discomfort if caught to use as Tablet. On load, the processor does not exceed 60°C with its CPU part on load, and does not exceed 55°C if intense GPU tasks are performed. They are values ​​that for a mobility chip are correct. At that time 100% charge, the fan does not exceed 37 dB, clearly audible but not annoying.

These 2 in 1 has a 39 WHr battery, and the autonomy ground is a gray dot. By continuously reproducing video clips of YouTube – which implies a continuous use of the WiFi – with a brightness calibrated around 200 nits, the autonomy does not reach four hours. Asus promises an autonomy for all day, but in practice is not fulfilled, unless you see only YouTube videos and not used at all to work – that for that I would not buy this equipment.

If you are doing something heavier work that makes more intensive use of the CPU or GPU, it brushes the two hours of autonomy, so it is not a computer to forget about the charger at home. The charger is 45 W and allows fast charging through the USB connector type C. The promised time of recharge of Asus of about two hours is met, and with the rapid charge can be filled in about 60 minutes more than half of the battery, with a total recharge time of less than two hours.

Transformer 3 Pro T303, a versatile and powerful 2 in 1

Asus has created a great example of what the 2 in 1 with Windows 10 can become. Follow the wake of the Surface Pro up to the price, as the analyzed model costs 1299 dollars. Although the equivalent of Microsoft is 1149 dollars, it does not include the keyboard that once purchased, the final price would be the same. This Asus equipment has advantages in the screen, the rear camera, less noise of the ventilation system, memory of 1866 MHz, and two key differentiating elements such as an HDMI to be able to connect it easily to almost any current monitor, and especially the inclusion Of Thunderbolt 3.

Although the PVP of the product bought in store can vary with respect to the manufacturer’s PVPR, even buying it for 1100 or 1200 dollars is a high price if you are not willing to get the most out of it. It is a versatile and powerful tablet, with a keyboard that allows you to work without problems, although if you want to do it for hours – something for which the tablet is not intended, but you can – it would be advisable to use an external keyboard and a mouse.

Perhaps as a tablet the screen size of 12.5 inches is not the most comfortable to take it from one site to another, and less to have it continuously with its 800 g, but it is amply compensated with more space to work and more power. These products usually seek a middle ground between their modes of use because it is impossible to be good products for all users. With the hardware included and its potential, the Transformer 3 Pro is one such product that shows why Windows 10 is moving iOS and Android in the tablet sector.

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