TAIWANESE COMPUTER GIANT Asus showed off its Taichi notebook-tablet computer at the IFA tradeshow in Berlin and The INQUIRER was there to get some hands on time with the unique device.
Originally unveiled at Computex in June this year, the Taichi looks like a slender notebook from the front, but closing the lid, you'll find a second screen with touch support on the back so that it can then be used as a tablet. Both screens can run independently, or as an extension of one another, opening up a whole new world of multitasking.
Design and build
Asus is remaining pretty tight-lipped regarding the Taichi's specifications such as processor power and dimensions, but as far as design goes, the firm has really surpassed our expectations. We think it has one of the most appealing and stylish designs that the firm has launched to date. With an all-over sleek black satin finish, the Taichi oozes elegance and high-end form.
The black full sized Qwerty keyboard complements the overall design and when testing how the keys feel to touch, we found it feels far from cheap and has good travel, being fairly pleasant to type on. The track pad with its hidden mouse buttons, however, doesn't feel as good to operate and because it's not initially clear where the buttons reside, it can be a little fiddly. This would probably take some getting used to.
The Taichi isn't the thinnest notebook out there, but it looks and feels brilliantly slim and nice to pick up and hold. Though Asus hasn't mentioned any exact measurements yet, comparing it to the Macbook Air we'd say it was a good few millimetres or so thicker.
Weight, on the other hand, could be the Taichi's major downfall. As a notebook, its 1.5kg weight means it isn't the heaviest out there, but it certainly isn't the lightest either. During our time with it, when closing the lid and picking it up to use as a tablet, it just seemed way too heavy. It is hard to imagine comfortably using the device as a tablet as its weight and closed thinkness means it feels too bulky and cumbersome to hold like you would the Asus Infinity, for instance.
When opened as a notebook, the Taichi's front facing display has a decent-sized 13in IPS HD screen with an anti-glare matt finish. Though this screen is not touch-capable and doesn't seem as bright and vibrant due to the anti-reflective coating, we like that Asus is offering the option of having a non-reflective screen when you need it, such as typing up documents for example, when you're more likely to be concentrating on the display for longer amounts of time.
Spinning the Taichi around, you'll see yet another HD display with a more glossy finish. In our hands on, it appeared to have good vibrant colour quality and when prodding around the Windows 8 interface, seemed very responsive to our commands. However, the reflective surface of the screen was perhaps a little too susceptible to sunlight and as you'll see from our photographs, light bounced off it and into our camera lens much more than we would have liked.
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ