If anyone has so far had a big day at the CES 2015 conference, it is ASUS. While LG showed off their Flex 2, and NVIDIA unveiled the Tigra X1 and their auto-piloting car products, ASUS has shown off a full five new products: the ZenFone 2, ZenFone Zoom, and three Transformer Books.
ZenFone 2 and ZenFone Zoom
First up are the two new smartphones in the ZenFone line. Just like the LG Flex 2, both are curved. But the design is more subtle, with rounded corners and a gentler and smoother bend.
One area where they both definitely outshine the Flex 2 is in performance. The hardware is impressive, and as both are the the same minus the camera feature, we will look at the tech specs together.
The immediate impression you will get is of power. With 4 GB RAM and a 64-bit Intel Atom quadcore processor, it has plenty of force to back up its claims.
Everything is created for the user experience, both in visuals and in use. The 5.5 inch 1920 x 1080 pixel, 403 PPI resolution display is also boasting 60 MS responsiveness. It was built to be fast, and look good.
It comes with 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB storage options, with ASUS online storage of 5GB for free. It has up to 64 GB microSD support.
The only difference between this and the ZenFone Zoom is the camera. The ZenFone 2 comes with 13 MP rear, and 5 MP front, pretty standard. But the Zoom offers additional features, such as 3X optimal zoom (the first time for a smartphone), 12X standard zoom, laser auto focus for quick capture, and many modes for different environments.
Transformer Book Chi Line
Chi T90 and Chi T100
Just like the ZenPhones, these two are nearly identical to one another. The Chi T90 and Chi T100 are tablets that are very thin, very lightweight, and very easy to turn into a small, personal laptop using a Bluetooth keyboard. Without the capabilities of a full laptop, of course.
Both feature a quad-core 1.46GHz Intel Atom Z3775 processor. They also both have either 1 GB or 2 GB RAM, and 32 GB or 64 GB storage.
Already, this is a letdown. If you believe that tablets are essentially big phones without the ability to make regular calls, this proves that you are wrong. Because this is not nearly as good as a smartphone, even by tablet standards.
The main difference between the two comes down to display, not surprisingly. The T90 has a 8.9″ LED screen with a 1280 x 800 resolution. The T100 has a 10.1″ LED screen with a 1920 x 1200.
They also both have cameras, 5MP for the rear, 2 MP for the front.
The T300 is on somewhat firmer ground, not surprising given laptops are ASUS’s bread and butter, and this is a full computer.
It has two processors, a 1.2Ghz Intel Core M 5Y71, and a 0.8Ghz M 5Y10. Not amazing, but what you tend to expect from the lower market laptops produced by the brand.
The screen, which is 12.5″ (a bit smaller than their usual 13″) comes in either 12.5″ 2560 x 1440, or 1920 x 1080 resolution.
What is notable about the T300 is that is is 1) extremely thin, and 2) detachable. So it is pretty much a tablet once again, but a bigger one, and with the features you would expect from something high end.
So, the T300 is a crappy laptop, but a good tablet. The T90 and T100’s are crappy tablets. It is a little confusing.
The Final Verdict
I don’t mean to rag so hard on ASUS. They aren’t necessarily the most high end products, and they are not trying to be. Their devices are usually cheap, and they can last you a year or two.
That is probably where my vitriol is coming from. You see, I have been dealing with the trauma of owning an ASUS laptop. It is built to be a full laptop, not a gimmick product. But it is still remarkably frustrating to own.
Given the fact that it is several years old, has better hardware in some ways, and has had to be repaired four times? I don’t have high hopes for these Transformer books.
Though to be fair, the ZenFones both look pretty decent. So these seem like they could go either way.
If you manage to get your hands on either family of devices to give a whirl, I’d love to hear about your experience. But I don’t think I am going to be purchasing either, any time soon. I need a break from ASUS, before I rip my hair out.