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Asus’ new 5-in-1 Windows-Android hybrid is the craziest yet
Just when we thought Asus was running out of combinations for its hybrids, the Taiwanese manufacturer launched the Transformer Book V, a Windows-Android laptop/tablet/phone.
Borrowing from the design and philosophy of Asus’ earlier Transformer Book Trio and PadFone, the Transformer Book V (V stands for “five”) features five distinct usage modes – Windows 8.1 laptop, Windows 8.1 tablet, Android 4.4 tablet, Android 4.4 laptop, and Android 4.4 smartphone. That’s an amazing proposition, if the price right, but that’s a big if – Asus’ other hybrid devices were not exactly accessible, even with their multiple purposes factored in.
So, how is the Transformer Book V able to offer these five distinct modes? Starting with the laptop bit, Asus used a “next-gen” Intel Core processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of flash storage and up to 1TB of HDD storage, for what seems like a competent Windows 8.1 machine. The 12.5-inch screen of the laptop is just HD, unfortunately; the battery is a 28Wh unit that should keep the Book V humming for up to 10 hours. The monitor detaches to run as a standalone Windows 8.1 tablet, and this where Android comes in – taking a page from the PadFone series, the Book V’s tablet module comes with a dock where you can insert 5-inch KitKat smartphone.
When the phone is docked, you can use the tablet or laptop on Android, and of course, you can undock the phone to use it as a standalone Android-only unit. The phone comes with a 5-inch HD IPS LCD display and is powered by a 64-bit Intel Moorefield processor with LTE, a first in the industry. The 11-mm thick, 143 grams handset also packs 2GB of RAM, expandable storage, an 8MP rear camera, and a 2,550 mAh battery.
With the phone in dock, you can continue to run Windows 8.1 and open the Android UI in a window or in full screen mode. In theory, this should make it easy for users to blend their Windows and Android experiences – for instance, you can toil over your spreadsheets in the Windows interface and keep Android open to check on messages on Snapchat or whatnot. It’s the same “Windows is for work, Android is for fun” approach that Asus has pushed with other devices in the past.
Asus promises “unparalleled performance” from the Intel-powered smartphone, and touted the ability of the two devices (Android smartphone/Windows convertible) to share storage when docked.
The Transformer Book V is mightily flexible and very impressive on paper, but even if the price is good enough, we can’t help worry about the inherent complexity that Asus is trying to sell here. A minority of users might find the Book V useful and powerful, but non-techies could be intimidated by all the features and use modes.
Another issue with Asus’ offerings is the typically long time before official launch and actual availability (see the Zenfone), not to mention the real chance that the device will be confined to a handful of markets. Asus has not provided any details on the Transformer Book V’s price and availability.
Transformer Book V
Transformer Book V is the world’s first five-mode, three-in-one converged laptop that features a Windows and Android laptop and tablet as well as an Android smartphone, making it an incredibly flexible device able to excel in any usage scenario. Its revolutionary and elegant design comprises a laptop with a detachable 12.5-inch screen that becomes a separate tablet and a 5-inch smartphone that docks into the tablet.
As a laptop, Transformer Book V includes a full QWERTY keyboard and touchpad, and runs both Windows 8.1 and Android 4.4 KitKat. A dedicated hardware button provides instant and seamless switching between the two operating systems. The laptop features a next-generation Intel® Core™ processor providing high performance for an efficient and productive user experience. The 12.5-inch HD IPS display has sharp graphics and rich, vibrant color, and touch support adds additional convenience and functionality when using Windows 8.1. Transformer Book V comes with ample storage of up to 1TB for apps, documents, media and more.
As a tablet, Transformer Book V also works as a standalone Windows 8.1 tablet and an Android 4.4 KitKat tablet when the phone is docked. Switching between the two systems only takes a tap on the screen. Access to the Google Play Store and Windows Store provides a massive amount of apps and games to choose from, making Transformer Book V a highly-mobile entertainment and productivity powerhouse. Its built-in storage of up to 128GB offers plenty of room to store those apps along with movies, photos, music and more.
As a phone, Transformer Book V runs Android 4.4 KitKat, and is the world’s first 5-inch LTE smartphone powered by an Intel® AtomTM quad-core processor, giving it unparalleled performance when running apps, playing games or browsing the internet. Its Long-Term Evolution (LTE) support delivers a superior internet experience with network speeds that are up to four times faster than 3G. Transformer Book V comes with a 2500mah battery that provides up to 10 hours of web browsing time.
Transformer Book V combines the power of a laptop with the mobility of both a tablet and smartphone, and provides the flexibility to run a wide range of apps. Together with the easy ability to switch between modes and share data between devices, Transformer Book V delivers an unparalleled user experience.