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ASUS' latest Transformers take heavy cues from Microsoft's Surface

Engadget Engadget 30/05/2016 Nicole Lee
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ASUS has just unveiled a line of new Transformer 2-in-1 PCs that look suspiciously like a certain product from Microsoft. With their touchscreens, kickstands and portable keyboards, they do remind us a lot of, you guessed it, the Surface. And, of course, they all run Windows 10, which makes the Surface connection even undeniable. Of the new announcements, the Transformer 3 Pro is the most advanced of the lot, the Transformer 3 sits somewhere in the middle, while the Mini is the lightest.

Both the Transformer 3 Pro and the Transformer 3 have a 12.6-display with a 2880 x 1920 resolution and 275 ppi pixel density. There are other similarities as well: Both feature USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 connections, Harmon Kardon speakers, and USB 3.0 and HDMI ports. They both also have built-in fingerprint readers. As you might expect, both 2-in-1s are also compatible with ASUS accessories such as the Pen, a Universal Dock and the ROG XG Station 2, which gives the humble tablet PC the power of a desktop computer. Both tablets are available in Icicle Gold as well as Glacier Gray.

Of the two, the Transformer 3 Pro is the heftier one at 8.35mm thick. Its kickstand has a "stepless hinge" that lets you set the device at any viewing angle up to 170-degrees. The 3 Pro also comes with a Cover Keyboard that's backlit and offers "laptop-grade 1.4mm key travel" which ASUS says will provide a typing experience similar to that of a normal-sized notebook. It also boasts an Intel Core i7 processor and up to 1TB PCIe x4 SSD and 16GB of 2133MHz RAM. It has a 13-megapixel rear camera plus a front-facing one as well.

While the Transformer 3 has the same display size as the Transformer 3 Pro, the 3 is thinner and lighter with a thickness and weight of 6.9mm and 695 grams respectively. Its display stand is not quite as flexible, with only two positions. It ships with a Transformer Sleeve Keyboard, also with 1.4mm of key travel and is available in the same four colors as the Cover Keyboard (Stone, Charcoal, Taupe, and Amber).

If you think both of these tablets are just too big for your tastes, ASUS also offers the Transformer Mini. It has a 10.1-inch display, is 8.2mm thin and weighs 790 grams with the keyboard attached and 530 grams without. Like the Transformer Pro 3, it also has an integrated kickstand with that stepless smart hinge design that lets you view it at any angle you like.

The keyboard is a little smaller with 1.5mm key travel but it does have an integrated palm rest. Other features include a ZenSync smartphone integration that lets you sync up your text messages much in the same way you can with iOS and OS X El Capitan. The Transformer Mini and keyboard will ship in a variety of different colors such as Quartz Gray, Pearl White, Amber, Mint Green and Icicle Gold.

There's no word yet on pricing or availability of these transforming tablets, but we'll let you know once we have the info.

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