Two smartphones, three laptops. Here are what ASUS is offering on a silver plate at this year’s CES. Is it that simple? We wish. It’s actually three ultra-thin, laptop that transforms into a tablet, a smartphone that transforms into a camera, and a new flagship phone.
Transformer Book Chi Series
The first of the company’s big announcements is a new line of 2-in-1 detachables dubbed the Transformer Book Chi series. The flagship of the three model series, the T300 Chi, features a 12.5-inch IPS touchscreen with a screen resolution of either 2560 x 1440 pixels or 1920 x 1080 pixels. It also features Intel’s latest Core M processor, 4GB or 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of SSD storage. When attached to its keyboard dock, the T300 Chi measures only 0.65 inches, thinner than the current line of Macbook Airs, and weighs only 3.13 pounds in the device’s heaviest configuration.
The second model in the series, the T100 Chi, features a smaller 10.1-inch IPS display with a screen resolution of 1920 x 1200 and, according to ASUS, is one of the world’s thinnest Windows tablets to date measuring only 0.28-inches thick. Third and last is the 8.9-inch T90 that features a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution IPS display, a thickness of just 0.3-inches, and a weight of only 1.6 pounds when attached to its keyboard dock. Both of the smaller Chi series devices feature a 1.46GHz Intel Atom Z3775 processor, 2GB of RAM, and either 32GB or 64GB of eMMC storage.
All the new Chi series devices come in all-aluminum unibody designs except for the keyboard docks and are equipped with 5-megapixel rear cameras, 2-megapixel front-facing cameras, microUSB 3.0 ports, microSD card slots, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0.
We’re curious and excited to see how well these new devices perform specifically the T300 Chi with its somewhat questionable processor clock speed and if they do perform well may prove to be decent and cheaper Macbook Air or tablet alternatives as the new Chi series come with prices starting at $699 for the T300, $400 for the T100, and $300 for the T90.
The next device ASUS revealed at CES 2015 is the company’s first smartphone to feature a 3x optical zoom camera aptly called the Zenfone Zoom. The company didn’t share which processor the Zoom is powered by but they did announce that the new device features a 5.5-inch full HD IPS display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels and a pixel density of 403ppi, up to 128GB of storage, LTE connectivity, 802.11ac WiFi, a 3,000mAh Li-Po battery, and runs the latest ZenUI on top of Android 5.0 Lollipop.
The main feature of the device, the camera, is a 13-megapixel/1080p shooter that features optical image stabilization, laser auto-focus, and a full manual mode which gives the user “professional-grade” manual control over the camera’s ISO, shutter speed, and more. The camera itself features a 10-element lens that allows for not only the 3x optical zoom but also 12x digital zoom as well as an aperture range of f/2.7 up to f/4.8.
The ZenFone Zoom might prove to be a great device for photo-centric smartphone users as long as the processor and RAM that comes with it are adequate enough especially since the ZenFone Zoom only measures 11.95mm thin which is pretty thin in spite of its bigger camera system but we’ll have to wait and see how it performs once it becomes available which will be sometime in the second quarter of the year for an SRP of $399.
The last and biggest announcement of ASUS this year is the reveal of the company’s latest flagship smartphone, the ZenFone 2, and it’s a pretty impressive device. It comes with a 5.5-inch full HD IPS display, a 13-megapixel f/2.0 5-element PixelMaster rear camera, a 5-megapixel f/2.0 front-facing camera, a 3,000mAh battery, dual SIM support (on some variants), LTE connectivity, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, a microSD card slot, and, like the ZenFone Zoom, runs the company’s latest ZenUI on top of Android 5.0 Lollipop.
For the ZenFone 2, ASUS has decided to forego an ARM-based processor and have decided to equip their new flagship with 64-bit Intel Atom processor coupled with a PowerVR G6430 GPU. Choosing to go with an Intel processor is quite a gamble for ASUS but Intel has gone a long way to improve their mobile processors to match up better against the more popular ARM-based SoCs. The ZenFone 2 is available in a number of variants with either a 1.8GHz or 2.3GHz processor and RAM/storage configurations of 2GB/16GB, 4GB/16GB, or 4GB/64GB.
The specs of the ZenFone, specifically the amount of RAM and the 64-bit Intel processor, are pretty remarkable and we’re extremely excited to get our hands on what could be one of the phones to beat in 2015. The 2GB/16GB entry-level variant will be available sometime in March for an insanely competitive price of $199. The higher-end models will be available at a later date but ASUS did not reveal prices for them at the moment although it’ll probably be as surprising as its entry-level variant.