ASUS breaks out of the walled garden with the Transformer Book Duet TD300

Windows when you want it; Android when you don’t.

asus_logo_blackOne of the more interesting products to come out of this year’s CES is ASUS’s mutliOS Transformer Book Duet TD300. In light of Intel’s ongoing effort to push 2-in-1 convertible laptops and tablets ASUS opted to take that swiss-army-knife-like design approach to its logical conclusion; with Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 running alongside a custom variant of Google’s Android 4.1 OS. According to ASUS the TD300 is capable of reliably switching between Android and Windows in as little as 4 seconds via a hardware button or a virtual key. Compare this to a traditional dual-boot laptop or desktop where switching OSes can take a full reboot and a few minutes.

ASUS TD300 Chairman

In addition to running two OSes the TD300 also has laptop and tablet modes so it fills in almost all of the cutting edge computing niches that were on display at CES. But to ASUS’s credit the TD300 is not only interesting from an OS and form-factor perspective; the company obviously spared no expense on the hardware. It has a 13.3” 1080P IPS Multitouch display, up to an Intel Core i7 processor, 4 GB of RAM, 802.11ac WiFi, and can be kitted out with both a 128 GB iSSD and a 1 TB hard drive. Thus from a raw hardware perspective there’s not much more you possibly want from a product with this form factor.

ASUS TD300

There’s been a lot of talk about traditional OEMs providing competition to Microsoft’s second generation Surface Pro, but until CES I hadn’t seen a design that I believed was arguably better than Microsoft’s poster child. ASUS’s Transformer Book Duet TD300 is an outright better choice than a Surface Pro 2 thanks to its greater I/O port count, slightly better hardware specs, and its invaluable ability to switch on demand between Windows and Android. I never thought I’d be saying this, but as killer features go dual booting Windows and Android is certainly near the top of the list for many users that own and like Android phones but need Windows for work.

ASUS TD300

Good on ASUS for thinking outside of the walled garden.S|A

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Thomas Ryan is based in Seattle, Washington. Thomas first began to appreciate the wonders of the semiconductor industry while doing research on his previous favorite hobby, PC gaming. Having co- purchased his first computer at the ripe old age of 11, with $150 and the help of Craigslist he's been buying and building computers ever since.