Asus Transformer Book Trio inches closer to launch (3-in-1 PC)

While 2-in-1 PCs are all the rage these days, giving you a laptop with a removable tablet section, Asus thinks there’s a market for something a bit different. The Asus Transformer Book Trio is a 3-in-1 PC that can be used in tablet, notebook, or desktop modes.

Asus has been showing off the Trio for months. It’s already been launched in a few countries, but it’s nowhere to be seen at US retail shops. But the computer is slowly inching closer to a US release.

Update: Actually, it looks like you can buy one from Amazon — but you’ll have to pay $1300, plus $31 for shipping. 

The Trio passed through the FCC in September, and this week Asus filed more documents with the FCC, indicating a slight change in the wireless radios.

asus transformer book trio

The Transformer Book Trio has 2 parts that you can arrange and use in 3 ways.

There’s a tablet with an Intel Atom Z2560 Clover Trail+ processor, an 11.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS display, 2GB of RAM, and Google Android software. You can use the tablet as a standalone device, or you can attach it to a keyboard dock where it basically becomes the touchscreen display for a Windows laptop.

That’s because the keyboard dock features the guts of a Windows notebook, including up to 8GB of RAM, up to 1TB of storage, a 33 Whr battery, WiFi, Bluetooth, and an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 Haswell CPU.

You can also connect the keyboard dock directly to an external display and use it like a desktop computer without attaching the tablet dock.

The tablet weighs about 1.5 pounds, while the keyboard is about 2.2 pounds. That means when you use them together you have a laptop that weighs about 3.7 pounds, and which reportedly gets around 5 hours of battery life. While that’s not exactly stellar when compared with other Haswell-powered laptops, the Transformer Book Trio might make up for its mediocre battery life with its versatility.

  • David Alastair Hayden

    Poor battery life and Android on the tablet. Sigh. No thanks. It looks nice, though.

    • Cal Rankin

      what would you prefer on the tablet. Android is a great option because of its versatility and number of apps available.

      • David Alastair Hayden

        Windows on both. The apps on my iPad are all workarounds for solutions a full OS provides. I’m sure it would be the same for me with Android. All I need is a browser, email, Kindle, Comixology, and Office. Facebook and Twitter apps are nice but not essential. I don’t need much. Barely ever play any games. Windows would do everything I need.

      • Cal Rankin

        What they need is a solution where Windows is stored on the tablet, powered by a lower-power chip, but when docked, Windows just switches over to a more powerful CPU in the dock.

      • Breed

        Would be pretty impossible to do without visualization. The Windows Kernel would be up and running on one processor, you can’t just switch it over to another, it’d need reinitialized, etc. It would work with some sort of Hypervisor to switch between hosts like vMotion or something.

      • Cal Rankin

        Oy. I wish that it was simple to switch CPU unit

  • Ddog

    What else would be on the tablet? You don’t need Windows RT, since Pro runs on the dock. Windows on a standalone tablet hasn’t really caught on yet, so I wouldn’t be worried about that. I’m much happier having access to the Android app ecosystem anyway. You’re not getting iOS unless you get an iPad, so that’s not unexpected. Yeah, I think Android is the perfect choice for the tablet piece. If you do really need Windows on a standalone tablet, then this device isn’t for you and you probably just need to get some flavor of a Surface tablet.

    I’ve been reading reviews of this thing from overseas sites (Europe) and it’s actually getting some pretty favorable reviews. I’m about due up for a laptop upgrade and I’m in the market for an Android tablet as well (just changed jobs and had to give my work iPad back), so I may hold off for this to release stateside and see what the final verdict is.

    As for battery life, 5 hours is more than I get with my current laptop, so that’s just fine with me. It’s rare that I have ever needed more than that. I’m sure the tablet portion gets far better life than that.

    • David Alastair Hayden

      I’d rather Windows on both and this is nicer than the setup Asus is doing like that. I live in a forest, so power outages can last a while and are pretty much a monthly occurrence. I like battery life. And I like sitting on the porch and being in the elements when I work.

  • Dave Melges

    I’m a huge fan of Asus right now, and this device is interesting…..what it’s NOT, is three computers, anymore than a laptop is actually two computers.

    I use an Asus gaming laptop like a workstation by connecting it to my large display….does that make it TWO devices? Does every laptop which can power an external monitor, (which is just about every laptop) count as TWO devices?

    This is an Android tablet, that can convert to a powerful laptop….and that’s a good thing. It’s two good things. It’s just not THREE good things.

    • YourFather

      It can be 3 things.

      - It is a laptop (if you combine docking pc with tablet) with either android or windows 8

      - it is an android tablet (if disconnected from the docking pc)

      - it is an PC if the docking is connected to a monitor (none of the other formula’s have this function for the docking )

  • BearKing

    For f*cks sake! all I want is 10″ netbook that’s no more than half an inch thick, and can play some decent games at some half decent frame rates

  • A_Random_Critic

    If would so have bought this thing if they would have added:
    1 – WIDI support.
    2 – WiFi AC mode.
    3 – 3/4G/LTE support.

    A shame they forgot it.