The Asus Transformer Book Chi T90 is the smallest, cheapest new member of the Asus line of 2-in-1 Windows tablets. It has an 8.9 inch display and a starting price of $299.

This model doesn’t have all the features you’ll find in larger models: there’s no HDMI output or full HD display. But it has a decent processor, a slim design, and a smaller screen than you’ll find on most 2-in-1 devices.

A smaller screen could make the T90 a better device for use in tablet mode than some of its competitors… but it could also make the system a bit more frustrating to use as a laptop.

t90_10

When I got a chance to check out the new Transformer Book Chi devices the T90 wasn’t charged up so I couldn’t turn it on. But I was quite impressed with just how compact this convertible tablet is.

It measures 0.3 inches thick as a tablet or 0.65 inches as a notebook and weighs 14 ounces or about 1.7 pounds when you add the keyboard dock.

It’s the kind of tablet/notebook that you can toss in a bag and forget you’re even carrying until you open the bag to look for it.

The keyboard is a little on the small side, which might make typing uncomfortable if you have large hands. But I actually find tablets with 10 inch or larger screens to be awkward to hold for long periods, so I suspect this small, light model might be easier to use for reading eBooks, watching videos, surfing the web, or playing games for an extended period.

The tablet is powered by an Intel Atom Z3775 Bay Trail processor and supports up to 2GB of RAM, up to 64GB of storage and features 5MP rear and 2MP front cameras. It has a 1280 x 800 pixel display, and the tablet comes with a 1-year subscription to Microsoft Office 365.

t90_06

Asus says the Transformer Book Chi T90 should be available in the first quarter of 2015, probably around February.

If you’re looking for something with a bigger screen, the Transformer Book Chi T100 with a 10.1 inch, full HD screen should launch around the same time for $399. And the 12.5 inch Transformer Book Chi T300 with a Core M processor should hit the streets soon for $699 and up.

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16 replies on “Hands-on: Asus Transformer Book Chi T90 2-in-1 with 8.9 inch screen”

  1. I have a Venue 8 Pro with a Z3745d processor and 2gb ram, should I upgrade to this?

  2. Since the keyboard is connected via bluetooth I wonder if I can purchase it alone and use it with my DV8P. The size seems to be pretty close, the holder part too, and as I can see the bezel on the sides of the Chi 90 is smaller than on the DV8P so it wouldn’t obstruct the screen either. Waiting for the firs one to turn up on ebay 🙂

  3. Lack of HDMI and lack of 4Gb RAM models at the price that would be less than 299$ is what will driver customers away from this tablet thing, at least some speculate that tablet sales are about to go down, so why not make them more interesting with 4Gb of RAM and stylus?

    1. LP-DDR3 is presently too limited in supply and too costly at 4GB capacity… It also forces a hit on battery life and one of the reasons many companies are waiting for LP-DDR4 to be widely available before they switch and start offering more…

      Though, before then we should still see at least some effort to offer 4GB LP-DDR3 RAM but it’ll be towards the mid year and later period after the Cherry Trail and Braswell updates start coming out and can make more use of the extra RAM…

      1. Thanks, you summed it up very well, I guess its best time to buy last years 2Gb RAM models then!

  4. Ugh! Why can’t they put a pointer in the middle and mouse buttons like Lenovo ThinkPad does…

  5. Reminds me of the Sony Vaio P. Except not as wide (aspect-ratio-ly speaking) and doesn’t have a nub. My my, how much has tech changed, and how much has it come back full circle (lower res than the Vaio P as well).

    1. Resolution is not lower, the Vaio P just had a extra wide screen… Pixel density is otherwise the same as a less wide 1024×768 screen and thus not higher than a 1280×800 screen…

      1. Resolution is size independent (I wasn’t talking about pixel density), and 1600×768 has more pixels than 1280×800.

        Given that the Vaio P has an 8″ screen, and even less “square-like” than 16:9, I think the math bears out that the Vaio P has higher pixel density than the T90 as well.

        https://www.sven.de/dpi/

        1. Resolution only matters in terms of how it effects pixel density, and size effects a given resolutions pixel density and that means it is not size independent!

          Besides, the Vaio P wasn’t using a IPS display and pixel density is just one factor on screen quality! You’re going to get a much better viewing experience with a modern tablet screen, even if the pixel density is a little less!

          1. Now you are just picking bones with me for the sake of arguing.

            >Resolution only matters in terms of how it effects pixel density
            Strictly speaking, I was only referring to number of pixels w and h and the total overall.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Display_resolution

            “The term “display resolution” is usually used to mean pixel dimensions, the number of pixels in each dimension (e.g. 1920 × 1080), which does not tell anything about the pixel density of the display on which the image is actually formed”

            What you are talking about is what the page stated as broadcast television resolution, or pixel density.

            Besides, I don’t think many consumers refer to resolution when making a purchase as the pixel density, nor do retailers/OEMs refer to pixel density as the resolution either. I get your point on density, but you mistook my meaning.

            >screen quality
            I didn’t argue that the Vaio P has better display technology. But, the fact that the Vaio P has, mathetically, more pixels and higher pixel density than the T90 is indisputable. Of course, viewing angles, color accuracy, etc. all matter in quality as well.

          2. Sorry but I am most definitely not picking any bones with you, just clarifying what you’re stating is misleading… and no, it has nothing to do with broadcast television resolution!

            Fact is resolution without reference to size screen it is applied to is a pretty useless reference point! A 1920×1080 resolution will look a lot better on a small tablet than it does on anything approaching the size of a standard TV or computer monitor… The only difference is you usually look at your TV, or even monitor, from much further away and that effects your ability to perceive the pixel density but if you looked at the screen as closely as you would a tablet then it would be clear that the pixel density is much lower and thus the perceived quality is less at equal viewing distances!

            So trying to point out just resolution without any other corresponding references is just going to confuse people into thinking one screen is better than another…

            Never mind it is also true that pixel density is just one factor in screen quality and people who harp on resolution often totally ignore that simple fact and any comments that don’t use more precise language to clarify these differences only helps perpetuate that misleading understanding of what actually goes into the requirements for calling a screen good or not…

            And I didn’t even go into how all of this effects the actual usability of the device given the intricacies of how well a given UI works at a given size screen and resolution… Specifically, Windows desktop is still not great at scaling and thus it’s not realistic to expect them to always put in the highest settings possible on these small devices…

            Suffice it to say most regular people are confused enough about the specs and we who should know better shouldn’t add to that confusion!

          3. Much of what you said I agree with (and which you brought up unprovoked, at least not by my exact words/meaning), but is rather worded as if it’s in opposition to my opinion. I’ll just leave you to it.

            >Suffice it to say most regular people are confused enough about the specs and we who should know better shouldn’t add to that confusion!
            Yet this site is certainly not one where most regular people (I take it to mean your average non-tech type) visit, and I expected that people who read my comments have some knowledge of the terms. Not to mention I used the term “resolution” in its usual meaning (“display resolution”), a meaning that is widely accepted by people tech and non-tech alike, including Brad, this site’s well-respected owner. If you were confused, then I am sorry.

            Again, a product has strengths and weaknesses in multiple aspects. I brought up one/two aspects in which the Vaio P is better than the T90. Is Vaio P an overall better product? I don’t think so. If that’s what you read from my original comment, well, again, I am sorry.

          4. Unfortunately, not everyone who visits this site is fully clear on the technical aspects and more often than not I see comments where references like resolution and how people think anything less than a high amount is automatically backwards without any consideration of any other factors…

            Mind, there are far more technical sites… So we more often than deal with the average lay person…

            So yes, my response was a bit over reactionary but it’s only because such misleading understanding is rather rampant and spreads easily… and the often imprecise and overly pithy nature of comment posting tends to propagate them and even further distort them, all of which doesn’t help…

            I basically have seen too many misinformed comments and have gotten to the point that even a unintended misleading sounding statement gets lumped in with the clearly mislead comments… and for that I apologize…

  6. Doesn’t look like it has a trackstick or some other mouse device. I hope other OEMs come out with sub-10″ screened notebooks.

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