Laptops

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro review

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ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

Some people want high-powered gaming machines; others already have simple laptops that can do it all. The ASUS Transformer 3 Pro is part of a tiny gray area in between, and it’s quite the niche.

If you’re familiar with Microsoft’s line of Surface convertibles, you’ll know what you’re getting with the Transformer 3 Pro. They look and function alike, but the ASUS has a few more tricks up its sleeve.

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

The model I’m reviewing here is also known as the T303U. If you want to get technical, mine has a decent configuration with a sixth-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, and 512GB SSD storage.

Not bad, eh? The only downside is the price: PhP 69,995 in the Philippines, or about $1,400 in most markets. That’s pricey, so you better read on before making the investment.

It’s surprisingly comfortable in all positions

What bothered me when I reviewed previous convertibles were the awkward resting positions on my lap. The Transformer 3 Pro manages to break that curse.

The main unit comes with a built-in kickstand, which is as long as the entire tablet part and has 155 degrees of flexibility. This means it can easily rest on any type of surface, whether you have the bundled keyboard case attached or not.

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

Latching on the keyboard is as simple as letting the magnets of both units attract one another. And even with the two parts put together, the whole thing feels so light. The tablet weighs in at about 790g, but you’d think it’s lighter thanks to the slim 8.35mm profile.

This thing can run fast

Based on the specifications we mentioned earlier, you can already tell this convertible can blaze through everyday tasks. The question is: How far much farther can it go?

Without a dedicated graphics card, the Transformer 3 Pro will struggle when handling high-definition video editing or playing games like Tomb Raider or the new Doom. But that’s to be expected, really.

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

What you can get away with is heavy editing on Photoshop while having several tabs open at the same time in Chrome. I’m writing this review on a Transformer 3 Pro, and I’m split-screening Google Docs with YouTube videos playing and Photoshop ready in the background.

But expect lots of heat on top

Obviously, you’re going to experience lots of heat when putting a laptop-level Core i5 chipset in a thin tablet. It doesn’t help that the whole thing is made of “premium alloy.” Solid? Yes, but the heat spreads all over the top half of the unit.

Since the Transformer 3 Pro doesn’t have the lighter Core M processor found in most convertibles — or even in the cheaper non-Pro Transformer 3 — a cooling fan had to be installed, and it blows hot air upwards.

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

That’s a good thing, actually, as it keeps heat away from your face or lap. Still, you’ll want to give the tablet some time to cool down before slipping it back in your bag, especially if you save the heavy loads towards the end of your work session.

Speakers get loud; display’s not that bright

Something I enjoy using during my time with the Transformer 3 Pro are the loud front-facing stereo speakers. They’re a breath of fresh air after all the crappy speakers I’ve had to endure with other tablets. This is one of the few instances where I don’t have to reach for external speakers just to watch Netflix flicks.

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

On the other hand, the screen isn’t that bright. While I appreciate the perfectly sized 12.6-inch 2880 x 1920-pixel display, the overall sharpness and well-saturated colors aren’t enough to make the screen clearly readable under sunlight. It’s a shame, since convertibles like this are designed to be used absolutely anywhere.

Wonky trackpad and keyboard, ugh

Here we go again: another Windows convertible, another awkward trackpad. Expect it to miss double-clicks and right-clicks, and mistakenly zoom in on whatever you’re viewing when you least expect it. I’d sometimes reach a point where I’d have to restart the whole thing just so it would go back to “normal.”

Same issues apply to the bundled pen. Although it works a lot like the one that comes with the Microsoft Surface line, with 1024 levels of pressure and two physical buttons for mouse-like controls, it’s difficult to write legibly or draw anything beyond rough sketches. Fortunately, the pen makes use of a removable AAAA battery instead of built-in charging like the Apple Pencil, and ASUS bundles the hard-to-find battery in the box.

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

The keyboard isn’t that great, either. While I appreciate the well-spaced keys and their relatively long travel, they have too much resistance, requiring stronger presses while typing. You’ll get used to it eventually, but you also have to deal with a glitchy connection to the tablet. Any slight nudge, and it’ll disconnect instantly; that’s a problem if you move a lot while it’s on your lap.

On the bright side, the keyboard has evenly distributed backlighting. This is invaluable while working in the dark, since the keyboard has an all-black design. You can also choose from three brightness levels.

Hello, ports and cameras

The latest tech trend I hate most is sacrificing connectivity options in favor of a single USB Type-C port and multiple dongles. Apple’s new MacBook started this horrible idea, and companies have been following suit in order to trim down components and rip off consumers with extra accessories. ASUS is having none of that here.

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

For starters, the Transformer 3 Pro has a single full-sized USB 3.0 for all those flash drives you have lying around, and a USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt 3 support. Then you have a full-sized HDMI port, microSD slot, and — thank goodness — a 3.5mm headphone jack. I never had to consider bringing adapters along for a trip.

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

Finally, we have a 13-megapixel camera at the back, and a 2-megapixel shooter in front with an infrared camera beside it. I honestly never thought of using the main camera for taking pictures — and don’t have any sample photos, sorry — but the front-facing camera works flawlessly for Windows Hello, which allows you to log in using your beautiful face.

Where art thou, battery life?

This part hurts the most. As much as I love the speed and overall completeness of the Transformer 3 Pro, its battery life is terribly average.

I’d normally expect at least six to seven hours of usage on a single charge from a convertible; this hybrid can manage only four hours with brightness set at 50 percent and Wi-FI turned on the whole time. And that’s if you’re lucky — three and a half hours is the norm if you go beyond simple web browsing and add photo editing into the mix.

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

At least you get fast charging. It took me less than two hours to reach a hundred percent, and that’s for a battery capacity much larger than any smartphone’s.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Of all the Microsoft Surface clones that have been released, the Transformer 3 Pro does it best, and even eclipses the pioneer in a few aspects, such as physical connectivity and audio-visual quality.

This Transformer is also a step above the Core M-equipped convertibles we’ve reviewed recently, thanks to a much more powerful Core i5 processor coupled with plenty of storage and memory. Yet, in spite of all the goodness, you must take some things into consideration before investing in this product.

For one, it’s a little too powerful — yes, you read that right. You don’t need this much processing muscle for surfing the web and light editing. That’s why there’s a plain Transformer 3 with a starting price of only $799. What’s the difference? It has a more energy-efficient Core M processor and a single USB Type-C port, but comes with two additional speakers and an even thinner frame.

And, no matter how you look at it, the Transformer 3 Pro is expensive. For the same price, you could afford an ASUS gaming laptop with a real graphics card and better keyboard-trackpad combo. Sure, you’d end up with a heftier notebook without a touchscreen, but it’s far more capable in all other aspects.

[irp posts=”8791" name=”ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe review”]

Laptops

Surface Pro 7 and Laptop 3: Price in Singapore

They’re finally here

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Last October, Microsoft took the wraps off the Surface Pro 7 and Laptop 3. Worldwide release soon followed in November. Now, it’s Singapore’s turn to receive these devices as Microsoft is bringing them in the country.

Surface Pro 7

Here are the prices of the different Surface Pro 7 variants:

  • Core i5, 128GB SSD, 8GB RAM — SG$ 1,388 (Platinum)
  • Core i5, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM — SG$ 1,788 (Platinum and Matte Black)
  • Core i7, 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM — SG$ 2,188 (Platinum and Matte Black)
  • Core i7, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM — SG$ 2,688 (Platinum and Matte Black)
  • Core i7, 1TB SSD, 16GB RAM — SG$ 3,288 (Platinum)

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7 comes with a 12.3-inch IPS display. Powering the device is a 10th-gen Intel Core processors with Iris Plus graphics for performance boost. It looks exactly like the Surface Pro 6, and the only thing differentiating them is an USB-C port which replaced the DisplayPort.

Surface Laptop 3

Along with the Surface Pro 7, Microsoft also launched the Surface Laptop 3. This year, they are releasing a bigger 15-inch variant, which is a first for the Surface Laptop line. This variant will come to Singapore along with the traditional 13.5-inch variant.

The variants and the prices are as follows:

13.5-inch variant

  • Core i5, 128GB SSD, 8GB RAM — SG$ 1,488 (Platinum)
  • Core i5, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM — SG$ 1,888 (Platinum and Matte Black)
  • Core i7, 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM — SG$ 2,288 (Platinum and Matte Black)
  • Core i7, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM — SG$ 2,888 (Platinum and Matte Black)

15-inch variant

  • Ryzen 5 3580U, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM — SG$ 2,188 (Platinum and Matte Black)
  • Ryzen 5 3580U, 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM — SG $2,488 (Platinum and Matte Black)

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3 comes with an Intel Core processors with Iris Plus graphics or an AMD Ryzen processors with Vega graphics. Design-wise, it is the only Surface device in a traditional laptop form factor. Like the Surface Pro 7, it also did away with the DisplayPort in favor of USB-C.

Accessories

Buyers of Surface Pro 7 and Laptop 3 may want accessories to go with their newly purchased devices. Microsoft has them covered with the following peripherals:

  • Surface Arc Mouse — SG$ 118
  • Surface Pen — SG$ 148
  • Signature Type Cover for Surface Pro 7 — SG$ 249

They come in a variety of colors including Ice Blue, Poppy Red, Black and Platinum.

Surface devices and accessories are available at Best Denki, Challenger, Courts, EpiCentre @ ION Orchard, Harvey Norman, and Lazada. Business customers can avail the device at AsiaPac, JK Technology, and UIC. Alternatively, consumers can head to Microsoft’s store to buy the device.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft Surface family Hands-On

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Deals

ASUS TUF Gaming joins season of giving

With their Share 2019 Plus promo

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The holiday deals keep coming and ASUS TUF Gaming is joining in with their Share 2019 Plus promo.

Under this holiday deal, purchasing various ASUS TUF Gaming laptops will net you any of the following: Sperry Gift Certificates, JBL Clip 2 Speakers, or even game codes for Borderlands 3 or The Outer World. The promo will run from November 30 to December 31.

Here are the participating ASUS TUF Gaming laptops.

Model Screen LCD Spec CPU RAM Storage GPU SRP Bundle
FX505DD-AL272T 15″ FHD IPS 120HZ R5-3550H 8GB 512G PCIE2 GTX1050 3GD5 PhP 41,995
  • Sperry Gift Certificates worth PHP 3,000
  • Choice between Borderlands 3 or The Outer Worlds worth PHP 1,530 each
FX505DD-AL233T 15″ FHD IPS 120HZ R5-3550H 8GB 1TB GTX1050 3GD5 PhP 40,995
  • Sperry Gift Certificates worth PHP 3,000
  • Choice between Borderlands 3 or The Outer Worlds worth PHP 1,530 each
FX505DD-AL127T 15″ FHD IPS 120HZ R5-3550H 4GB 1TB GTX1050 3GD5 PhP 38,995
  • Sperry Gift Certificates worth PHP 3,000
  • Choice between Borderlands 3 or The Outer Worlds worth PHP 1,530 each
FX505DY-AL117T 15″ FHD IPS 120HZ R5-3550H 4GB 512G PCIE2 RX560X 4GD5 PhP 37,995
  • JBL Clip 2 Speaker worth PHP 3,099

  • Choice between Borderlands 3 or The Outer Worlds worth PHP 1,530 each

FX505DY-AL080T 15″ FHD IPS 120HZ R5-3550H 4GB 1TB RX560X 4GD5 PhP 36,995
  • JBL Clip 2 Speaker worth PHP 3,099

  • Choice between Borderlands 3 or The Outer Worlds worth PHP 1,530 each

FX505DY-AL026T 15″ FHD IPS 120HZ R5-3550H 4GB 1TB RX560X 4GD5 PhP 36,995
  • JBL Clip 2 Speaker worth PHP 3,099

  • Choice between Borderlands 3 or The Outer Worlds worth PHP 1,530 each

FX505DY-BQ121T 15″ FHD IPS 60Hz R5-3550H 4GB 1TB RX560X 4GD5 PhP 35,995
  • JBL Clip 2 Speaker worth PHP 3,099

  • Choice between Borderlands 3 or The Outer Worlds worth PHP 1,530 each

 

Some important details to take note of:

Claiming of hard bundle items (Sperry Gift Certificates or JBL Clip 2 Speakers) will start on December 2, 2019 and will end on February 28, 2020. Claiming can be done at ASUS Philippines, 4/F Hanston Building, F. Ortigas Jr. Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City on weekdays, between 10:00AM-4:00PM. The following documents need to be presented:

  • Original collection receipt
  • Photocopy of customer’s twovaid IDs with signature
  • Photocopy of the representative’s two valid IDs

In case the buyer cannot make an appearance at the claiming site, they must send the following information and documents to [email protected]:

  • Name as found on the original collection receipt
  • Complete shipping address and contact details
  • Store of Transaction
  • Clear photo of original collection receipt
  • Photocopy of the customer’s two valid IDs with signature
  • Photocopy of the representative’s two valid IDs

Buyers will receive confirmation two to five working days after sending the e-mail. Only valid claims will be tagged as eligible for the program.

Bundle items will be sent directly to the assigned shipping address within 30 days of validation. Only purchases done within the period stipulated in #1 can be valid. Game bundle can be claimed through the official AMD Philippines claiming website.

Bundle items are not transferrable nor convertible to cash. Any incorrect information submitted to ASUS Philippines will void eligibility. Any re-processing outside operating procedure will be subject to charges and fees will be shouldered by the buyer.

Lastly, existing replacement and repair mechanics will be applicable once the unit has been availed. Standard warranty terms will also apply to all accessories purchased during the same transaction.

See the participating stores here.

 

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Features

5 reasons to invest in a gaming laptop even if you don’t play

They can do more than just game

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If you’re a professional in need of a powerful laptop, you might find it difficult to find something that meets all of your needs and preferences. While you’d rather have something that’s sleek, sometimes what you need are on a gaming laptop that’s bulky and just screams gaming too much.

Fortunately, brands like ASUS and Lenovo have started redesigning gaming laptops with portability in mind. This attempt makes consumers consider gaming laptops once again.

While it’s easy to look for a reason to buy a gaming laptop if you’re a gamer, there are still a few good reasons to invest in a gaming laptop even if you don’t play games.

Work anywhere you want

Brands are redesigning gaming laptops by making them slimmer and more compact. Gaming laptops have started looking like real laptops and not a clunky machine that will be tough to carry around for most people. They’ve trimmed the weight and now a lot of them fit in most backpacks with a dedicated 15-inch laptop sleeve. Think of it as bringing a laptop with the power of a mobile PC wherever you go.

Stay ahead of the game (no pun intended)

A lot of laptops launched this year carry the latest processors and graphics card meant for the future. For instance, the Lenovo Legion Y540 has a 9th-gen Intel i7 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card, 8GB RAM and 1TB SSD storage.

With that much power, that’s more than enough for your work and daily usage. Imagine running multiple tabs without any hiccups, or even when using power-hungry apps like Netflix, Spotify, and Google Chrome simultaneously.

Show-off a personality

Most gaming laptops nowadays are designed stylishly to reflect different personalities. The ASUS’ ROG line roars like thunder, screaming power, and strength. It’s also unafraid of coming out too loud and daring.

On the other hand, Lenovo’s Legion laptops remain true to their motto of being “stylish on the outside, savage on the inside.” A lot of their laptops look discreet and classy, but are powerful on their own right and oftentimes, they let their work  — and performance — do the talking.

Since I have a hint of narcissism and vanity, I enjoy showing-off from time to time. However, I resonate most with the Legion lineup since I prefer astounding the world with the quality of my output.

Choose when to be untethered

A lot of people prefer being mobile so they can work remotely. Gaming laptops may be humongous but they’re portable and have multiple ports for you to stay connected. It’s difficult to pass on this kind of convenience. Additionally, gaming laptops aren’t limited to USB-C ports, unlike most business laptops. Furthermore, you don’t have to be tied down with cables compared to when you opt for a desktop PC.

Get the extra features to make you more productive

While your needs for a work laptop sometimes are limited to the basics, switching to a gaming laptop lets you enjoy extra features. Case in point: near-borderless display, better visuals, a 144 Hz refresh rate allowing a smooth and seamless, immersive sound experience, antiglare screen, and unique cooling system.

With all these nitty-gritty details, gaming laptops can make your workflow easier since these machines do most of the work for you. It’s just a matter of you taking advantage of all that power.

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