Asus Taichi review

Price when reviewed

As ever, battery life is crucial for such a device, and here the Taichi struggles. We ran our light-use battery test in both tablet and laptop modes, and in both scenarios the Taichi lasted just under five hours. On the rare occasion that both displays are running simultaneously, that figure will tumble dramatically. Thankfully, though, the wall-wart PSU weighs only 212g, so it doesn’t add too much to the overall travelling weight.


The greatest asset of the Taichi’s design is that, as a laptop, there’s no compromise. The Scrabble-tile keys have a light yet positive action, and the layout is perfect, with a wide right-Shift key and a usable cluster of cursor keys. The touchpad supports Windows 8’s edge gestures, allowing you to drag a finger from the right of the touchpad to activate the Charms menu, or from the left to flick between apps.

Multitouch gestures work, too, along with two-fingered taps to emulate a right-click; we had an occasional issue with the pad not responding to gestures due to the slight lip around the touchpad’s edge.

Asus Taichi

Running the Taichi in tablet mode is less pleasing. The problem isn’t the touchscreen itself: it’s responsive, and the N-trig digitiser provides accurate inking support.

Using it at a desk is also improved by the ability to tilt the display upwards. The weight of the base holds the Taichi steady, and the hinge is stiff enough that you have to prod forcefully before the display nudges backwards.

However, the biggest downside of the Taichi’s design is that 1.25kg is far too heavy for comfortable long-term use. Holding it in tablet mode is tiring, and much as we appreciate the ability to flit quickly between the laptop and tablet simply by flicking the lid open and closed, the weight penalty is severe.

The Taichi’s split personality also causes other woes. Try as we might, we kept instinctively reaching out and prodding the laptop display, only to remember that it wasn’t a touchscreen. Where we found ourselves instinctively flitting from touchpad to touchscreen and back again with the single touchscreen of Asus’ VivoBook S200E, the Taichi’s separate tablet and laptop modes sit more awkwardly, with the transition from one to the other feeling far less intuitive.

Asus Taichi


Many manufacturers are struggling to find the most natural meeting point between the tablet and the laptop, and Asus’ own Windows 8 range provides yet more evidence of this. With its VivoBooks marrying touchscreens to standard laptops, the forthcoming VivoTab range mimicking the separate tablet and keyboard dock concept of the Android-powered Transformer Pad, and the Taichi 21 ploughing its own dual-screened furrow, it seems even Asus isn’t confident enough to put all of its eggs in one basket.

Give it a few years and a refined, lighter chassis married with more power-efficient CPUs and improved battery life could see this dual-screened form factor present a compelling hybrid. At present, though, Asus’ Taichi 21 feels like a bold, innovative concept that’s just a little too far ahead of its time.


Warranty 2 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 307 x 199 x 18mm (WDH)
Weight 1.250kg
Travelling weight 1.5kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i7-3517U
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR3

Screen and video

Screen size 11.6in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,920
Resolution screen vertical 1,080
Resolution 1920 x 1080
Graphics chipset Intel HD Graphics 4000
HDMI outputs 1
DisplayPort outputs 1


Capacity 256GB
Hard disk SanDisk SD5SE2256G1002E
Optical disc technology N/A
Optical drive N/A
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0


Wired adapter speed 100Mbits/sec
802.11a support yes
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
3.5mm audio jacks 1
SD card reader no
Memory Stick reader no
MMC (multimedia card) reader no
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Multitouch touchpad
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 5.0mp

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 4hr 55min
3D performance (crysis) low settings 42fps
3D performance setting Low
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.66
Responsiveness score 0.73
Media score 0.73
Multitasking score 0.51

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 8 64-bit
OS family Windows 8

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