ASUS Transformer 3 Pro hands-on – A better Surface Pro?

What happens when you take the Surface Pro, slim it down and speed it up? You get the Transformer 3 Pro. Today at Computex 2016, ASUS announced a plethora of new phones, tablets, and other devices, with the Transformer 3 Pro clearly aimed at the Surface 4 Pro.

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The Transformer 3 Pro is a 2-in-1 PC running Windows 10 that features a 12.6-inch 2880×1920 display, Intel Core i7 CPU, up to 16GB of 2133MHz RAM, and up to 1TB of PCIe x4 SSD storage — all inside a svelte 8.35mm diamond-cut aluminum package. On the edges, you’ll find a USB Type C connector that supports USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3, a USB 3.0 port, and an HDMI socket. There’s a 13MP shooter in the back, a selfie camera for Windows Hello, and dual front stereo speakers by Harman Kardon.

Optional extras include the ASUS Pen with 1024 pressure levels, the ASUS Audio Pod for immersive 360-degree sound, and the ASUS Universal dock which connects via USB Type-C and boasts several ports including an Ethernet Jack, SD-XC card reader, and VGA connector. For the gamers out there, the Transformer 3 Pro is also compatible with the ROG XG Station 2 external graphics card dock.

What’s not optional is the ASUS Transformer Cover Keyboard, which features backlit keys with laptop-like 1.4mm travel and comes in a variety of colors including Stone, Charcoal, Taupe, and Amber. Perhaps it’s finally time for Microsoft to start bundling the Type Cover with the Surface 4 Pro, eh?

I didn’t get to spend much time with the Transformer 3 Pro, but I was amazed by how similar it looks and feels to the Surface 4 Pro and impressed with the materials and build quality. The keyboard feels very comfortable to type on and the display looks gorgeous. But what’s most surprising is the device’s light weight and thinness — 0.1mm isn’t much of a difference, but it’s enough to be noticeable.

The Transformer 3 Pro will be available in the second half of 2016 starting at $999 and will be offered in two colors: Gold and Glacier Gray.