In SA, Asus sells the T300 Chi in just one configuration (model: FH098H), which we tested. It houses 4GB RAM, a 2 560 x 1 440 screen and an Intel Core M-5Y71 chip. T300 Chi models with 8GB RAM, a lower screen resolution and a less powerful chip are also available through international, online import. The price of these models, and their test results, differ from ours.
The T300 Chi consists of a separate tablet and keyboard (dock). All of the computing hardware is located in the tablet behind the screen. The T300 Chi is 16.5mm thick and weighs 1.43kg – much less than previous Asus 2-in-1 (hybrid) devices. It also feels a lot more solid and durable than any of its plastic predecessors, like this T300. The tablet and keyboard's shiny edges add to its premium look and feel.
We did some fierce typing on the T300 Chi to see how stable and comfortable it would be. The result was quite satisfactory. The relatively small touchpad, on the other hand, is anything but comfortable and intuitive. Bottom line: you need a separate mouse at all times.Another point of frustration is that there is no easy way to unfold the screen from the keyboard. As there is nowhere to get your finger in between, you have to pry it open.
In order to physically connect the tablet and keyboard, Asus used to implement two small, metal hooks that that took up quite some space on previous models. Now, with the Asus T300 Chi that mechanism has been completely replaced by strong magnets that facilitate easy docking of the tablet and keyboard.
Apart from the obvious notebook and tablet modes, Asus markets the T300 Chi as having ‘stand' and ‘tent' mode. Both of these are great for watching videos or movies, but fail to add significant advantages to business users.
There is no easy way to unfold the screen from the keyboard - you literally have to pry it open to start using the T300 Chi.
The T300 Chi features an integrated Intel HD Graphics 5300 chip that should deliver adequate graphics for even the most demanding business user. Its 4GB of RAM is a bare minimum for the pre-installed Windows 8.1 to facilitate multitasking typical office apps and software. Unfortunately, there's no way to add more memory at a later time, making the device less future-proof. For storage, the T300 Chi houses a 128GB SSD drive that leaves around 75GB available for personal documents and applications. For wireless connectivity, the device fully supports both 2.4GHz and the faster 5GHz WiFi standard as well as the latest 802.11ac protocol and Bluetooth.
In the end, the T300 Chi proved capable to deliver more than enough performance for demanding business users. If you plan to use it for gaming though, you are better off with Microsoft's Surface Pro 3.
For business users, good battery life is a key consideration when planning to buy a new mobile device. Unfortunately, the T300 Chi houses a relatively small (31Wh) capacity battery. To put this into perspective, the Dell Latitude 7350 (50Wh), Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro (44Wh), Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (42WH) and Acer Aspire Switch 12 (36Wh) all use higher capacity batteries.
According to these tests, its battery life is disappointing, since the T300 Chi gives up after just four hours and 40 minutes when used for non-stop business tasks. All the other hybrids we used in this review lasted significantly longer. The Dell Latitude 7350 and Microsoft Surface 3 offered the best battery life.
During playback of Full-HD video content, the T300 Chi lasts for a bit longer, just over five hours. All the other devices, except the Yoga 3 Pro, can hold out a lot longer. Again, the Latitude 7350 and Surface 3 Pro lead the chart, making them the best choice if you plan to buy a 2-in-1 with great battery life. Ultimately, the T300 Chi should be avoided if battery life is your primary concern.
To generate that premium look and feel, most brands try to squeeze as many pixels into their high-end devices as possible. The T300 Chi model we reviewed offers a resolution of 2 560 x 1 440 on a 12.5-inch screen, resulting in 235 pixels per inch. Although this high pixel-count may seem great at first glance, it comes with serious drawbacks.
One of the issues modern-day screens are still faced with, are those annoying reflections from surrounding light sources. Despite the fact that Asus claims to use zero air gap technology to minimise them, they were still visible on the T300's Chi screen. In fact, we couldn't detect any improvement over screens that didn't have this technology.
Nonetheless, the screen delivers great, wide viewing angles and accurate colour reproduction. We also used our dedicated measuring hardware to find its maximum brightness (330cd/m²) and contrast (821:1) levels. Both are more than adequate for comfortable business use, but we've come across better. The Acer Aspire Switch 12, for instance, can display a maximum brightness of 410cd/m² while Dell's Latitude 7350 has a contrast ratio of 1100:1.The biggest flaw of the T300 Chi is backlight bleeding that we noticed in all four corners of the screen. For a device in this price range, that's not a premium feature to have.
The T300 Chi offers some good features that will probably be high up on the wish-list of any serious business user. It houses fast hardware that's neatly packed in a beautiful, solid and durable exterior.
Another aspect that will most likely top that same wish-list is great battery life and it's a shame that T300 Chi completely fails to deliver in that department.
The backlight bleeding of the screen is another major problem. Admittedly, it won't impact productivity, but becomes incredibly annoying once you've been made aware of it. It negates the idea that you're dealing with a premium, high-end device.
In the end, Asus put too much focus on the exterior and performance of the T300 Chi, at the expense of battery life and screen quality.
Our comments policy does not allow anonymous postings. Read the policy here