Asus’s novel dual screen notebook/tablet has a new bigger brother with a 13.3” screen and an Intel i5 or i7 processor. This screen size is the "sweet spot" for the road warrior.

I have been a fan of the 11.6” Taichi Model 21 version since its release in October 2012. Lid open it is a standard notebook (not touch) but on the other side is a touch screen which can mirror the inside screen so it is great for presentations to clients.

Lid closed it’s a touch tablet and comes with a stylus as well so it will appeal to designers and others that want finer control than ‘big fingered touch” can provide.

There were a few critics of this hybrid format and the weight but it made sense to me to have a device that could be both a tablet and a notebook and use a keyboard and mouse or just touch.

The model 31 is an Ultrabook reference design meaning it uses Intel Core processors, SSD storage, backlit keyboard and all the things you would expect from a quality manufacturer.

The big brother weighs in at 1.56kg has a 13.3” HD 1920x1080 IPS display, Bang and Olfsen ICEpower speakers (all notebooks should have BO), 128 or 256 SSD, 4GB ram, 2 x USB 3.0, Micro HDMI, Mini VGA, SD slot, Bluetooth 4.0, dual band N Wi-Fi, Intel Wi-Di, a 5MP rear camera and 720p front web camera.

Battery life on all 3rd generation Core based Ultrabooks is around 4 to 7 hours depending on processor use and what you are doing.

Price from $1999 for i5 (all you need) and $2399 for i7. Please note that Asus have a “retail version” for the major retailers and a Pro model from computer specialists so prices are not easily comparable.

Opinion:

As with any Windows 8, Intel Core device I need to make the comment that the 4th generation Haswell chipset is not too far away – certainly before the end of the year. It is not an excuse to delay but if you are not in a hurry the lower power draw (could reach 10-13 hours battery life depending on use), faster and higher resolution graphics (3200x1800 in a 14” display) and a few other advances like Wi-FI AC support may just tip the scales to Haswell.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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