It’s tough to forget the Asus Taichi 21: among all the Windows 8 convertibles we’ve seen (and we have seen a lot) this is actually the only one with two screens on the boat. In particular, it’s got one on the inside, which you’d use in regular notebook mode, along with a touchscreen on the outside that allows you to utilize the PC as a tablet. In case you like, you can shut the top completely and switch the machine into a slate-type of device, however you could also leave the lid open so that you’re mirroring your desktop, or displaying something unique on each one (imagine the possibilities for presenters!).
As an added trick, that outer screen also accepts pen input, though you will need to splurge on the highest-end configuration to get it with a stylus. For now, ASUS is selling the 11.6-inch Asus Taichi 21 ($1,299 ), though a 13-inch version will certainly start shipping later this month. Hopefully, though, our review after the break answers questions you’d have about either model. Namely, what’s it like to use a machine with two screens, anyway?
Asus Taichi 21 Review
The keys on the TAICHI have more or less the very same shape just like the ones on ASUS’s other Ultrabooks, say they’re a bit wider than they are tall. Still, it appears ASUS has done some retooling behind the scenes; typing on this keyboard doesn’t feel quite the same. Other than the fact that the layout is more cramped (this is an 11- not 13-inch machine, after all), the buttons here feel slightly less springy than the ones on the UX31A.
Obviously, using the Asus Taichi as a regular notebook or even a tablet doesn’t require any instruction — you can either close the lid or, uh, not. You need to do a little configuring to either mirror your desktop on the outer screen or enter the dual-display mode.
In America, at least, the Asus Taichi 21 is available in three configurations. Starting at the basic level, the least expensive option is a $1,299 model with a Core i5-3317U CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid-state drive. For $1,499, you will get the body of essentially the same specs, but double the space for storing. Finally, there’s the model we tested: a $1,599 machine with the works (Core i7-3517U, a 256GB SSD and an included stylus).
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