Microsoft’s Surface Pro is the most iconic detachable tablet, and it has maintained a significant lead in the Windows 2-in-1 market, in both performances and mindshare. However, other OEM partners have joined the fray, and there have been several devices that compete with the Surface Pro, with varying success. The Asus Transformer Pro T304 is one of the devices that look almost exactly like the Surface Pro in terms of design, but is quite different in everything else.
Truly, the Asus Transformer Po T304 is so similar to the Surface Pro in appearance that if you were to see both devices side by side from across a room, you would have a hard time telling them apart. Both devices have a strikingly similar magnesium-alloy chassis, an almost-identical kickstand, and the keyboard cover on both devices look very much alike. However, that’s where the similarities end. The Surface Pro feels slightly better in the hands than the Transformer Pro.
The Transformer Pro T304 has lots of options for data input. The device can be used as a tablet with just touch and/or a pen, and you can also attach a keyboard. The keyboard layout is familiar, with all the right-sized keys in the right places, and it is attached using magnets and a pogo pin connector, which means that it offers the typical flat and inclined typing positions.
Asus also includes the Active Pen with the Transformer Pro T304. This pen offers 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, compared to 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity from the Surface Pro. But the device’s 10-point multi-touch display responds quickly and accurately, which is the norm for Windows 10 touchscreen devices today. it therefore provides an excellent experience whether in tablet or laptop mode.
The Asus Transformer Pro T304 has a microSD card reader, a USB 3.1 Type-A port, a full-sized HDMI connection and a USB 3.1 Type-C port. Unfortunately, the Type-C port is not Thunderbolt 3-equipped. Furthermore, you cannot use the Type-C port to charge the device, as it comes with a standard A/C adapter.
In terms of display, the Transformer Pro T304 is not quite up to the level of the Surface Pro. The device has a 12.6-inch screen, with a screen resolution of 2,160×1,440, or 206 PPI. In use, the Transformer Pro T304’s display is good enough, with decent colors and acceptable video. Of course, you can always customize the display using the Asus Splendid technology utility. For audio, the device offers dual speakers that flank the display on each side of the tablet towards the bottom. Asus promises 96 decibels of sound, a Smart Amplifier provided by Texas Instruments aimed at maximizing volume without damaging the speaker, and Harmon Kadon certification, which should provide a superb audio experience.
The device performs quite poorly in terms of battery life. On a heavy-usage test, the Transformer Pro T304 lasted a mere two hours and 14 minutes. This means that this device should be used with a charger and a power outlet close by.
If you are satisfied withal these features, then you will surely find the $1,000 price a bargain. This includes the keyboard cover and pen for complete productivity. The Asus Transformer Pro T304 is a solid value in this class machines for that price, and it does meet the need of the vast majority of people who need a detachable tablet.