Not to be outdone on the subject of 2-in-1s today, ASUS has announced a second 2-in-1 to complement the newly announced Transformer 3. Dubbed the Transformer 3 Pro, this portable is a more direct competitor to Microsoft’s popular Surface Pro lineup.

ASUS Transformer 3 Series
  Transformer 3 Transformer 3 Pro
Processor Core M? (Kaby Lake) Core i5/Core i7 (Skylake)
Memory Up To 8GB LPDDR3 Up To 16GB LPDDR3
Display 12.6" 2880x1920
Storage Up To 512GB Up To 1TB, PCIe x4
Connectivity USB Type-C, 3.1 Gen 2
w/Thunderbolt 3
3.5mm Audio Jack
USB Type-C, 3.1 Gen 2
w/Thunderbolt 3
USB Typa-A, 3.0
3.5mm Audio Jack
Dimensions ? x ? x 6.9mm 299 x 210 x 8.35 mm
Pricing Starting At $799 Starting At $999

Although the standard Transformer 3 is not necessary a budget option, of the two Transformers it is the cheaper one, utilizing what’s likely a Core M processor and having all-around weaker specifications. However for users that need more processing power (Core i5/i7), more storage (Up to 1TB, PCIe), more RAM (up to 16GB), and more connectivity (HDMI, USB Type-A, MicroSD) the Pro offers all of this in a slightly thicker form factor. The Transformer 3 Pro also brings over the rest of the feature set offered by the base Transformer 3, including a USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, and a 12.6" 2880x1920 screen.

The higher specifications – particularly the use of an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor – puts it in direct competition with Microsoft’s Surface Pro. And at 8.35mm thick, I’m curious how the cooling system on the Pro compares to what Microsoft has done, as putting a 15W CPU in such a thin form factor is by no means an easy feat.

Finally, like its Core M based sibling, ASUS has not yet announced a shipping date for the Transformer 3 Pro. But a starting price has been announced, with the Pro starting at $999.

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  • digiguy - Monday, May 30, 2016 - link

    The pro is really interesting. Larger than SP4 screen at same weight and USB 3.1 Gen 2 with TB3. What's more with keyboard and pen included in the price.... MS will better come with something really good with Asus, Acer (with fanless i7) and Lenovo (with X1 tablet with thinkpad keyboard included and modules) all being already available before SP5 (due for Q1 2017 according to Paul Thurott)
  • SunLord - Monday, May 30, 2016 - link

    I'd go with the SP5 coming out in October like its done before rather than Q1 unless Ms is using come new tech that won't hit volume production till Q1
  • CaedenV - Monday, May 30, 2016 - link

    Don't expect any new hardware from Microsoft until next spring. Expecting next gen surface, surface pro, surface phone and Xbox all around the same time then
  • vanilla_gorilla - Monday, May 30, 2016 - link

    Don't forget about Lenovo's real Surface competitor the Ideapad Miix 700. Starting at $749 including the keyboard.
  • digiguy - Monday, May 30, 2016 - link

    The Miix 700 is just a clone of the SP3, that doesn't add much and has poor battery life... The X1 tablet is a much more interesting an innovative tablet, with a thinkpad keyboard, a better kickstand for laptop use, USB type C and LTE, and the modules add features like 5 hours of battery life, ports, a projector etc.
  • KPOM - Monday, May 30, 2016 - link

    My guess is that unless Microsoft sees itself as becoming like Apple in controlling both the hardware and software they won't make major changes to the Surface. They will push the envelope as necessary if they see OEMs stagnating or just fixating on aping Apple as most were until recently, but otherwise won't make major changes.
  • ToTTenTranz - Monday, May 30, 2016 - link

    If the Surface Pro 5 is coming in October, it's possible that it will actually be available before this Transformer 3.

    Here's hoping Microsoft will adopt USB-C with Thunderbolt 3 instead of their custom port, or at least let third parties develop a SurfaceConnect to USB-C Thunderbolt adapter.
  • Prod1702 - Monday, May 30, 2016 - link

    Looks like but it also looks like ASUS almost closely copied the Surface line. Still love my SP4. USB-C would of made it a bit better but over all I still love it.
  • digiguy - Monday, May 30, 2016 - link

    We will see who is right concerning SP5 and the other MS devices... In any case it's preferable that MS waits more (as it seems it will) and provides us a more compelling device with TB3 and/or liquid cooling for fanless i5/i7, larger screen at same or lower weight, hopefully without shaving battery life as they did with SP4.... (or at least with some form of extended battery module)
  • taisserroots - Monday, May 30, 2016 - link

    What's funny is this has more connectivity than the zenbook 3

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