back to article This THREESOME is a HANDFUL: It’s the Asus Transformer Book Trio

No matter what sort of tablet you prefer, be it an iPad or an Android slate, there will be times when you will also need a good old-fashioned Windows laptop too. Asus, which has form when it comes to cooking up strange combo designs - witness the PadFone - obviously thinks that’s the case as the new Transformer Book Trio is both …

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Anonymous Coward

Just wish

Just wish you had tried Linux on the dock part. Even only booting from an USB stick, to be able to give us an expectation on how well supported (or not) it could be if one opts to install Linux instead of the supplied W8.

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Re: Just wish

Dear Top Gear

Just wish you had tried a Vauxhall Astra engine on the Ford Mondeo that you were previewing...Even just running it from a Ford Transit engine, to be able to give us an expectation on how well supported (or not) it could be ......................

The (rather weak) USP of this device is the integration of two operating systems, namely win and droid. It doesn't state "Linux ready" or "Linux capable" or indeed "this device has been stored in the same room as a copy of Linux" so why should the tester (testee???) want/need to try it out?

I am a happy multiple OS user, including Linux... just so's you know!

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Re: Just wish

it would knock around 12% of the price too!

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Re: Just wish

it would knock around 12% of the price too!.

No it wouldn't, not in anyway. These would have to be custom runs, special orders, different from the mass market, ergo, effectively cost more. Same way non-standard colour schemes for cars very often cost more, as they have to set it up, just for that one or 10 off, as opposed to huge batch runs.

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Re: Just wish @timfy67

Incorrect analogy.

It's more along the lines of let's replace the engine management software and watch us get 20% more BHP and use 10% less fuel from the same engine.

One day you will learn the difference between software and hardware.

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Re: Just wish

And then after you'd tested it with Linux..you'd be told you used the wrong distro.

Let them stump up the £900 and find out for themselves.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Just wish @ jason 7

£900 !

Yeah right. I'll just get a chromebook and whack Linux on that thanks. Only Windows needs £900 worth of hardware to run it.

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Re: Just wish

That's an entirely reasonable question. For gear for my personal use, Windows is just a placeholder. I read reviews of kit running Windows solely to find out if there are any bumps in the road to installing another OS.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: the wrong distro?

Mostly, its about whether a modern linux kernel has the drivers necessary to use the machine's hardware. So pretty it is much irrelevant what distro is used - it's just that some distros might require a bit of kernel upgrading and/or customizing to get the best results. All that's required is an attempt to boot one of the more desktop-focussed linux distros, and a description of how sucessful it was.

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Re: Just wish @ jason 7

@rm rf

Sorry I didn't feel I needed to point out the irony of the last line in that post.

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Re: Just wish

quote: "Just wish you had tried Linux on the dock part. Even only booting from an USB stick, to be able to give us an expectation on how well supported (or not) it could be if one opts to install Linux instead of the supplied W8."

It's an i5 with very few extras so I suspect it'll probably install ok, however you would lose all the integration features between the "dock" OS and the tablet. Since you can get a cheap laptop and cheap tablet seperately for less than this item, that would remove the main USP for this device, which is the integration between the 2.

quote: "Incorrect analogy.

It's more along the lines of let's replace the engine management software and watch us get 20% more BHP and use 10% less fuel from the same engine.

One day you will learn the difference between software and hardware."

You may get +20% power and +10% economy out of the engine, but if the supplied ECU remap also disables ABS and ESP, or can't communicate with the instrument binnacle, then it's still moot whether it was worth it at all. You are losing functionality (the supplied ASUS software/drivers suite that lets the 2 devices integrate) for the sake of replacing the OS, and as mentioned above that would be destroying one of, if not the only, USP for this device. IMO you'd be better off getting a cheap laptop and tablet seperately and pocketing the savings, than buying this to install Linux on, even if the Linux install is painlessly smooth.

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Re: Just wish @ jason 7

@rm -rf/

"Yeah right. I'll just get a chromebook and whack Linux on that thanks. Only Windows needs £900 worth of hardware to run it".

Despite me pointing out that obvious inaccuracy, Have you ever considered some people want more than just an 'environment'? How's World of tanks for Linux coming? Runs great on Arm too I suppose? Just because it's not what you want does not rid it of its significant use case.

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Re: Just wish @ jason 7

Runs great on Arm too I suppose?

Why would that matter for an Intel-based fondleslab?

Oh and it appears to run, if via WINE and PlayOnLinux. Couldn't tell you from personal experience though, because I'm really not interested in F2P-P2W.

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Re: Just wish

With a linux distro running on the dock the OS swap function would vanish thus negating the entire point of this device.

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Re: Just wish

People said that about Linux and wifi cards. And then all the wifi cards started working because, surprise surprise, people either wrote drivers for them, or wrapped Windows drivers up for them.

No reason a Linux couldn't be finagled into working with the OS Swap button, given enough popularity and motivation to do so.

Also this is The Register. One would think that "stick a Linux distro on it and see what happens" would be a standard part of the review.

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Re: Just wish

I'm not sure integration is required - a rocker switch to go between displaying the tablet (android) and base (x86 OS) on the screen would be fine.

This is the kind of device I've been waiting for, though. Let's hope they resolve the base-station wireless thing.

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Re: Just wish @ jason 7

pretty well apparently

http://appdb.winehq.org/objectManager.php?sClass=version&iId=27815

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Just wish

To answer original question, I have installed linux (fedora and ubuntu) and it works pretty well on the dock including the OS swap key. See http://www.linlap.com/asus_transformer_book_trio_tx201la for the details.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Just wish

just wish how more interesting or useful the hardware could have been - indicators on the top deck, for example - if Asus didn't stick to the Apple design paradigm as if it were their next religious rapture.

Looking at this device and all you can say is "Are The Reg reviewing a new Apple lappy?", until they close the top and you witness a black cover rather than a shiny fruit logo. Otherwise, this is a bloody MacBook copy and suffers all the more for it - it is amazing how stupidly blind the industry as become.

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Hurrah!

I am glad to see someone trying something other than follow-the-herd.

The review is pretty encouraging too. My wallet has started making plaintive whimpering noises.

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Anonymous Coward

there will be times when you will also need a good old-fashioned Windows laptop too.

Not very much anymore. It's quicker and easier to do stuff on my tablet (Nexus7).

I really don't need Microsoft anymore.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's quicker and easier to do stuff on my tablet (Nexus7).

stuff like watching cat videos and posting status updates maybe. If you've got some work to do you're probably going to need a pc.....

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Re: It's quicker and easier to do stuff on my tablet (Nexus7).

Yes, and that PC can run OS X.

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"there will be times when you will also need a good old-fashioned Windows laptop too. "

Perhaps a modern Windows if I really,really have to, but not an old fashioned one. WinME?

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Great machine for the corporate market, gives you a decent windows machine and tablet while only needding to manage one device. Could see myself taking it in tablet only mode for meeting and customer visits, with the keyboard for more intensive on-the-road work and docking it with a big screen when back in the office.

Nice.

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Corporates

I can't see it going down too well with most IT Security teams. Assuming the Windows bit goes on your corporate network, the Android bit probably won't be allowed and will be relegated to the public network. Yet they are connected and share files? I can see Security minds boggling right now.

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Re: Corporates

Android isn't too bad to manage, it's got some basic security built in, when you combine encryption with remote lock and wipe, it's really not that bad.

The BYOD trend is one that most IT departments can't ignore, but if they've provided you with a tablet, then they're well within their rights to prohibit bringing in personal tablets/phones.

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Having just bought one of these on Saturday...

I read the review with trepidation, it's always depressing to see someone slagging off a device you've just bought!

I have to say I agree with most of what was said in the review, the lack of a backlight on the i5 is disappointing. It's relatively easy to disassemble the dock, the RAM is soldered on and limited to 4GB but the hard drive is easily accessible and I swapped to a 250GB SSD, keeping the existing 500GB in an external USB3 caddy.

There is a small light on the dock so you always know what mode Windows is in, don't really want to leave it running unless I need it, with the SSD, Windows wakes up almost instantly, cold boot is complete in 4-5 seconds.

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Not convinced

2 chargers?

Surely cheaper to just buy a nexus 7 and a mid-range windows laptop?

nice to see new form factors being tried, but not convinced I'd ever need this.

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I must admit, I was tempted by this. £900 seems resaonable for 2 devices. I found it a month ago while researching replacement laptop/tablets for a local businessman.

It is a very interesting design. A good attempt to provide the best of both worlds to users. The regular asus transformers come in andrioid or windows flavours, if you cannot decide between them (and have the money) this is a good way to 'not' decide between them and get both.

But I've no need for a windows machine just now, nor for the last 14 years. But a childish voice was piping 'want, want, want' in my head for a while.

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Linux

For the love of god stick an Ubuntu and Fedora LiveCD in it! Seriously, corporate whores are the only people left using Windows.

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Re: Linux

>Seriously, corporate whores are the only people left using Windows.

That's 'serious'?

There's mechanical engineers running some flavours of CAD, and people using the likes of Adobe's offerings (if they aren't using OSX). Oh, and small business using Sage and its 3rd-party plugins for tax, payroll, and stock keeping. Not forgetting people using niche workshop hardware that is controlled using Windows software. And PC gamers, whose desire for more graphics power has lowered the cost of GPUs for the rest of us...

There may be trends in some areas away from Windows (Rhino 3D on OSX, games on ValveOS, applications running in web-browsers a la ChromeOS, office applications on mobile OSs like Android) but a Windows-free computing life is not yet here for a lot of us. Though we might respect the principles of Open Source Software - and be frustrated by aspects of propriety software caused by commercial thinking - sometimes paying people to write applications results in better products.

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Re: Linux

Indeed, I'm still yet to come across any business or domestic using Linux in the wild. Its 95% Windows and 5% OSX.

I have a lot of customers too. Maybe the Reg should start doing interviews with any businesses of reasonable size that have switched totally to Linux as I would be intrigued to hear their story.

If they exist that is.

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Re: Linux

Yebbut - the OP is running a Linux PC at home so he must be an expert.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Linux

I am not a corporate whore; I am an Enterprise Courtesan.

As was said above, the really nifty thing about this is the integration 'twixt Windows and Android. I would love to see this done with Debian/Android, if the integration was as tight as (or tighter than) what was described in the review.

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Re: Linux

On a purely practical point, there's no optical drive on these babies, so where's the LiveCD going to fit?

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Re: Linux

Yeah, fair point there, LiveUSB it is then.

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Re: Linux

"any business or domestic using Linux "

Let me introduce myself then - 6/7 (one's in pieces at the moment) netbooks/laptops/desktops spread over 2 homes and a motorhome - all run only Linux - none apart from one second hand laptop have ever had Windows installed - my latest laptop came £65 cheaper for not having Windows. From another post earlier today :-

"I'm writing this on a brand new laptop bought on-line from a UK company (quad -core i7, 8GB, 1080 matte screen) and I got it £65 cheaper by not having Windows installed. The case is a little naff but the screen ( ~15") and performance is gorgeous. OpenSUSE 13.1 installed in 8 minutes from a USB live distro and EVERYTHING works. Only Intel graphics but that is easily good enough to watch 1080p/50 video with cpus ticking over. Renders 1080p/50 video at ~1.7 mins per min of video (H264) with all 'eight' cores averaging about 80%"

Before I retired from a major pharma I had one big powerful dual Xeon Linux workstation with 3D graphics for the difficult stuff and a Windows desktop for the corporate grief - I was not alone - 200+ people in the same company had the same/similar set-ups.

You remind me of the people here who say things like "no-one need to upgrade anymore, even old hardware is sufficient to run a browser and a word-processor". Except some of us need as many cpu cycles as we can get.

In that vein many people, in absolute terms use Linux, every day and in every way, professionally and domestically and almost all of them have chosen to - not had if foisted on them by the PC suppliers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Linux

"On a purely practical point, there's no optical drive on these babies, so where's the LiveCD going to fit?"

Ever wonder how all those netbooks got new distos installed - LiveUSB

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Linux

"Before I retired from a major pharma I had one big powerful dual Xeon Linux workstation with 3D graphics for the difficult stuff ..."

What software were you using for the difficult stuff?

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Re: Linux

"What software were you using for the difficult stuff?"

Lots of in-house & academic stuff for protein modeling and structural database searching, conformational analysis and docking. Commercial stuff like Schrodinger products like Maestro, Glide, Jaguar.

This was ~8 years ago, much was only available for Unix/Linux and often needed to run 24-96 hours flat out

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Re: Linux

Seriously, corporate whores are the only people left using Windows.

[spanish_accent]

Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You called my mother a whore. Prepare to die.

[/spanish_accent]

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Re: Linux

This device is very interesting but sadly too expensive for my wallet. I must disclose that I drooled over the PadFone too and that I actually quite like ASUS kit.

On the Linux in enterprise, I don't know what size organization you're thinking about, but at my last place only the corporate functions used windows or OSX, whilst R&D and Professional Services all used Linux on desktops and laptops. I think that made a 50:300 split.

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Re: Linux

"Ever wonder how all those netbooks got new distos installed - LiveUSB"

Yep, I know of those things, and I've got a couple of laptops running Linux off them, but I've also got a sense of humour, which you obviously haven't...

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diy

Re: Linux

I Remember many years ago some lying git told me that android was based on linux but from what all you experts are saying its obviously not

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Linux

"Seriously, corporate whores are the only people left using Windows."

Because, statistically, the 1.6% of the world that uses Linux on the desktop (like you) are SOOOoooooooooooo numerous.

I wish that the Linux users on this forum would, truly and finally, get over themselves. Nobody uses Linux on the desktop except the few, and that a PROVEN, 1.6%, FACT.

Really. 1.6%. Prove otherwise or get off your high horse on how "important" Linux is for desktop end users.

And hitting that downvote button proves that you'd rather continue to mouth-off than face provable facts - a religious zealot comes in many forms, you know.

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zb
FAIL

I think this product is going to fall between three stools.

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It's a really nice idea, but poorly executed.

Whenever a company like Asus comes up with an idea like this it always seems like they are just bolting two things together, rather than properly integrating them. I like what they've done with the sharing of the power, but it could have had the ability to share the hardware better, e.g. using the RAM of the tablet on the desktop. They could even use the tablet to farm off operations on the main computer to free up resources, providing the hardware is compatible, which would be a job for the design team to get right.

Of course that would probably increase the cost of a device that not many people will want to buy, but if it was integrated seamlessly then more people would be interested in buying it. I would be willing to pay £1200 rather than £900 for a device of similar spec, provided it worked perfectly and did everything I expected it to, which at the moment it doesn't, but it is so close that I hope they sell enough to warrant a MK2 version, which, if they continue to work on the integration rather than adding new features, would probably be a fantastic machine.

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No stylus - no buy

Sorry ASUS, I generally like your gear and LOVED your EP121. But this is not good enough. You have the tech and licences to put a WACOM pen in there. Do it and this is a nice alternative to Surface/Pro2 and Tab11.

But as a touch only device it is relatively useless in the business environment compared to theses or stuff like the Thinkpad Yoga

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Be warey

I hope they have put a better flash drive than the TF300T, it's painfully slow.

Also be aware Asus only seem to update their android os for about 18 months after first release of a product before assigning it to the scrap bin, and then they are usually 2 releases behind.

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