PROS / The TAICHI can be used in more than four modes, making sharing your display quick and simple. Having an Ethernet port gives you one more way to connect to the internet.
CONS / The battery life is a dismal five hours, and there isn't an option for expandable storage.
VERDICT / Having the option to share your screen in a number of different ways is extremely convenient, but having to plug in after a few hours of use is frustrating.
The ASUS TAICHI 21 is a device unlike any other. Though it has its drawbacks, this Windows tablet PC is one of the most futuristic on the market. ASUS asked how it could make a computer that encompasses all the devices we use on a daily basis, and the TAICHI was born. This device operates in four different modes: Mirror, Dual-Screen, Notebook and Tablet.
The displays feature a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, which is average for a tablet computer, providing a crisp, clear image when watching video, viewing photos and general activity on the computer. The TAICHI comes with a 1.9GHz 3rd-gen Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 256GB solid-state drive. All of this translates into a device that will ensure you get your work done, and fast. A quick processor and lots of memory are necessary to run multiple screens at once, and to allow you to multitask.
The battery life of the TAICHI is only about five hours. This varies, of course, depending on how you're using your computer. If you do intense amounts of work, running multiple apps at all times, watching video and have your display brightness set to the max, you will only achieve about three hours on this device. For work purposes, we recommend plugging in the TAICHI during use or purchasing an additional battery.
The modes of the TAICHI are the neatest thing about it. Notebook and Tablet modes are self-explanatory. Tablet mode is in effect when you close the lid from Notebook mode. This allows you to use the rear display as you would any other tablet by swiping, pinching and scrolling your way through tasks. An optional stylus is available, which makes drawing, writing and more even easier.
Notebook mode utilizes the computer like a fully-featured notebook, allowing you to sit and type comfortably. Often notebook keyboards can be cramped and uncomfortable to type on, but the TAICHI's backlit keyboard was comfortable enough to type on all day. Though you can't use the front display as a touchscreen, the large touchpad allows you to maneuver around the screen in a similar fashion. Using the touchpad you can pinch, swipe and scroll as you would if you were using the TAICHI in Tablet mode.
Working in an office, you've more than likely experienced having to pick up and turn your laptop around to show a co-worker what's on the screen. This often requires shuffling things around your table or desk to make room. The neat thing about the TAICHI is that you can simply press one button and change to Mirror mode or Dual-Screen mode to show your co-worker what you're seeing on your screen.
In Dual Screen mode, you can share, for example, a presentation and have your notes showing only on your side. In this mode, the person on the tablet side can use the touchscreen or a stylus to interact while you use your keyboard and touchpad.
In Mirror mode, the same image shows on both screens. In an office environment, this is useful for giving presentations or working on group projects. At home, this is ideal for watching movies, viewing photos and video chatting without everyone squishing to fit around one screen. Similar to Dual Screen mode, viewers of both screens can adjust or edit an image with the touchscreen, stylus or touchpad. There are 1080p HD cameras on both sides of the display screen for added convenience.
Though not marketed this way, you can also flip the device upside down while in Notebook mode, creating a sort of tent. A built-in sensor will auto-rotate the screen. You can use the touchscreen this way without resting the device on the keyboard.
Additionally, you'll find two USB 3.0 ports, a micro HDMI port, audio jack, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and an Ethernet port when wireless connectivity isn't an option. One drawback is that the TAICHI lacks a memory card reader; however, with 256GB of storage, you'll have more than enough room for all of your files.
The ASUS TAICHI 21 has a weak battery life, only a 3rd-gen processor and no option for expandable memory. Those things aside, this is a very cool piece of machinery. This tablet PC gives you a lot of freedom with your display and a large amount of storage. It's also quick enough to handle multitasking.