Not a step beyond, rather, providing almost the same as what is available at a cheaper price point.
Asus wants to recreate the Surface Pro 4, which is perhaps why the Transformer 3 Pro looks identical to that device. The display is 0.3-inch larger, but with the same 3:2 aspect ratio and comes with a kickstand, identical to the Surface Pro. The colour saturation on the Asus Transformer 3 Pro is great, as is the quality and touch response of the display. Basic gestures, such as touch and hold to right click, swiping from the edge, two finger zoom etc. work without any hiccups. However, you will have to keep wiping the fingerprints off the display intermittently.
The stylus provided by Asus works fine, even the different levels of pressure are useful. Asus’ version of the Type Cover keyboard from Microsoft is quite good. It is backlit and will suit just about anyone. The soft touch material used in the keyboard adds to the comfort, and it’s a nice keyboard to use for extended periods of typing. It offers 1.4mm key travel and keys are amply spaced. The touchpad is also smooth and responsive for the most part. It uses Microsoft’s Precision Touchpad, but doesn’t quite respond to gestures consistently. The touchpad stopped responding a few times and wouldn’t register gestures at other times. The magnetic connectors between the keyboard and tablet aren’t very powerful and the top half might come off if you try to lift it with the keyboard connected.
It comes with Intel Core i7-6500U, had 16GB of RAM and 512GB storage. However, the Intel i7-powered Transformer 3 Pro is basically as fast as the i5-powered variant of the Surface Pro 4. The processor clock speed never crossed 1.9GHz, and if you try to tax it with games (like Telltale’s Batman), it throttles to 1.1GHz. This results in stutters and frame skips even on low graphics settings. Like the Surface, the Transformer also heats up when tasked with intense activities, hitting 40 degrees celsius easily. Mobile games like Asphalt 8 drove it up to 55 degrees. That’s what happens when you put a PC-class processor on a mobile device. Compared to similarly powered devices, the Transformer 3 Pro is slower, leaving the i7 processor as a spec-sheet boost only. To be clear, we’re not complaining about its performance, but if you’ve used devices like the Surface Pro 4, you may find the Transformer 3 Pro just slightly slower. The i7 drains battery, as does the high resolution touchscreen. With simple browsing, emails and typing, you’re looking at a 5 hour battery life at best. Much like other hybrids, I couldn’t get this one to last for over 4.5 hours when streaming high-definition videos, continuously.
Intel Core i7 6500U; RAM: 16GB DDR3, 931MHz; Storage: 512GB PCIe based; Display: 12.6-inch, 2880 x 1920p; I/O ports: 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C + Thunderbolt 3, 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x microphone headphone combo, 1 x microSD card reader.
Is the Asus Transformer 3 Pro an alternative to the Surface Pro 4? It most definitely is. Is it as good and powerful as that device? I wouldn’t say so. The build quality is not quite as good, and the touchpad needs more work. In absolute terms, it’s not as fast either. However, it’s about 25% cheaper than Microsoft’s tablet, and the keyboard and stylus are included in that price. That makes the Transformer 3 Pro worth considering for anyone looking for a hybrid. Asus hasn’t taken a step beyond what you already get in the market. Rather, it’s providing almost the same, but for a cheaper price.