UPDATED ON 6/9/2013
This is a quick update of how things have evolved with the Taichi and I guess a final feeling after five months of use.
-So far I haven't had any technical issues, the laptop is holding up very well. I even dropped it on its side once and it dented the housing but the screens didn't break and all works fine. Lucky break I think, this is not a laptop you should be dropping for sure!
-I'm still getting 3 to 4 hours of battery life, so I haven't seen any degradation, which is great because I'm plugged in must of the time and I was afraid of battery degradation and no way to replace it. It's only five months though, we'll have to see.
-I haven't seen many software upgrades from Asus, so what was buggy is still buggy. Like the palm rejection when using the pen, that's still there, I thought I had fixed it but nah, let's not kid ourselves, I have even stopped using my pen as much because it's just not as great of a experience as I'm used to. With that said, it's good to have the pen for signing things and what not, but I wouldn't recommend it for prolonged note taking.
-My gripes with the Asus management software kind of went away, no more brightness issues, etc.
All my other comments remain. I still love this laptop and don't think, even to this day, that there's anything better on the market for my needs. I hope they make a new version and keep improving on this design over the years, I would certainly love to buy a new one in another couple of years with longer battery life, better digitizer and a bigger SSD.
Written in January 2013
I ordered my Taichi just two days ago from us.ncix and they supposedly only had one in stock which I luckily got overnighted to me. They were top notch with service and went the extra mile for me by shipping the item right away and even making a special trip to UPS to make sure I got it the next day as the pick up for that day had already been done.
Now onto the Taichi.
-It's a great laptop all around, as long as you can live with some cons.
-The keyboard is outstanding. I type a lot, all day long really, and the keyboard couldn't be better. And this coming from a Thinkpad owner of 10 years.
-The touchpad is flawless, it works like a charm. I've never used a touchpad this good. I think it's pretty on par with mac touchpads, both on desktop and modern areas of Windows 8.
-The build quality seems top notch and it's a gorgeous piece of hardware. Sure, you have to handle it with care because of the screen on the lid but overall it's a great build.
-The 1080p Screens are top notch, the viewing angles are great, the colors look great, the text is sharp, a lot to like there.
-UPDATED: The size is good for a laptop. Enough space for a great keyboard. I got good vision, but the screen on desktop is very useable at 1080p resolution. I don't have to zoom or anything, that said, I am young and have great vision. My IE browser seems to be auto zoomed in to 125% and thus I didn't have any issues reading web pages, however, after installing chrome I see that at 100% zoom you really can't browse the net, it's too small. The 125% zoom works well though, and everything in the desktop looks good.
-The lid collects finger prints but you can't really see them from a far, so that's great because I was concerned about the laptop looking bad all the time due to finger prints.
-It has a tablet on the lid! Sure, this is not your light and small ipad, but it works well, the colors are great and I do plan to replace my tablet and laptop with this one device.
-Backlit keyboard. This is a huge pro for me and one of my requirements.
-Comes with a good quality laptop sleeve, VGA and Ethernet adapter. That's $100 in accessories right there.
-Comes with a one year accidental projection damage warranty, that's another added value/bonus there.
-UPDATED: Battery life. After some use, I seem to get from 3 to 4 hours of battery life while working full steam, typing, listening to music on headphones, backlit keyboard on, wifi and Bluetooth on and screen in medium brightness or so. If I dial things back a bit I can get past four hours just a bit, but I'm not sure how they got their five hour estimate though. For me this is fine as I'm plugged in most of the time and I may buy an external battery for long trips or meetings. Using it on and off as a tablet (and putting it to sleep when not in use with 2 second smart resume) I can get through most of the day.
-UPDATED: I had some big issues with the digitizer pen at first, but I recalibrated the pen and touch input under windows settings and ever since it's working great (as intended). I no longer have lag when writing and the palm rejection is much better than before, although not quite all the way there in my opinion. Is it as good as Wacom? No, at least not in my opinion, but it does the job. One thing I'm not happy about is that it has no eraser head and the eraser button doesn't work on Microsoft's metro pdf app, there's no way to erase in this app with the pen, I can erease just fine with my Wacom pen on my thinkpad on that app. That said, the eraser button works fine on pdf annotator and onenote.
-UPDATED: The Asus "management" software is a bit buggy, it seems to be fighting with Windows for authority. The main issue I see is with brightness, sometimes you set it to something and then it comes back to something else, this is due to power profiles not acting correctly I think. Also, auto brightness never ever gives you the top brightness even if you choose to get full brightness. The only way I got full brightness was by disabling auto brightness and then the brightness still changed some times on its own, mainly on tablet mode. Maybe there are two light sensors and the tablet one can't be disabled? Don't know. The screen switcher was a bit off at first but after some updates it seems to be doing fine.
-UPDATED: The brightness is said to be a bit low, and it is mainly if you leave the auto brightness on, however, I find it adequate on both tablet and laptop mode, even on bright sunlight it seems adequate in my opinion.
-The size for a tablet is a bit big, but if you want mainly a laptop and second a tablet then this is the best option in my opinion. I was expecting it to be lighter for some reason, as I have a HP TouchPad with a cover on and that package seems like two pounds to me, so you would think another .75 pounds wouldn't be so much, but it feels a bit heavy, that said I can live with it.
-I had read on some tech sites that using a tablet with 16:9 aspect ration on portrait was a bit ridiculous, and you know what, it kind of feels weird. I guess it's something to get used to, but don't expect it to feel natural right off the bat.
-UPDATED: No touch screen in laptop mode. To me this is a pro as the laptop screen doesn't have finger prints and it's matt which I love, I don't think I could stand a glossy screen for work all day. Also, the touchpad works so great that you may not miss touch so much in laptop mode. I can easily pinch to zoom, scroll, pull up charms, etc., all from the touchpad. You will want to touch the screen sometimes, specially after spending some time using the touch screen on the lid, but I'm happy with the way it is, another touch screen would've added more weight and a glossy screen in the front and that would've been a big issue for me.
-The audio is a bit low for my taste. I had read that the audio was pretty loud, but I wouldn't consider it loud, I would consider it adequate but that's about it. I was expecting a bit more bang. That said, I listen to a lot of loud music and may be a bit deft already, so your mileage may vary.
-This vs the surface pro? I went with this one because for just another $150 (vs surface with cover), I get a backlit keyboard, two screens and an adjustable screen that I can easily use in my lap, bed, couch, anywhere at the craziest angles, which I tend to do. The surface wouldn't work for me in the same way and I would've had to adjust. That said, I wanted mainly a great laptop with a nice enough tablet. I think the surface pro is a good tablet (not great due to low battery life too)and an OK laptop.
-UPDATED: The keyboard lacks media buttons for pause/play/next track, etc. Those are useful while playing music. It also lacks the new windows keys that come with some keyboards for charms, search, etc. That said, it's a small keyboard and they couldn't have put everything in there. The other thing is that the function keys, F1 to F12, are primary vs the other items like brightness and volume. I prefer it the other way, but again this is subjective. I did fine a tool called KeyTweak which allows you to remap your keyboard keys however you want, and I have changed F10 through F12 for media buttons, so that problem is solved!
**Lastly, this is a warning. The 128gb version, which is the one I have, only comes with 63gb of available space out of the box. This is crazy! I was expecting more like 90gb after windows, etc., but Asus has a 20gb recovery partition and a 4gb OEM partition in there, so that's pretty substantial and I plan to kill at least the recovery partition and get my space back**
So the final verdict.
I love it so far. Sure it has some drawbacks, but there's no perfect hybrid out there right now. I was planning to wait for second generation models but come on, life's too short to be waiting and waiting, I've been waiting long enough and this is 90% what I wanted so I'll take it and enjoy it. The battery life is the biggest limitation/con in my opinion, but I plan to buy an external battery of some sort to have around for emergencies or long meetings/seminars.
To me this laptop is just AWESOME and I wouldn't buy anything else on the market over this for my own needs.