Asus launches the Transformer Pro T304 as a Surface Pro competitor
In a time when overall tablet sales are declining, Microsoft has found a path to moderate success with its Surface line of Windows hybrid devices. Microsoft Surface and Surface Pro tablets have steadily increased in popularity, evident in Microsoft's decision to release a fourth iteration of the Surface Pro two years ago. The Surface Pro 4 is the go-to Windows tablet—or at least it was, if Asus' newest offering has anything to say about it.
Originally unveiled at CES, the Asus Transformer Pro T304 is, put nicely, a tablet that really, really looks like the Surface Pro 4. A silver finish with black bezels, a multi-angle kickstand, a slim detachable keyboard—it's all instantly familiar. In fact, upon first glance you might not be able to tell the difference, unless you quickly spot the shiny Asus logo. To say that the T304 is inspired by the Surface Pro 4's design is, frankly, an understatement.
Specs-wise you'll find a similar theme. The T304 features a 12.6-inch display with a 3:2 aspect ratio, nearly identical to the Surface Pro 4 (but with a much lower 2160x1440 resolution). A variety of hardware configurations are available including 7th generation Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processors, up to 16 GB of RAM, and up to a 1 TB SSD. Other features include a USB 3.1 Type-C port, USB 3.0 port, an HDMI connection, a microSD reader, and a fingerprint sensor. When it comes to accessories, a digital pen, dubbed the ASUS pen, and the aforementioned keyboard are included with the tablet.
Asus' new tablet also sticks close to the Surface Pro 4 on price. For example, retailer NCIX lists a Transformer Pro T304 with a Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD for about US $1,080. Compare that to a Surface Pro 4 with very similar specs, which costs $999. It can be argued that the T304's newer Kaby Lake processor (the Surface Pro 4 uses Skylake) plus the included accessories merit the additional charge. In any case, it's not much of a price difference.
NCIX is among several retailers currently accepting orders for the Asus Transformer Pro T304. For anyone who decides to buy one, expect to wait several days before the devices start shipping.