Notebookcheck

Face Off: Microsoft Surface Pro 3 vs. Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi vs. Toshiba Portege Z20t

Inseparable detachables. Convertibles are becoming more popular as a convenient replacement for both your tablet and notebook. We pick some of the best 12-inch detachables currently in the market to how they compare to one another.

Unlike a convertible notebook, a detachable notebook has the freedom to disengage from the keyboard base in its entirety and operate independently as a tablet. This simple feature instantly brings key advantages as users won't need to fumble between mutually exclusive tablets and notebooks at home when the 2-on-1 solution can be more efficient and cost effective.

Our Face Off this week focuses on three Windows tablets: The Microsoft Surface Pro 3, Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi, and the Toshiba Portege Z20t. These are some of the best 12-inch detachables currently available according to our own Top 10 Convertibles list. They can also be quite costly at $1000 USD or more for the Portege Z20t and $700 USD for either the Asus or Microsoft. We'll compare and contrast our specific test models to see which offers the best overall experience.

We encourage users to check out our dedicated review pages below for more data and detailed analyses of each of the three models. This comparison is by no means a replacement, but a condensed aid for those on the fence.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (Surface 3)

Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi

Toshiba Portege Z20t (Portege Z10t)

Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
Toshiba Portege Z20t
Toshiba Portege Z20t

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Case

Build quality is excellent across the board as all devices sport magnesium alloy chassis. Bends, twists, and depressions are kept to a minimum. However, we noticed that the Portege Z20t is slightly less rigid than the Surface Pro 3, possibly due to its slightly thinner chassis. Nonetheless, the Toshiba tablet is rated to withstand drops of up to 76 cm.

the T300 Chi has an equally solid feel to it and is even thinner than the Z20t. Unfortunately, we're put off by its thicker bezel that makes it larger and less attractive than the sharper Microsoft and Toshiba tablets. Perhaps more notably, its keyboard dock is plastic and feels cheap as if it came from a $300 netbook or Chromebook. This is compared to the much more solid keyboard dock of the Z20t and the thinner and more portable Type Cover dock of the Surface Pro 3.

How these tablets attach to their respective keyboard docks deserves a mention as well. The Z20t uses the classic latch and lock mechanism while the T300 Chi relies solely on magnets and the Surface Pro 3 on a small set of Pogo pins. The Toshiba solution feels most secure, but wobbling occurs much too easily here and on the T300 Chi. The integrated kickstand on the Surface Pro 3 is more effective at propping up the display when working on a desk.

In terms of sizes and weight, our table and visual aid below give a good idea of how they compare. The thicker keyboard dock of the Toshiba means more connectivity features and better rigidity overall. Meanwhile, the active cooling on the Surface Pro 3 results in a heavier and thicker tablet despite it being the smallest in terms of length and width.

The Surface Pro 3 comes out just slightly ahead of the Toshiba Z20t based on quality, but the thicker Toshiba dock is certainly made tougher than both the Type Cover 2 and especially the keyboard dock of the T300 Chi.

Winner: Tablet -- Microsoft Surface Pro 3

              Keyboard Dock -- Toshiba Portege Z20t

Sizes and Weight

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi Toshiba Portege Z20t
Tablet weight (g) 810 720 730
Keyboard dock weight (g) 298 725 763
Combined weight (g) 1108 1445 1493
Tablet thickness (mm) 9.1 7.6 8.8
Keyboard dock thickness (mm) 5.4 8.9 12.2
Combined thickness (mm) 14.5 16.5 21.0
317.8 mm / 12.5 inch 191.6 mm / 7.54 inch 16.5 mm / 0.65 inch 1.4 kg3.19 lbs309 mm / 12.2 inch 215 mm / 8.46 inch 21 mm / 0.827 inch 1.5 kg3.29 lbs292 mm / 11.5 inch 201 mm / 7.91 inch 9 mm / 0.3543 inch 810 g1.786 lbs

Ports in Comparison

Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
Toshiba Portege Z20t
Toshiba Portege Z20t

Connectivity

The Z20t keyboard dock makes the detachable feel more like a complete notebook with its plethora of extra ports compared to the smaller docks on the Surface Pro 3 and T300 Chi. Thus, the Toshiba wins this round hands down.

We do applaud Microsoft for including a full-size USB 3.0 port on the Surface Pro 3 as it is uncommon on many tablets. This makes fumbling around for adapters much less of an issue.

Winner: Toshiba Portege Z20t

Ports and Connections
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi Toshiba Portege Z20t
USB 1x USB 3.0 1x micro-USB 3.0 2x USB 3.0, 1x micro-USB 2.0
Video-out 1x mDP 1x micro-HDMI 1x micro-HDMI, 1x VGA, 1x HDMI
Other MicroSD reader, 1x 3.5 mm audio, Charging port, SIM slot MicroSD reader, 1x 3.5 mm audio, Charging port MicroSD reader, 1x 3.5 mm audio, Gigabit LAN, Kensington Lock, Charging port, SIM slot
Storage Bays 1x mSATA Integrated SanDisk iSSD 1x M.2

Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
Toshiba Portege Z20t
Toshiba Portege Z20t

Input Devices

keyboard docks on detachables can sometimes feel like afterthoughts and are generally softer and shallower than the keyboards of standard notebooks. Fortunately for these three, all keyboards provide satisfactory feedback despite the short key travel.

Negatives do exist for each of the keyboards. The Type Cover for the Surface Pro 3 produces louder clatter than the Asus and Toshiba and the keyboard feels much smaller here due to the lack of sufficient space between keys. The keys on the T300 Chi feel cheaper and we don't like the fact that there is no POGO connection, so the dock must operate through Bluetooth and on its own battery pack.

The Toshiba Z20t comes out ahead for its more comfortable Chiclet layout and quieter clatter without sacrificing feedback. Users may appreciate the TrackPoint here as well.

As for the touchpads, the Portege Z20t has the larger surface area with dedicated mouse keys to boot. This isn't to say that the touchpads on the Surface Pro 3 or T300 Chi are bad as both have smooth glides and no glitches, but gestures and daily operation are more ergonomic on the larger Z20t touchpad. Mouse navigation is also easier on the 1080p screen.

It is worth noting that the T300 Chi is the only one with no stylus since it is a consumer-oriented device. The Surface Pro 3 digitizer works excellently and the buttons give it more functions than other standard pens. Meanwhile, the Portege Z20t includes two pens: One smaller pen and a second larger one from Wacom. These don't have the same features as the one for the Surface Pro 3, but we like the fact that the smaller Toshiba pen can be inserted into the tablet itself.

Winner: Keyboard -- Toshiba Portege Z20t

              Touchpad -- Toshiba Portege Z20t

Display

There is no denying that the displays on all three models are gorgeous and incredibly crisp, especially on the T300 Chi as it is the brightest with the highest pixel density. Meanwhile, the distinguishing factor about the Surface Pro 3 is its 3:2 aspect ratio, which makes it more favorable for slides and general office work instead of multimedia applications. The Portege Z20t is also notable for its matte IOX-glass and excellent visibility outdoors. The displays here all have their own respective perks compared to one another.

So which one comes out on top? The answer will depend on what you intend to use the tablet for. Office work is best on the Surface Pro 3 while multimedia and browsing feel better on the 16:9 T300 Chi. Heavy outdoor use is best on the matte panel of the Portege Z20t and its native 1080p resolution avoids much of the inevitable scaling issues found on both the Microsoft and Asus tablets.

If we have to be picky, the colors on the T300 Chi are not very accurate without a proper calibration. The Surface Pro 3 exhibits better and more accurate colors than both other models out-of-the-box. Combined with the slightly deeper contrast, we can give the small edge to the Microsoft tablet. We want to note, however, that there are no real losers in this category.

Winner: Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
Toshiba Portege Z20t
Toshiba Portege Z20t
Displays at a Glance
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi Toshiba Portege Z20t
Size 12.0-inch IPS 3:2 12.5-inch IPS 16:9 12.5-inch IPS 16:9
Native Resolution 2160 x 1440 2560 x 1440 1920 x 1080
Pixel Density 216 PPI 235 PPI 176 PPI
Panel ID SEC3542 Sharp SHP142C Toshiba TOS508F
Panel Glossy Glossy Matte
Microsoft Surface Pro 3Asus Transformer Book T300 ChiToshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
Screen
Brightness middle
355.3
368.1
342
Brightness
338
375
301
Brightness Distribution
91
92
76
Black Level *
0.33
0.458
0.393
Contrast
1077
804
870
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.72
4.36
9.69
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
6.53
2.63
9.27
Gamma
2.17 101%
2.08 106%
2.95 75%
CCT
6707 97%
6743 96%
6010 108%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
59.37
66.94
40.4

* ... smaller is better

Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
Toshiba Portege Z20t
Toshiba Portege Z20t

Performance

CPU Performance

Microsoft, Asus, and Toshiba all offer multiple CPU options beyond what we have here, so this comparison is only between the configurations on hand.

All models feature Intel Broadwell cores, though the Surface Pro 3 utilizes the far more demanding Core i5-4300U with over three times the potential heat output. Despite this, the processor shares the same maximum Turbo Boost speed of 2.9 GHz as the Core M-5Y71. This means that raw processing power should be similar between the models, at least on paper.

In reality, ULV processors in thin form factors with little cooling tend to throttle under high loads and settle at lower core clock rates than their advertised maximums. The Microsoft, Asus, and Toshiba tablets all experience throttling when running benchmarks. Thus, there is no clear or undisputed winner regarding CPU performance. We can say, however, that we're disappointed by the results from the Surface Pro 3 as it carries a more capable Core i5 CPU, yet it barely outranks the Core M-5Y71 in synthetic benchmarks.

See our dedicated CPU pages on the Core i5-4300U and Core M-5Y71 for more comparisons and benchmarks.

Hardware at a Glance

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi Toshiba Portege Z20t
CPU 1.9 GHz Core i5-4300U 1.2 GHz Core M-5Y71 1.2 GHz Core M-5Y71
TDP 15 W 4.5 W 4.5 W
RAM 4 GB LPDDR3 8 GB LPDDR3 8 GB LPDDR3
GPU Intel HD Graphics 4400 Intel HD Graphics 5300 Intel HD Graphics 5300
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
Toshiba Portege Z20t
Toshiba Portege Z20t
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
1.12 Points ∼46%
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
1.35 Points ∼55%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
1.15 Points ∼47%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
2.77 Points ∼6%
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
2.64 Points ∼6%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
2.14 Points ∼5%
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
108 Points ∼50%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
97 Points ∼44%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
209 Points ∼5%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
190 Points ∼4%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
5619 Points ∼54%
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
5778 Points ∼56%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
5068 Points ∼49%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
10262 Points ∼13%
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
10802 Points ∼14%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
8486 Points ∼11%
wPrime 2.0x
1024m (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
746 s * ∼9%
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
632.988 s * ∼7%
32m (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
19.9 s * ∼4%
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
17.813 s * ∼4%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - --- (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
674 Seconds * ∼3%
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
685.138 Seconds * ∼3%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
774.479 Seconds * ∼3%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Physics (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
3385 Points ∼10%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
2900 Points ∼9%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Physics (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
2230 Points ∼6%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
2141 Points ∼5%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
38906 Points ∼45%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Physics (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
23600 Points ∼28%
PCMark 7
System Storage (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
3979 Points ∼56%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
5379 Points ∼75%
Computation (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
15083 Points ∼53%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
12787 Points ∼45%
Creativity (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
7281 Points ∼50%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
8264 Points ∼57%
Entertainment (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
3238 Points ∼30%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
3057 Points ∼29%
Productivity (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
2267 Points ∼21%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
2356 Points ∼22%
Lightweight (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
2684 Points ∼37%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
3123 Points ∼43%
Score (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
5066 Points ∼55%
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
4386 Points ∼48%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
4421 Points ∼48%
PCMark 8
Storage Score (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
4577 Points ∼90%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
4966 Points ∼98%
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
3629 Points ∼56%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
3936 Points ∼60%
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
3373 Points ∼32%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
3263 Points ∼31%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
2717 Points ∼45%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
2816 Points ∼46%
X264 HD Benchmark 4.0
Pass 2 (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
13.47 fps ∼0%
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
14.43 fps ∼0%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
11.47 fps ∼0%
Pass 1 (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
75.52 fps ∼28%
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
81.93 fps ∼30%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
85.13 fps ∼32%

* ... smaller is better

GPU Performance

The Asus T300 Chi comes out just slightly ahead of both the Surface Pro 3 and Portege Z20t in GPU benchmarks, which shows that the Asus detachable throttles just a bit less than the Toshiba since both models have the same processor. The HD 4400 in the Microsoft tablet lies comfortably between the Asus and Toshiba according to 3DMark 11 and CineBench R11.5.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
791 Points ∼2%
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
885 Points ∼2%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
693 Points ∼1%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
565 Points ∼1%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
511 Points ∼1%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
4235 Points ∼2%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
4441 Points ∼2%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
65380 Points ∼12%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Graphics (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
19630 Points ∼3%
Cinebench R11.5 - OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
19.48 fps ∼11%
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
21.41 fps ∼13%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
17.84 fps ∼10%
Cinebench R15 - OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
23.64 fps ∼9%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
20.74 fps ∼8%

Gaming Performance

Unfortunately, we did not have the chance to benchmark a matching title amongst all three tablets, so a direct comparison can be difficult. Nonetheless, we have benchmarked a handful of different games on each device as shown below. Today's titles must be played on the lowest resolution settings for a reliable frame rate of at least 30 or even 20 FPS. There is the occasional old title that can be played on Medium settings, though gaming on such high native resolutions (1080p+) is out of the question beyond simple 2D titles.

See our dedicated GPU pages for the Intel HD 5300 and HD 4400 for more comparisons and benchmarks.

Tomb Raider
1366x768 High Preset AA:FX AF:8x (sort by value)
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
13.5 fps ∼3%
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX AF:4x (sort by value)
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
20.5 fps ∼4%
1024x768 Low Preset (sort by value)
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
40.3 fps ∼6%
StarCraft 2
1920x1080 ultra (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
12 fps ∼7%
1360x768 high (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
18 fps ∼9%
1360x768 medium (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
27 fps ∼12%
1024x768 low (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
138 fps ∼26%
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm
1920x1080 Ultra / Extreme AA:on (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
6.5 fps ∼3%
1366x768 High AA:on (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
20.5 fps ∼7%
1366x768 Medium (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
35.7 fps ∼10%
1024x768 Low (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
143.4 fps ∼19%
Diablo III
1920x1080 High AA:on (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
14 fps ∼5%
1366x768 High AA:on (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
20 fps ∼7%
1366x768 Medium / low (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
24 fps ∼8%
1024x768 Low / off (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
41 fps ∼12%
BioShock Infinite
1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF) (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
4.34 fps ∼2%
1366x768 High Preset (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
16.07 fps ∼4%
1366x768 Medium Preset (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
19.46 fps ∼5%
1280x720 Very Low Preset (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
38.73 fps ∼9%
Guild Wars 2
1920x1080 All Maximum / On AA:FX (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
5.6 fps ∼6%
1366x768 Best Appearance Preset AA:FX (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
12.9 fps ∼14%
1024x768 Best Performance Preset (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
46.6 fps ∼29%
F1 2014
1920x1080 High Preset (sort by value)
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
14 fps ∼11%
1366x768 Medium Preset (sort by value)
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
25 fps ∼19%
1024x768 Ultra Low Preset (sort by value)
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
39 fps ∼29%
Alien: Isolation
1920x1080 High, On, Shadow Map 1536, Standard SSAO AA:FX AF:8x (sort by value)
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
8.5 fps ∼3%
1366x768 Medium, On (AA & SSAO Off), Shadow Map 1024 AF:4x (sort by value)
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
15.9 fps ∼5%
1024x768 (Very) Low, Off, Shadow Map 512 AF:1x (sort by value)
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
23.9 fps ∼7%

Stress Test

To test system stability, we run both Prime95 and FurMark to simulate maximum stress. These unrealistic conditions do not represent daily workloads, but are instead meant to put both the CPU and GPU at 100 percent capacity. If the tablets remain stable, then you can be sure it can handle any other tasks without major hardware failures.

All three tablets experience extreme throttling as expected. Once CPU temperatures reach about 80 C on the Surface Pro 3 and T300 Chi, Turbo Boost will stop and core temperatures will settle in the low 60 C range. In comparison, stable core temperatures are much higher on the Portege Z20t at the 80 C to 90 C range. The Microsoft tablet throttles to about the same clock rate as the Asus and Toshiba under these conditions despite the much higher 1.9 GHz base clock of the i5-4300U.

The throttling here is more extreme compared to most notebooks, but all three tablets are stable nonetheless. The T300 Chi comes out just slightly ahead in the majority of benchmarks in addition to it running cooler than both the Portege Z20t and Surface Pro 3.

Winner: Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi

Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
Toshiba Portege Z20t
Toshiba Portege Z20t
CPU and GPU Clock Rates Under Stress

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi Toshiba Portege Z20t
Rated GPU Core Clock (MHz) 200 - 1100 300 - 900 300 - 900
Stable GPU Core Clock on FurMark (MHz) ~500 ~350 ~350
Rated CPU Core Clock (GHz) 1.9 1.2 1.2
Stable CPU Core Clock on Prime95 (GHz) 0.8 0.8 0.6
Maximum CPU temperature 65 - 83 C 62 - 81 C 85 - 93 C

Emissions

System Noise & Temperature

Devices with Core M CPUs typically have no active cooling, so the Asus and Toshiba get free passes in this category.

The Surface Pro 3 is a 9.1 mm tablet with options up to a Core i7. Such high power density demands a system fan and this becomes very obvious if gaming or running intense applications. Otherwise, word processing and light browsing will cause fan noise to remain in the acceptably low 30 dB(A) range as is common on full-size Ultrabooks.

Surface temperatures between the three tablets are surprisingly similar under both idling and intensive load conditions. Though our recorded absolute values below show otherwise, the final readings are more alike once we take into account the different room temperatures during when these tests were performed. As a result, it is a bit more difficult to declare an outright winner for this particular category.

We'll give the small edge to both the Asus and Toshiba as they are not any warmer than the Surface Pro 3 despite running silently with no fans.

Winner: Tie -- Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi & Toshiba Portege Z20t

Average Fan Noise and Surface Temperature

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi Toshiba Portege Z20t
Fan Noise when idling 30.2 dB(A) 0 dB(A) 0 dB(A)
Fan Noise under high loads 44.4 dB(A) 0 dB(A) 0 dB(A)
Average surface temperature when idling 33.8 C 30.4 C 26.1 C
Average surface temperature under high loads 40.8 C 37.8 C 33.9 C
Room temperature during test 27 C 24 C 21 C

Battery Life

The Toshiba detachable has the largest battery capacity by far at a combined 72 Wh from its internal tablet battery and secondary keyboard dock battery. Additionally, the lower display resolution of the tablet and more power-efficient Core M CPU compared to the Surface Pro 3 mean longer runtimes as well. Our recorded 760 minutes of constant WLAN use is hours ahead of both the Microsoft and Asus tablets under similar conditions. Of course, battery life will be halved if not using the Toshiba dock.

The Asus solution is the most disappointing of the three with its low battery capacity and poor runtimes despite carrying the same CPU as the Toshiba.

Winner: Toshiba Portege Z20t

Microsoft Surface Pro 3
42.2 Wh
Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
32 Wh
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
72 (36 plus 36) Wh
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
1096
722
1616
WiFi
504
Load
124
150
348
WiFi v1.3
236
760

Verdict

The Portege Z20t is at its best if you don't mind carrying the thick keyboard dock wherever you go. Otherwise, the more portable Surface Pro 3 is the better and more durable tablet.
The Portege Z20t is at its best if you don't mind carrying the thick keyboard dock wherever you go. Otherwise, the more portable Surface Pro 3 is the better and more durable tablet.

Which is the better detachable? For multimedia and home use, the Transformer Book T300 Chi is the better and more affordable option with its brighter and higher resolution screen. It offers fewer connectivity options, but it's a fair trade-off in order to have such a lightweight and thin device. This is, after all, marketed as a multimedia solution. The weaker keyboard dock will suffice only for the infrequent user.

For work and office, it's a tough call between the Surface Pro 3 and Portege Z20t. Toshiba's detachable feels like a more complete set as its keyboard dock offers wider features than the Type Cover 2. The Z20t also has the more comfortable keyboard and touchpad and a slightly larger screen size as well without sacrificing much quality. For users who know they will be using the keyboard dock more often than just the tablet alone, then the Toshiba Z20t will be the better buy.

Users who have less interest in the keyboard dock will prefer the Surface Pro 3. It's smaller and slightly heavier than the tablet portion of the Portege Z20t, but has the better stylus and build quality with a higher resolution 3:2 display. The Toshiba detachable requires the keyboard dock to truly make the most out of the tablet while the Surface Pro 3 works very well on its own.

Nonetheless, we're a bit disappointed by the CPU and GPU performances of the Surface Pro 3. It houses a more demanding Core i5 CPU with active cooling, yet the performance gaps are very small against the passively-cooled Core M-5Y71 in the Asus and Toshiba. Microsoft will very likely improve upon the hardware for its next iteration of the Surface Pro. For now, however, the tablet is still one of the best Windows tablets available.

Buy Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Buy Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi

Buy Toshiba Portege Z20t

See more quick comparisons in our Face Off series:

Microsoft Surface Pro 3Asus Transformer Book T300 ChiToshiba Portege Z20t

+ Thin and lightweight keyboard base

+ Stronger build quality

+ 3:2 aspect ratio

+ Solid kickstand

+ Full-size USB 3.0 port on tablet

+ SIM slot

+ Excellent active digitizer (Surface Pen)

+ More accurate colors out-of-the-box

Strong build quality

+ Denser PPI; Higher resolution display

+ Lower core temperatures

+ Thinner tablet

+ Micro-USB 3.0

+ Strong build quality

+ Internal slot for holding stylus

+ Better keyboard and touchpad; TrackPoint

+ Matte touchscreen; Improved outdoor visibility

+ Wide connectivity options

+ Longer battery life with keyboard dock

+ SIM slot

- Tablet portion is thicker and heavier

- Type Cover 2 keys can feel cramped

- Fan noise; Active cooling required

- More extreme throttling under stress

- No internal slot for Surface Pen

- Wider tablet bezel

- Shorter battery life

- Weaker keyboard dock

- Wobbly magnetic hinges

- Fewer connectivity options

- No included stylus

- Thicker when combined with keyboard dock

- Wobbly latch-and-lock hinges

- Lower resolution display (1080p)

- Stylus not as accurate or advanced as the Surface Pen

- No USB 3.0 without keyboard dock

- Battery life is halved without keyboard dock

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Face Off: Microsoft Surface Pro 3 vs. Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi vs. Toshiba Portege Z20t
Allen Ngo, 2015-08- 5 (Update: 2018-05-15)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.