If you've ever thought to yourself, "I wish I could pick up my PC's monitor off my desk and use it as an Android tablet," Asus has just the gadget for you. It's the Asus Transformer AiO P1801, and when it comes out on April 12 it'll cost $1,299 -- the same price as a 21.5 inch iMac.
More than meets the eye?
The Asus Transformer series started with an Android tablet that turns into a sort of netbook, provided you dock it with a separate keyboard attachment. When docked with the keyboard, it can fold flush with it to close up clamshell-style, and it also has a laptop-style touchpad for moving a mouse cursor with.
Instead of a keyboard dock, the Asus Transformer AiO comes with a "PC Station," which is basically an all-in-one PC like the iMac but sans the monitor, meaning it's a thick black slab on a stand, with a docking port for the 18-inch tablet screen to plug into.
The Asus Transformer AiO has an 18.4-inch, 1080p screen with 10-point multitouch. In PC mode, it has a third-generation Intel Core i7 processor and a 2 TB hard drive, and runs Windows 8. There's no word on how much RAM the PC Station has, or how much flash memory the tablet part has for storage.
Four ways to use it
The Asus Transformer AiO can function as a typical all-in-one PC, except with a smaller-than-usual screen which doubles as a touchscreen for Windows 8. The thing is, the detachable part doesn't have the Intel Core i7 part in it; that's in the base. The screen only has a Tegra 3 processor, a midrange Android tablet CPU that's also used in the Nexus 7.
So besides using the Transformer AiO as an all-in-one, you can also detach it and use it as a big (and several times heavier than an iPad) Android tablet. While it's detached, someone else can use the PC Station as a computer. If it's hooked up to its own separate monitor, a normal PC monitor or HDTV will do. Alternately, you can set the tablet to Remote Desktop mode and use the full Windows 8 OS on it, but only while it can connect to the PC Station over Wi-Fi -- preferably, while they're both connected to the same 5 GHz access point, and not while the tablet part is in another building. You also can't set it to work as a Remote Desktop while someone else is using the PC Station.
Not big enough?
Lenovo's IdeaCentre Horizon, on sale "this summer" for $1,699 according to the Associated Press' Peter Svensson, is an actual 27-inch tablet PC. It's "the size of a coffee table," or of one of the larger iMacs, and will weigh 15 pounds.
Jared Spurbeck is an open-source software enthusiast, who uses an Android phone and an Ubuntu laptop PC. He has been writing about technology and electronics since 2008.
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