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Amazon, others have opened early pre-orders for the Transformer Mini 2-in-1 PC

asus transformer mini pre order early amazon
During Computex 2016 at the end of May, Asus revealed the $1,000 Transformer 3 Pro 2-in-1 PC (T303UA), the ultra-slim and compact $800 Transformer 3 (T305CA), and the Transformer Mini (T102HA) that Asus billed as the world’s lightest two-in-one PC to date. The latter Mini model will officially launch in a few weeks, but the device has already shown up on Amazon and B&H for customers to pre-order. Units are not expected to ship until the end of October or early November.

The B&H listing does not provide any specs, but Amazon’s listing is full of information regarding the T102HA-D4-GR model. Amazon currently describes it as the Transformer Book although the product number points to the upcoming Transformer Mini. As the current Asus portfolio seems to suggest, the Transformer Mini replaces the older Transformer Book (T101HA) product.

Here is what is packed inside:

Processor: Intel “Cherry Trail” Atom x5-Z8300 (quad-core)
Processor speed: 1.44GHz base, 1.84GHz burst
System memory: 4GB
Internal storage: 128GB SSD
Screen size: 10.1 inches
Screen resolution: 1,280 x 800
Wireless connectivity: Wireless AC, Bluetooth 4.1
Webcam 2MP
Size: 6.7 x 10.2 x 0.5 inches
Battery: Up to 11 hours of video playback
Ports: 1x USB 3.0
1x micro USB
1x mico HDMI
1x micro SD card reader
1x 3.5mm headphone jack

According to the listing, the Transformer Mini features a magnesium alloy body, enabling a lightweight form factor of less than 1.7 pounds. It comes with a keyboard and pen, thus it measures only 0.6 inches thin with the larger peripheral attached and closed. It even packs a fingerprint reader that supports the Windows Hello feature in Windows 10. This device uses the Pro version of Microsoft’s operating system, so expect some installed bloatware from Asus.

The official product page shows that the Transformer Mini will be served up in Quartz Gray, Amber, Mint Green, and Icicle Gold colors. There will also eventually be a cheaper model providing only 64GB of internal storage. The website even states “up to 4GB” of system memory, meaning a version with a lower memory capacity could be possible for customers on a budget.

What is surprising here is the use of the Atom x5-Z8300 processor, which launched in the second quarter of 2015. That was over a year ago and a more updated version would be the x5-Z8330 processor launched in the first quarter of 2016. Asus is undoubtedly trying to keep the overall cost low by using the older chip. Check out the comparison:

x5-Z8300 X5-Z8330 x5-Z8500
Launch data Q2’15 Q1’16 Q1’15
Process node 14nm 14nm 14nm
Cores/Threads 4/4 4/4 4/4
Base clock speed 1.44GHz 1.44GHz 1.44GHz
Burst clock speed 1.84GHz 1.92GHz 2.24GHz
Cache 2MB 2MB 2MB
Scenario design power 2 watts 2 watts 2 watts
Max memory support 2GB 2GB 8GB
Memory types DDR3L-RS 1,600 DDR3L-RS 1,600 LPDDR3 1,600
Max # of memory channels 1 1 2
Max memory bandwidth 12.8GB/s 12.8GB/s 25.6GB/s
Integrated graphics Intel HD Graphics Intel HD Graphics 400 Intel HD Graphics
Graphics base speed 200MHz 200MHz 200MHz
Graphics burst speed 500MHz 500MHz 600MHz
Max resolution 1,920 x 1,080 Not listed 2,560 x 1,600

As the chart shows, there is not a lot of difference between the x5-Z8300 and the X5-Z8330, save for a slight increase in processor burst speed. That may be why Asus stuck with the older, cheaper chip in its new Transformer Mini device.

Also notice that we included the Intel Atom x5-Z8500 processor in the chart. That is what is packed in the Transformer Book T100HA model released in 2015. You can grab one of these for $270 that includes 4GB of system memory and 64GB of internal storage. You may get better performance out of the processor, but receive less storage space than the Transformer Mini in return.

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