Asus took the most daring design route, but its remote- desktop mode is problematic.
While Dell, Lenovo, and Sony adopted the same essential design for their respective all-in-ones, Asus took a completely different approach. In fact, a better description of Asus’s machine might be “all- in-two,” because the Transformer All-in-One P1801 is essentially two discrete computers, each one with its own CPU and operating system. The Transformer P1801’s base houses one computer powered by a quad-core 3.1GHz Intel Core i5-3450 CPU and 8GB of DDR3/1600 memory. When the 18.4-inch, ten-point-touch display is docked to the base, the combination functions as a conventional desktop all-in-one. Remove the display from the dock, and it becomes a giant tablet running Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). The display provides a native resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. The base unit is a well-equipped computer all its own. In addition to the quad-core CPU, it has a discrete graphics processor, a 1TB 7200-rpm hard drive, wired and wireless net- work adapters, a DVD burner, four USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, and a memory card reader. The base also has built-in speakers, mic and headphone jacks, and an HDMI output so it can connect to an external monitor. With a second monitor attached to the system, one person can use the base station as a regular Windows 8 computer while someone else uses the display as an Android tablet.
That’s because the tablet has its own quad-core microprocessor—an Nvidia Tegra 3—with 32GB of flash
memory. You can access the storage in both the tablet and the base station while you’re using the system in Windows mode, but the Android side can see only the tablet storage. the display The tablet has its own 802.11n Wi-Fi network adapter, so you can surf the Web as well as download, install, and use Android apps and games. While the dis- play is docked and the Transformer P1801 is
operating in Windows mode, you can initiate a download and undock the display, and the download will continue uninterrupted. The display has its own stereo speakers, a mic/headphone combo jack, one USB 2.0 port, and a memory card reader, but its 1-megapixel webcam operates only while it’s in PC mode. The display’s built-in handle makes it easy to carry, and its fold-out stand lets you use it on a table or desktop (reclining at up to a 100-degree angle). The Transformer P1801’s display is only slightly heavier than that of Dell’s XPS 18 Touch, weighing 5.29 pounds. In addition, the Transformer P1801 has a third mode that renders it truly unique in this group: It can switch between running as an Android tablet and as a remote Windows 8 desktop. This flexibility means you can remove the display from its base and take it into another room, where it will function as a wireless touch- screen for the Windows 8 session running on the docking station. You have limited range in this mode, however, and response time can be laggy. The Dell XPS 18 Touch scored better on our WorldBench 8.1 Desktop benchmark suite—earning 171 to the Transformer P1801’s 153—but we can attribute that difference primarily to the presence of the SSD cache drive on Dell’s machine. The P1801 performed better with games and productivity apps. It delivers a better price/performance ratio too., especially when you consider that you can use its base unit as a PC while someone else uses its display as an Android tablet. “The P1801 has a third mode that renders it unique in this group.”