Taiwanese computer firm Asus became a better recognised and more established player in the laptop and tablet markets in 2012, thanks to the innovation of its Transformer Pad series of Android tablets such as the Transformer Prime and the Transformer Infinity that came bundled with a keyboard dock to transform them into laptops.
Following the Pads, Asus announced the Taichi at the Computex trade show in Taiwan in June, a sturdy and high-end looking hybrid device like no other we've seen before, powered by Intel low voltage, third-generation Core processors and running the full version of Windows 8.
Asus' Taichi aims to offer users a well specified laptop with a unique dual-screen design that features a touchscreen on the lid so it can be used as a tablet when closed (tablet mode), and a non-touchscreen on the inside so it can be used as a notebook when open (notebook mode).
The touchscreen display featured on the Taichi's lid is an 11.6in HD screen supporting 1920x1080 resolution and 10-point multitouch. It delivers everything you'd expect from a display of this size and more, being big enough for movie viewing and also clear and vibrant with great colour reproduction.
There's also a stylus bundled in for those wanting to use the touchscreen with some precision, such as for graphics design projects.
In our tests, the Taichi's touchscreen handled commands with ease and we encountered no problems using touch on the device when in tablet mode.
Our only gripe with the touch-enabled display is that its 1920x1080 default resolution is perhaps a little too great for touch commands and we often found ourselves having to pinch and zoom when browsing web pages because text appeared very small. There is also no accelerometer built into the Taichi so the touch display doesn't automatically flip around when rotated into portrait to landscape modes, for instance. To ensure that the touchscreen doesn't automatically turn on when you close the lid of the Taichi, you can enable the tablet screen lock switch located on the right-hand side of the chassis.
As for the internal non-touch display, we found it would be improved by being a tad brighter, as it appeared not quite bright enough when using the Taichi in low light conditions.
Asus has made switching between screens easy by adding a dedicated "Taichi" shortcut key on the keyboard. This allows the user to control how the screens are viewed. Hitting the button brings up an Asus Taichi Home screen app where you can switch between Notebook mode, Tablet mode, Mirror mode, which replicates what is on the inside screen on the outside touchscreen for presentations, and Dual Screen mode, which allows you to show something completely different on each screen at the same time.