The New Asus Windows 8 Taichi 21 First Look

We spent some time with the new Asus Windows 8 flagship model, the Asus Taichi 21. It’s an 11.6 inch hybrid model. Is it a tablet, or is it a notebook? Would you use it with the lid closed or open? How would you use both displays at once? These were the questions going through our mind as we prepared our first look video segment, below.  The Taichi aims to bring the best of Windows 8 computing in one multi-purpose unit, and it’s an interesting concept.

Specwise, it sounds like an Asus Windows 8 Ultrabook, with the choice of Intel’s Core i5 or i7 in the Ultrabook ULV fashion, plus a solid state drive. And with the lid open and the keyboard & screen in front of you, the 1080p display is impressive and clear. The Windows 8 environment can be controlled using a mixture of keyboard shortcuts and keypad swipes, but I must confess that there were a few times when I instinctively reached for the screen.

But this is only half the story, the other half is on the lid, where an equally impressive, second 1080p screen waited for us to stroke and swipe to our heart’s content. This Asus Windows 8 notebook has incorporated a ten point, capacitive, 11.6 inch touch screen to take full advantage of the Windows 8 OS. The Gorilla Glass-protected display looked great with its Full HD screen keeping pixel details from the naked eye, for the most part.

Asus, Windows 8, Taichi 21, Hybrid, Ultrabook

Is it a tablet, is it a notebook? It’s both, so would you replace your notebook and tablet with this all-in-one portable device?

So it’s an Asus Windows 8 notebook, and a Windows 8 tablet rolled into one, then. But as they say in the classics, wait, there’s more. The lid display can be used in two more functions as part of a two-screen setup. The first one is a basic mirror image, where the content you are working on or consuming on the notebook side is duplicated on the lid side. This is particularly good for executives eager to impress their clients with their new presentation delivery. (You’ll still need a compelling presentation of course; the Taichi will only get you so far).

Asus, Windows 8, Hybrid, Taichi 21, tablet, notebook, Ultrabook

The notebook screen can be thrown onto the lid screen to share presentations, movies or any other content.

The second two screen mode is “dual screen”, where the lid is an extended monitor or the desktop app. For those of you that use an extended monitor at work or home, you can even move your cursor or file explorer to the lid side, as you would extend your reach from a notebook to an external monitor in this mode.

Using a special Asus software feature, you can drag and drop video files to play on the lid while you continue to work on the notebook side. If you stay within the desktop app, the person on the other side and bring up the start screen and use other apps. A word of warning – if you press the Windows button on the keyboard, you will take the other screen out of its current state and back to the start screen.

Asus have proven themselves to be formidable innovators, with the Transformer lineup and Ultrabooks proving to be great blends of design, technology and practicality. With Windows 8, Asus have taken the opportunity to bring yet another innovative concept to market.

So that’s our first look at the new Asus Windows 8 TaiChi PC. Let us know if you have any questions, and how you would envision using a device like the two screen Taichi, we’re very interested to hear your thoughts.

Until next time!


  1. Aman says:

    Taichi comes with a very precise new generation N-Trig stylus(4th generation).The old N-Trig stylusses weren’t precise at all.Actually I use to hate old N-Trig pens and supported wacom always.
    So Taichi could be a great option for sketching,for product designers instead of a Fujitsu Lifebook T902 + Motion computing Wacom pen.But I am worried about getting scratches on my back screen accidentally,that on the screen on which stylus is intended to use for.Unlike iPad,for which enclosure carrying case from CAPDASE or other brands are available,Taichi will not come with such accessories which is bit refraining me from buying Taichi instead of Lifebook T902.also pricing for Lifebook T902 is bit lesser compared to Taichi pricing.
    I am considering this or Lifebook instead of a Samsung Ativ tablet just because I want a bigger screen for sketching,a all in one portable package.One main advantage of a N-Trig Stylus is Auto Callibration.Calibration for accuracy is a big problem in Wacom which has to be done manually.

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    • Aman says:

      When I meant bid screen,I meant 13.3 inch screen that will come with Asus Taichi 31, a bigger version of Taichi 21.

      • Kathy says:

        Want to buy this. Do I assume it’s a tablet and a notebook all in one? Buying one for a grandson for a gift. I am so in the dark and wonder you enjoy it.

        • michaelmihalis says:

          Hi Kathy, this is a little different to your normal notebook and tablet as it doesn’t detach from the keyboard. It actually has 2 screens one on either side of the lid. It’s not as mobile and a bit on the heavy side for our liking (however it does have promise). Battery life is also questionable at this stage, with both screens running it last no more than a few hours. I’d go for a more traditional tablet and notebook setup one that has a detachable screen. There are many great Android and now Windows 8 options out there…just be sure the screen is detachable and that it can work as a table in its own right (Asus has many to choose from – both Windows 8 and Android based). Sorry for the late response there was a fault on our end that is now fixed. Kind Regards and I hope this helps. (Michael)

  2. Carlos says:

    Great, thanks for the response. I look forward to the full review!

  3. Carlos says:

    I have a few questions on this, is there really an NFC chip? I see that on videos but not on the spec sheets or press release by Asus. Also, is the pen a Wacom pen or N-Trig? Does the pen have an eraser, if not, how do you erase with it? You can test it on the Windows Reader metro app. Also, do you find the 1080p screen on an 11 inch screen hard to use, specially on the desktop?
    I’m eagerly awaiting for this convertible, it seems to tick all boxes for me, however, I do hope the reviews are favorable.

    • Ritchie says:

      Hi Carlos, thanks for your questions. The NFC feature is definitely there but hasn’t been tested by us yet – we’ll do that at a later stage when we have the unit back, with the galaxy S3 or similar NFC-equipped smartphone. The sample was bare bones and didn’t come with the pen, but we’ll be getting a retail sample closer to launch.
      With regards to the 1080p screen, it looks superb, and easy to view. It’s almost retina display, so if you have used an iPad 3 you’ll know what to expect.

    • Aman says:

      Hi Carlos,I have confirmed that the pen is N-Trig and its a completely new design,with as precise nib as that of a “Motion Computing” Wacom nib,something which was not expected from N-Trig ever before.

      • Carlos says:

        Thanks, Aman. My main thing is that N-Trig pens don’t have an eraser head and that’s disappointing, but I guess not necessarily a deal breaker. I also wish Asus would’ve come up with some sort of sleeve that could hold the pen and provide access to the lid of the Taichi for use while in the sleeve, but it seems they are just providing an old basic sleeve. That said, I would never compare this to the lifebook, this is a stylish piece of hardware. I would much rather buy a thinkpad x series tablet than the lifebook if I were to disregard looks.

        • Aman says:

          That’s right.If 11.6 inch or lesser is sufficient for you,then there are various other options available instead of Taichi 31( 13.3 inch version of Taichi).Taichi will come in 11.6 inch an 13.3 inch screen options.
          Good options for small screens are Kupa TabTop,Samung Ativ tablet,Microsoft Surface “pro” with stylus,etc.However,you need to check the memory and other specs.