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CES 2014: Asus raises the stakes in convertibles with Transformer Book Duet

Asus raised the stakes in the convertible tablet market by asking "Why not both?"

To that end, Asus has released the Transformer Book Duet, which boots Windows 8.1 and Android in a hybrid tablet form factor, as well as a Windows 8.1 slate tablet called the VivoTab Note 8.

The Asus Transformer Book Duet (TD300) expands on Asus's head start in the detachable tablet market. It's a 13.3in Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) detachable slate tablet with an included keyboard dock, so it can be used as either a traditional clamshell laptop or slate tablet.

The Transformer Book Duet uses an ultrabook class Intel Core processor (up to Core i7), 4GB DDR3L memory, and up to 128GB iSSD in the slate tablet, so you'll have the full power of a current laptop.

The keyboard dock can also accommodate up to a 1TB HDD, so you can travel with all of your files, while the keyboard features USB 3.0, USB 2.0, HDMI, and Ethernet for full laptop capabilities. The tablet has 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, and a microSD card slot for expansion.

But wait, there's more: the big news is that the Transformer Book Duet will dual boot with Windows 8.1 and Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), which means you don't have to carry a separate Windows laptop and Android tablet with you on your travels. It's notable that both operating systems run natively (not in emulation), and you can switch back and forth between the active sessions at the touch of a button.

This is a boon for the consumer or business user who needs both. The Transformer Book Duet has a travel weight of about 4 pounds, which trumps the total weight of most full-size tablets plus midsized ultrabooks.

The VivoTab 8 is Asus's new slate tablet powered by an Intel Atom Z3470 quad-core processor. It's built around an 8in 1,280 x 800 IPS screen, with 2GB of memory, and a 64GB SSD (with a micoSD card slot for more storage space).

Interesting features include a full version of Microsoft Home and Student (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote), which mostly negates Windows RT's advantage. The VivoTab 8 also includes a Wacom-based stylus with 1,000 levels of pressure sensitivity.

The VivoTab 8 weigh in at 381g, making it a one-handed tablet. Asus claims eight hours of battery life, a claim we intend to test once the VivoTab 8 arrives in our labs.