Asus Transformer Book T100

The Asus Transformer Book T100 revives the netbook value proposition in a budget 10-inch laptop that doubles as a tablet. You won’t love it, but for bang for buck, it’s hard to beat.


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Full Windows 8 PCs running newer Intel Atom processors and costing around AU$500 have been here for the last year, but here's why the T100 is special: it has a newer Bay Trail Atom processor that's faster and offers far better battery life, and the overall shape and design is a lot like the Asus Transformer Android keyboarded tablets, which we've always been fond of. A Transformer that runs full Windows? What can possibly be bad about that?

Design


(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

The T100 feels like a laptop first and tablet second, but that's not so bad at all: I typed a good chunk of this review on my train rides home and tucked in on my lap, and it worked quite well. If you've ever worked on a netbook, you know how it feels.


(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

And that's the bad part, I guess: this feels like a netbook. Cramped keyboard but a solidly performing one: its size and key travel reminded me of many recent iPad Bluetooth keyboard accessories. The touch pad below is nothing special, but it's roughly the size of the one on the Surface Type Cover, is clickable and does the job.


(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

I'm not going to sugar-coat this. The keyboard, while functional, is cramped and plastic feeling. The touch pad is small. The chassis feels like a ticket to glossy Plasticland. The tablet's 1366x768-pixel touch display is effective but not particularly bright. It all resembles, very much, that good old netbook Asus used to make not too long ago.


(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

As a tablet, the T100 is fine, but it's thicker and bigger than your average iPad or Android tablet or even a Surface 2. It's not too heavy to hold, but it doesn't feel designed to be an excellent stand-alone tablet: it feels more like the floating back lid of a laptop that's still searching for its base. It's good, and I could definitely see myself using it casually on a sofa, but I wouldn't feel compelled to take the tablet on its own for a day without that keyboard.


(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

Performance

The tablet's ports and connections are minimal but functional: micro USB, micro HDMI, a microSD card slot and a full USB 3.0 port on the keyboard base. The tablet has 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.


(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

A quad-core next-gen Bay Trail Atom Z3740 lurks inside the Transformer Book T100, along with 2GB of RAM and 64GB of SSD storage in our review configuration. This is one of the first systems we've seen with the new class of Atom processors: previous Windows 8 systems with Atoms were actually pretty decent machines if you accepted their limitations: for everyday tasks, they fared quite well and had good battery life.


(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

What should you expect? Again, for everyday basic work, this will get the job done. Honestly, the limitations of a small and lower-res screen and cramped keyboard and touch pad will set the tone for how much "serious hard-core work" you want to get done on this, anyway. It's versatile, and you could do more with it than you probably expect. As a Chromebook-level device, it's a world beater. Just remember you're still getting a budget, downsized machine.

Battery life is great, lasting 591 minutes (9 hours, 51 minutes). That's equivalent to top-end tablets, roughly. But other laptops have done better. Other tablets, too. It's better than previous Atom tablets fared.

Conclusion

Who is Windows 8 for, exactly? It's not ideal for desktops or laptops without touchscreens, and stand-alone tablets without keyboards can be hard to get work done on. You want both, like the Surface Pro. You're either picking a hybrid that's a tablet first and a laptop second or a laptop first and a tablet second.

The T100 is more laptop than tablet but has the option to be flexible. It's not a great laptop, but it's a capable one and highly affordable, too. If you can find one of these around AU$350, you're getting a tablet and a netbook in one, with plenty of battery life to spare and full Windows 8. The netbook is back, and it doubles as a tablet. Budget-minded Windows 8 shoppers should be happy about that.

Via CNET.com



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GarthB posted a comment   

I believe it also come bundles with Office H




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  • GarthB

    GarthB

    "I believe it also come bundles with Office H"

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