Tablet Review: ASUS Transformer T100

The T100 tablet pulls double duty as a tablet and a notebook at a rock-bottom price. But how does it stack up in real-world use.

Thu, January 23, 2014

CIO — If the price of the Surface Pro and other similarly equipped tablets has been preventing you from buying a Windows 8 tablet then the recent update to the Intel Atom processor may be your cue to make your move.

A slew of affordable tablets and hybrids equipped with the Bay Trail processor, running a full version of Windows 8, began to be released in late 2013 -- the ASUS Transformer, The Dell Venue 8 Pro and the Toshiba Encore among the pack. The new processor allows these tablets to run most Windows apps smoothly, a task that its predecessor, the Clover Trail processor, couldn't handle.

After educating myself a bit on these new devices I bought the ASUS Transformer Book for $399, which included shipping. I chose this tablet/netbook over competitors due to the keyboard dock, the larger screen and the full-size USB port.

The ASUS Transformer has an attractive price point and loads of other features, including Microsoft Office 2013 Home & Student Edition, Bluetooth, Micro HDMI and a MicroUSB. The only thing missing was 3G/4G connectivity, but even the Surface Pro 2 at almost triple the price doesn't offer that. Using my phone I am able to tether any Wi-Fi device at the push of a button so it wasn't the biggest concern.

ASUS Transformer Review T100TA

Specifications for the ASUS Transformer Model Reviewed
  • OS: Windows 8.1
  • Processor: Intel Atom Quad-Core Bay Trail 1.33 GHz Processor
  • Memory: 2GB
  • Graphics: Integrated Intel HD Graphics
  • Audio: 2 Speakers and a SonicMaster Array Microphone
  • Display: 10.1-inches 16:9 IPS HD (1366x768) with Multi-Touch Screen
  • Camera: 1.2MP
  • Storage: 64GB eMMC
  • Ports: USB 3.0 (This is a part of the keyboard dock)
  • microHDMI,
  • microSD card reader
  • microUSB
  • Connectivity: Integrated 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Built-in Bluetooth" V4.0
  • Battery: 2Cells 31 Whrs Polymer Battery
  • Dimensions: Tablet --263 x 171 x 10.5 mm (WxDxH)
  • Dock 263 x 171 x 13.1 mm (WxDxH)
  • Weight: Tablet and Dock --2.4 pounds
  • Tablet only -- 1.2 pounds

For more details you can view the full ASUS Transformer Specifications here.

Initial Thoughts

Out of the box the Transformer booted up in just over 10 seconds. At first glance, the glossy outer shell seems cheap when compared to the likes of the iPad. The outer cover and the screen are also fingerprint-collectors. However, on the plus side, apps open with pep and the touchscreen is responsive.

The hinge where the tablet/notebook separates seems sturdy and the unit locks together with an audible click and a notification sound from the Windows OS. The hinge sticks out a bit in the back and while it's not what you normally see it, it isn't a problem.

ASUS Transformer T100TA hinge

Keyboard Dock

ASUS' history in the netbook category becomes apparent when you look at the keyboard dock. The Transformer has a full QWERTY keyboard that seems solid, although the keys are on the smaller size. After some getting used to it, it is serviceable for banging out quick emails or IMs.

The keyboard itself weighs in at 1.2 pounds bringing the entire device's weight up to 2.4 pounds. It balances nicely on your lap and feels secure when attached. The USB 3.0 port is towards the back of the dock on the left side.

The touchpad, on the other hand, is responsive but the left and right hand buttons make a hollow clicking noise when depressed. It's not the worst experience, however, and if it is really bothersome it is easily resolved using a Bluetooth or USB mouse.

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