What is it?
The ASUS Transformer Book T100 is the latest in ASUS’s range of Transformer tablets, which combine a 10” tablet with a keyboard dock giving you the choice between touchscreen and traditional laptop usage. This gives an interesting dual usage scenario and could be interesting for people struggling to choose between a large tablet and a small laptop, or for those looking to consolidate down to a single device.
Where the T100 differs from previous Transformers is in that it makes the leap from Android to Windows 8.1, utilising the newest Intel Atom processor and combining it with 2GB of DDR3 memory and a 32 or 64GB eMMC SSD drive – although only the 32GB model has made it to the UK thus far, priced at around £340.
Setup and usage
Given the relatively low price of the ASUS Transformer Book T100 you actually get quite a good bundle included. Inside the box we find the tablet and matching keyboard dock, the user manual and warranty card, a small 10W USB charger and the most interesting addition – a coupon for a free download of Microsoft Office 2013 Home and Student edition.
Because, at 10.1”, Microsoft class the T100 as a Small Screen Device it is seen as competing directly with Android and iOS based tablets, and therefore qualifies for a free copy of Office 2013 - effectively saving £100 on a popular piece of software where as a slightly larger laptop would not. An odd decision on Microsoft’s part perhaps, and one that manufacturers of traditional laptops are probably not that pleased about, but it could make the T100 a great choice for students looking for a small laptop to take to lectures and workshops which can also serve as a tablet when relaxing at home.
The tablet itself is far from the slimmest on the market and the back is coated in slightly slippy and fingerprint-prone, glossy, plastic – an odd choice given we’d have much preferred the soft-touch plastic used on the back of the dock – but at just over 550g it’s reasonably light for a 10” tablet. The dock can support the weight of the tablet without tipping over and has a limited range of adjustment for angle. The keyboard layout is a little cramped in places, while the touchpad can be a little unresponsive to the initial touch, and has perhaps a little too much travel when clicking, but far both are better for typing and fine selection on the Windows desktop than relying solely on the touchscreen.
After the initial Windows out of box setup is completed there is blissfully little pre-installed software on the system beyond a couple relatively unobtrusive ASUS applications for warranty registration, system updates and cloud storage.
This last addition is particularly useful given the meagre 32GB of storage combined with the heavy weight Windows 8.1 operating system – our T100 had just 14GB available out of the box, dropping to just over 8GB after Office 2013 Home and Student edition had been installed – if you’re planning on filling the system with photos, music and applications then you’ll struggle. Additional storage can be added with a microSD card for media, but Windows ModernUI applications can only be installed to the internal storage which could become limiting.
The screen on the T100 is actually quite good, if not exceptional. The touch screen is responsive and being an IPS panel offers wide viewing angles and better than average contrast levels for a low-price Windows system, but the 1368x768 resolution is a little disappointing in a world of 1080p phones and Retina iPads.
Finally there are a few omissions from the T100 that are worthy of note for potential buyers. There is no anti-virus software pre-installed, so be sure to install either the free Microsoft Security Essentials software or your preferred security suite. There is also no rear facing camera, although a front facing one is included and works well for Skype, and connectivity is limited to just Micro HDMI, Micro USB, microSD and a headphone jack on the tablet portion, while the dock gets a full-sized USB 3.0 port. No adaptors are supplied for the tablets Micro HDMI or Micro USB ports, so be sure to factor these in to the price if you’re planning on using them.
Early low-cost Windows 8 and RT tablets often disappointed in terms of performance, so we dug out a Samsung ATIV XE500 (Intel Atom Z2760) and ASUS VivoTab RT (NVIDIA Tegra 3) to see how things have improved…
Switching to 3DMark and the previous generation Atoms graphic core was a known weak point, allowing the Tegra 3 to edge it out, but the T100 takes an almost embarrassing margin of victory with its Intel ‘Gen 7’ graphics core providing a massive step up in performance of over 400% compared to its predecessor.
In fact our testing showed that while the Samsung ATIV XE500 struggled to play many mainstream games acceptably, the ASUS Transformer Book T100 was more than capable of playing popular titles such as Counter-Strike Source, DOTA 2 and World of Warcraft, as well as more standard tablet gaming fare such as Angry Birds. On the Windows RT side and the NVIDIA Tegra 4 in the newer Microsoft Surface 2 would likely have beaten the T100 in 3DMark, but being a Windows RT device this wouldn’t be able to run the wider range of titles T100 owners have access to…
In more general use the solid state storage makes the T100 feel considerably quicker than similarly priced laptops with larger mechanical hard drives, and this means systems performance rarely degenerating in to the seemingly endless grind that can sometimes occur when logging in or during multi-tasking.
The systems quick responses can lead you to forget that you’re dealing with a low-cost device at times, and even when connected to an external screen (monitor) or TV via a micro HDMI to HDMI lead the T100TA can easily power it's own screen and a full HD external screen. Andy, the PC Checker founder has even been using his own personal T100TA docked to USB 3.0 Docking station enabling him to hook his up to a 1Gbps ehternet port, USB Keyboard, USB Mouse and power a 3rd screen!
The ASUS Transformer Book T100 could well be a great choice if you’re looking for a device that can function both as a laptop and a tablet as well as even replacing an older desktop system. Performance is generally good and it feels quicker than larger, similarly priced laptops while the bundled Office 2013 Home and Student helps to make it excellent value.
- Good value with bundled keyboard dock and Office 2013
- Combination of quad-core Atom and solid state storage makes system quick to respond
- IPS screen has good viewing angles
- No overly intrusive pre-installed software
- 32GB of storage with only 14GB available to the user can be quickly filled if they’re not careful but this can be supplemented with a Micro SD Card which are available in sizes up to 64GB
- Feel of the tablet back, keyboard and touchpad, although not bad, could be better.
- 2GB of memory is a little stingy.
Asus Transformer Book T100TA Full Specifications
PC Checker Score
|PC Checker Score||17.0150|
|Operating System||Windows 8|
|Processor Speed||1.33 GHz|
|Processor Cache||2 MB|
|Processor Cores||Quad Core|
|Hard Disk Size||32 GB|
|Hard Disk Type||SSD|
|Hard Disk Score||25|
|Graphics Card||Shared / Integrated|
|Screen Size (inches)||10.1|
|Screen Type||IPS with multi-touch|
|Resolution||1366 x 768 pixels|
Size & Weight
|Dimensions||H10.5 (13.1 with dock) x W264 x D171 mm|
|Computer Weight||Tablet: 550g. Tablet & Dock: 1070g|
|Battery Life||11 hours|
- The best value tablet in the UKReview by PC Checker
Price Value Quality
Andy here from PC Checker writing my own review as I have personally bought the Asus T100TA Windows tablet to use for myself after being hugely impressed with it during a demo.
The T100 is the best computing device I have ever owned and as you can imagine I have owned a few! I say this as for under £349 you get full Windows 8.1, MS Office 2013, a great keyboard dock and over 11 hours of battery life and the ability to truly use this tablet as your main every day computer if you want hooked up to another monitor via the micro HDMI port and / or a USB keyboards/ mouse.
Feel free to ask me any questions about the Asus T100 via the online Chat below or the contact form.
(Posted on 28/11/2013)
- Good laptop, okay tablet, but initial UK pricing is disappointingReview by Thorburn
Price Value Quality
As a laptop its good, the eMMC based storage makes it more responsive than your average cheap laptop with a normal HDD, and the latest Atom chip is a world away from the older models found in the old Netbooks and earlier tablets, with a reasonably quick quad-core CPU and much improved graphics. It's never going to be a great gaming machine, but you can get by playing quite a lot of titles with the detail turned down if you're willing to tolerate some slowdown.
There are a few niggles of course. The glossy plastic on the back of the tablet is a bit cheap looking, attracts fingerprints very easily, and could feel nicer to hold - a real shame considering the bottom of the keyboard dock has a lovely matt, soft touch finish. Why didn't they use this?
The screen is decent quality, with good viewing angle, but its quite low resolution compared to other similarly priced tablets. That brings us on the the final complaint - at the time of writing a 32GB T100 is £349 in the UK, or $349 in the US (approx. £217), and the 64GB model is not yet available in the UK. In the US the T100 is an absolute bargain - in the UK a little expensive for what you're getting. I'd recommend waiting for the 64GB model and maybe see if prices fall a little after the initial demand. (Posted on 06/11/2013)
Write Your Own Review
Discuss this computer
- From PC Checker at 28/11/2013 14:04
- Does the Asus T100 come with Microsoft Office?
From PC Checker
Yes, The Asus T100 comes with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 with full versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote included!
- From PC Checker at 26/12/2013 12:20
- Can this tablet be used with an external monitor or TV?
From PC Checker
Yes it can via a Micro HDMI to HDMI lead and with the USB 3.0 port on the keyboard dock you can even add your favourite USB keyboard or mouse via a USB hub.
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