The Transformer range of tablets is an initiative on the companys part to bridge the gap between a tablet, netbook and a laptop. The Transformer Book T100 is a Windows 8.1 convertible tablet. This is a new segment that is quickly gaining traction and is expected to become a separate vertical in the tablet segment.
Once unpacked, the T100 does not make heads turn with its glossy back. The deep bluish-black tablet is light at just over 550 grams and compact to hold, however it has a plasticky feel. The device has a 10.1-inch screen, which is a fingerprint magnet. With a HD display measuring 1366 x 768 pixels, I felt the display quality was a bit below satisfaction. Colours did not look vibrant enough. Viewing angles were good though, thanks to the IPS display.
But where the tablet scores is the detachable keyboard that comes along. It is not a full sized keyboard with the weight same as the tablet itself, and lacks light indicators of any kind. Attached with a USB port, the keys could feel too small for someone with thicker fingers and the small built-in touchpad isnt very responsive. Considering that the T100 is a tablet that has been priced attractively, including a keyboard is still a very smart move, and will definitely help Asus stand in better stead compared to the Acer Iconia and Dell Venue tablets, both of which lack keyboards.
Powered by an Intel Atom quad-core processor, the T100 is extremely fast. Whether its multitasking between apps, documents, browser or quickly switching from the Metro user interface to the desktop mode, the tablet responds well.
The T100 comes loaded with the Windows Home and Student Edition, which should definitely please professionals who want a lighter device to work on their documents, spreadsheets or presentations. However, one has to purchase the license separately from the Microsoft store, which was a let down. The Acer Iconia W4-820, a competitor to this device, had an active MS-Office license preloaded.
Equipped only with a 1.2-MP front camera, the T100 scores low on this front. Though Skype was pre-installed, video calls gave grainy images, but with decent voice clarity. Why Asus missed out on a rear camera was a mystery, considering most of the rivals like Acer (on its Iconia tablets), Dell (on its Venue tablets) and even iBall have tablets with dual cameras. Sound quality was also something that impressed me. Videos on YouTube or from my flash drives played well with decent sound clarity.
The T100 was preloaded with games like Medieval Apocalypse, Agent P, Pinball FX2 and the more popular Krrish 3. Graphics quality was good for a tablet in this price range and the fact that there were not too many lags or stutters while playing them. Sound quality, again, was very good, being too loud at times. As for the storage, the device offers 32 GB and 64 GB options via eMMC, with an option for free storage on the cloud via the Asus WedStorage.
The tablet comes with a 31-Wh battery, which Asus claims could last for 11 hours of continuous web browsing. I was satisfied with the device on this front, which should last over a day on average usage. Charging the device was quite a pain, as it took very long to get fully charged, and the micro USB cable that came along did not even charge when connected to my Macbook Pro or Windows laptop. Also, the micro USB cable was too short for my convenience. Asus intends consumers to use the device like a tablet as well a netbook, in which case they could have given a longer micro USB cable.
Overall, the Asus Transformer Book T100 is a good value for money convertible tablet with a powerful processor and excellent battery life. On top of it, giving a keyboard along with tablet is a brilliant idea, and could sway a lot of buyers to overlook its shortcomings.
* Display: 10.1-inch, HD IPS display with 1366 x 768 resolution
* CPU: Intel Atom quad-core
* Operating system: Windows 8.1
* RAM: 2 GB
* Internal memory: 32/64 GB internal storage via eMMC, Asus WebStorage
* Camera: 1.2 MP (front)
* Weight: 550g
* Estimated street price: R31,390