Asus Transformer Book T100 Review: Netbook In Disguise

Asus is the original and arguably the best at the convertible tablet, and now it’s back with the one-two punch of the T100: a great convertible tablet with brand-spanking new internal hardware.

Gizmodo loves technology. Our product reviews are presented thanks to Dick Smith.

What Is It?

The Asus Transformer Book T100 is a 10.1-inch tablet rocking Windows 8.1 and Intel’s new Bay Trail chip. Bay Trail is the fancy name Intel is giving to the next generation of mobile CPUs.

In the case of the Transformer Book T100, you’ll find a new low-power, quad-core 1.33GHz Atom chip under the hood, along with 2GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and an expandable microSD card slot.

You’ve also got a USB 3.0 port, microUSB port, micro-HDMI out, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, stereo speakers and a Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 bundle pre-installed. All that kit lives underneath the 10.1-inch (1366x768) IPS screen.

The Transformer Book T100 retails from $599 and is available pretty much wherever tablets are sold.

What’s Good?

First of all, it’s super-light. Getting around with this device is excellent as it takes up virtually no space in a bag. Sadly, it’s not a pocketable Windows 8.1 tablet like its 8-inch competitors coming onto the market, but that’s life at larger screen sizes.

Asus is heralding the fact that this thing powers up almost instantly from standby mode, which is kind of what it should be doing when you consider that it’s a tablet form factor. It’s still a Windows 8.1 operating system which means that it won’t be instantaneous like Android or iOS platforms are, but it’s nice to see manufacturers thinking about the little things.

And yes, the Transformer Book really is running a full-version of Windows 8.1 and not goddamn Windows RT. Thank your lucky stars.

There’s also a terabyte of Asus web storage available to customers with the purchase of this tablet too. Definitely worth considering if you’re a cloud junkie.

The low-power nature of Intel’s new fancy “Bay Trail” Atom chips means that you’ll get a long battery life with the new Transformer Book. Asus quotes 14 days of standby time on the device, but we were only able to get around a week. While it’s not living up to what it says on the tin, it’s still pretty impressive. You wouldn’t be able to go back to an Intel Core i5-powered Surface Pro 2 after a week and still expect it to have battery for example.

It’s also good to see Asus thinking about how people are going to use this thing by bundling Office Home and Student edition for free with every purchase.

We also got good results out of using the trackpad on the base. Whereas some bundled keyboards and trackpads suffer from quality issues, we rather enjoyed the fast and fluid pad on the Transformer Book.

What’s Bad?

Sure, the Transformer Book is super-light, but that means it has balance issues when used in laptop mode.

The fact that the base weighs less than the tablet itself means you’re always worried this thing is going to tip over when sitting on your lap at an angle. You don’t want your device killing itself by leaping off your lap, so you’ll try to secure it with your wrists on the palm rests, which tends to hurt your hands after a while.

The tablet also has a pretty average viewing angle thanks to an obnoxiously reflective front panel. That’s disappointing.

It’s a tiny tablet, which means that gaming isn’t the best experience in the world. If you want to get your game on, perhaps stick to a more powerful device.

Sadly, all this comes together to make the whole thing feel kind of cheap.

When you type, your fingers feel like they’re about to punch through the plasticky cheap sounding keyboard. When you hold it you feel it move about in the frame because of how it’s built. You always panic about it falling over. The keys are cramped. There’s no full-sized USB port on the tablet itself, only on the base.

It’s loaded with issues that drag down what could have been a really good 10.1-inch Windows tablet.

Should You Buy It?

Acer Transformer Book T100
80

Price: $499

Like
  • Light.
  • Good software bundle.
  • Long battery life.
Don't Like
  • Balance issues.
  • Mediocre gaming.
  • Cheap keyboard feel.

This is the netbook of convertible devices: not good enough to be a full-time solution but better for productivity than taking an entertainment and media tablet into a room.

This device is interesting, because it’s one of the first Windows 8.1 devices to come in a 10.1-inch form factor. For a while now, we’ve been seeing 8-inch Windows 8 tablets grab headlines as the new solution for Windows-based mobile productivity, with Ultrabooks packing greater functionality at the larger end of the spectrum.

This then is an inconvenient middle-ground. It’s passable as a standalone tablet running Windows 8.1, but we can’t help but feel like it’s a poor netbook clone posing as a convertible.

Think long and hard about this one. We think there are certainly better devices to drop your cash on.


Comments

    "It’s also good to see Asus thinking about how people are going to use this thing by bundling Office Home and Student edition for free with every purchase."
    On the contrary, I think it's crap that they're bundling software like this... It's gotta be adding at least $30 to the price and I don't want it, or need it and I doubt many do.
    Sell it as an addon pack for those that do want it.

    The price sucks too, US have the same item at $350!
    Even after adding on GST and 25% Australia Tax, it should be less than $500.

      This

      One thing to note, the 32GB version is $350 US
      The 64GB version (which is the only one available to aussies) is $400 US

      Still we're getting ripped off, as usual
      Oh well, I'll just wait for Samsung to do things properly

        Bought 1 from shoppingexpress for AUD$456 delivered last week. That's cheaper than the US price! (GST+weaker AUD) Just wait for a similar bargain and this is a very good buy.

    This was almost a certain purchase for me, but the price is absolutely ridiculous.

    Am just waiting for stock to get back in at either Amazon or Newegg.com to order. No sales tax to either of the 2 states friends live in where I can have it delivered. Shipping to Australia will cost $60 and that will fit 2 of these in. So for less than $900 AUD I plan on getting 2 landed here. So sick of the extra we pay for living here. Next will be some Sonos Play 1 speakers.

    The 64GB version can be had for $499 locally (Dick Smith sale price), which translates quite well from the US$399 for the same model, remembering the US price does not include taxes. With GST applied, the US price works out to AUD$466, so only a $33 premium (7%), remarkably good compared to most goods sold here!
    I have had one of these for about a week now, and like it a lot, having had both an ipad and android tablet (Nexus 7) previously, I love the ability to install anything I want on this machine.
    I don't find it to be too cheap quality wise, but I don't think the screen glass is very strong, I already have a small scratch, must get a screen protector.

    That's right Cadscott!! There are so many people whingeing on these forums, saying why America gets things cheaper. Even if they are $50 cheaper than here, they'll still say we get ripped off!!! Bloody idiots!! Most tech things in the US are less than 10% than our prices - when their "Sales Tax" is included. And just remember, u can't claim on this Sales Tax when u leave the US to come back home. And I get banned for making such these same very comments on other forums. When will people wake up??...

    Oh dear, there's always the inveterate complainos who'll always want diamond class products free of charge. Even the reviewer is fairly churlish about the equipment, trying to play games on this small device, to boot!
    Accept it for what it is - a small, powerful, convenience that won't solve the problems of the universe in less than a second. I have the predecessor in Android format, and I don't expect it to do more than it was built and priced for. I think these incarnations are pretty good. A little perspective, please.

      My thoughts about this whining over this product. Go buy a IPAD and then complain about the cost. I really like my ASUS Transformer T100. It does what I need for work, travels and even games. I do not waste my time on Games. My 73 year old mother does we loaded WOW and Everquest. She was able to play just fine. We just wanted to test it for her. She likes her larger LED Smart TV with PC connections to her gamer desktop to play better. But I would not purchase a tablet for games. I find games a waste of time and money. That is just my Humble opinion

      TRC

    Jeez, the price is pretty good once discounted (got one for $517 at GG less a $20 voucher from them for an earlier), and breaks about even. This is a real no-frills laptop with tablet features. Buy it and enjoy.

    Picked one up from officeworks for $431. Goodguys had them on special for $479 in their catalog, Office works also had them in their back to school catalog for $500+ but had a 10% price match. The store manager wasn't too happy but sold it to me. Over 1 week and I am quite happy however the lack of metro apps makes windows 8 a bit of a pain.

    I got my asus T100 on Christmas day. was used to using iPhone and my older windows desktop. I'm loving this asus! Only thing is that there are limited apps and a lot of them already installed are American and canr be used in aussie (Netflix etc). Came with bing as browser, but I suppose I'm just used to yee old Google. Being new to windows 8 I'm still learning. Anyone know other accredited app stores other than Microsoft where I can purchase apps like the heap I have on iPhone. I love the kindle app. great to use tablet as a reader by downloading books from amazon. cheers to all from Australia (with 46C weather where Im writing this). definitely wont leave T100 outside :-)

    Never buy an AsUS tablet, at least a keyboard. I have has two (one bought the other given) and both had the screen crack without any impact made to them. God knows how it has happened, the only thing I can think of is that the keyboard hinge puts too much stress on the tablet frame when openning/closing and the glass snaps. I now have a useless tablet as it cannot swipe and costs the price of a new Samsung to replace. Waste of money!!!

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