Hands-on: Asus Transformer Book T100 $349 Windows 8.1 tablet (with keyboard)

The Asus Transformer Book T100 is a small, cheap Windows tablet that you can use like a notebook thanks to a keyboard dock. At first glance it looks a lot like an old-school netbook. But you can remove the screen and use the Transformer Book T100 as a touchscreen tablet with up to 11 hours of battery life.

Not bad for a device that will sell for just $349.

I got a chance to spend a few minutes with the Transformer Book T100 recently, and while it’s not going to replace a high-end ultrabook, this little guy seems like it could be a winner in the affordable portable space.

Asus Transformer Book T100

The Transformer Book T100 features a 1.33 GHz Intel Atom Z3740 quad-core Bay Trail processor, a 10.1 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display, 2GB of RAM, 32GB to 64GB of storage, and a 1.2MP camera.

It runs Windows 8.1 and comes with a free copy of Microsoft Office 2013 Home & Student.

The tablet alone is 0.4 inches thick and weighs 1.2 pounds. Add the tablet dock, and it weighs 2.4 pounds and measures a little over 0.9 inches thick.

There’s a micro USB port, micro HDMI port, and microSD card slot on the tablet, and a full-sized USB port in the keyboard dock.

As you might expect from a cheap tablet, the case is made of plastic, not metal. And as you might expect from a keyboard for a 10 inch device, the keys and touchpad are a bit small, and could take some getting used to. But the travel on the keys feels pretty good, and unless you have enormous hands, you should be able to get up to speed pretty quickly.

The keyboard and tablet lock together very firmly, making it feel more like a laptop than a tablet with an accessory. But it’s a laptop with a screen that doesn’t open very wide. You can adjust the angle a bit… but you can’t push it back very far.

With an Intel Bay Trail processor, the Transformer Book T100 should be at least twice as fast as a typical netbook (or a tablet with an Intel Atom Z2760 Clover Trail or earlier Atom chip), and felt pretty responsive in the brief time I spent with the tablet. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a review unit to see how it performs under real-world conditions.

Update: Asus has posted an official product video for the Transformer Book T100:

  • Javier

    Windows 8 and 32GB harddrive; Does even the OS fit in there?

    Give me a 11″ netbook with that processor and then we’ll talk

    • CyberGusa

      Yes, it fits but you’ll just not have much room to install much else… A lot like the early SSD netbooks.

      Minimum required install space for 32bit W8 is 16GB… So MS made sure that the minimum drive size for W8 tablets is 32GB…

      Mind, this is designed to compete with mobile tablets that usually run on ARM processors and uses the same type of memory and storage.

      The eMMC is a single chip storage solution that’s optimal for maximizing internal space, which can be better used for things like larger batteries for longer battery life, and is low cost and more power efficient than full SSDs.

      The trade off is lower performance and less max capacity that you would get offered from a SSD but eMMC drives are steadily improving, just like SSDs have over the years.

      This particular model is just intended for low costs, as far as tablet/hybrids are concerned.

      Mind, last year’s model, Vivo Tab Smart, came without a keyboard dock and was priced over $500 with only USB 2.0 and of course the much lower performing Clover Trail… While this model has USB 3.0 in the included Keyboard Dock and the Bay Trail offers a little over twice the performance of Clover Trail.

      The 11.6″ versions of Clover Trail tended to go much higher as well, the worst being the Asus Vivo Tab TF810C that you had to buy the Keyboard dock separately and the combined cost exceeded even the base cost of a MS Surface Pro tablet!

      Problem is tablets are naturally more expensive than equivalent laptops. Build quality is usually better because it has to be with a device that is handled physically a lot and everything has to be compact enough to fit behind the screen instead of more easily spread out as it would be in a laptop.

      These are also fan-less tablets and that requires specific heat tolerances beyond what laptops normally deal with because of tight space and need to keep the design as thin and light as possible.

      So any tablet approaching the pricing of a laptop, or especially a netbook, is going to be sacrificing a lot to get to that price range but too much means no one will want it…

      Tablets for example push for higher screen resolution because you tend to look at the screen much more closely than you would with a laptop that you normally keep at ARM’s length to type, etc.

      Anyway, this model goes up to 64GB for $399 and still has a microSD slot for added storage that you can add another 64GB to 128GB, once those capacities become more common… for more adequate mobile storage.

      It is limited to 2GB of RAM though, so watch which version of Bay Trail is being used…

      SoC models ending with D are the more budget solutions with less max clock speed, less max resolution support and only 2GB offering… and the Z3770 is the highest end model for the tablet optimized Bay Trail T…

      If you prefer more laptop functionality and performance, while not minding a hit on battery life, then keep an eye out for Bay Trail M and D series that will be sold under the Celeron and Pentium branding… The Celeron models under Bay Trail M will of course be a compromise between battery life and performance… along with pricing, which will also go up for these models.

  • Nart

    Why does ASUS like making their lids/back shiny? It makes a nice device look very cheap. They should go with the same matte finish as the keyboard.

    Not sure how well it’ll perform with only 2 GB of RAM. Then again I’m not sure you’ll want too many things open or run any resource heavy tasks with the Atom CPU.

    • CyberGusa

      This is running on the new Bay Trail T, the performance is easily over twice the previous Clover Trail that were used in the 1st gen of Windows 8 tablets.

      So performance isn’t so bad anymore… This is basically the budget model and while the single channel 2GB of RAM is a limited offering, they compensate a bit by using faster memory than the models that will use the full 4GB dual channel memory.

      Windows 8 is a bit lighter than Windows 7, so 2GB is enough to run the OS and still multi-task a bit… just not a lot… but most people won’t be doing a lot on the go as this is intended to be used.

      While the eMMC is slow compared to modern SSDs, but Bay Trail can use the newer and noticeably faster v4.5 eMMC than the v4.41 eMMC that was available for Clover Trail… Differences include nearly doubling the Max Bandwidth from 104 to 200 MByte/sec and adding performance enhancing features like cache memory with 400 MByte/sec interconnect with the eMMC.

      So these new Bay Trail tablets can perform quite a bit better than the Clover Trail tablets, despite some similar limitations.

      But, like I told Javier, this is a limited budget model and there will be higher spec offerings… just be prepared to pay more for them and don’t necessarily expect as much battery life as there are trade offs for using more RAM besides just cost, along with getting more performance from the rest of the system.

    • Morro

      Ya, what’s up with Asus’ shiny design pattern. It’s super cheap and ugly looking.

      Even at 2x faster than Clover Trail and Windows 8, you wouldn’t want to run more than a couple apps and probably no resource heavy one either so 2 GB is okay.

      The same reasoning applies to the storage. Any large app will likely be resource heavy and you wouldn’t want to run it on the Atom. An SD card would be good enough for non-installation storage.

      • patstar5

        Will it run itunes ok? With itunes it could replace my ipad 2

      • Laif

        Does iTunes still run like crap on Windows? The last time I ran it on my Mac under boot camp, it was really slow and unresponsive.

      • CyberGusa

        Well, it’s hardly buttery smooth but it does work… just have to be patient with it sometimes.

        Though, Apple won’t make a ModernUI version of iTunes… So it’s desktop only and may be a bit hard to use on a 10″ screen unless you’re using the keyboard and either the touchpad or 3rd party mouse…

        While also you have to watch out for software and driver conflicts…

        http://support.apple.com/kb/TS4123

      • Michael Romano

        Not to mention this model uses eMMC as apposed to NAND flash memory. WAY slower. Bigger apps will definitely struggle.

      • kent

        it is 349 what do you expect, top of the line for a dollar.

    • Tom

      Why does Asus keep making ugly glossy lids and backs? Even their non-budget Zenbooks have the cheap looking shiny lid.

      As for the specs, it’s on par for what you could do with an Atom unless you have the patience. I have a Clover Trail tablet and even at twice the speed boost, I wouldn’t do anything that’d require more than 2 GB of RAM including what Windows 8 uses up (~1 GB with nothing running and not including the cache).

      I’m more interested in the 7″-8″ Bay Trail devices. Touch kind of makes it difficult to operate a lot of things at once or switch around quickly so I wouldn’t notice the bottlenecks as much (unless you have martial arts skills and can move your finger/hand at lighting speed with surgical accuracy). Once you add a keyboard and mouse where you can use keyboard shortcuts and fast mouse movements, you’ll quickly notice the performance issues.

    • Andres

      http://eee.asus.com/en/transformer-300/features

      Here you have, If you don’t like T100 you can buy this one or Surface 2 Pro with magnesium design.

      $350 ? iTunes (Replace iPad), $350 ? Desktop Apps, $350 create a second partition and you’ll have an Android Tablet, $350 including Keyboard, Come on I mean what do you want ?

      About ATOM processor it’s too soon to talk about the performance of the NEW processor. It has more performance than my old AMD V-140 4GB RAM Toshiba laptop

  • buzz86us

    I hope there is an android rom for this as a quick-launch option.

    • CyberGusa

      Android is still being optimized for Bay Trail, it should take an additional two months… So either end of the year or early next year.

      However, there are companies already planning to release models with dual boot between Windows 8 and Android… So you may not need to worry about getting a ROM and installing it yourself.

      One firmware company is also pushing for a fast switching firmware that can allow switching between OS in around 4 seconds instead of doing a full reboot.

      Needless to say, options for Bay Trail devices will be a lot more flexible than they were for Clover Trail…

    • asomicait

      If you want an android convertible look at the HP Slatebook 10 x2 PC.

    • Labmouse

      I haven’t really compared the 2 side by side, but I don’t think android necessarily boots faster than windows. You could also run android from within windows if you need that specific functionality.

  • www

    the storage capacities are a giant turnoff to these things..the min you buy it your out of spce..what good is win 8 full version if you cant install any software,,,very bad decision to do this..

    • CyberGusa

      You can install software, just not a lot but more than you may think if you stick to ModernUI apps which are generally a lot smaller and easier to run than desktop apps.

      Really, when netbooks first came out we had to deal with very slow SSDs that only offered 2-4GB of storage and running either a proprietary desktop linux or WinXP…

      It wasn’t until HDDs took over that more capacities were offered but that also meant no netbooks were made smaller than 10.1″ from then on…

      Mind, this is a budget model and eMMC storage offerings aren’t yet at very large capacities… 128GB is the present max but devices that offer that can cost as much or even more than the MS Surface Pro at over double what this product is being offered at…

      While 64GB isn’t too bad at just $50 more and you can still add more with a microSD card… but more expensive models will come out that will offer more capacities later…

      Mind also Asus offers free online cloud storage for one year with purchase of their products and you can add quite a few cloud storage services that even with just free capacities can easily add to a couple hundred GB altogether…

      And this really is intended as a netbook like replacement, for secondary PC usage and not generally a primary PC replacement…

  • wsabillon

    I’m looking for the successor of my old eee pc 1000; I was almost positive that my next laptop would be an 11 incher from either asus or acer, but this little one looks tempting, it would depend of how easy is to get linux up and running without major issues due to drivers. I mean, I still don’t see my self buying just a tablet (especially if that means either an extra device or an hybrid with a touch focus OS and no Linux support); but I don’t have issues having the tablet part as a bonus!!

    • me

      I’m hoping to get a 10″ Bay Trail net/notebook as my next primary PC. I prefer not to have touch since I’ll be using Linux on it and with a keyboard and mouse, I’d never use it.

      I just hope there aren’t issues with installing Linux. I know with even the major distros having secure boot workarounds, there are still problems getting an install to boot or the BIOS has something else that just plain blocks the boot. At least once you get past that, Intel has been putting commits to their drivers to support Bay Trail. The WiFi and other components are a different story though.

      • CyberGusa

        There’ll be laptop versions with Bay Trail too… Especially the Bay Trail M, which will be re-branded under the Celeron/Pentium lines.

        There are already some low cost 10.1″ laptops in this price range, like the Asus 1015E… Won’t give you Bay Trail run times but it comes with no touch screen and the Celeron 847 is still a pretty good performer for this price range…

        Asus also has a Vivo Book, low cost, laptop series but they can offer touch screens, they just don’t split off into tablets… can think of them as low cost alternatives to Ultrabooks, which are also starting to make touch screens standard…

      • me

        Ya but Bay Trail M uses more power. I’m fine with Bay Trail T. It’ll more likely be fanless too.

      • CyberGusa

        The lowest end Bay Trail M starts at 4.5W TDP… So it’s possible at least some may be fan-less models too. Even the full quad core Celeron N2910 only has a 7.5W TDP, with a 4.5 SDP… So in say a 11.6″, or 12.5″ like the upcoming MSI W20, could conceivably still go fan-less… Range basically starts crossing over with Haswell Y chip though… So depends on price range you want to consider…

        For Bay Trail T, just avoid the models ending with “D”… as they’re the more budget offerings. So either Z3740 or Z3770 can offer 2-4GB of RAM dual channel LP-DDR3 1066… While the Z3740D or Z3770D are 2GB single channel LP-DDR3 1333… Max clock speed and max resolution are also capped a little lower for the models ending with “D” but the quad core models never dip below 2x Clover Trail performance and FHD…

      • Me

        I’m looking for a 10″ screen though. A fanless 10″ with Bay Trail M seems less likely than a fanless 10″ with Bay Trail T.

      • CyberGusa

        One China company is already coming out with a 10″ with the N2910… it’s a budget design though so screen resolution is below 720P, only up to 6 hours battery life, etc.

        Mind, reasons to consider Bay Trail M is that it allows the use of SSDs instead of eMMC, with the SATA II support… Support of more RAM of up to 8GB, and more likely to get a wider range of peripheral support.

        But if you’re willing to wait till early 2014, then a lot more models should come out for better selection… Right now they’re just pushing a handful of models out in time for the Holiday shopping season…

      • Labmouse

        Maybe a nice hybrid design then? Use internal bios to hobble the speeds on the processor in tablet mode, let it run stock in a docked mode?

      • CyberGusa

        That’s what they usually do for the Pro Tablets… The cTDP power state the U series Core processor use for example and SDP is an additional cTDP state tuned for even lower power consumption for the Y series Core processors.

        While Intel is pushing SDP for Bay Trail and not just the Haswell Y chip…

      • Labmouse

        Strangely enough the D-series bay trail models may end up costing significantly more than the N and Z series. But even the D series at 10 watt tdp may be a better choice than the ulv ivy bridge and haswell pentiums and celerons at 17 watt tdp if battery life is important, (likely cheaper than the haswell Y-series)

      • CyberGusa

        Actually, we don’t know the pricing for the D Series yet… The original pricing for the Celeron and Pentium branded Bay Trail was not the actual pricing but a place holder… They’ve since removed those original prices and have yet to put the final pricing.

        Mind the list is mainly for internal use and not for general public, it just got leaked…

        Bay Trail D is meant for much higher demanding desktop/server applications though, and scales higher than either the T or M versions.

        Like up to 8 core configurations instead of just 4, and in server applications it can be configured for up to 64GB of RAM… So, definitely not the same market as the T and M models…

        But, while I wouldn’t be surprised if it is significantly higher priced than the T and M models, I agree it’s likely to still be cheaper than the Haswell Y-series.

      • Labmouse

        I am hoping the desktop and laptop parts would come in at around or under the actual selling price of current ulv celeron. Guess we’ll just have to wait until pricing announcements. Those initial leaks were not encouraging though.

        On the bright side, pricing on the C2750 8-core is up on intel’s website. Not that bad at $171 tray price for a server chip.

        http://ark.intel.com/products/77987/Intel-Atom-Processor-C2750-4M-Cache-2_40-GHz

      • CyberGusa

        10 Gbps is the highest standard right now, this server range ATOM supports a earlier pseudo-standard Ethernet speed of 2.5 Gbps, so they can offer
        10 Gbps in aggregate across four ports when connected to a switch that
        supports that data rate.

      • wsabillon

        After using my old eee pc 1000 for almost 5 years, I mostly agree with you that a little bugger like this one can be used as a primary laptop. Even though, I haven’t decided if I would go again with a 10 inch screen or if prefer the “bigger” 11 incher.
        Finally if cost were not an issue, having the touchscreen and detaching keyboard would be a great bonus.

    • Jeddma

      Why waste your time putting Linux on it, which has no tablet UI? You will have full Windows 8 with all the support you will ever need. Just makes no sense.

      • Zaroad

        For example Plasma Active UI?
        He is talking about a dual-boot system so you can have both flavours.

  • patstar5

    Going to get this unless they make an 11.6 inch model with more ram and storage for $100-$200 more

    • CyberGusa

      If you can, I’d suggest waiting a bit… this won’t be their last or best offering!

    • Labmouse

      Or get the ivy bridge models that are now being discounted in anticipation of next gen offerings. I’m seeing 11.6″ core i3 ulv laptops for under $400US.

  • toronado455

    You could always wear a helmet cam! :-)

  • Old_Fogey

    Any sign of a digitizer-pen and app that will conversion of hand-writing to an editable text format? If so, then this looks to have great appeal …

    • CyberGusa

      No, this is a low cost budget model… instead, expect a model with WACOM digitizer to typically cost more than $500…

      • Old_Fogey

        Thanks. I too will exercise a little patience … and also see how the announced 7-inchTegra 4 Note pans out. By way of explanation, the handwriting recognition thing will be THE determining feature of my next purchase … However, the new ASUS range could be the “best fit” solution for a single device to carry on the road and do the recognition, lightweight core Office apps and triple as a short-term e-book reader as well. Am not convinced I should spend the personal coin for one of the new Surface products when I have a corporate-issue laptop, but a somewhat higher model ASUS at under $500 might be worth the expenditure purely for the convenience.

  • 1stkorean

    While ASUS might be trying to get people over there side, the Surface 2 is not only better looking, it is bigger @ 10.6″ vs 10.1″ a full ½” more. The resolution of Surface 2 is 1920 x 1080p and ASUS 1366 x 768 that of Surface RT. Expected battery life is only 1 hour dirrerence meaning neither one will go from Seoul to LA on a full battery or back on a full battery charge. Fortunately Asiana has power plugs under each seat to run phone, laptop and tablet if needed.

    Surface 2 has 3.5-megapixel front camera and 5-megapixel rear camera, both capable of capturing 1080p video while ASUS has a 1.2MP camera somewhere. Furthermore Surface 2 has full size USB 3.0 & Bluetooth while Transformer only has micro USB port and NO Bluetooth NO full size until the dock is connected.

    Sure there is difference between Windows 8.1 & Windows RT 8.1 but hay it a tablet, and if I need power I use my laptop or desktop. Actually the Surface 2 is less expensive than the ASUS Transformer and even so $100.00 (₩108,000.00 KRW) is nothing.

    • MarcosV

      What about apps? Does Windows RT have more apps than Windows Phone or Android?

      Lack of apps is why I went with Android over Windows Phone. Ditto for going Windows 8 over Windows RT.

  • Jackson Howard

    well, it may not be able to run crysis 3 but it should run older games like halo CE, mechwarrior 4 and even indie games like minecraft

  • Derek Romano

    Can you Run ATTO Disk Benchmark on this, I am curious on how the new eMMC 4.5 Does compared to my ATIV… http://www.attotech.com/disk-benchmark/

  • Isaac

    Does any one know if this can run minecraft pc? ANYONE?!