First Look: Asus Transformer Book T100

The Asus Transformer Book is an inexpensive but surprisingly capable Windows tablet/notebook hybrid. For $349 and up you get a 10 inch tablet with Windows 8.1 software, Microsoft Office 2013 Home & Student, an estimated 11 hours of battery life, and a keyboard dock that lets you use the system like a notebook.

But is the Transformer Book T100 any good? I’ll have a full review after I’ve had more time to test the system, but after spending a few hours with this little guy, there’s a lot to like about it… and a few things that suggest it won’t be the right solution for everyone.

t100_01

Update: Check out our full review of the Asus Transformer Book T100 for more details. 

Asus loaned me a 64GB model of the Transformer Book T100 to review. This model sells for $399, but if you’re looking to save a few bucks the $349 model half the flash storage space, but the rest of the specs are identical.

Windows takes up a bit of space though — so if you plan to store a lot of music, movies, games, or other files on the tablet, you might want to spring for the 64GB version. After installing a few apps, my demo unit had just 29.1GB of free space.

Specs

Whichever model you get, the tablet features an Intel Atom Z3740 quad-core Bay Trail processor, a 10.1 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel IPS multi-touch display, 2GB of RAM, a 1.2MP front-facing camera, a micro USB port, micro HDMI port, micro SD card slot, headset jack, a few buttons, and 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0.

Asus Transformer Book T100

The keyboard base has a full-sized USB 3.0 port and not much else, unless you count the keys and touchpad.  There’s a 31 Whr battery in the tablet which Asus says should last for up to 9.5 hours of HD video playback or 11 hours of casual use. Unlike the Asus Transformer Pad line of Android tablets, there’s no extra battery in the keyboard section.

t100_04

The tablet weighs about 1.2 pounds, offers pretty good viewing angles, decent colors and brightness, and feels like something you could hold in your hands while reading a book, surfing the web, or playing games for a while.

Design

I plan to do some couch surfing and eBook reading with the tablet, but so far I’ve spent most of my time using the Transformer Book T100 like a notebook, with the tablet connected to the keyboard dock. It clicks firmly into place, and you can lift the whole contraption and turn it over without any fear that the tablet will come loose.

t100_06

The keyboard base is nice and sturdy, and with the tablet locked into place it feels a lot like a laptop. There should be no problem using the Transformer Book T100 while it’s sitting on your lap. Even with the keyboard dock, the computer only measures about 0.9 inches thick and weighs about 2.4 pounds, making it thinner and lighter than many old-school netbooks.

While 10 inches is a pretty good size for a tablet, there’s a trade-off: there’s not really enough room for a full-sized keyboard. The Asus Transformer Book T100 has all the keys you’d expect, but they’re a little smaller than you might expect. I can certainly touch type on this keyboard, but it takes a little getting used to. Folks with larger hands might find the keyboard more difficult to use.

There’s a bit of flex if you push down near the center of the keyboard, and you’ll want to avoid pressing too hard on the left or right sides — when you connect the tablet to the keyboard and open it up like a lid, the bottom of the tablet acts like a stand. The base of the tablet rests on your desk or table and elevates the back of the keyboard. This gives it a comfortable slant, but since part of the keyboard is actually in the air, pushing too hard can make the whole thing wobble a bit.

It’s actually pretty hard to do that when you’re typing normally, but since I accidentally wobbled the T100 a few times, I figured I’d point out the slight hazard.

t100_02

Below the keyboard is a touchpad that’s a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand it supports multi-touch gestures such as two-finger scrolling and clicking, which is nice. On the other hand it’s tiny and a little less responsive than I’d like. It’s a little too easy to accidentally swipe my finger right off the edge of the touchpad because it’s so small.

Fortunately there are plenty of other ways to interact with this machine. You can plug in an external mouse or just reach up and touch the tablet. I find I don’t usually tap at touchscreen notebooks while they’re sitting on a desk, but it’s actually pretty natural to reach up and touch something when you’re using a machine like this on your lap or when it’s propped up on something like the standing desk in my office, or perhaps a bar.

Performance

The Transformer Book T100 is one of the first tablets to ship with Windows 8.1 and an Intel Atom Bay Trail processor. Intel’s Atom chips have typically earned a reputation as low-power, low-performance processors — and that’s largely true.

But while the new Bay Trail processor doesn’t offer the same kind of performance you’d get from an Intel Haswell chip, Intel says the latest Atom chips are up to twice as fast as the previous generation “Clover Trail” processors. Graphics performance has also received a significant boost with the move from PowerVR graphics to Intel HD graphics.

In terms of real-world performance, that means that today’s Bay Trail chips are a lot like last year’s Celeron mobile processors… but with better battery life.

t100 bench_01

In fact, the Transformer Book T100 outperformed the Asus 1015E laptop with a Celeron 847 chip in my video encoding and folder zip tests, and even outclassed the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite in most tests — although the ATIV 9 Lite has the edge in graphics power.

But the ATIV 9 Lite has a quad-core AMD processor with Radeon HD graphics and sells for about twice as much as the Transformer Book T100.

The Samsung laptop does comes out ahead in the 3DMark11 and Street Fighter benchmarks — although not by as wide a margin as you might expect.

bay 3dmark11

The Bay Trail processor in the Transformer Book T100 outclasses notebooks with a 2012-era Intel Celeron processor and Intel Atom Clover Trail processors in the Street Fighter test.

It’s worth noting that none of the laptops or tablets in these charts are exactly designed for high-end gaming, and these scores are generally pretty low. But they mean you should be able to play some older PC games or modern titles that aren’t too demanding on the GPU.

bay street fighter

Update: An earlier version of this article showed a lower 3DMark11 score for the Samsung ATIV 9 Lite. After updating to the latest version of 3DMark11 and running the test again, the Samsung laptop did achieve a higher score than the Transformer Book T100 — but the Asus tablet with Intel’s low-power chip still offers much better performance than any earlier device with an Atom processor.

t100 handbrake

My Samsung Series 9 ultrabook with a 2nd-generation Intel Core i5 still finishes most tasks faster or scores higher in benchmarks than the Transformer Book T100, but that laptop cost $800 when I bought it in 2012 and gets only about 5-6 hours of battery life.

I’ll need to use the T100 for a few more days before I can make any definitive statements about battery life, but I’ve been sitting at a coffee shop for the past hour and half working on this article (and a few other things), and based on the battery drain, it seems reasonable to expect around 9 hours of battery life or more.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the tablet charges pretty slowly though. You can charge it with a standard microUSB cable, which is nice, since it means you don’t need to carry a proprietary charger with you — you can use the same charger for your phone and tablet. But odds are that a proprietary charger would fill the battery more quickly.

First Impressions

If this were a review, I’d be coming to a conclusion right about now. But I want to hold off on doing that until I’ve tested the Transformer Book T100 more extensively.

What I will say is that it’s a heck of a machine for $349 and up. It’s faster than you’d expect a hybrid tablet in this price range to be, it’s capable of running virtually any Windows app (although bleeding edge games are probably out of reach), and it should get great battery life.

t100_03

On the other hand, the keyboard and touchpad leave a bit to be desired, and some folks may find that classic Windows software is actually tough to use on a 10 inch 1366 x 768 pixel display, because the screen is actually kind of too sharp. Sure, Windows apps that use the Modern UI are designed to look good at all sorts of resolutions, which is why some 10 inch Windows tablets now have 2560 x 1600 pixel screens. But websites, spreadsheets, text documents, and other classic Windows apps can be a bit squint-worthy on a relatively high-res, small screen.

In other words, this tablet won’t necessary be the best solution for everyone looking for a portable notebook. You might be better off with a model sporting a larger screen and keyboard. But for folks that are looking for a small, light machine with decent performance, the Transformer Book T100 looks pretty promising. And if you’re just in the market for a Windows tablet that happens to have a keyboard for when you need one, the Transformer Book T100 is one of the only models in its price range to ship standard with a keyboard.

Other PC makers are also bringing 10 inch tablets to market, but the Transformer Book T100 is one of the most affordable, but it doesn’t really skimp on specs to keep the price low.

And if this is what we can expect from Windows tablets with Bay Trail processors, I think Atom may no longer be a dirty word.

  • Jordan Embry

    You probably didn’t mean to publish this yet?

  • tsog

    Thanks for the early first impression!!! I am thinking of buying one this weekend, and it’s good to know that Baytrail performs much better than the Atom of yesterday. I’m fine with the small keyboard, having used an 8.9″ P1620 myself. However, I do have reservations about the low RAM and <1080P screen. Having used it for a while, do you find either to be a negative? As much as the Fujitsu tablet looks tempting, I doubt I can pick one up for even twice the T100's price.

  • timmymac

    Nice looking little machine, and I love the four-legged star of the video!

  • I-Catch

    hello
    can you please test, if you can start a linux system (maybe ubuntu)?

    • me

      I’d like to know this too seeing that Bay Trail is more Linux friendly than Clover Trail. Hopefully, there aren’t anything in the BIOS/UEFI that would get in the way. I know many Clover Trail devices gave people headaches just trying to boot a Windows 8 USB installer.

      As for Windows, can you test if it automatically connects to WiFi when they come into range while in CS? On Clover Trail and pre-8.1 I have to manually wake the tablet up for it to recognize that WiFi is now available and try to connect. Can the screen be turned off without going into CS? Does 8.1 now obey when desktop applications request wake locks or when they are set to wake the PC up from standby (ie. 3rd party malware scanners)?

  • flcommuter

    I haven’t seen any specs for the t100, that state it has GPS… would you mind checking?

    • Johannespreekt

      This is also the only question I’m left with, so please check?

    • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

      That’s because there isn’t any GPS. It does support Windows location services, but as far as I can tell that’s based on WiFi.

      • CyberGusa

        I kinda doubt that, even the Clover Trail WiFi only tablets had GPS… it’s pretty much standard among the Asus Transformer series, even the WiFi only models!

        It’s just not usually enabled by default on a system running Windows and may need a little OEM help in setting up… Have to wait for the Asus support page to show up and be updated to be sure, as the sensors installed in this tablet aren’t listed at all yet.

      • Sharkfinn

        This is a budget model so I wouldn’t be surprised if GPS is missing. You can see that they skimped on the rear camera and the battery in the dock in order to hit that price point.

      • CyberGusa

        Even low cost $150 Clover Trail tablets have GPS, it’s not a premium feature anymore!

  • d_b_cooper_112471

    Given that Best Buy is selling the HP Touchsmart 11 with quad core AMD A6-1450, 4GB DDR3 expandable to 8GB, 500GB drive and built with a solid aluminum base chassis for $380 (most buyers give good reviews), prompts the question why the reviewer doesn’t compare it or Acer V122 to the Asus T100?

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-pavilion-touchsmart-11-6-touch-screen-laptop-4gb-memory-500gb-hard-drive-midnight-black/1491252.p?id=1219052517976&skuId=1491252

    Most people running Win 8 would want 4GB to 8GB memory with 500GB drive and the option to upgrade to very fast SSD drive. The HP Touchsmart 11 and Acer V122 allow this while Asus T100 is crippled with low memory and lack of upgrade capabilities.

    So the HP Touchsmart 11 and Acer V122 quad core mini laptops offers a better computing experience than the equal or higher priced Asus T100.

    • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

      Send me a Touchsmart 11 and I’d be happy to compare them for you. Unfortunately I don’t happen to have every laptop and tablet at my disposal at the moment.

      What I can say is that in my benchmarks, the Atom Z3740 seems to be faster than the AMD chip in the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite… which is similar to the processor you’d get with that HP laptop.

      The advantages to the HP though are pretty clear. It has a bigger screen, larger keyboard, more RAM and memory. If those things are important to you, by all means, buy that laptop.

      But the Transformer Book T100 is smaller, has a detachable tablet section, offers long battery life, and decent performance.

      There are a lot of folks who really liked netbooks but were disappointed that their specs hadn’t improved much since 2008. The T100 is kind of a netbook evolved.

      There are also plenty of folks who hated netbooks and wished they had bigger screens, more storage, larger keyboard, etc. The T100 won’t make them happy.

      • Greg Silverstein

        I’d really tend to agree here. I hope they have success, everyones go to device being a tablet unless they have more disposable income is terrible.I’m happy they can buy this actually learn to program and such. Also note with HD series graphics these will support linux better than the powervr chips

    • Vincent Finney

      I have an HP TouchPad and an Acer black Friday special laptop from 3 years ago that both desperately need to be replaced. I don’t use my laptop enough to justify buying another one, but I do need Windows away from my desktop on occasion. I use my tablet primarily when I’m at home so I’m looking for something like a tablet that can give me the Windows environment in the rare occasion that I need it on the go. This thing has an Android tablet price but Surface Pro usability (albeit in a slower, low-res package). So yes maybe it caters to a specific buyer, but I’m that specific buyer so I love it.

    • CyberGusa

      Remember, the T100 is still a tablet and that’s not the same market as you’d get with laptops… There isn’t exactly room for more memory and storage without really ramping up the cost in such small, thin and light tablet form factors.

      Companies like Samsung only started making 4GB LP-DDR3 RAM a few months ago and it can take up till a year before we start seeing them in every new product. Along with MS not providing 64bit drivers that will support Always Connected Standby until early 2014…

      So, they had little choice on the specs right now…

      However, the Celeron/Pentium branded Bay Trails will be offered in similar laptop form factors with up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM support and SATA II for connected HDD/SSDs… So, just wait for those to come out…

      While, as long as they can get Linux distros to run on these then there are people who would be perfectly fine with the specs as not everything requires a lot of resources to run well… and 2GB is still fine for most Windows apps too as long as you’re not multi-tasking too much or need to run a program that would be frankly too powerful for this device range anyway…

      Mind, also, that they’re pushing cloud storage a lot more now and you can easily get lots of storage that way or just set up an auto VPN and use a home or work system for the extra storage capacity.

      • Tsais

        I agree with you, except on cloud storage.

        Cloud storage is unreliable unless you live in a large city and never leave it. Not to mention you might as well send your data straight to the NSA.

        If you ever travel or have to use 3G Internet, its idiotic to pay large amounts of money to download data you’d be much better off having on your device. Many places only have sporadic internet access with line jitter, lag and other issues…

        And you know how luck works: Right when you really need some document or photo, chances are that just that day, you can’t get a connection for one reason or another.

        Far better to spend $100 extra for local storage you are in control of, and save it on your mobile internet bill later.

        So don’t buy into that crap Google and Microsoft want you to get yourself stuck in, just so they can sort and direct and feed ever more advertising data.

      • DD98524

        There’s always portable storage to fall back on, wireless HDDs, WiFi SD cards, etc.
        While cloud storage is hardly limited to just Google and Microsoft, companies like Asus invest in their own Cloud storage services for example.
        There’s also increasingly better WiFi hotstop options, even in pretty spartan areas and Windows 8.1 introduces Auto VPN support and you can even remote turn on your home system, etc. with the right set up…
        Having worked with netbooks, I know it’s possible to work around some pretty extreme system limitations if you really put your mind to it… Though, getting the 64GB model does same some headaches, along with a good size microSD card…

    • William T Quick
    • MentatYP

      You’re seriously mis-characterizing the Anandtech review. Their review is very favorable, basically a good device that could have been great with a few tweaks, and very competitive at its pricepoint.

      http://www.anandtech.com/show/7428/asus-transformer-book-t100-review

      To my knowledge there’s not another full Win 8 tablet at this price point that can compete. You can point out laptops that outperform it at the same price and you’d be right, but this outperforms them in portability which is the main selling point of the device–full Win 8 in a tablet with battery life competitive with mobile OS tablets. It’s just a matter of what you’re looking for in a device, and it’s a truly exciting time to be in the market for such devices because of the wide variety of options available to us.

  • Fyodor

    Would greatly appreciate if review could test out some office/productivity applications. Whether it’s tolerable for those is my main gating question.

  • wsabillon

    Hi Brad, nice article. I’min the market for a machine like this, only if it were a little bit bigger (11 incher would be perfect) and being capable of running Ubuntu or some other Linux distro is a must, so I would really appreciate if you could try a live distro on it and share your findings!!!

    • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

      I’ve been spending the morning trying to get it to boot from a USB drive, SD card, or external DVD drive… so far I haven’t had much luck. Windows 8/UEFI makes the process a lot more complicated than it used to be… I keep finding promising options, but I keep striking out.

      If I do manage to get a GNU/Linux live image to boot, I’ll certainly post about it.

      • eyeDroid

        If possible, can you see how Ubuntu Touch for tablets works? I’ve been hoping to get a UMPC running Linux but seeing that form factors like the OQO and Viliv N5 with Bay Trail aren’t likely to show up, I’ve been eyeing Ubuntu Touch and 8″ and smaller Bay Trail tablets.

      • Tsais

        Can you not disable the UEFI BIOS? Asus usually lets you revert to the old style BIOS for people who require multiboot setups not hampered by Microsoft’s freakish attempts at locking down YOUR hardware.

      • Anton Gl

        Brad, could you try following these steps: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UEFI
        Another option, it is wubi-installer http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/windows-installer

      • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

        I’ve run into trouble with Wubi causing issues with the Windows bootloader on previous devices, and since I have to return this tablet to Asus at some point, I’d rather not brick it. :)

        I thought I had tried most things to get Ubuntu to run as a live image using UEFI… but it turns out I was using Ubuntu 13.10 32-bit instead of 64-bit. When I get some time I’ll try again with 64-bit.

        I hadn’t realized Canonical recommends using the 64-bit version for UEFI, and figured 32-bit would be a safer bet since the tablet runs Windows 8.1 32-bit.

      • CyberGusa

        Yes, only the 64bit bit loader will recognize and work with UEFI…

        Unfortunately, mobile range devices won’t offer advance settings options like legacy BIOS mode…

      • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

        Well, I haven’t had any more luck with 64-bit than 32-bit. Back to the drawing board.

      • Marc Jellinek

        I spent the morning on the phone with Asus support.

        There is no way to access the BIOS/UEFI. There is no way to boot from USB on this device.

        Disappointing… I was hoping to test Android x86 on the device. If you are able to find a work-around, please let us know.

      • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

        Open the Windows Charms menu, tap the Settings icon, and hit the button that says “Change PC Settings.”

        On the following screen, tap the Update and Recovery option.

        At the next window, hit the Recovery option on the left.

        Now hit the “Restart Now” button under “Advanced Startup,”

        This’ll get you to a screen where there are options to “Use a device” which means boot from USB — but I haven’t gotten this to work or “Troubleshoot.”

        Choose Troubleshoot and Advanced Options and you’re in the UEFI settings (which is basically the same as BIOS settings).

      • TRex

        Did this actually work for booting from the USB? (Troubleshoot and then Advanced Options)?

      • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

        Nope. I was just answering the question about getting into UEFI… but neither of us have had any luck actually booting from USB once we get that far.

      • TRex

        Shoot. Are you able to disable Secure Boot in the UEFI? I’ve read that can cause problems with loading other OSes.

      • Marc Jellinek

        You can disable Secure Boot… but it has no effect on booting from USB.

      • Marc Jellinek

        Update: With a bootable USB drive in the USB port:

        Get into the UEFI/BIOS:

        While holding down a shift key, select Power/Restart. Select Troubleshooting, then UEFI. The device will restart. and show the Aptio Setup Utility… effectively the BIOS.

        Go to “Save and Exit”. There will be a section “Boot Override”. Select something other than the Windows Boot Manager. It should be your USB drive.

        The USB drive will need to be set up as a FAT32 partition (that’s all that UEFI can read, it won’t do NTFS, ext3, ext4, zfs, etc) and have all the appropriate magic applied to it.

        I’m going to try to boot a LIveCD (that’s been xferred to a USB thumbdrive) in a little while.

      • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

        Been there, done that, just reloaded the Aptio Setup Utility every time I hit the option for my flash drive.

        Let me know if you have any better luck.

      • bo

        If you can’t get this to work then can you see how well a Linux virtual machine performs? I prefer VMware products myself. If it works okay then I’ll be more likely to buy the 4 GB of RAM or more notebooks later assuming those can’t boot Linux installs either.

        Thanks.

      • bo

        Are you even able to boot a Windows 8 install or recovery USB?

      • Marc Jellinek

        Nope. Even though the UEFI recognizes the USB drive and gives me the option to set it as the first boot priority… it still boots into Windows.

        At this point, I’m figuring the only way to run an alternative operating system is to set most of the services to “disabled”, install VirtualBox and install the alternative OS in a VBox VM.

        Another alternative is to install BlueStacks to get Android on this. It would still be running under Windows.

        I miss the old days… when you could buy a piece of hardware and install anything you wanted on it. DR-DOS. BeOS. OS9.

        I guess if I really wanted Android from Asus, I should have bought a different Transformer.

        The machine is still a REALLY good deal. Windows 8.1 is responsive and actually pretty easy to use with a touchscreen. The touchpad (which I generally don’t like) is pretty good with Desktop applications. ComiXology works great on it as a tablet. Office Home & Student Edition works well within the Desktop. The Kindle app works well for stuff I purchased from Amazon, but I can’t sideload books. I’m playing with various EPUB/MOBI readers to see what is going to work best for me.

        I really like the OneNote app and application. For reviewing notes and light note taking, I’ll use the Metro app; for heavier lifting, I use the desktop app. I can have them both running at the same time against the same notebook and it will seamlessly sync to my laptop and workstations

        Next steps are to see how this works with a wireless mouse and an external USB monitor. Most likely an AOC.

        Oh, and a Chromecast.

        If I can get this working with Chromecast, this is going to be my go-to presentation machine. Using a customer’s HDMI television/monitor will beat hauling around a projector, even a pico.

      • wsabillon

        so a better description would be: a REALLY good deal if you want a Windows 8.1 only machine!!!

      • bo

        Looks like Phoronix bought the T100 for Linux testing: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTQ5Mjc
        “today I bought an Atom ‘Bay Trail’ laptop for Linux benchmarking”

        Let’s hope Michael gets it running.

    • Vince Ng

      Able to boot into grub for now. You’ll need grub compiled for efi ia32

      See:

      http://forums.anandtech.com/showpost.php?p=35652212&postcount=1500

  • Alan

    Will there be a matte lid version? The same finish as the keyboard. That shiny lid looks horrendous.

  • Sam Curcio

    I have one coming. It will be replacing my Android tablet. I need something that offers a bit more productivity than what an apps-only machine provides.

  • George

    According to Intel, in the next few months, there should be many more hybrid tablet/notebooks at $349, and Haswell laptops (I’m assuming non-touch screen) should be available for as low as $300. Windows 8.1 tablets are supposed to get as low as $100.

    So if you aren’t happy with what’s available today, Santa may have some shiny new toys for you.

    • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

      I believe he said $99 tablets with Bay Trail chips… he didn’t say anything about those tablets running Windows. They’ll probably be Android tablets… if they come to market.

      Intel sets prices for its chips, but it’s up to device makers to price their tablets.

      • George

        You are right. The $100 tablets (I round up from $99) are likely Bay Trail running Android..

        Still, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the devices hit these price targets. Intel does have something to do with hitting the price points, as it comes up with reference designs with their corresponding Bill of Materials, which many device makers, especially the generic mainland Chinese manufacturers, just copy and crank out. The reference designs, after all, are also made by a device manufacturer.

      • Sharkfinn

        Some of those Bay Trail Android tablets are already out if I’m not mistaken. The Dell Venue Android tablets are already below $200 and upcoming models will surely hit $100 by the end of this year.

      • Stan

        Just a note – the Dell venue 7 and 8 inch tablets are not bay trail – they are clover trail+ (the 8 uses Z2580)

        See: http://www.dell.com/us/p/dell-venue-8/pd

  • Phillip

    I’m strongly deciding to buy this tablet. However, I would like a case with this so I can easily carry it around. Does anyone know of universal stand cases or stand cases for other models compatible with this device?

  • Rodrigo

    How long does the T100 take to boot up?

    • Johannespreekt

      Instant on :-) Like your Phone or your iPad!

      • CyberGusa

        That’s from suspend/standby… mind that it’s not running on a SSD but rather a eMMC, which should be a improved version they got out now but is still not known for very high speed performance. So Win8.1 performance is closer to what you’d get with a HDD…

        Win 8.1 will still boot pretty fast in just seconds but a SSD is still what’s needed to make it seem like instant on…

      • Johannespreekt

        For ARM and Bay Trail they have added an instant on state to Windows like Windows Phone! No need for suspending / standby! That’s also the reason they use eMMC instead of Sata devices! And this instant on state is only supported on Win 32 bit, they are working hard to make it ready for 64 bit.

      • CyberGusa

        No, sorry, but you’re referring to the Always Connected Standby State and that’s still a standby state and not really instant on.

        W8 does have a optimized hibernate state that is usually called instant on that manages to wake the system from off to on in about 3 seconds, unless you got a really fast SSD.

        But even phones don’t really have instant on but more accurately instant resume…

      • Jason

        That is the new standby. It’s called Connected Standby.

        Too bad it gets in the way in terms of desktop usage scenarios. Desktop application wake locks don’t work. Applications that wake the PC up at certain certain times don’t work either.

      • CyberGusa

        I don’t know if it really gets in the way. It is a standby state after all and a normal S3 Standby state means the system does nothing.

        So in most usage cases it should make no difference to the desktop apps… The Desktop Activity Moderator does prevent desktop wake options but a Metro app could easily replace that function and the Desktop Activity Moderator still treats the desktop app like a S3 suspend and you can usually continue where you left off once the system is awake.

        While Windows 8.1 expands the total number of Metro apps you can have under Always Connected Standby, and with Metro versions of Outlook, etc coming out it means less of a issue now if the desktop version can’t take advantage of that feature…

        The main usage issue is preventing entering Connected Standby whenever the screen is turned off as sometimes people don’t actually want to suspend the system… and that’s something they should fix…

      • I Read

        “The Desktop Activity Moderator does prevent desktop wake options”
        That’s how Connected Standby gets in the way.

        This too:
        “Desktop application wake locks don’t work. Applications that wake the PC up at certain certain times don’t work either.”

      • Morrison

        Also, “entering Connected Standby whenever the screen is turned off as
        sometimes people don’t actually want to suspend the system”

        There should be a way to disable Connected Standby! Either from with Windows 8 or a BIOS/UEFI option to tell Windows 8 that it doesn’t support Connected Standby. It GETS IN THE WAY.

      • CyberGusa

        You over emphasis “getting in the way” as again it doesn’t for most people. Only in certain usage cases would it cause any issues and those are rare!

        While you have to understand the trade off, for any system running on battery power it would mean a lot worse battery life. Most of the gains shown off by Haswell, etc would be lost if you disabled Connected Standby!

        So the only thing I would agree on is that there should be more user control… like options to not go into Connected Standby whenever the screen is turned off, etc.

        But completely disabling it would be silly unless you’re using a desktop!

      • CyberGusa

        “That’s how Connected Standby gets in the way.”
        I’m well aware but like I pointed out this is not a concern for most people as most people will never use a wake up option and the point of a suspend is to help save power when not actively using the system.

        Connected Standby allows a system to remain suspended for days to weeks on a charge.

        Compared to just hours for traditional S3 Suspend state… This is the trade off because traditional desktop apps aren’t made to work with connected standby and would cause the system to use too much power otherwise.

        While you seem to want to ignore the fact the issue doesn’t effect Metro apps at all! You want to wake up the system on a specific time then just use a metro apps… you don’t need to use a desktop app just to wake the system up and once the system is up and running then the desktop apps will become active too!

        This is mainly just a matter of figuring out how to work with the system rather than needing to work against it.

        Really, do you want a return to lousy battery life just so you can only use desktop apps and ignore Metro apps?

      • Omikron

        I agree. Connected Standby is great for Modern UI usage but it sucks for desktop usage. We should be given an option to enable/disable it.

        There should be some sort of Power Plan option for quick switching.

      • molasses

        I would like it for Windows 8 to actually obey desktop applications when they request wake locks and when they schedule themselves to wake the PC up at specified times. You know, how it is actually supposed to work.

  • Isaac Gerke

    see ya galaxy tab, I’m probably going to have to upgrade to this. Being able to use a tablet as a low power laptop (writing lab reports n such) will be clutch! Not to mention bay trail>>whatever crappy processor is in the galaxy tab lol

  • MozVolta

    I wonder why they they chose to put the USB port on the left side? Seems like an akward choice considering some may want to use a mouse.

    What are your thoughts on this vs the Dell Venue Pro 11?

    • phissith

      Just use wireless mouse?

      • MozVolta

        Lol. that embarrassing comment of mine was made running on like 3 hrs sleep. But yeah, you’re 100% correct, haha.

    • CyberGusa

      For the T100… Most people are right handed and this is the size of a netbook with the keyboard dock… meaning, if your dongle is too long then you can easily hit it on the right side, for a right handed user!

      It can also get rather crowded if you need multiple devices plugged and then you have to account for the USB HUB, etc.

      It’s rather more annoying they didn’t include a full size SD card slot in the dock… and the keyboard is a little more cramped than the other Transformers… So Asus could have done a little better on that score… but looks like they emphasized on making it lighter as well as cheap as possible.

      As for the Dell Venue Pro 11, it provides quite a few configurations to satisfy a wider range of user needs. It’s just a question of price and which version you will be interested in, as well as what accessories you’d want or need as not everything is necessarily included… Overall, it’s the better choice but still emphasis the trade offs that different configuration and consequential price ranges will entail…

      • MozVolta

        Very good points. That makes perfect sense. I’m in the market for a product in this form factor, and while this is unquestionably an amazing value it might be just a little too cheap-looking/feeling. Gonna have to get my hands on it at Best Buy for a test run. The Dell Venue 11 Pro looks more premium-built, which is reflected on the price it seems. either way, gonna wait til Black Friday week to pull the trigger.

  • David

    It is the best review about this product I have seen so far. Great article.

  • Tsais

    Hey Brad, thanks for the detailed first look article!

    But you’re mixing up the Samsung 9 Plus with the 9 Lite…!

    The 9 Plus has a Haswell processor. Only the Lite has an AMD processor. Please fix…

  • monstercameron

    brad, there is no way that the a6-1450 scores lower in 3dmark icestorm than the z3740…it should be around 18-21K not 12…

    • CyberGusa

      Depends, remember the Temash is intended for use primarily in tablets and so doesn’t necessarily perform at maximum…

      The A6-1450 GPU starts at 300MHz and only at maximum performance mode can it go up to 400MHz for those max scores!

      Different OEMs also optimize the system differently… So you can’t always expect the same hardware to perform exactly the same in each system.

      Take the difference between the Asus 1015E and Acer Chromebook C7, both use the Celeron 847 but the C7 defaults to the power saving mode for 800MHz, versus the 1015E that keeps to the default 1.1GHz and only goes to 800MHz for power saving mode.

      So, if they wanted to emphasis battery life for the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Lite then it’s perfectly possible to get a much lower score than another system, Acer Aspire V5 for example, that was set for max performance would show!

      • monstercameron

        even if this where accurate[which it isn't], it still cant score 12k in 3dmark icestorm, because the dual core a4-1200 gets that score with only 1GHz on the dual cores and 225MHz on the gpu…

        with 2 mores cores, bumped up cpu clock turbo[+0.1 - 0.4GHz] and a gpu that normally goes from 300MHz to 400MHz, there is no way the AMD part would lose in 3d workloads, or that badly in cpu workloads…

        Also i have tried the samsung, they have it at every store down here in miami, I have checked out the clocks the cpu runs at and it does go up to 1.4GHz…

        http://www.3dmark.com/is/803292

        ^this is close to the upper bound of performance out of this chip. Also I dont understand why brad keeps harping on the price of the samsung and conflating it with AMDs apu, now people will think apus are slower and more expensive that intel core and atom brands…

      • CyberGusa

        Actually, not all the reviews were very flattering… for example…

        http://www.digitaltrends.com/laptop-reviews/samsung-ativ-book-9-lite-review/

        Outright called it a failed experiment with poor performance! So, obviously, not every review unit performed as well! So at worst it would seem Brad got one of the under performing sample systems!

        Really, the 300 MHz is only the normal max without Turbo dock mode… The system can actually be throttled even slower to help conserve power and limit thermals.

        Also, you’re forgetting how AMD’s Turbo works… only one core goes up to the max and the others remain low or even go lower in order to act as heat sinks and to keep the TDP within the normal limit!

        This is why Kabini gets a noticeably better score at just 1.5GHz but also why it ramps up the TDP to 15W, versus the A6-1450 that’s rated as a 8W TDP SoC…

        You’re also forgetting that the 1.4GHz Turbo is optional for the A6-1450 and like the A4-1200 and A4-1250, the A6-1450 can also be locked to 1GHz and even slower clocks speeds for power saving mode.

        Mind that not every system is configured to ramp up performance automatically as needed! So, don’t confuse what’s the maximum performance possible with what everyone may actually get from their system!

        That said, you are right that the A6-1450 should have a better graphical score but my point is that’s only true for systems that let the SoC perform up to its max…

        The same thing could happen to Bay Trail and some products could perform much worse than others and it’s something consumers should watch out for and not rely on hardware specs alone as how the system is optimized does matter…

      • monstercameron

        as for whether the review is flattering or not I couldn’t care, I just want to see accurate data. This could have lead people to think that baytrail is faster than temash in cpu and gpu performance, causing loss of sales for amd[or intel for that matter]…
        also the turbo can’t just be “locked” on amd it could be prevented by using performance profiles but the quad temash without turbo is another sku a4-1350.

        I get what you are saying but that really only applies to intel skus with cTPD, like the sony vaio pro with the i5-4200u that gets great battery life but performs close to kabini on the gpu side of things…

      • CyberGusa

        Well, my point was only that accurate data does often vary per device and how the OEM optimized the system but that does apply to the Temash just as much as it does with your cTDP example.

        Remember, Temash is primarily intended for use in tablets and as such has to meet stricter requirements on power usage and thermals that only in a laptop could be ignored.

        So AMD may only allow Turbo for the A6-1450 but that’s the point of the design for all models in the Temash series and all of them get locked down to 1GHz mode when used in tablets. Just like a Intel U chip will have to be locked to cTDP if it was used in a product that could not allow the full TDP for normal use.

        Those other Temash models simply don’t have the option to go higher than their locked state but they’re specifically for products that wouldn’t allow it anyway.

        The main difference between a Temash and Kabini is that Kabini is not optimized for mobile tablet usage and so performance can be allowed to the maximum possible for the hardware… Just like Intel’s non-U series chips don’t offer cTDP… Still the same processor, etc. but just different optimization and self imposed limits.

        So, in a tablet, the A6-1450 does also get locked down to 1GHz and the requirements for the Turbo Dock are specifically that it has both an additional battery and active cooling to boost the tablet cooling in order to allow the Turbo mode to be enabled!

        Meaning, just because the A6-1450 is being used in a laptop in the benchmark examples doesn’t mean it can’t still be locked down to a lower power and thermal state! Especially, if the drivers and other software didn’t properly register that all the requirements for the Turbo mode are being met.

        Besides, OEM’s often impose performance and power profiles to help maximize battery life and such options aren’t only limited to chips that have lockable states…

        Anyway, at least now we know it was a software issue with Brad’s system but that’s how the OEM gave it to him and something end users would have to watch out for too… So it was a useful discussion to point that potential problem out.

      • monstercameron

        fair enough, t’was a good discussion.

    • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

      I ran 3DMark11 again this morning — before it would run it prompted me to install an update, and this time the score was 19,491.

      Interestingly the Fire Strike score dropped from 233 to 177 this time — but I left it out of the test altogether since the T100 couldn’t even run that test.

      I don’t know if it’s the software update or something else that led to the discrepancy, but I’ve updated the article with the new results.

      Thanks for prompting me to test again!

  • Matt

    Hey, Brad, that micro USB port on the tablet portion, is that for charging ONLY? Or does it support full USB host functionality? The couple of mentions on it of previews back a couple of weeks ago mention both. Your’s and Anand’s early reviews only mention charging without saying explicitly whether it is charging only, or if you could plug USB devices in to that port also.
    Thanks!

  • cipnrkorvo

    2 things missing:
    - a rear-facing camera
    - a USB 3.0 port on the screen part. this would have 1000 uses! and you would have 2 USB 3.0 ports in all, which means you could transfer data from a USB key to another, for example, without having to copy all to the computer

    and I agree with the others it would be really nice to know if access to the BIOS is possible, so you can install another OS on it.

    except for that it seems like a great product. asus keeps its reputation of making devices with good battery life!

    • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

      The good news is that it’s easy to get into the UEFI settings… the bad news is that I haven’t yet found the right combination of settings to let me actually boot from a USB drive, so I haven’t been able to try Ubuntu or any other Linux distro yet.

  • Derek Romano

    Can you run ATTO Disk Benchmark on this unit… I am curious how the new 4.5 eMMC handles compared to my Clover Ativ… http://www.attotech.com/disk-benchmark/

  • GregLu

    Hello Brad, nice review, i came here trough the video on YouTube ! However, i have a few questions, do you know if Asus plan to release a model with 4 Gb of ram ? Or maybae another brand with same capabilities ? Because for my usage (Browsing internet, typing a few things and watching some 720p/1080p X264 vidéos), i think this hybrid would be a good solution. Maybe the 32 Gb model with a 64 Gb MicroSD plugged in, it would be the same as a internal memory, right ? And we still have the USB 2.0 & 3.0 for a external hard drive of 1 To, for example. (I know that Asus plan to launch a 500 Gb version include in the keyboard for 449 EUR but it’s not fast as a SSD :P)

    Can you confirm that it’s possible to connect the hybrid to a external screen as a replica so you can use a bigger screen for example through a HDMI cable ?

    And finally, what about the charging ? I’ve seen that it incluse a MicroUSB port so you can charge it with any charger, it’s a nice thing but with the battery of 31 Whr, does it come with a high speed charger ? Because with a 2A charger, that would mean 15 hours of charging, right ? (I’m not an electric expert anyway)

    Maybe you can post a picture of the charger and a picture of the details wrote on it, it would be helpful ;)

    Sorry if some sentences is not corrects, it’s my third language.

    Cheers from Belgium ! :-)

  • Loving T100… so far

    Hi Bard, nice review. it helped me decide that this possibly was the machine for me. I took the plunge and in couple of days I have had this machine, I am simply loving it. It meets my requirements and budget so I can say pretty good fit. However, I am considering supplementing 64gb internal storage with a 64gb Micro SD card. Have you done any test (or any info you have) that may indicate what is maximum speeds the microSD card reader can handle (I know camera’s have different limits on what is maximum speed they can utilize on a card, so thinking it might be same for this machine?). I mean would a Sandisk 64gb Ultra card suffice or would a Sandisk Extreme be more appropriate? I mainly intend to keep my documents (word/excel files) and some music to carry around with me, that way I can leave 64Gb internal memory purely for the OS and any apps that I may install. It’s my 1st ultra portable so I am still learning things that matter and those that don’t. I tried ASUS website but they only talk about USB 3.0 Your advice would be highly appreciated.

  • Steve

    What environmental inputs/sensors does the T100 have (GPS, accelerometers , compass, temp. and so on)?