Asus Transformer Book T100 review: Rebirth of the affordable portable PC

Asus has long been a pioneer in the affordable portable computing space. The company practically invented the netbook market with the launch of the first Eee PC laptop in 2007. And while netbooks have pretty much disappeared from the mobile computing landscape, the legacy of inexpensive, portable computers lives on in the Asus Transformer Book T100.

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The Transformer Book T100 is a 10 inch Windows tablet with a detachable keyboard station which lets you use the system like a laptop. In fact, when the keyboard is docked, you’d be hard pressed to tell the Transformer Book T100 apart from a classic netbook.

But the Asus Transformer Book T100 has a faster processor than any netbook to date, offers long battery life, has a relatively high-resolution display (compared with older netbooks, anyway), and still sells for $399 or less.

Oh yeah — you can also use the computer as a touchscreen tablet by separating the display from the keyboard.

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Asus loaned me a Transformer Book T100 to test, and over the past few weeks I’ve been using it for work and play, reading eBooks and comics, watching videos, surfing the web, and creating and editing blog posts.

In short, it does almost everything I could ask of a notebook or a tablet. It’s not the best notebook you can get for the price, nor is it the best tablet around. But it’s a remarkably capable device that offers some of the best features of each for a surprisingly affordable price.

Some people may be turned off by the small keyboard and touchpad or other limitations. But if you keep your expectations reasonable the Transformer Book T100 is a pretty excellent value for folks that want a laptop and a tablet, but who don’t want to have to buy one of each.

Overview

Asus can’t take all the credit for the versatility of the Transformer Book T100. The system wouldn’t be what it is without the low-power, moderate performance Intel Bay Trail processor and Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 software which walks the line between desktop and tablet operating system in interesting ways.

Like other Windows tablets with 10 inch or smaller screens, the Transformer Book T100 also comes with Microsoft Office 2013 Home & Student preloaded.

And if you’re not happy with the included software, there’s work underway to get Ubuntu, Fedora, and other operating systems to run on the tablet.

Intel has been offering Atom processors since 2008, offering low-cost, low-power alternatives to the company’s higher-end chips. While that’s made it possible for PC makers to offer inexpensive notebooks and tablets, they’ve tended to be too slow for serious computing. The new Bay Trail chips are twice as fast as last-generation Atom processors, and feature a significant boost in in graphics prowess.

The result is a chip that offers performance you’d expect from a recent Celeron chip, not an Atom processor. At the same time, Bay Trail chips have power consumption that’s low enough to offer all-day battery life in a fanless device like the Asus Transformer Book T100.

While Asus isn’t the only company to offer a Windows tablet with a Bay Trail processor, the Transformer Book T100 is one of the most affordable and most versatile 10 inch models to launch in late 2013.

It has a 10 inch touchscreen IPS display with wide viewing angles, 2GB of RAM, and an Intel Atom Z3740 quad-core Bay Trail processor. The tablet has a 31Whr battery and a 1.2MP front-facing camera for making video calls or snapping photos, but no rear camera.

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Around the sides of the tablet you’ll find a micro USB port, micro HDMI port, micro SD card slot, headset jack, power, volume and Start buttons, and under the hood the tablet has 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.o.

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Asus offers models with 32GB or 64GB of storage. On the 64GB model, which I reviewed, around 30GB is free space that you can use for apps, media, and other files. About 8GB of the inaccessible space is taken up by a recovery partition that lets you restore the computer to its factory condition.

Interestingly the 32GB model also has a recovery drive — but it appears to be a separate 8GB drive, which means that model actually ships with 40GB of storage on two separate drives. Users should have around 15GB of free space on that model.

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While the guts of the computer are in the tablet section, it’s the keyboard station that really makes the Transformer Book T100 feel like a laptop. There’s a full QWERTY keyboard which is around 90 percent the size of a full-sized keyboard, a rather small touchpad, and a full-sized USB 3.0 port which you can use to connect a mouse, flash drive, or other peripherals.

t100 keyboard dock

Folks with big hands might find the keyboard cramped — but after typing on it for an hour or two, I tend to feel like the full-sized keyboard on my 13 inch laptop is too big. The tiny touchpad is harder to get used to — I typically use the touchscreen or a mouse instead of relying on the little touch area below the keyboard.

All Transformer Book T100 tablets ship with a keyboard dock.

keyboard dock port

Asus also offers a line of Transformer Pad tablets running Google Android. For those models, the keyboard is optional, and typically adds $100 to $150 to the price of the tablet. Oddly, this means that the Transformer Book T100 with an Intel processor, Microsoft Windows, and Microsoft Office is actually cheaper than some of the Asus tablets with keyboards.

There are a few advantages to picking up an Android Transformer Pad rather than a Windows Transformer Book: there are still more high quality third-party tablet apps for Android than for Windows, and Asus packs an extra battery in the keyboard docks for the Android tablets, allowing you to double your battery life when you use the tablet and keyboard together. And the Windows model only has a battery in the tablet.

The Windows tablet wins hands-down though, if you want to run Microsoft Office, iTunes, Photoshop, Steam, or any other number of desktop apps which are not available for Android.

Software

The tablet ships with Windows 8.1 software with support for touch-friendly, full-screen “Metro” or “Modern” style apps as well as classic desktop software. While some folks complain that this makes the operating system feel schizophrenic, the truth is you can pretty much use it as a desktop-only system if you’d like, or in a tablet-only mode if that’s more your style.

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I spent most of my time using the Transformer Book T100 as a laptop, surfing the web with a dozen Google Chrome browser tabs open while listening to music and editing images and documents. But from time to time I picked up the tablet to surf the web on the couch, read an eBook, watch a video, or play a casual game, and the device was able to handle both scenarios with ease.

Things only get complicated when you want to blur the lines. For instance Internet Explorer and other web browsers such as Chrome and Firefox offer both desktop and Metro user interfaces.

The Metro styles tend to be easier to navigate in tablet mode since they offer better support for scrolling, zooming, and tapping icons and menu items with your fingers — but you basically have to restart a web browser to switch from desktop to Metro modes, which can be a bit of a hassle if you want to just detach the tablet from the keyboard and keep working.

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There are also some features that only work when you’re using Metro-style apps. For instance you can stream music from the TuneIn Radio app for Windows 8 even while the screen is turned off. But if you try streaming music from the TuneIn website (or Pandora or other sites) using a desktop web browser like Chrome or Firefox, the music stops as soon as you tap the power button to turn off the screen.

So at times Windows 8.1 still feels like two operating systems rather than one. But those two operating systems are running side-by-side, allowing you to stream music from a full-screen, Metro-style app while editing documents in Microsoft Office at the same time.

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The good news is that pretty much any app that runs on Windows 7 can run on Windows 8.1. If you want to treat the Transformer Book T100 like a small, cheap laptop with long battery life, you can. Since it comes with Office 2013 Home & Student, that means that right out of the box you can use it to create and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents.

Some CPU or GPU-intensive apps might not run as well on this device as on a more powerful Windows machine. But older games like World of Warcraft should run without a problem.

You’ll have to get used to the idea of using the Windows Start Screen as a full-screen alternative to the classic Start Menu — or install a third party app launcher. But otherwise, Windows 8.1 feels a lot like older versions of Windows if you ignore the Start Screen altogether. You can even boot straight into the desktop to bypass the Start Screen, pin shortcuts for your most frequently used apps to the taskbar, and create desktop shortcuts for others.

If you’re primarily looking for a touchscreen tablet, things are a little trickier. The Transformer Book T100 feels pretty responsive, has a nice display, and gets decent battery life. But at this point there just aren’t as many high-quality tablet apps available for Windows as there are for other platforms.

There are no official Pandora or YouTube apps, for example. Snapchat and Instagram are missing. And popular games including Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans are absent – although the ability to run desktop-style Windows games might help make up for that.

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But I was able to find many of the apps I was looking for, including Netflix, Amazon Kindle, and Comixology. While an Android or iOS tablet might be a better choice in late 2013 for folks looking for devices that will only be used in tablet mode. But the Transformer Pad T100 offers a passable tablet experience while also acting as a full-fledged Windows notebook.

Design

While the Asus Transformer Book T100 is reasonably thin and light for a tablet or a notebook, it’s not exactly a premium device. Don’t expect a backlit keyboard, a paper-thin profile, or even a full compliment of ports.

But the Transformer Book T100 doesn’t exactly feel like a dirt cheap device either. The display is bright, viewing angles are good, and the speakers are louder than you’d expect from a device this small.

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Like most tablets these days, if you look at the Asus Transformer Book T100 from the front you see a shiny piece of glass with black bezels around the side.

There’s a Windows logo below the screen, but it’s just a logo, not a button. In order to bring up the Windows Start Screen, you’ll have to press a physical button on the left side of the tablet next to the volume buttons (or press the Windows key on the keyboard or swipe from the right side of the screen to bring up the Charms bar).

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The power button is along the top edge. This is the button you press to put the tablet to sleep, or to turn off the screen if you’re running a Metro-style app that can continue running in the background while the display is off.

The system will also go to sleep if you close the lid (when the keyboard dock is connected and the tablet acts like a screen and lid).

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On the back of the tablet there’s an Asus logo emblazoned across the glossy plastic surface, and stereo speakers built into the sides of the tablet.

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They’re louder than you’d expect speakers on a 10 inch tablet to be, although you’ll want a pair of headphones or external speakers if you want a  full range of frequencies — like most laptops and tablets, the T100 has speakers don’t offer a lot of bass.

Still, the speakers are good enough for watching videos or listening to music if nothing else is around and loud enough to share your media with a friend.

You’ll find most of the other ports on the sides of the tablet, including the microUSB, microSD, and micro HDMI ports. There’s only one full-sized USB port, and that’s on the keyboard base station.

You can use the micro USB port to charge the tablet, but if you want to plug in USB peripherals you’ll either need an adapter or the keyboard base.

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As for charging the tablet, you’re best off using the included power adapter and USB cable. While I was occasionally able to convince the tablet to charge using a phone charger or other USB power source, the fastest and most reliable way to top off the battery is using the included adapter… and fast is a relative term. While it’s nice that the power adapter is small enough to fit in your pocket, it can take a long time to fully charge the Transformer Book T100.

If the Transformer Book T100 were just a tablet that would compete with Apple and Android tablets, I’d say it has a good array of ports and expansion options. But it’s not just a tablet — this computer is also a laptop, and as such it would have been nice if Asus had crammed a few more ports in the keyboard base.

There’s no Ethernet jack, for instance, and a full-sized SD card slot would have been nice for folks that want to quickly transfer photos from a camera. I also wouldn’t have said no to an extra USB port.

Asus has introduced a model of the Transformer Book T100 in Germany with an extra 500GB hard drive in the keyboard dock, but that model isn’t currently available in the US — and it doesn’t look like you can simply open up the keyboard for the US model and slide in your own hard drive. There don’t seem to be any connectors for extra storage.

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It’s easy to think of the Asus Transformer Book T100 as a tablet with a detachable keyboard. But it’s just as easy to think of it as a notebook with a detachable tablet section.

The truth is that it’s both. It’s a true 2-in-1 device that can function in either mode.

As a laptop it has some shortcomings — the screen doesn’t tilt back very far when it’s attached to the keyboard dock. The keyboard station doesn’t feel quite as stable as it could, sometimes causing the computer to shake a bit while I’m typing. The keyboard is a bit cramped and has a bit of flex in the center, and the touchpad is almost too small to be useful.

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But you can always reach up and touch the touchscreen instead of using the touchpad, or plug in an external mouse.

And while the Transformer Book T100 may have some shortcomings as a laptop, it fills a niche that PC makers have largely abandoned: you can use it as a relatively inexpensive 10 inch notebook.

It’s reasonably thin and light too, measuring about 0.9 inches thick and weighing 2.4 pounds. That makes this little laptop a bit thicker than an ultrabook, but lighter (and much cheaper) than most laptops that bear that name.

The tablet section alone weighs about 1.2 pounds and measures 0.4 inches thick. Like most 10 inch tablets, it can be a tad heavy to hold in your hands for hours at a time if you were planning on marathon reading, gaming, or video watching sessions.

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But if you occasionally rest the base of the tablet on your lap or on a table or the arm of a chair, it’s easy to forget that it weighs nearly twice as much as some 7 inch tablets.

While I typically prefer small tablets to large ones, the advantage of that 10 inch screen is that it allows you to use the Transformer Book T100 as an almost full-sized laptop. A smaller screen looks funny with a keyboard designed for a 10 inch or larger laptop, and then there’s the issue of pixel density.

A note on the display (and screen resolution)

The Transformer Book T100 has a 10 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display. For years that’s been the standard screen resolution for laptops with screens ranging from 11.6 inches to 15.6 inches. Laptop makers are finally starting to ship notebooks with higher-resolution displays that offer crisper text and images, and often let you fit more content on the screen without scrolling.

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But 1366 x 768 pixels on a 10 inch screen may actually be a little too sharp for some users, at least if they stick with the default Windows settings. The screen has roughly 155 pixels per inch, which is close to what you’d get with a 14 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel screen.

That’s not a problem if you’re running Metro-style, tablet-friendly apps. They’re designed to be resolution independent, and the more pixels you have, the better they’ll look. So in tablet mode, the Asus Transformer Book T100 display is decent, but not spectacular — there are a growing number of 10 inch tablets with 1080p or higher resolution displays.

On the other hand, desktop apps can look a bit too sharp at 155 pixels per inch unless they’ve been optimized for high-resolution displays. Text, graphics, menus, and other items can be a bit smaller than you’re used to, and that can make reading difficult for folks with less-than perfect eyesight.

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It can also be a problem if you’re trying to interact with desktop apps using the touchscreen. A tiny X marks the spot to close most apps, browser tabs, or other items — and it’s a little too easy to accidentally hit that X and close an app when you were trying to minimize it.

That’s because traditional windows apps were designed for the finer input of a mouse or touchpad, not your big fat finger.

Microsoft does offer tools that let you adjust the size of text and graphics in Windows, but the results can be inconsistent, varying from app to app.

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All told, the 1366 x 768 pixel screen is a mixed blessing. For tablet-only apps, a higher-resolution screen would have been nice. For desktop apps I don’t want to say I’d have preferred a lower-resolution display, but I will say that 1366 x 768 pixels works better on devices with 11.6 inch screens.

I suspect Asus chose the screen for this tablet because it was cheaper than a full HD display, not to make my life easier. But after using the tablet as a notebook for the past few weeks, I’m glad the screen wasn’t sharper.

Performance

Intel’s new Bay Trail technology runs the risk of giving Atom a good name.

When Intel launched its first Atom chips in 2008, the processors were cheap, low-power chips designed for netbooks with long battery life and low prices. Not much changed for about 5 years. Intel cranked out new model after new model, reduced power consumption, and even started making Atom chips appropriate for smartphones and tablets — but they weren’t much faster than the chips that came out in 2008.

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The Intel Atom Z3740 Bay Trail processor is one of a new generation of Atom processors that are actually good enough for most basic computing tasks. It’s a 1.33 GHz quad-core processor that uses an average of 2 watts of power. The chip also features Intel HD graphic with a clock speed of 311 MHz, but both the CPU and GPU can achieve higher burst speeds.

Intel says its Bay Trail processors are about twice as fast as last year’s Clover Trail chips, and I believe it. I ran a series of benchmarks which show that the new processors are far faster than any Atom chips that came before — but more importantly, the computer didn’t feel sluggish at all during day to day use.

Not only could I spend hours researching and writing articles for Liliputing from coffee shops, but one day I decided to plug in a keyboard, mouse, speakers, and a 1080p display and pretend I was using a desktop PC. I could barely tell the difference between this setup and my usual work machine, a desktop with an older Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 4GB of RAM.

Sure, the Transformer Book wasn’t as fast at completing heavy-duty tasks like editing video files as a machine with an Intel Core i5 processor. But it held its own for common tasks including web browsing, document editing, and media streaming.

In terms of raw horsepower, I’d say the notebook feels like it has a 2011 or 2012-era Intel Celeron processor. That should be good enough for most computing activities including casual gaming, HD video playback, and more. But if you’re looking for a serious workhorse or gaming machine, you might be better off with a model with a Haswell chip and maybe a dedicated graphics chip.

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I tried transcoding audio and video files and creating a large ZIP file using the same test I’ve been running on computers for the last few years, and here are a few systems the Transformer Book T100 bested:

That last one is pretty impressive since the ATIV Book 9 Lite sells for around $800, or about twice the price of the Transformer Book T100.

The Virtualdub utility I’ve been using for that benchmark is starting ton show its age though, so I decided to try the video transcode test using a more up-to-date utility. Handbrake was able to make short work of the same video file.

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This time the Transformer Book trounced the ATIV Book 9 Lite again, but I also threw in my Samsung Series 9 ultrabook with an Intel Core i5 Sandy Bridge processor for the sake of comparison. The ultrabook with a 2011-era chip is faster than the Bay Trail-powered tablet, but the difference isn’t as great as you might expect.

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AMD’s quad-core chip makes up for its wimpy CPU a bit with graphics performance. The ATIV Book 9 Lite has Radeon HD 8250 graphics and comes out ahead of both the Intel Core i5 and Intel Atom Bay Trail chip in the 3DMark11 benchmark — but none of these devices are really appropriate for serious gaming – although it can handle less demanding games including World of Warcraft, Starcraft II, and Torchlight.

The folks at MobileGeeks tested a few games on the Transformer Book T100.

Most of these tests treat the Transformer Book T100 as if it were a Windows laptop… which it kind of is. But it’s also a tablet, which means you might also want to know how it fares against an iPad or Android tablet.

That’s a bit trickier to say, because not only do most of those tablets have different ARM-based chips instead of Intel processors, but they’re also running operating systems designed from the ground up for touch input and instant-on, always-connected capabilities.

Windows 8.1 is starting to grow on me as a tablet operating system. Accessing menus by swiping from the edges of the tablet makes a lot of sense, and it’s nice to be able to run tablet-style apps side-by-side, even if that’s not something I actually do very often.

The biggest challenge is that many apps I’m using to running on Android devices aren’t available for Windows. Theoretically you could install an Android app player like Bluestacks in order to run some Android apps and games — but that’s kind of a clunky solution which offers mixed results.

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On the other hand, the Windows apps I have spent time with are responsive and often fun to use.

I’ve spent hours reading eBooks in the Amazon kindle app, for instance, and the only thing I really wish it had was support for Kindle Personal Documents so I could read some of the items I’ve uploaded from sources other than the Kindle Store (these items are accessible on my Kindle Touch and on Android and iOS devices).

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I’ve also spent a bit of time playing a few games from the Windows Store including Reaper and Pinball FX2. If you don’t spend time your time comparing the list of available apps to those available for other platforms, you can probably find a good number of tablet apps worth using on a Windows 8.1 device.

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And if you can’t find a tablet app, you can probably just use a desktop or web app — disappointed that there’s no YouTube app? No problem, just fire up the YouTube website.

You can also use the desktop version of Hulu without a Hulu Plus subscription, something that helps set Windows tablets apart from the iPad or Android tablets.

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There is one more performance note I should mention – from time to time I had a hard time convincing the system to resume from sleep. Most of the time tapping the power button brought the display to life. Occasionally after I’d left the tablet alone for a while, tapping the power button did nothing unless I pressed it and held it until the system rebooted.

I don’t know if this issue was unique to the demo unit Asus sent me or if it’s a more widespread problem — and it’s not something that happened frequently. But it did happen two or three times in the course of 3 weeks.

Battery Life

One of the most impressive things about this tablet’s performance it the long battery life. Don’t get me wrong — Asus promises 11 hours of run time, and I’ve never gotten that much battery life while using the computer in notebook mode.

But I regularly get about 8 hours of battery life, which is pretty impressive for a 10 inch laptop with a 31Whr battery. That’s enough to spend pretty much a full workday on the road without packing a charger. It’s not the kind of battery life I’m used to seeing from $400 laptops.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you could eke out a bit more run time when using the Transformer Book T100 in tablet mode for light activities such as reading eBooks and light web surfing. I just never managed to spend that much time using the machine without a keyboard.

Sure, you could probably get longer battery life  with an iPad or with a high quality Android tablet. But I’m still pretty impressed with the ability to use a $400 hybrid notebook all day. 

Verdict

There’s a lot to like about the Asus Transformer Book T100. It’s small and cheap, gets long battery life, and offers decent performance whether you use it as a notebook or a tablet.

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It won’t be the best computer for everyone: The keyboard and touchpad are small, the screen resolution might be a bit too sharp when running apps that aren’t optimized for high-resolution screens, but it’s not as sharp as the screens on the latest iPads. And if you’re primarily looking for a tablet, you’ll probably find more high quality apps if you go with an iPad or Android tablet.

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But the Asus Transformer Book T100 can do things an iPad can’t. It supports Adobe Flash, full desktop apps including iTunes, Diablo 3, GIMP or Photoshop, and Microsoft Office 2013. It even comes with a fully-licensed copy of Office 2013 preloaded.

I like to think of this machine as a portable notebook that you can also use as a tablet from time to time or when touch input makes more sense than using the keyboard.

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Judged by that standard, the Transformer Book T100 may be a best-in-class device — largely because there are so few other devices in its class.

That could change in the coming months as we start to see more companies bring 10 inch tablets with keyboard docks to market. But Asus has long been a pioneer in this space, and the company knows how to make decent tablets and mini-laptops for reasonable prices.

The Transformer Book T100 will be a tough device to beat.

  • Joe

    I have the 32GB version and I love it!

    • tito

      where do you buy it???

      • SNHS Sam

        I just ordered the 64Gb model from Amazon, Best Buy has the 32Gb.

      • Annimal

        Walmart stocks the 64GB version.

  • andod

    OOB WYSIWYG

  • anondonye

    it looks like it would be a great device to use for school

  • Holstein

    The speakers are on the back of that ugly glossy lid? Why?

  • kron

    Does ASUS provide an adapter for the micro USB port to simultaneously charge the tablet while also it as a host for peripherals?

    • Gokzzzz

      No, but the included keyboard dock has a full USB port that i use to connect my hard disk

  • free_variation

    Terrific review as always — concrete, practical. One tiny comment: the adjective “sharp” is slightly odd, as in general it has positive connotations. I think you usually mean, well, “small” :)

  • why

    Can you please let us know what type of memory card we can use on this, and how much size it can read.

    • Vince Ng

      it has a microSDXC slot on the tablet itself, which will read 64GB microSDXC cards (no (high-speed) UHS-1 support, so don’t bother buying the expensive Sandisk Extreme version) . There aren’t any 128GB microSDXC cards on the market, but I think they should work when they come out

      You also have a fullsize USB on the keyboard dock. You could get a tiny Elago Nano II USB microSDXC reader, to increase another 64GB

  • Alexdaner Pierce

    I heard that T100 keyboard is not very responsive.

  • buzz86us

    this would have been my tablet of choice if they made an artists edition with an active wacom digitizer… at this point i am hoping to see a Thinkpad Tablet 2 revision with the same processor.

  • mikeu

    Mine arrived with a third of the screen messed up, had to return it. The demo I saw at office depot had a dysfunctional keyboard. Buyer beware.

  • Grant

    I recently bought one and am totally thrilled with it. To answer a a few of the questions I see: I use a 64gb micro sd card to pad the 32gb mine came with. So far it has worked flawlessly. I have even been installing my steam games to the card and playing them from it. Starcraft as well. As far as gaming performance, it seems to be slightly faster than my 2011 Mac Mini. In regards to someone asking about the keyboard lagging: mine doesn’t. I have read a lot about defective models, but I can tell you I bought mine at Office Depot and it was in perfect condition. I can also tell you I was able to sit with the device unplugged and do a full days work and when I headed home it still had around 10% battery life. I was mainly using Office and streaming music the whole time with the screen brightness reasonably high. So far I am very pleased with my $350 purchase.

  • Thomas Wood

    I’ve got the T100 and I think some of the sleep snafus might be related to Bluetooth refusing to shut down. The Asus updater might also be in the mix from my experience. I hope these gremlins get worked out soon. I really like the little buggar anyway. Can’t wait for some functional Linux distros!

  • Michael Thompson

    This is the kind of device that makes me consider carrying a Windows device again.

    • Liliguest

      My 13-year old bought this device today from a local MS store. He wants it for schoolwork and use as a tablet when not doing homework. It really is a fantastic device, very light, snappy, touch is terrific. Unlike iDevices, it has parental controls, which are outstanding. My wife hinted she may want one to replace her iPad mini.

  • Pickens

    Does it automatically connect to WiFi access points when in Connected Standby as they become available?

  • http://www.cenebris.com/ Tomasz Cieńciała

    How about some heavy work? Eclipse/Netbeans/Photoshop/InDesign/Lightroom/Trados? Aren’t 2 GB too little?

  • bo

    How well does this perform multi-threaded compression like LZMA2. Other than basic video encoding, the other CPU intensive task I do is creating .tar.xz archives for backup purposes.

    • jason

      I’m interested in this as well. I do a lot of archiving using LZMA2. I used to use 7-Zip because it supports multi-threaded compression but it doesn’t support multi-threaded decompression. Due to the 7-Zip maintainer refusing to add support for multi-threaded decompression for years now, I’ve started using Pixz ( https://github.com/vasi/pixz ) for creating .tar.xz archives since the beginning of the year now. Pixz is multi-threaded for both compression and decompression. I use it under Linux and Windows (through Cygwin).

      Also, Intel says the Z3740 supports AES-NI for hardware accelerated encryption. Can existing software that support AES-NI for Intel Core i chips automatically make use of it? This will alleviate some CPU strain when using SSH and SCP. I also occasionally encrypt my archives which are on the order of several gigabytes.

  • http://www.dahayden.com/ David Alastair Hayden

    It looks like a cheap netbook, which I just can’t get past, I’m afraid. And I’ve reached the point where I won’t pay for a new device that doesn’t have 1080 or better on the display since my job involves looking at text on my device screen all day. I’m intrigued by the Dell Venue 11 and I really like the Surface 2 after spending some in-store time with it.

    • SNHS Sam

      Well I was intrigued by the Venue 11 until I saw the price. Then figure in a keyboard then Office and it is way more than I need to spend. For me 720p is fine, having a device that’ll work seamlessly with my home network (mix of Win 7 & Win 8 PCs, NAS, printers) and has Office (that I need for work documents during the day) for a reasonable price was what sold me on the T100. Mine arrives tomorrow.

      • http://www.dahayden.com/ David Alastair Hayden

        That’s the beauty of choice and options! I’m on Word for 6-10 hours per day and I’m used to my iPads retina screen for reading, so I’m super picky about screens. All my home stuff is Mac based, so integration isn’t a factor for me except with Office. And I’m already an Office 365 subscriber. Currently, thankfully, the price isn’t the biggest concern for me. But my fleet of retired, purchased-used after their prime devices prove that hasn’t always been the case.

  • BoloMKXXVIII

    2 GB of RAM? That seems to be the biggest weakness for me.

  • PolloLoco

    I’ve narrowed down the sleep recovery issue to only occur when the Asus T100′s been left charging. If I’m not charging, I can leave the T100 in sleep mode for as long as I want. But otherwise, the computer’s frozen on a black screen (battery will run down fairly quickly), and I’ll have to hold the power down 20 seconds or longer to force a restart. I really hope there’s a software fix, because currently the only way to safely charge fast (IE – without leaving the device on) is to charge only when totally shutdown. Otherwise, I love the device – but I consider this a big defect.

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

      That seems about right — it didn’t fail to turn on every time I had left it charging… but every time it did fail to turn on was after I had done so.

    • Jho

      I guess Microsoft and OEMs haven’t figured out how to fix Connected Standby. This resume issue was/is rampant on Clover Trail tablets. Too bad Bay Trail and Windows 8.1 didn’t change things.

      Until MS can fix this, they should give an option to revert to regular standby. Frequently forcing the device to shutdown by pressing and holding the power button can definitely lead to file corruption.

  • BoloMKXXVIII

    BTW, nice longer format review!

  • Justin

    Brad, is a license key or serial # included in the package, so that windows office 2013 home&student edition can be activated?

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

      Yep, there’s a key in the box — the software’s already pre-activated, but if you need to re-activate for some reason, that license key should do the trick.

      • dale

        I can not find an icon for the office 2013 home & student. I activated it but to use work or excel I have to use the search function to find it rather than click on an icon.

    • Allan Dodge

      The serial number is included in the package.

  • ChicagoBob

    The screen seemed to have tons of glare. Did you notice this? Was it worse than other laptops?

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

      I tend to shoot in my office which has a lot of natural light — almost every device with a touchscreen has a glossy display. This model doesn’t seem any worse than most I’ve used. But when you stick it by a window, you’ll see some glare.

      You can see a number of other devices shot in front of the same room in our reviews section.

      http://liliputing.com/category/reviews

  • Razva

    I’m using Photoshop in order to process web images for my blog, and also slice PSDs for work (as a web developer). Can this device run Photoshop at a decent level? Thanks!

  • http://www.pcchecker.co.uk/ PC Checker

    Brad / anyone – did you notice the battery level slowly decreasing even when plugged in when using your T100 as a desktop replacement? The reason I ask is that I’m wanting to use the T100 as an everyday desktop replacement myself but don’t want to have to not be able to keep it at 100% for when I move it from the desk.

    • Roland

      Hey, got the same problem… I want to use it as a small desktop replacement, but even having the device idle on the desktop makes the battery run out – while being plugged in :/ Already returned another device, new one has same issue… I don’t get it. Any solution for this?

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

        I think the micro USB charger is yo blame. It sends enough juice to charge the tablet when it’s off… Enough to charge it very very slowly when in normal use, and probably not even enough to keep it at its current charge when you’ve got a bunch of peripherals like a keyboard, mouse, and monitor plugged in.

      • http://www.pcchecker.co.uk/ Andy @PCchecker

        See above Brad – mine seems to be ok with 1 USB lead into Dell full HD (touch) monitor along with the power and micro HDMI and then USB keyboard, mouse pugged into the monitor’s USB ports. If there was an issue with the charging mine would not be staying solidly at 100% fully charged?

      • http://www.pcchecker.co.uk/ PC Checker

        I got a T100 and after charging it the recommended amount of time I have used it as a tablet etc and let it run down to around 40% as from what I read this is about the right amount to get maximum battery life (charging cycles) from such batteries.

        Since then I have had it pretty much at 100% charge with it taking around 5 hours to go from 40% to 100% whilst I had it hooked up to external HD TFT, usb keyboard, mouse and external speakers.

        Have you updated the bios, all the drivers that Windows update pushes out and those that are newer on Asus.com? Also I presume you have checked when you have it plugged in you are using the proper charger and the red light is coming on?

        Btw once you get it set up right it’s brilliant and has become my main computer at my desktop and the performance for what I do is not that much less than my Core i7 desktop rig.

  • George

    To anyone who owns one of these:

    When my battery is drained or very low, the Asus T100 shuts down. However, if I try to turn it on in this condition (not having witnessed the shutdown), it tries to boot (displays Asus logo) and then fails completely resulting in various MS Windows startup errors, a scrambled Asus logo screen and even a blue screen of death on one occasion. Is this normal? After years of iPad and iPhone use, I would expect some kind of user-friendly visual reminder to plug it in the wall socket; not a hard crash.

  • Penny Duncan

    I too own this transformer and am completely happy with my purchase as well!!! I love having the ability to use as a tablet or laptop whenever I choose…and for the price and what you get…you can’t beat it……

  • Amy

    Do I need an “active” HDMI to VGA adapter? I want to use an older projector (got a micro-HDMI to HDMI adapter already)

  • Shane

    I recently bought the T100 also. First off Walmart has the 64GB T100 in store for $379 plus tax. They don’t have them on display but they are in stock under the display case. I have been hammering this little Asus for three days now and it has not missed a lick. No issues what so ever. It’s snappy as can be and will multi task circles around an Ipad.
    The quad core Atom shines in this Transformer. Battery life is 11 hours if you are just surfing the net. I spent a full work day on it using out remote VPN and the battery life went all day. Impressive to say the least. The keyboard may be a little cramped but was easy to get use to. I also run XBMC on it and the video while streaming a video blew my dual core Toshiba laptop out of the water.
    I have to keep reminding myself that this is only a tablet…err or is it a netbook? In either mode it works fantastic, and is exactly what I was looking for to replace my aging Dell netbook.The T100 is one hard to beat device considering the price and hardware. The 2GB of on board memory seems to be plenty, I’m rarely over 50% usage.
    For the value minded consumer, the Asus T100 packs a punch in a small package, that won’t break the bank! I’m ecstatic with the purchase of mine.

  • SNHS Sam

    The 64Gb model is now $349 at Amazon. A great bargain for this little baby IMO.

    • SNHS Sam

      Now it’s gone up to $379

  • SNHS Sam

    Here’s my mini review:

    Pros: Full Win 8.1, NOT RT so you can install desktop programs and Win 8 Metro/Modern Apps.
    Comes with Office Home and Student preinstalled, just enter the included product key
    2.4 & 5 Ghz wifi
    microSD slot
    Keyboard dock INCLUDED
    USB 3 port on keyboard dock
    great battery life

    Cons: Not a lot of Apps in the Win8 Store
    You can install the desktop versions of what’s not in the store but they may not be optimized
    for touch.
    Trackpad not the most responsive one I’ve used
    Screen and back of case are fingerprint magnets. Don’t know why the back is so glossy instead of textured.

    I’ve had mine for a week. Flashed the BIOS/Firmware to the latest version which helped the trackpad some but it still a bit laggy/unresponsive at times. Fast wifi, great display, plays videos fine.

    For $349 this is a great little unit. Add a 64Gb mSD card and one should have enough space to install programs (NOTE: Win Store Apps ONLY install to the C: drive so install your desktop programs to the mSD card). I was looking at Dell’s Venue 11 Pro but by the time you add their keyboard dock and Office you’re close to $1000. The ability to work on my job docs using Office while on the road with the small size of this T100 is great.
    This is the future of what computing is going to.

    • Ralph Merry

      i got to ask, where did you get this for $350?

      • SNHS Sam

        Amazon had it for $349 last week but it’s back up to $379 as of yesterday. I actually got it the week before for $399 but Amazon refunded me $50 when I saw the price had dropped and I went online and requested it. If you buy an item sold and fulfilled by Amazon they will usually refund you any difference if the price drops soon after you buy. That $50 paid for the 64Gb mSD card.

  • Patrick

    Are there any Wacom/ pressure sensitive pens that can be used with this? I would really like to use it for drawing aside from productivity apps like Office

  • freechelmi

    if it doesn’t run linux correctly it’s pretty useless with 32 GB

  • Nothavingit

    This is one of the best reviews I’ve ever read.

    bravo

  • lbm

    Is there an easy way to get photos from SD card onto the T100 which only has a micro SD slot?

    • SNHS Sam

      if you use a USB card reader you can just plug it into the USB port on the keyboard dock.

  • karen ke

    Can its hardware available to play Need for Speed: Rivals?I’ll buy one if it can.

  • Manuel Lazo

    Can someone help me with the maths?

    Asus with 32GB, (actually a 40GB SSD, 8 GB in a separate partition for recovery): 15 GB free space….

    Asus with 64GB (8 GB for recovery, same partition): 30 GB free space….

    How is that possible? does the 64 GB version has more software/bloatware?

  • Prb

    I am planning to give this as a gift to my sister who is a student. She says she needs to run java, MySQL, netbeans, apache on this (of course not all at the same time). I wonder if this will handle that much load. I know we are not talking about a full blown pc here, but given that she could do this on an AMD processor based PC released some 5 years back, I think this can be expected to work on this latest baytrail processor. Are there any students who have tried using this for their coding/development work?

  • fmtrx

    Interesting idea, but i would classify this as a rough diamond. First of all we have Windows 8 and its restricted app store. Yes, you can install windows apps, but disk space is not adequate for windows applications. My 2009 NC10 had 250 Gb I could install anything. This device has 64 Gb (External) and 8-9 Gb free when you go for the 32Gb version.Third, this is classified as a fast netbook which cannot execute neither business apps nor windows games (you are left only with windows store games) at an appropriate level of performance. 10 inches do not help either even if it could pull Autodesk or Photoshop apps. A typical user will enjoy this machine for its dual character for the first month and play with its ‘transformers’ design :)
    :Honey! look at me i am in bed with the tablet! Honey see me know! i am at the desk now and have a netbook! Magic!
    But later on he/she will realize that the design decisions led to a machine with some compromises, which in their turn lead to a specific use: use the tablet form mostly and live with the windows store. The real target group could be the users who want an internet device with keyboard, that is a faster netbook. But an owner of a classic netbook is already covered with this though(e.g. the NC10 with XP).
    All in all, a good hybrid should be:
    1) thinner that the Asus proposal. No complaints for the usage of plastic. As long as its execution is ok.
    2)be able to run Android AND Windows OS.
    Sad, but this is how it is now: we do not have an ecosystem that is perfect in both worlds: mobile apps and business.The tablet form will utilize the Android OS, whereas if someone desires business apps will fire windows OS.
    3)Storage space. I will repeat: storage space. You cannot expect to sell a Windows PC and rely only at ~64 Gb of free space. At least 256 Gb are needed.
    4)at least 2-3 inches more in diagonal will help the usage of business applications for this hybrid.
    5)Faster cpu/gpu to give some air at Windows games and business applications.

    All previous statements just show only one thing: we will have to wait for a couple of years so that we get this high tech package at a price that is not as high as a Series 9 :)
    All in all it is nice that Asus was bold and gave an extra option to the consumers.

  • Susan Jones

    I”m completely turned off by the fact that I am asked to type in the magic numbers to connect to the internet… except … oops… you can’t actually enter text. I mean, you can *see* the keyboard, but whether it’s the on screen keyboard or the physical one, you type and tap all you want and … nothing happens. I dunno, this seems like a killer non-app to me.

    • Susan Jones

      (Seems I can enter text from the tablet … *if* the keyboard is attached. Whatever.)

      • Susan Jones

        But use the keyboard? Oops, can’t do that. Have it recognize the flash drive I put in the USB port? That would be asking too much. Have a way to plead with the piece of crap to acknowledge that there’s a keyboard attached? Must be kidding!
        NOT INTUITIVE (and of course, there’s no instrucitons). Recognizing that yea, it was inexpensive and this is part of the crap I have to go thrugh so I’ll get back to it.