Asus Transformer Book T100: One week in

Summary:The interest in this economical hybrid is off the charts so it's time to share what I like about it along with what I wish was better.

transformer-book-t100-v2
Asus Transformer Book T100 with keyboard dock (Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

What sets the T100 apart from other hybrids is the cost. I was able to snag mine for a fantastic price of $299 , but the list price of $349 is still a good price for the 32GB model. It is unusual to get a full-featured Windows 8.1 tablet for that price that includes a laptop dock.

Transformer Book T100 as a tablet

The core system of the T100 is a thin, light (1.2lb) tablet that ships with Windows 8.1. It is a good tablet that I've come to appreciate even more the longer I use it. It feels good in the hand and works equally well in both portrait and landscape orientations.  

See related:  Asus Transformer Book T100: First impressions  |  Asus Transformer T100 is calling my name ASUS Transformer Prime: Perfect for business trips (review) | What I want: ASUS Transformer Prime running Windows 8 |  Necessary battery life for laptops: 8 hours  | CNET review

What makes the T100 work so well as a tablet is the great performance of the Bay Trail processor. Operation is fast and fluid, a primary requirement for a tablet. Even with 10+ apps running at the same time, the T100 exhibits no lags nor stutters while being used. It is a joy to sit and do everything on the tablet with no issues nor compromises.  

The only gripe I have about tablet operation is the goofy Windows button that Asus has chosen for the T100. Instead of a Windows button on the bezel of the tablet as is common on Windows tablets, Asus has put a thin hardware button on the left side of the tablet that is hard to find by feel and even harder to press due to the angle of the button. I didn't like this button in the beginning, and I hate it the longer I use the T100. It interferes with operation of the tablet, and that makes it a terrible design choice.

T100 as a laptop/netbook

What makes the Transformer Book T100 such a good value is the inclusion of the laptop dock. Asus has been making Transformer tablets with docks for a few years, and they've perfected the design.

Popping the tablet into the laptop dock is a one hand process, and the system gives a confirmation tone to let you know it's properly seated. This gives instant access to a full, albeit cramped, keyboard and trackpad.  

The keyboard is indeed cramped due to the width of the 10.1-inch tablet, but even with large hands I can touch type with no problem. It takes a few minutes of orientation with the undersized keys, but fast typing soon follows. A reason for the cramped keyboard is the inclusion of all standard laptop keys, so the cramped size is a worthy compromise. All of the expected keys are there, including a top row of function keys that control many system functions.  

The trackpad of the T100 is not the best but it's OK. I usually use the tablet touch screen for operation anyway so I don't find the touchpad to be a problem.

Do I like the Transformer Book T100?

After owning the T100 for over a week I find it to be a really good tablet and a nice hybrid. I often find myself grabbing the T100 tablet instead of one of my other tablets. It's comfortable to use, and since I've discovered some good Windows 8 apps I enjoy using it anywhere.  

Speaking of apps, the main ones I've adopted are the following:

  • Windows Mail-- this is a nice mail app that works well with my Gmail account.

  • Tweetium-- this Twitter app is very good and is one of the best Twitter apps on any mobile platform.

  • NextGen Reader-- this RSS feed reader works well on both the tablet and with a keyboard.

  • Evernote-- this is my most-used mobile app and it's the same on the T100. This article was written in Evernote.

The Transformer Book T100 is a great value given the quality of the tablet and keyboard dock. It is as full-featured a hybrid as you will find, at a decent price. I am happy with my purchase and would buy it again. I rarely recommend gadgets as people's needs are so different, but I do recommend the T100 for those looking for a hybrid at a decent price.

Topics: Mobility, Laptops, Tablets, Windows 8

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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