Six months with the Asus Transformer Book T100: Still a top Windows hybrid

Summary:I was impressed with this 2-in-1 when I bought it six months ago and it still meets my needs.

The Asus Transformer Book T100 is a tablet that comes with a keyboard dock to facilitate using it as a laptop. I was impressed when it was first announced and promptly bought one of my own. I've used it for over six months now and I figured it's time to revisit how well it is serving me.

Asus Transformer Book T100 front 2
Asus Transformer Book T100 Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

The T100 is a 10.1-inch tablet first, and a laptop second. It works well as a tablet and even better as a laptop with the keyboard dock that Asus includes in the box. When the tablet is docked with the keyboard unit, it is hard to tell it isn't a traditional laptop, the mark of a great design.

I am regularly asked if the Atom Bay Trail processor is stout enough to handle Windows 8.1, and as it was months ago, it is still sufficient for my needs.

Hardware specs as purchased:

Processor 1.33 GHz Intel Atom Quad-core (Bay Trail)
Memory 2GB
Display 10.1-inch, 1366x768, IPS
Camera 1.2MP
OS Windows 8.1
Storage 32GB SSD
Ports 1-USB 3.0 (dock), audio combo, microHDMI, microSD card reader, microUSB
Connectivity Wi-fi b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0
Battery 31Whr, 11 hours
Dimensions Notebook: 10.4" x 6.7" x 0.93"; Tablet only: 10.4" x 6.7" x 0.41"
Weight Notebook: 2.4lbs; Tablet only: 1.2lbs

Laptop use

The Transformer Book T100 is a very nice portable laptop. It's lightweight (2.4 lbs), and the touch display is a joy to use. The keyboard is slightly cramped, but I quickly adjust to it after using it a few minutes.

Like most hybrids, the T100 fully leverages all input methods with Windows 8. The trackpad works well when my hands are on the keyboard, and it's nice to have the touchscreen to interact directly with apps. The T100 allows interfacing with the system using all the methods.

Well, all the methods but one. Those wanting pen input for handwriting or using as a mouse need to look elsewhere. The T100 lacks pen support, which is not an issue for me.

The Windows button is inconveniently located on the left side of the display instead of the lower bezel as is typical. It's recessed and hard to hit, so I've trained myself to use the Windows icon on the Charms bar invoked by touch on the right side of the display.

T100 as a tablet

I must confess that I use hybrids as a tablet less over time than I used to. Using Windows on a laptop feels more natural than on a tablet, and that's how I use it at least 80 percent of the time.

The Transformer Book T100 is a decent tablet, even so. The form is ideal for a 10.1-inch tablet and it is comfortable to use in the hand given the low weight (1.2 lbs).

Asus Transformer Book T100 tablet
Asus Transformer Book T100 Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

Asus has done a good job with the hinge on the T100, and the screen is easy to detach from the keyboard dock. Push a button and gently lift up on the display and it comes off for tablet use.

Windows 8.1 seems to be designed for use in landscape orientation, and I do that most of the time as a result. I prefer using tablets in portrait, and I do at times, but it seems strange in most apps so I usually stick to landscape.

I may not use the T100 as a tablet much, but when I do the experience is pretty good.

The apps

For any device to meet my needs, there must be apps to do what I need. That's the case with Windows 8.1. I have good apps to do the functions that are important for me.

See related:  10 good Windows 8 apps (Summer 2014)

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The apps I use the most on the T100 are (in no particular order):

IE Modern, aka Metro — while a big Chrome browser fan, on the T100 I use IE almost exclusively. It is touch friendly and I like the way it integrates with everything else I do.

Tweetium — I use Twitter a lot to catch breaking news, and Tweetium ( reviewed here ) is the best app on any mobile platform for working with the social network. It works well in both portrait and landscape, and is particularly useful in snap view for following updates while working in another app.

Nextgen Reader — I follow a lot of RSS feeds using Feedly, and this app is outstanding for doing that. The touch interface is good, and it displays a lot of information at a time.

Evernote — This is my main app for writing and it's nice on the T100. I use either Evernote Touch, the Modern app, or in the Modern IE browser. Either works well and I can switch between them at will.

Facebook — I use this for both work and play and find the Windows 8 version to be quite nice.

Still good value

The reasonable price for the Asus Transformer Book T100 was a good value since it included the keyboard dock in the box. That’s not always the case as OEMs often charge a high price for the keyboard.

Everything I need for a hard work day is easily handled by the T100. I have the apps I need and the hybrid runs them without a hiccup. I pull the laptop out of the bag and get right to work no matter where I roam. When it makes the most sense, I detach the screen and use the tablet. That’s the beauty of hybrids, they fill multiple roles to fit the situation.

The Asus Transformer Book T100 is still available at Amazon at the time of this writing. The $399 price gets a 64GB model. Having used the T100 for months, I am still happy with the purchase.

See related: 

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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