Asus Transformer Book T100: One week in

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.

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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 nameASUS 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

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73 comments
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  • awsome

    This device is awesome, as long as you have wifi, but i definitely need option to add internet via ethernet port, may be as option in dock or some thing. The price is generous and totally reasonable specs.
    I can't imagine having wifi across globe.
    Mac_Win
    • Windows

      This is a normal Windows machine. There are hundreds of cheap ethernet dongles that can be plugged into the USB port.
      Sacr
      • USB in the base not the tablet though

        The only issue with that is that the USB is in the base and not the tablet part. I can't really envision using this device without wifi though, so don't think it's that big a deal but maybe for some people.

        I got this unit at $299 as well and so overall have been really impressed with it. My only concern right now is the low main memory leaves only about 8Gb of space on the C: drive at the moment. I got a 32Gb SD card for it but didn't really realize Dropbox won't sync to mobile cards, so can't get most of my content onto the device.

        Really great deal on a full Windows 8.1 tablet though and that processor does make it super zippy. This guy almost has me questioning whether or not to upgrade my ipad.
        ZeroGeeZ0
        • The charging port is microUSB

          Many Windows tablets are the same. Just buy a USB OTG ("On-The-Go") adapter.
          Joe_Raby
      • there is nothing normal in...

        ...windows machine.

        but it's ok you can install linux and than you have great working machine.
        deathtoms
        • Linux is not an option

          Are you stupid? The definition of a non-working machine is Linux. Office? No, Lync, No. Windows Apps, No. App Store, No. Drivers to support Linux, No.
          terrygore@...
          • Shame on you :)

            Linux:
            Office = Yes, free
            Lync = syntax error, but if it is what I think it is = Yes.
            Windows Apps = Yes, in case you need them
            App Store = Yes
            Drivers = Yes, out of the box.
            nmmm
        • Linux works relatively OK

          I bought similar laptop / tablet for a friend.
          Did not installed Linux, but made a research, most of things works out of the box.

          Boot loader is locked by default, but can be unlocked from the BIOS. BIOS access is tricky,
          but you need just to follow the instructions.

          Boot loader is EFI, no legacy boot.
          nmmm
    • Shame

      that it is $150 more expensive over here in Europe - and that is before tax. :-(

      Otherwise it looks like a very nice machine. That said, I'm still happy with my Samsung ATIV. The extra speed of the Bay Trail would be nice, but doesn't justify the upgrade cost at the moment.
      wright_is
      • Hidden costs

        The taxes paid for an item is not just the taxes on that item but the taxes for power, water, property tax, payroll tax, healthcare tax, etc. Then there is all the regulations and labor rules that have to be adhered to. We had a whole factory shutdown in the UK due to some migratory birds that decided to land there and camp for over a week. Etc and so on.

        Socialism and welfare may or may not be a good thing, that is for the people voting for it to decide. But they are definitely not free, you pay for it one way or another.
        Rann Xeroxx
        • Nothing...

          to do with socialism. Import duty? Maybe, although other companies manage to keep the price differences much lower, others not.

          A lot of tech companies seem to take $1 = 1€ and leave it at that (Google, for example), others seem to get the rate back to front (Apple and Adobe) and charge nearly twice as much in Europe as in America - Adobe's CS6 costs $3,781 over here (discounted on Amazon.de, before tax ($4500 including tax), the US Amazon has it for $2,200). That is just a few bits, nothing physical that needs massive storage space or additional workers on higher salaries, just a server in America to download the bits from.

          Amazon, on the other hand, charges $229 (before tax) for the Kindle Fire HDX in Europe and $229 in America, so it can't just be down to taxes, socialism, power etc.
          wright_is
          • Price not because of taxes? Nonesense!

            The idea that because Amazon doesn't hike the end-user price means that there isn't a tax is nonsense. Every "free lunch" is payed for by someone and in this case Amazon is willing to pick up the tab for now. Where Amazon goes to come up with the funds to do this is unknown but it has two choices. Pay from past profits and IPO investments or hike prices somewhere else.
            rewand
    • yeah...

      ...too bad it runs windows.

      but that can be fixed with an hour of installing decent operating system and than you have a great machine
      deathtoms
    • Amazon has one!

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AQM8586/ref=oh_details_o06_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

      Amazon carries a Plugable USB 3.0 to 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN Network Adapter
      for $20. I agree about the WiFi, I always feel the need to have a wired connection whenever I can.
      TechGerd
    • How I approached that

      I bought a cheap transportable access point/router in a size of a matchbox, powered from USB or wall outlet. If ethernet is not available, then I use teethering with my phone and LTE.

      Access point setup is simple..
      Andrej.G.
  • If I hadn't bought my DV8p

    I would've gone for this. I already have Surface Pro for a hybrid. I recommended this to few people already, who are looking for a hybrid alternative to carry laptop and tablet always. This definitely fits in that area.

    Now go ahead and flag me Fanboys because I wrote something positive about Microsoft's partners product.
    Ram U
    • Haters gonna always hate...

      This is one of the best tech gadgets of the year along with Lumia 520. A good value for money and i recommend this one for any budget conscious buyer.Strictly not for those who buys 1LB toy for $499 with their fat wallets.
      Hemanth Tummala
      • lol rof...microsoft troll vomit...

        "This is one of the best tech gadgets of the year along with Lumia 520"

        of course both microsoft products.
        and of course it takes microsoft troll to write such an insane comment.
        deathtoms
  • Pen Input?

    James:

    One of the factors I trust you to evaluate is pen input (from way back). I don't think I've seen you mention it in your reports on the T100. Should we just assume it is viable because the unit runs Win8.1? If so, what kind of device would one use for input? So far, I've decided to wait for Surface Pro 3 to get the best package with pen input - but, I'm not sure I can hold out that long!
    dmpellow
    • The T100 does not have an digitzer

      The only "pen" that should work is a regular capacitive stylus.

      The Dell Venue Pros and Surface Pros have active digitizers and Asus is rumored to be releasing an 8 inch tablet with Wacom support next month. I don't know about the Toshiba, Acer or Lenovo tablets, but don't think they have pen support.
      Emacho