Asus Transformer Book T100: One week in

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.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor
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.

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