Best value Windows 8.1 tablet

Looking for the best value Windows 8.1 tablet? Put down the Surface 2 and take a look at the ASUS Transformer Book T100.

Time to take a break from the regular posts to answer a question from today's mailbox:

What's the best value Windows 8.1 tablet out there?

When you think of Windows tablets the first devices that spring to mind are Microsoft's Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 hardware. While the Surface 2 tablets are not a bad investment, there's a tablet out there that I think beats it hands down.

That tablet is the ASUS Transformer Book T100.

ASUS Transformer Book T100
(Source: ASUS)

This is a 10.1-inch 2-in-1 convertible that switches from being a tablet to a notebook. This tablet beats the Surface 2 offering on almost every metric you care to use.

  • Price: You can pick up the T100 for $379 from online retailers such as Amazon, which is a full $70 less than an entry-level Surface 2 tablet.
  • OS: The T100 runs the full x86 version of Windows 8.1, not the ARM-powered Windows RT that the Surface 2 runs. If you want a Surface Pro 2 that runs the full version of Windows 8.1 then you're looking at a starting price of $899.
  • Microsoft Office: Full version of Microsoft Office (Home and Student 2013) versus the cut-down version for Windows RT.
  • Faster CPU: Intel Atom versus Nvidia Tegra 4.
  • Better battery life: 11 hours versus 10 hours.
  • Lighter: 1.2lbs versus 1.49lbs

About the only win for the Surface 2 is the screen size and resolution, which comes in at 10.6-inch 1920 by 1080 compared to the 10.1-inch 1366 by 768 display on the T100. The $899 Surface Pro 2 also comes with 4GB of RAM (8GB optional), while the T100 only comes with 2GB. This might sway anoyone thinking of using the tablet for heavy usage.

For me, the upsides of the ASUS Transformer Book T100 far outweigh the downsides, and it is a steal at $379. 

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