ASUS Transformer Book T100 Windows 8.1 Hybrid

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The Transformer Book's composite body sits neatly between the light plastic that Samsung typically uses for its own devices and the magnesium alloy Microsoft uses for its own Surface hardware. Microsoft still sets the gold standard for building Windows tablet bodies, but the Asus T100 doesn't feel cheap or fragile and the body isn't overly slick. There were, however, a few odd decisions made on the display. First, there's the nature of the physical "Start" button. On every Windows tablet I've seen to date, including Microsoft's Surface, the physical start button functions just like a keyboard Start button.


The icon is visible here, right above the dock

The Asus Transformer Book T100 still has an icon in precisely the same place -- but the icon does absolutely nothing when pressed. Instead, the button's functionality has been moved to the right-hand side of the unit, where it fits just below the volume button rocker switch. The problem with the side mounted button is that it's not as easy to hit as the flat button at the bottom. If you've gotten used to hitting the physical windows button, seeing the icon leads to a lot of useless tapping.  Personally, I liked the center placement more, but moving it is not a major issue.

Keyboard, Touchpad, and Dock



Docks have always been a sore spot for me. For years, manufacturers treated them as luxury add-ons, with prices ranging from patently absurd (like the original dock for the Atrix 4G) to pricey, but somewhat acceptable ($100-$150 for typical Windows 8 convertible tablets). Given that a dock is typically a keyboard and a USB 3.0 port, the price adder was tough to justify. Thankfully, companies like Asus have realized this -- the Transformer Book's dock is part of the base product and included in the $349 asking price.

The T100's keys are not full sized. The alpha keys are 90% the width of a standard mobile keyboard, but just 74% of the height, which gives them a distinctly rectangular appearance. If you're fat-fingered, and I am, this may throw you off your typing until you adjust to it. While smaller keys are more difficult to type on, the keyboard response is actually excellent, particularly for a mobile device. The degree of key travel is satisfying without feeling mushy or stiff and the travel distance is large enough that you can always tell if you've properly hit a key or not.



The trackpad is small, but well designed. The left and right-click functions are snappy and precise and it offers tap-to-click functionality as well. Equally important is the fact that the trackpad is pretty good at ignoring accidental touches while typing. This simple issue can make using a laptop nearly impossible without a separate mouse, so we're glad to see it dealt with here.

The dock has three primary goals. 1). Balance the weight of the monitor. 2).  Securely attach to the monitor.  3).  Offer additional ports and in some cases, additional battery capacity. Of these three, the Transformer Book T100 nails the first two. The integrated USB 3.0 port is welcome, to be sure, but that's all the expanded capability you get. There's no internal battery and no expandable storage.

Still, at $350, that's enough to get the job done. The housing and case are strong on all points.
 

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Comments

Comments
DanielHansen one year ago

Under the box contents you list the "Nexus 7" as being included. Fairly sure that's not the case :p

Dave_HH one year ago

Corrected... and yes, that's clearly not the case. :-/

Sidney.Boone one year ago

I don’t understand the negative reviews on this fully loaded tablet. Yes, fully loaded! I love the fact it has Windows 8.1, and a full version of Microsoft Office 2013. Yes, Microsoft Office is included. I love the fact that it comes with a click-type keyboard, which also serves as a cover. There is nothing cheap about this tablet. The look and feel of this tablet is expensive. It may not have full HD resolution, but I guarantee you won’t notice the difference. The display is super vivid and sharp. The keyboard is a little smaller, but that is to be expected with a tablet. I think the other reviewers are comparing this to a full size laptop.

This is not a laptop … but has all the features of a laptop in a very compact, portable size. It weighs about 2 pounds with the keyboard/cover. I especially enjoy the large 10.1” display, and ease of use. I use a stylus pen that I purchased for $10 to swipe and tap. It keeps the screen free of finger prints. I never got used to using a touch pad, not even with a laptop, so I connected a mouse using Bluetooth. Now I have all the functionality of a desktop in a tablet. My primary reason for purchasing this tablet is to take my work with me. I am now able to access all my Excel files through SkyDrive, so a large hard drive is no longer an issue.

The 32 GB hard drive on this tablet is more than sufficient. Now let’s talk price. With all its features, I only paid $340. Dell’s Venue comparable tablet with a keyboard is over $700. Microsoft Surface 2 Pro is over $1000 with a keyboard. The Microsoft Surface 2 RT is not a full functional Windows product, so there’s no comparison. The Surface 2 has many limitations, including Office. You cannot run macros with Windows RT. The Asus Transformer Book has the full version of Windows 8.1, so you can run applications like Java. It is the perfect tablet for access to the Internet, Netflix, email, music and games.

You get full functionality of Office, and you can even set this device up with Google Chromecast. Just install the Chrome browser. Buy the TV adapter for $35 and you can wirelessly connect this tablet to your HDTV. I know I must sound like a salesperson for Asus or Google, but I can assure you I am not. I am just so impressed with this product, that I cannot say enough about it. The bottom line: The features are right. The feel of this product is right. And most importantly, the price is right.

I hope it helps.

DanielHansen one year ago

Just finished the review, great stuff! I really loved my RT, but wanted a little better performance, access to some code editors and the ability to play some games. This definitely sounds like the ticket :)

Dave_HH one year ago

At $399 for the 64GB variant with keyboard dock, you really can't go wrong. A 64GB iPad with no dock is $699.

DanielHansen one year ago

I just read a few comments about long charging times and occasional black screens when charging which required a restart. I don't recall anything in the review mentioning how long charging takes or mentioning any other issues other then that one game. Do you have any information on either of those issues?

sakurascorpion 8 months ago

Hi. I have had this tablet since it was released and it is a lifesaver for me. Yes, it takes a while to charge - if you want to charge it up from zero, you have to give it about 6 or 7 hours, so I basically leave it on charge overnight. The maximum unplugged time I have had out of it is about 9 hours without doing anything too crazy on it. However, I think that is more than enough for me.

CDeeter one year ago

Seriously considering this as a Christmas present. A couple questions if I may:

How secure is the connection to the dock?

How much of that 64 GB is usable?

DanielHansen one year ago

I just got mine from the UPS man. The dock connector seems really secure.

36gbs free of 49. You should be able to increase that by removing the recovery partition but I'm just going to utilize the SD slot and usb 3 connector (depending on gaming abilities I'm thinking an SSD that can be packed with it).

Overall way more premium then I was thinking. The back of the display is a little meh, I would have preferred something matte and the keyboard is cramped but overall pretty cool. Way better then my old Surface RT :)

CDeeter one year ago

Thanks!

DanielHansen one year ago

np :) After a day using it I have a little more to say about it. Definitely a great upgrade from my RT and a fantastic tablet, but a few things to be aware of.

1.) As far as i can tell this doesn't have any sort of rotation detection, so if you turn it on its side it stays in landscape mode. Maybe I just haven't found the option.

2.) The battery takes forever to charge. 2.5 hours in and it's halfway full. Thank god it lasts so long.

3.) The keyboard and trackpad are fine, but nothing to write home about. I keep hitting the up arrow instead of the shift, but my typing speed is great. The trackpad is a little hit and miss, but nothing horrid. Just not Apple quality at all.

Overall I'm really happy with my purchase, but this is a $379 tablet (on sale at amazon right now) so some things were skimped on.

Dave_HH one year ago

Hey, thanks for the feedback Daniel! Good stuff. I think you have the rotation lock set or something because it definitely should have screen reorientation. I think it's a great deal for the price actually too.

DanielHansen one year ago

You're totally right. Not sure what I did if anything but it worked fine after I post that. I'm really loving this tablet.

Joel H one year ago

A few follow-ups.

1). The charge time really is terrible - I didn't realize how bad it was when I wrote the review because I plugged it in to charge over night, then worked with it all day, without running short of battery. Having now taken it on a trip, I noticed the problem. This is a major flaw in the system. If you're running the screen at high brightness + using WiFi, it will charge 1-2% an hour. I may amend the review slightly to include this.

2). Rotation detection works perfectly on our sample, and exactly like you'd expect for a W8 device. Yours may be defective or it may be locked on.

3). I never saw a black screen while charging that required a restart. I did once have an odd crash that wouldn't restart until I plugged in the charge cable, but the problem didn't repeat.

Overall, having now taken the TB 100 on a trip, I'm still very happy with its overall performance and options. For $400, it's a great little system.

DanielHansen one year ago

Thanks for the reply Joel. The charging is indeed slow, but not as bad as you're experiencing. Using their charger plugged into the wall I got up about 20% while playing FTL (Faster then light) in about an hour and a half. If it's plugged into a computer or something the usb port or something could be limiting its charging speed. You might check out something like this http://www.thepowerpot.com/solar-power-optimized-practical-meter to see what sort of juice is actually getting to the laptop.

The charging speed hasn't been a huge issue for me so far because its battery last so damn long. I could see if you're on a trip or forgot to charge it that this could be an issue.

Joel H one year ago

Daniel,

All my remarks refer to wall power charging. I haven't even tried charging it off anything else.

DanielHansen one year ago

Fair enough :)

WilliamTQuick one year ago

I've had my T100 for about three weeks now. One thing that really speeded up charging was to do so with the tablet disconnected from the dock and turned off.

I know, kludgy, but it does help. Also, after several updates, the charging in all situations seems to go a bit faster.

MelissaCanavan one year ago

Hey! If I found the keyboard was too cramped, is it possible to attach a different tablet keyboard? I'm not sure how tablets work, I didn't know how the keyboards attached if it was by USB or not. Thanks!

Dave_HH one year ago

[quote user="MelissaCanavan"]

Hey! If I found the keyboard was too cramped, is it possible to attach a different tablet keyboard? I'm not sure how tablets work, I didn't know how the keyboards attached if it was by USB or not. Thanks!

[/quote]

Hi Melissa, unfortunately the keyboard and dock connector are a custom design. However, you can probably find a Bluetooth keyboard to work with it and connect to it wirelessly.

Habanero 11 months ago

I've been using it for a month now and I'm very satisfied with it. Affordable with great specs for my usage. It comes with Microsoft Office which is a great deal.

A few things to note tho...

1. Battery takes a long time to charge. av to leave it overnight to charge fully.

2. When you insert a MicroSD card, it looks like its gonna pop out anytime. It is protruding from the slot even tho it is inserted properly.

3. Trackpad's physical clicker is a bit annoying coz of its extremely loud clicks

4. Display's lux level is a bit low when outdoors.

The 2nd day I used it, I encountered OS issue. The device was unable to boot to desktop. I had to reset to its factory default.

I've been using it since for my work. There's no problem with it running AutoCAD 2013 LT, Photoshop CS5, TrueView 2014, Sketchbook Express.

Heck, I even tried playing Diablo III on its lowest setting and it worked.

I would highly recommend tis baby to others.

Dave_HH 11 months ago

Great feedback, Habanero, thanks!

ZsebiDvid 11 months ago

please give some advice, i want to buy an Asus Transformer T100 and i want to use AutoCAD with it.. does the Transformers specifications compatible with the AutoCAD ??

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