I was fortunate enough to have been invited to attend the launch of several ASUS products, my favorite of which was the ASUS Transformer Book T100. Why? If you guys are familiar with ASUS’ Transformer series, they are a lineup of Android tablets that come with keyboard docks that let them transform into portable productivity machines. The only thing lacking about them? They ran Android.
While Android and iOS have matured over the years into very capable platforms for smart devices like tablets and smartphones, they aren’t the go-to platform if you want to get things done. That honor belongs to Windows. However, up until now, the only devices that were affordable enough to fall within the Php20k+ range and still run Windows were entry level laptops. Enter the all new ASUS Transformer Book T100, a proper 10.1 inch tablet that docks into a proper keyboard for full productivity mode.
So what’s so hot about it? It features a nice-looking 10.1 inch HD IPS screen, runs the full version of Windows 8.1, can transform into a laptop of sorts when docked, and has insanely long battery life. The best part? It priced at Php23,999k — and that’s WITH the keyboard dock. Insane! Of course, something’s got to be compromised, right? That was what I set to find out during the brief time I was able to get my hands on the ASUS Transformer Book T100.
Build Quality and Design
While I’m excited that ASUS has come out with a Windows-based Transformer tablet at a price that’s within reach of my budget, I wasn’t too enthused at the materials used to construct it. While the Android-based Transformer tablets often featured premium materials and finishes, the Transformer Book T100 is a glossy plastic affair. The entire backside of the thing is a fingerprint magnet, and the weird thing is that because the keyboard dock mimics a brushed metal finish, there’s a mismatch of finishes between the two when put together. Thankfully the construction is quite solid and the keyboard dock’s hinge is satisfyingly stiff. To be fair, it does look good when it’s fingerprint-free, but that’s not likely to be very often.
Like most Windows tablets, there aren’t many ports. There’s a micro USB charging port, micro SDXC slot, a 3.5mm audio jack and that’s it. The keyboard dock has only one full-sized USB port. Hardware buttons are few, but it’s not like you need that many on a touchscreen device. There’s the volume rocker and power/lock button, as well as a lock/release button on the keyboard dock itself to free it from the tablet.
The ASUS Transformer Book T100’s display is easily one of my favorite parts about this tablet aside from its keyboard dock accessory. It’s a 10.1 inch HD IPS panel with a resolution of 1366 x 768. That gives it a pixel density of 155pi, which might not seem all that high to those who are used to seeing 200+ppi on mobile phones, but then, a 10.1 inch screen is meant to be held much further away from the eyes.
As far as image quality goes, the IPS panel that the Transformer Book T100 uses is quite decent. It’s not the best I’ve seen, but at this price point, you would expect a lower end MVA or TN screen. It does tend to be a bit reflective though because the glass on top of the display substrate is rather thick, but that’s just me nitpicking. The resolution, color reproduction and overall image quality should be good enough for basic productivity and the occasional movie marathon. To be frank, it’s quite surprising that ASUS was able to bundle a display of this quality on a budget device while still including that dock.
The all new quad core Bay Trail Z3740 processor that the ASUS Transformer Book T100 is equipped with is supposed to be twice as fast as the previous generation Clover Trail, and the graphics are supposed to be better too. It’s clocked at 1.33GHz but boosts to 1.86GHz whenever the system needs it. Navigating through Windows was very smooth and responsive, although I suspect it will start to get bogged down when you start using it for real work.
Battery life is quite impressive. There was a time when battery life on notebooks could only be measured in the 2-5 hour range. These days, battery life has become much better, and the Transformer Book T100 is a great example of this with up to 11 hours of browsing on just the battery, at least on paper. Unfortunately I only had a limited of time with it to really put it to the test.
The 2GB RAM on it leaves a lot to be desired though, and unfortunately, it’s non-upgradeable, so you’re stuck with a non multitasking-friendly tablet. Still, it should be capable enough to handle your Microsoft Office applications and a bit of editing in Adobe Photoshop. And you’ll be happy to know that the Transformer Book T100 comes pre-installed with Microsoft Office Home and Student, which in itself is a Php4k value.
Whereas previous Transformer tablets from ASUS ran Android, the Transformer Book T100 is a true productivity machine running Windows 8.1. It may not be the fastest machine out there, but it’s still quite capable and can run all your Windows applications, even legacy apps! The keyboard is on the smallish side though, so people like me with long fingers won’t find it as comfortable, but for everyone else, it will work just fine.
And the game changing part isn’t that the Transformer Book T100 is a transformable Windows 8.1 tablet, it’s that it’s a transformable Windows 8.1 tablet that only costs Php23,999! For that price, you’re getting a versatile productivity machine that you can take anywhere, not to mention Php9k worth of freebies in the form of Microsoft Office Home and Student and 1 year of free unlimited ASUS Web Storage. Eat that, iPad!
ASUS Transformer Book T100 Specs
- 1.33GHz (boosts to 1.86GHz) Intel Atom Bay Trail-T Z3740 quad core processor
- 10.1″ HD IPS display (1366 x 768, 155ppi)
- Windows 8.1
- 2GB RAM
- 64GB internal storage, expandable via micro SDXC
- HDMI, USB 3.0, Micro USB Ports
- 11 hour quoted battery life
- Comes Pre-installed with Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013
- 1 year unlimited ASUS Web Storage
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