ASUS Transformer Book T100 User Review: A Few Months Later

by Sarah White Reads (159,430)

TG Rating

Rating 1 to 10, top score 10.
Mouse-over ratings box for detailed test results
6.00

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Software & Support
    • 7
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 1
    • Usability
    • 7
    • Design
    • 5
    • Performance
    • 5
    • Features
    • 8
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 9
    • Total Score:
    • 6.00
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

The variety of 10- and 11-inch tablets and notebooks on the market deliver an even wider range of performance, weight, and price among the available devices. On one end, we have the Surface Pro 2 and Lenovo Yoga 11S that, once all said and done, ring in around $900 with keyboard and full Windows 8.1 capabilities. Alternatively, options for a 10- or 11-inch notebook for $500 or less are decidedly underwhelming, with most featuring short battery lives and bulky designs. But the hybrid or “2-in-1″ market seems to be paving its way, introducing budget-friendly, compact, portable, and capable devices.

The Asus Transformer Book T100 became one of the most popular purchases on Black Friday and Cyber Monday of 2013, with the 64GB model priced at an appealing $300 with full Windows 8.1 and the Microsoft Office Suite. So two months later, does the Asus T100 live up to the hype?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASoftware and Operating System

The Asus Transformer Book T100 comes equipped with Windows 8.1 as well as the full Microsoft Office 2013 Suite. Right off the bat, the Transformer Book comes with a $139.99 value worked into its already low price point, which was $300 for the 64GB during the holidays. Now the 64GB model can be found for around $400 and the 32GB version comes in at $350 at Best Buy.

The Asus Transformer Book T100 stands out from other hybrid devices because even at such a low price point, it runs full Windows 8.1. Comparable devices, such as the Microsoft Surface 2 or Lenovo Yoga 11 both run Windows RT and cost $549 and $399 respectively. Not to mention, the Surface 2 doesn’t even come with the keyboard, so add on another $150. Price point aside, it’s also no secret that Windows RT leaves much to be desired, with a lack of compatible apps and functionality, so having Windows 8.1 helps fill in those gaps.

Performance

In terms of performance, the Asus Transformer Book T100 really shines when considering it’s really a tablet with a detachable keyboard dock, and not a traditional notebook. It’s easy to forget it’s a tablet when docked into its keyboard, and the device handles basic productivity software (like Microsoft Office) with ease. Sure, users won’t be playing the latest and greatest games on the Baytrail Atom processor with only 2GB of RAM and integrated graphics, but you can certainly engage in casual gaming, web browsing, media streaming, and word processing with no problems.  The team here at NBR hasn’t experienced any lag that couldn’t be fixed by killing some apps running in the background, and T100 hasn’t crashed yet.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKeyboard and Docking Station

The keyboard dock comes with the device, which sweetens the deal even further. The keyboard dock turns this device into a legitimate notebook, allowing users to use it on their laps. The display has a decent range of motion, and the only con is that it can be a little top heavy when extended all the way back. Otherwise, it gets the job done, and users will quickly acclimate to the smaller keyboard after a little bit of use. Even after a month of use, the tablet clicks in and out of the dock easily, and it hasn’t become loose or shaky.

The trackpad can be a little finicky, but NBR was able to fix this by disabling most of the gestures under the Asus Gesture settings. While gestures may be useful in some cases, in the case of the Transformer Book, it caused the track pad to be less responsive, and most gestures wouldn’t even register correctly. The trackpad comes in handy when using the tablet in desktop mode, since having the keyboard makes it feel like a notebook. And it complements the touch screen, especially when navigating desktop programs or trying to switch between open windows. It would be interesting to see whether or not Asus offers different keyboard docking stations down the line as an additional purchase. Most of the team here at NBR felt it would be nice to have the option to get one with a backlit keyboard.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABuild and Design

The only notable issues with the Asus Transformer Book T100 are related to the tablet’s cheap plastic chassis. Users will notice that the power button is finicky at best, and in NBR’s experience, the power button responds best when pushed on its left side with the tip of a fingernail. And more often than not, it will take a few tries before it responds.

NBR staffers had the misfortune of getting the power button jammed under the plastic casing around it, causing the unit to stay powered down. Upon calling Asus, a rep claimed it was “physical damage,” even though the (widely reported) issue arose from the tablet’s build. It was still under the 1 year warranty, but we were quoted a whopping $99 bucks for parts, labor, and shipping; all for one measly button.

Luckily, during the call, our editors weres able to get the power button to spring back out using the tip of a carefully placed safety pin. Considering the $99 bucks for something so simple, users might want to look into third party warranties to protect against any “physical damage”. If a power button will cost $99, we’d hate to think what anything more detrimental to the device would cost users. It’s an especially hard fee to swallow when considering how cheap the tablet was in the first place. But companies such as Squaretrade will insure the device for around $40 bucks – and they also run discounts pretty regularly – so the one time fee of $40 to cover all accidental damage is already cheaper than the $99 bucks we were quoted to pry a power button from out underneath the casing.

On a separate occasion, when testing out the microSD port on the device, testers got the card stuck inside the port. Users need to cautiously insert the card, ensuring that it loads onto the springs, to avoid this issue. Once again, NBR was lucky enough to get the card out with a steady hand and a pair of tweezers, but it is something to consider when using a microSD card in the Asus. All in all, they weren’t major issues, and both were fixed quickly, but users will want to be cautious with the power button and other ports. The cheap build doesn’t extend to the keyboard docking unit, but Asus certainly made some cuts on the overall chassis of the tablet.

Overall, this reviewer finds she reaches for the Asus T100 over alternatives like a 15-inch notebook or an Apple iPad which are also within arm’s reach. The keyboard and track pad give the T100 the versatility of a notebook with all the portability and features of a tablet. It may just be that it is easier to overlook any cons when the price is right, but with the Asus there really aren’t many concessions. Compared to a Chromebook, the Transformer Book offers even greater portability with far more functionality. Hopefully its popularity will motivate other manufacturers to follow suit with affordable hybrid options. With the Asus Transformer Book T100 it’s easy to get the best of both worlds, switching back and forth from notebook to tablet with ease.


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11 Comments

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  1. ezdealz

    Ok, Here are my experiences. Let me say I also own a Dell XPS12 convertible. I use the T100 almost 95% now. I find it’s abilities & portability to be outstanding. I have purchased several USB dongles (Modem, LAN, Serial port, etc.) to increase it’s flexibility. I am very happy with Windows 8.1 as well. Streaming video (EG: Netflix) is a breeze. Remote connections with servers & other machines work flawlessly. Microsoft Office for free. WOW!! I’ve had no problems with the on/off button (note: you do have to hold it down for a few seconds for it to start.. read the manual). No problems with the Micro SD slot… HOWEVER I do wish the card was less exposed when inserted. This is the king of value as far as I’m concerned. I do use it 85% in laptop mode rather than as a tablet. I do wish they would offer a keyboard with a hard drive (500GB SATA) as an accessory, I would buy it. Now having said this, I do have a few issues. The keyboard USB 3.0 port only recognizes USB 3.0 drives/accessories. If you need USB 2.0 you have to use the micro USB OTG cable to connect. This is annoying!

  2. ezdealz

    Oh, I forgot to mention that the WiDi works well! Funny ,I don’t think I’ve seen reviews mentioning that.

  3. Chum0794

    hello, i just wanna know if i can download autocad in this gadget???

  4. janejermyn

    I bought one recently when in Australia – had it for about one month when it stopped working on my way home – the switchboard had broken and was repaired when I sent it off to the company that ASUS informed me was the company that undertook repairs in the UK. I got the unit back and it seemed okay – turned on and looked fine – I put it away until about 2 weeks later when I brought it with me to Dublin – in a neoprene carry case inside a backpack that only had clothes in it – nothing hard and I carried it with me all the time – when I got to my friends house in Dublin and opened the unit the screen was cracked and the unit was unusable – I had done NOTHING to cause this and now I am being quoted nearly the cost of a new unit to repair it. I cannot afford that – so I am $500 AUD out of pocket for a completely NOT FIT for purpose unit. The only 2 times I brought it outside of the house it broke – so much for mobility! I live by myself and am in my 60’s – no-one else had touched it and the unit was not mistreated at all. DO NOT BUY THIS – completely useless

  5. JediMormon

    I’ve had the T100 for several months now. This is my first tablet. Previously, I’ve had laptops with 17″ screens and regular-sized keyboards, so the T100’s smaller screen and keyboard took some getting used to.

    No computer can be all things to all people, but this one comes close, in my opinion. It’s very portable, quick setup for work and just as quick pack-up when you’re done. And, the screen resolution will quite adequately handle anything you need it to do. In fact, if I’m on a web site whose printing is smaller than I like, a quick fingers together touch in the center of the screen, then outwards on the screen to increase the print size works very well. The print enlarges quite nicely with little noticeable blurring.

    Another feature I like is the Desktop function. For those like me who had/had no desire to learn Windows 8, the desktop feature was a godsend. Now I can putz around like I did on my Windows 7 laptop.

    Something else I really appreciate is the ability to turn off the touch pad on the keyboard. (fn key + f9 key to disable, or enable). Disabling does not affect what you do on the tablet’s screen, it just shuts down the touch pad on the keyboard so that those irritating palm-of-hand brushes on the touch pad don’t send your cursor all over creation on the screen.

    There is only one USB port, so I rectified that by purchasing a 4-port USB hub that I carry in my tablet case where ever I go. One slot on the hub is permanently occupied by a 32GIG USB drive (thus essentially doubling the storage space of my tablet). A second slot on the hub is the home of my mouse’s blue tooth receiver. Occasionally, I also have need to transfer things I have scanned with my VuPoint portable scanner that I also carry every where, so a USB cord occupies a third port in the hub when I’m doing that.

    I’ve read numerous complaints about the power button, and it plagued me for a time also. However, I’ve discovered (quite by accident) that instead of a quick press of the button, keeping it pressed (firmly, but not overly so) for about 2-3 seconds before releasing it will guarantee a start up 99% of the time. Also, I’ve set the power to shut down when the lid closes, or after a certain period of time when the computer is on battery power. Since making those adjustments, I’ve had no problem powering up. Once in awhile, I have to wait about 5-10 seconds before I notice any activity on the screen (don’t know why), but the tablet always powers up.

    Another complaint I’ve read concerns loss of power (when not plugged in) when the tablet is supposedly shut down. That was a problem for me also until I adjusted the screen settings to shut down on lid closure or after a certain period of time (determined by me) had lapsed (I used to set the computer to “sleep” on lid closure or after a predetermined amount of time). Before I made those two adjustments in the settings, sometimes, the sleep setting wouldn’t always stay asleep. I’d close the lid at night, then gently lift it a hair or two in the morning, to find that the screen was on and the battery was almost drained. Complete shut down on lid closure or when a certain amount of time has passed (pre-determined by me in the settings) seems to be the only solution that works. Thus far, I’ve had no issues since using those two settings.

    Despite the minor initial problems, this machine has convinced me. And now, I’m a T100 fan and user for life.

  6. meziggy

    I, too, LOVE my Asus T100. I have bought various attachment and dongles to add a 20″ monitor and have also bought an EasyCap to capture video from my VHS tapes to transfer them to SD cards. I also bought HDMI cable and connector to connect the 10″ Asus screen to my big screen TV for even grander use. THE ONLY PROBLEM I am having besides the difficulty with the on/off switch is a MAJOR one. I bought this unit in June 2014 and occasionally when I go to turn on my Asus the lead Asus screen gets all funky and has this scrambled lines on it and then it does not properly boot. I don’t know if this is a hardware issue or a Windows software issue. The screen gets all jumbled and unresponsive to both mouse input (via USB mouse) and touchpad and touch. I try to ctl+alt+delete to shut it down. no use. I try to swipe and shut down won’t shut it down. I push in the DREADED ON/OFF button and hold it a LONGGGGG time and still won’t shut down. I don’t mind shutting it down and rebooting but it is TOTALLY UNRESPONSIVE. Even to the shutoff key. Has anyone else experienced this and if so how if at all have you remedied it. I did take out insurance for breakage etc and am considering returning it for refund but I really do love this T100 except when it won’t boot up!!!. Thanks in advance, meziggy@juno.com

  7. nbrbret

    To the author: Why did you give this a 1 for upgrade potential and yet you gave an ipad an 8? It seems that you can upgrade this easily with thumb drives, sd cards etc yet there are zero upgrades for an ipad. What am I missing?

  8. SllimA

    T100TA is a interesting unit. The issue here is the docking method. It sketches the screen borders. I am more concern about the quality. I bought 3 units last week and sent 2 back for touch pad alignment. On receiving, the unit cannot be started and had to stick my charger in at the service counter. One could be restarted and we can see that the battery charge status at 70%. The 2nd unit can restart. They advice me to resubmit for repair. All these happened within 5 days of buying. Today the 11 days of buying the 2 units they are still under repair. I just called the service center and they told me that one is ready but the other had to wait for a few weeks for spare parts. This is unacceptable. of the 11 days, two units are repair status for 6 days. Asus Singapore Service Center referance are 130201, 130202, 130449 and 130450. I wonder what is happening to Asus quality.

  9. SllimA

    This is a follow up comment to my earlier post. Asus has repaired 2 of the three units. Both of them are so far working fine. However, one touch pad that they repaired are still popping up and I had to press it down once a while. Their technician just says nothing wrong when I showed it to him and pressed it down. That I guess is Asus standard. The last unit is still under repair and they will not change the unit because they are waiting for parts. A 13 days old new computer that is under repair for 8 days. I suggest that those thinking of T100 should find another brand.

  10. eatmud72

    OK first time on a forum, i bought a T100 about 8 months ago for my daughter’s school work. To date it has been back for a new mother board, a new screen and now the thing won’t even turn on. She has lost all assignments and projects. This is the biggest piece of junk we have ever owned. Should have bought a Mac…