- Tablet has nice build
- Solid battery life
- Windows 10 is great (but Asus’s preloaded software is not)
- Performance lags occasionally
- Below average display
- Keyboard can be frustrating to type on
As a tablet hybrid, the Asus Transformer Book T100HA is a decent option. But if being able to switch from tablet to laptop on the fly isn’t your top priority, look elsewhere.
Notebooks will always have a major advantage over tablets: the keyboard. For all of it does to compromise portability, it offers a method of input that can never be matched by on-screen, virtual keyboards, and that’s exactly the appeal that Asus (and some other companies, for that matter) is banking on with the latest version of its Transformer Book T100HA.
On paper, 2-in-1s are the best of both worlds: a tablet when you want it, a laptop when you need it. In practice, things are slightly more nuanced. So let’s take a look at how well Asus executes on the concept and whether or not the end result is worth your hard-earned cash.
Build & Design
The very first thing I noticed upon picking up the Transformer Book is how solidly built it is. Despite how small its footprint is – its dimensions are 10.43 x 6.89 x 1.06 inches when attached to the keyboard dock and closed – it’s surprisingly dense, weighing in at 2.29 pounds when docked. But it provides more of a quality feel than anything else; it’s not so heavy that you’re about to get tired lugging this thing around.
Speaking of quality, the metal back panel on the tablet portion of the device is a somewhat unique touch and adds to that premium feel. In terms of the layout, the power/standby switch is located on the top edge, with volume rocker and a USB 3.1 Type C port on the left edge. The latter is a welcome inclusion, given the benefits of the technology (faster charging, reversible plugs, etc.) and its gradually increasing prevalence.
As for the rest of the ports, the right edge of the device plays host to a micro SD/SDXC card slot, a microHDMI port, a (standard) microUSB port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The machine’s 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and 2-megapixel front-facing camera are in the usual locations, placed at the top center of the back and front, respectively. The bottom edge of the device is reserved for the docking port, supplemented by two additional slots; the dock’s hinge features two metal tabs on either side of the actual docking plug that are inserted into the tablet’s slots, which are magnetized, for added stability.
As for the dock itself, it provides a touchpad, a full QWERTY keyboard, and a full-sized USB port on the right side. Four rubber nubs can be found on its underside for added grip when using the Transformer Book on a surface other than your lap.
The dock is mostly well designed, with a tight hinge and a keyboard that doesn’t have much give towards the center. Actually typing on it is a bit of a challenge, but we’ll elaborate on that later. The only noticeable flaw here is that, despite how strongly the dock latches onto the tablet thanks to the magnets – it can actually be somewhat difficult to remove at times – there is the slightest gap that’s left between the tablet and the dock, and that allows the former to wiggle a bit even when it’s properly attached.
The Transformer Book’s display is serviceable, but it certainly won’t impress. The 10.1-inch display’s resolution is a modest 1280 x 800, so you can forget about Retina-quality or even true HD picture. This is evident given the somewhat easily noticeable lack of sharpness, and there’s enough graininess that it doesn’t take much effort to spot individual pixels. Also, colors don’t really pop off the screen, given that they look a little flat and washed out. I’d say the display’s brightness is easily its strongest asset, but that’s probably because I always kept it on the highest setting.
One other quick note: the display’s bezel seems unnecessarily thick. There’s a ton of wasted space around the edge of the edges of the screen due to the nearly one inch bezel that surrounds it. For a device as compact as the Transformer Book, it would be in Asus’s best interests to use space a little more efficiently.