Before we break into the synthetic benchmarks that measure the performance of the Transformer Pad TF103C, it’s important that our readers understand why this product likely won’t work for many people who need a laptop. The problem is that Android simply doesn’t make sense when used as an operating system for laptops.
Let us be clear: Android works extremely well for smartphones and tablets. In fact, many of our editors prefer Android smartphones and tablets over iPhones and iPads. The problem is that Android wasn’t made with traditional clamshell laptops in mind.
Why doesn’t Android work for laptops? Because laptops require an interface that intuitively works with a keyboard and touchpad or mouse and provides simple and immediate multi-window multitasking.
Android doesn’t natively support multiple windows or split-screen viewing of any kind. Some manufacturers like Samsung have added a custom skin to Android that allows for “some” of that functionality, but Android simply wasn’t built for running multiple apps on screen at the same time. To make matters worse, the majority of Android apps aren’t optimized for large screens with high resolutions. So a tablet with a 10-inch FHD screen looks great for viewing photos or streaming Netflix, but most productivity apps — even the Facebook app — look terrible. The problem gets even more obvious as you move up to Android notebooks with 14-inch screens.
Despite the fact that Android was built from scratch as an operating system for small touchscreen devices, there seems to be no stopping manufacturers from releasing Android notebooks. At least Asus was smart enough to keep a detachable tablet as part of the design of the Transformer Pad TF103C. We really can’t understand products like the HP SlateBook 14, which is an Android-based laptop that cannot fold or detach into a tablet.
This inherent limitation is something that potential buyers need to keep in mind when they consider the “performance” of the TF103C. No matter how impressive the synthetic benchmarks are, this product simply works better as a tablet than a laptop.
The full specifications for the Asus Transformer Pad TF103C are as follows:
- Operating System: Android 4.4 KitKat
- Display: 10.1″ LED WXGA (1280×800) IPS panel with 10 finger multi-touch support
- CPU: Intel Atom Z3745 (Bay Trail) quad-core processor (1.33 GHz or up to 1.86 GHz boost)
- Memory: 1 GB
- Storage: 16 GB eMMC with 5 GB of ASUS Webstorage Space for life and an additional 11 GB free for the first year
- Wireless: WLAN802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, Miracast
- Camera: 0.3 MP front camera, 2 MP rear camera
- Audio: Stereo speakers
- Battery: 19 Wh Li-Polymer battery (estimated 9.5 hours of continuous use)
- Navigation: GPS, GLONASS, E-compass sensor
- Dimensions: 10.1 x 7.0 x 0.4 inches
- Weight: 1.2 lbs
- MSRP: $299
As with our sister site, TabletPCReview.com, we don’t run an overabundance of synthetic benchmarks on Android devices. Most people using Android devices are check email, browse websites, update Facebook, and stream videos in between rounds of playing the latest version of “Angry Birds.” If that describes your typical use of an Android device, then you can rest assured the Asus Transformber Pad TF103C will work pretty well.
If you’re looking for synthetic benchmarks to see how the TF103C stacks up to other Android tablet, you’ll be happy to know we used Geekbench 3 to measures multi-core performance. The TF103C delivered a score of 2,376. That’s better than most Android tablets from the first half of 2014, which frequently scored less than 2,000.
The Transformer Pad TF103C managed to stay pretty cool under pressure thanks to a well thought out thermal design. The external temperature of the tablet never exceeded 91 degrees Fahrenheit after streaming a 90-minute movie on Netflix at full screen resolution. Of course, because there’s no processor or graphics hardware to heat up in the keyboard dock, the average temperature of the keyboard was usually between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit … meaning this laptop is more comfortable on your lap when streaming video than most budget laptops with processors that heat up the underside of the keyboard (and your lap).
If you’re looking for “all-day” battery life for maximum productivity then the TF103C may disappoint you. After multiple test cycles the lithium-polymer battery packed behind the screen delivered only about 7 hours of run time consisting of continuous web browsing (a mixture of streaming video and viewing pages with just text) with the screen turned down to half brightness. You can certainly extend the battery life by turning the screen brightness down even more and letting the TF103C go into sleep mode, but you’ll get even less batter life if you play games at full screen resolution or constantly stream videos.
The bottom line in terms of battery life is that this is pretty good for an Android tablet but not all that impressive for a Windows laptop.