There are two different ways to look at the Asus Transformer Pad TF103C. You can see this device as an Android tablet that comes with a detachable keyboard or you can see it as an Android notebook with a detachable tablet. The TF103C works very well as the former, but it falls short as the latter.
The problem isn’t the design (which is largely identical to the ASUS Transformer Book T100 that we loved so much). This design worked extremely well when Asus loaded it with Windows 8.1 and a free copy of Microsoft Office. The problem is that Android isn’t the catch-all operating system for everything just because Google or consumer electronics manufacturers want it to be. There is wisdom in the old phrase “A Jack of all trades is a master of none.”
The TF103C is a very good Android tablet and the included keyboard and touchpad come in handy when you want to type up a long email or work assignment. The full-size USB port built into the keyboard is also handy for importing files to your Android tablet.
However, we hesitate to recommend the TF103C to anyone looking for a cheap laptop because many people who want a laptop expect to multitask with multiple apps open on screen at the same time. I wrote this review on an Asus Windows-based laptop with both Microsoft Word, notepad and Firefox open on the screen at the same time while I switched back and forth between applications and multiple browser tabs. There’s no way I could have done the same thing with the TF103C.
If you only plan to do one thing at a time for as long as you own the device, the Asus Transformer Pad TF103C works great and delivers a solid value. In fact, it’s a great choice for those shoppers.
If you ever want to do multiple things on the screen at the same time, then you really need to be looking at a laptop running Windows, OS X, or a Linux distro designed for PCs. Heck, even a Chromebook running Google’s Chrome OS is better at multitasking than Android.
- Runs Android 4.4 KitKat with the latest apps
- Good touch screen
- Excellent audio quality for a small device
- Good performance for a $299 tablet
- Android is terrible for laptops (no real multitasking)
- Meager 1280×800 screen resolution
- Cramped keyboard
- Bad performance for a $299 laptop