The Asus Transformer Book T100 just looks like a netbook. Under the hood, a drastically enhanced Atom processor runs rings around its predecessor and provides plenty of power for real everyday productivity. Detach the display and you have a great 10-inch Windows 8 tablet that sells for a fraction of the price of the Microsoft Surface Pro 2.
The Atom gets serious. Built around the latest quad-core Bay Trail Intel Atom processor, the Asus Transformer Book T100 is "powerful enough to handle just about any productivity task," Laptop Magazine reports, and other reviewers unanimously concur. Some, like ComputerShopper.com -- which bestows an Editors' Choice award on the device -- go so far as to say that it "makes Windows 8.1 feel snappy." With its limited-power integrated graphics, high-end gaming won't be in the cards, but casual games of the type found in the Windows App Store will run perfectly fine and watching videos won't raise a sweat.
Two versions are available. The cheaper Asus Transformer Book T100TA-B1-GR (Est. $340) has just 32 GB of flash storage, and things can get tight once Windows 8 and Microsoft Office Home and Student edition (included free) are installed. Even though there's a microSD card reader, most reviewers recommend opting for the Asus Transformer Book T100TA-C1-GR (Est. $400) instead, which has 64 GB of storage. Both Asus Windows tablets include 2 GB of RAM.
Tight spaces. While the Asus Transformer Book T100 is powerful enough to be an everyday computer, ergonomic concerns mean it's not the best choice for one. The netbook form factor keeps the keyboard small and cramped, and the touchpad gets roundly booed for being unresponsive.
There are no such complaints regarding the touch-screen display, even though it supports only five-point touch. It is low-resolution (1,366 by 768 pixels) by current Apple and Android tablet standards, yet most reviewers don't seem to mind. "Because of the Transformer Book T100TA's price and other features, the lower resolution is forgivable," says PCMag.com, adding that only those with "eagle's eyes" will miss the missing pixels. The docking hinge works surely and securely, most experts say, but some users find challenges or shortfalls with it. Once the display is detached, it looks and acts just like any other 10-inch Windows tablet, most agree. Although it's light for the size, holding this Windows 8 tablet too long can get a little tiring, and one-handed operation isn't really practical.
Looks are in line with the price. Considering the price tag, that's not really great news. Lots and lots of black and gray plastic, all of it prone to fingerprints and smudges, reviews say. Laptop Magazine sums up the consensus when it says, "The Transformer Book T100 has a design that's functional, but not particularly attractive."
Good, and getting better. Asus still faces challenges when it comes to providing the best technical support, but that doesn't keep it from earning a Reader's Choice award from PCMag.com. Its tech support rating there is still poor, but markedly better than what the company had received in the past. That's also reflected at Laptop Magazine, whose editors note, "The company has made some recent improvements that point in the right direction." Customer ratings are mediocre. Most are very happy with the Asus T100, but a significant minority runs into issues, though not all speak to problems with the tablet itself. At one user review site, an Asus rep responds to negative posts with suggestions and contact information for additional help.
Nearly unbeatable. That's what most reviewers say. Despite obvious flaws, especially when used as a laptop, the Asus T100 simply floors experts with its value proposition. It sells for less than the Microsoft Surface 2 (Est. $450 and up) , which runs the limited Windows RT operating system rather than the full version of Windows, as is the case with this Windows 8 tablet hybrid. So great is this tablet's value that it virtually sold out during the 2013 holidays; although stock has again started reaching stores, back orders and sold out situations remained common at the time this report was written. Don't scrimp further, however, most say. Opt for the pricier Asus Transformer Book T100TA-C1-GR and its more generous built-in memory.
The 64 GB Asus Transformer Book T100TA-C1-GR earns an Editors' Choice award among entry-level hybrid tablets. "It's the first hybrid tablet we've seen that can ignore the limitations of mobile OS-powered tablets, for the same or better price," Joel Santo Domingo says.
Review: Asus Transformer Book T100TA (64GB), Joel Santo Domingo, Nov. 6, 2013
2. Computer Shopper
ComputerShopper.com also grants the Asus Transformer Book T100 an Editors' Choice award. Eric Grevstad calls it a "game changer," and adds: "It's a strong performer, a strong value, and one of the nicest detachable designs we've seen yet -- even though we're subtracting half a star from our rating for the balky touch pad."
Review: Asus Transformer Book T100T Review and Ratings, Eric Grevstad, Oct. 22, 2013
3. Laptop Magazine
The Asus Transformer Book T100 earns 4 stars out of 5 here. Although it's not perfect, the T100 is called "one of the better bargains in tech today."
Review: Asus Transformer Book T100 Review, Avram Piltch, Oct. 18, 2013
4. PC World
The keyboard and trackpad are downers, but Michelle Mastin says, "The Transformer Book T100 delivers a solid tablet experience and a good notebook experience in one machine." It gets a rating of 4 stars out of 5.
Review: Transformer Book T100 Review: This Hybrid Fills Both its Tablet and Notebook Roles Well, Michelle Mastin, Nov 5, 2013
Scott Stein says its netbook ergonomics make the Asus Transformer T100 a device that you might not love. He adds, however, "for sheer bang for the buck, it's hard to beat."
Review: Asus Transformer Book T100 Review: Long Live the New Netbook, Scott Stein, Nov. 22, 2013
Nearly 700 owners post reviews of the Asus Transformer Book T100TA-C1-GR here. The score is just 3.9 stars out of 5, although happy users are clearly a majority. Among negative reviews, some issues with build quality and technical support are noted. Others are with vendors or with challenges using Windows 8.
Review: Asus Transformer Book T100TA-C1-GR 10.1-Inch Detachable 2-in-1 Touchscreen Laptop, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2014
BestBuy.com hosts more than 330 reviews for the 32 GB version of the Asus Transformer Book T100 (T100TA-B1-GR). The rating is slightly higher than at Amazon.com, and 82 percent say they would recommend this hybrid Windows tablet to a friend. An Asus representative reaches out to some dissatisfied users to offer suggestions and/or a contact for further assistance.
Review: Asus - Transformer T100 - 32GB - Gray, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of January 2014