For some years now, thanks also to the significant increase in the power of mobile devices, many activities can be carried out by mobile phone or tablet instead of the usual notebooks. The major hardware manufacturers have not stood by and have launched hybrid hardware on the market, which are born as tablets but with accessories of various kinds can become valid substitutes for classic laptops.
L'ASUS Transformer Book T100 it belongs to this category and the Taiwanese manufacturer has decided to attack the market with a good level hardware, a pre-installed quality software kit and a super competitive price.
The beating heart of Transformer Book T100 it is a processor from the latest Atom series, Intel's z3740. It is a four-core CPU with 1.3 GigaHertz frequencies, flanked by two GB of RAM and 32GB of eMMC memory. Aesthetically, the tablet both alone and connected to the keyboard turns out to be far too plastic, without particular care for the finishes, even if the joint hinge between the device and the keyboard is solid and does not allow play, ensuring an effective and safe seal.
The 10.1-inch IPS HD monitor has 1366×768 native resolution with five-point multitouch support. The visual performance is good especially as regards contrast, even if the colors are slightly washed out and the brightness is not always sufficient. The dimensions are very small: 26.3 cm in length, 17.1 cm in height and 2.36 cm in thickness with the keyboard connected, making it extremely comfortable to carry around. Also as regards the weight, the T100 amazes: its 550 grams, 1.07 kg in notebook mode, will certainly not make you regret much heavier laptops.
The keyboard becomes necessary if you want to work quickly with text documents or spreadsheets, otherwise almost half of the screen will be occupied by the screen keyboard, making the work area too narrow. The use of the physical keyboard makes the ten inches of the monitor more than enough for business use: the keyboard is functional and although very compact with a little training it is possible to write quickly.
Sometimes it may happen to press a few buttons too much but ergonomics is not all bad. The touchpad at the bottom does its job well and in any case the availability of a USB port allows the connection of an external mouse for those who do not appreciate it. If desired, it can be deactivated with a keyboard combination to avoid accidental pressure.
The connectivity sector is good: we have an antenna for the 801.22 b / g / n wireless signal, Bluetooth 4.0, a Micro SD card reader, a microphone input and a headphone output, a Micro-USB port , a micro HDMI for connection to an external monitor and finally a USB 3.0 socket.
Inside we find a new generation Intel Atom processor that allows you to have excellent performance with reduced consumption. In normal daily use as a replacement for a notebook, there are no major difficulties; in fact, we must consider that the 2 GB of RAM, unfortunately not expandable given the nature of the tablet, do not allow exaggerated multitasking even if Word, Excel, Internet Explorer and a music player in the background are well tolerated without slowing down.
Even if it is a tablet, the Transformer Book T100 manages to be fairly good in relation to computers and laptops. Running the internal performance benchmark, the evaluation of the internal hardware of Windows was not bad, with processor values (6.3), hard disk (6.2) and RAM memory (5.5) of all respect. Where the tablet suffers is certainly in the graphics, in particular the three-dimensional one (4.1), while it does a little better on the 2D front (4.3). Respectful results however, which confirm the goodness of the performances found during the practical use of the T100.
A negative note is the available disk space: in our sample, apart from a few pre-installed ASUS standard programs, it does not go beyond 7 GB out of 32 total. This aspect is very penalizing: the positive aspect of having as operating system Windows 8.1 and not RT or Android versions, should allow the installation of all the PC software that we want.
The free space thus obliges to make a very rigid selection of the indispensable. It is possible to remedy by connecting an external disk or a MicroSD but it is certainly a solution that punches with the concept of portability and does not guarantee the same performance as the system RAM.
Preloaded we find the whole Office 2013 package, which is to be considered an excellent surplus considering the cost of the software license to continue working with documents started at home or in the office, even if you have to equip yourself with tethering via mobile phone or Wi-Fi hotspot , since unfortunately there is no 3G / 4G module.
From a playful point of view, the hardware is good but not stratospheric, given that for obvious space constraints it cannot mount graphic accelerators of some kind. However, you can have fun with two-dimensional titles, emulators like MAME (Metal Slug is spectacular) or go retrogaming through DosBox and similar, with more than discrete results even in the response times of the commands.
It is also possible to use more recent games, such as The Sims 3 or Portal 2, obviously going down to heavy compromises both in terms of resolution, practically never higher than 800×600 pixels, and in terms of graphic detail. From the Intel integrated video card obviously you cannot expect miracles, but by carefully choosing genre and settings you can use the T100 to play even outside the home.
The list price is 350 euros, already very inviting in itself considering that it is the cost of the tablet and keyboard which, miracle, is not considered an optional. At the moment, however, it is possible to find several online offers even at prices below 300 euros. A 64 GB version of internal memory is also available for just over € 400, which buffers the real problem of this tablet: the data storage space.
Despite everything, it is an excellent product that offers more than fair performances at a very competitive price. Performance that could pique the interest of those who are considering replacing an old laptop and, having no particular hardware needs, could seriously consider theASUS Transformer Book T100 as successor.