The Transformer E-book T100 may sound like it’s in coaching to be the next Terminator, however its targets are way more modest. This excellent 10in tab-and-keyboard combo merely desires to make you extra productive by working Microsoft Workplace everywhere, all day.
However that’s not all it could do – thanks fo full-fats Windows 8.1 this can be a actual all-rounder, able to going past Home windows Store apps to run just about any Windows-compatible program you will discover.
At £350 together with the keyboard dock, that makes it seriously tempting – the Surface 2 RT may look prettier, but it surely prices £10, and not using a keyboard cowl, and is restricted to the Home windows Store.
On paper it’s a slam dunk, however in actuality is that this the Surface-slaying, laptop-and-tablet-changing dream system that it appears? Truly, sure, it just about is.
I NEED A HERO (HYBRID)
If anybody can build the ultimate tablet-laptop hybrid, it’s acquired to be Asus. And the T100 is nearly as shut because it will get.
A sturdy duo that’s not too high-heavy on laps, the Transformer Ebook follows Asus’ tried-and-examined system fairly intently. In contrast to rivals, which steadiness tablets on docks or present flimsy keyboard covers, the T100’s construct is tidy, stable and fast to dock or undock.
The T100 slots proper into its dock accent with a satisfying click on, and now that Asus has changed the outdated slider (which might get caught) with an enormous button, swapping between modes is fuss-free. When docked the T100’s display screen doesn’t tilt again fairly as a lot as we’d like, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a greater set-up than the Surface 2’s awkward two-angled kickstand.
That is hands-down one of the best typing expertise on a tablet this size. Though the keyboard is inevitably extra cramped than an everyday laptop (to match the 10.1in display’s size), the keys themselves have good depth and quick typers will fly. The plastic keyboard dock (there’s a comfortable contact panel on the underside) means it’s simple to relaxation your arms when typing, too – not like the generally slippier Transformer Infinity.
The trackpad is responsive however as with virtually each other Transformer tab it’s a contact erratic, sometimes shifting both too rapidly or with a small delay. Because of the complete-sized USB 3.0 port, adding a mouse is an possibility when a flat floor is offered. It’s situated on the left edge making for a barely messy set-up that might annoy proper-handed mouse-wielders however having the choice is a little bit of a luxury all the identical.
Now we have solely a few niggling isses with the T100’s design. Using plastic doesn’t imply it’s gentle – it’s pushing the scales at 550g for the tab and a smidge over 1kg for the pair. In comparison with the lighter, extra premium iPad Air, say, you’ll really feel the load of the duo in your bag. Nonetheless, it’s lighter than a laptop computer and the keyboard dock will be left at residence some days.
It’s additionally the ugly duckling of the Asus line-up – the shiny plastic end of the tablet itself doesn’t look or really feel as lovely as the aluminium Android Asus choices corresponding to 2013’s attractive Transformer Pad. However this isn’t an announcement pill like an iPad, and it doesn’t should be – it’s a pill that will get issues executed.
The big draw right here, as we talked about, is full Microsoft Workplace – you may entry Phrase, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook (new to 8.1) from the Begin display then work on them in desktop mode. There aren’t any compromises in performance and once you’re related to Wi-Fi, a swipe from the best hand facet brings up the fast entry Share menu to e mail or save docs to the Cloud. It’s an on-the-go work set-up we might get used to.
As with different Windows 8.1 machines, the Asus also can run two packages or apps facet by aspect, which is significantly helpful for glancing at e-mail directions as you’re employed in Workplace and a coup over iPads and most Android tabs. View and edit full web sites, not cellular websites, create work within the full variations of Adobe software program and browse and add photographs to any web site – iPads and Android tablets simply aren’t there but.
Asus hasn’t slathered too many pre-put in apps on prime of Home windows 8.1 other than the likes of Dwell Replace and the pretty ineffective Studying Mode. You’ll wish to try Asus’ WebStorage although – it doesn’t do something that Dropbox or Microsoft’s personal SkyDrive don’t do, however it does include a mega 1TB of free cloud storage for one yr. It’s an important bonus freebie with what’s already a cut price.
So it talks the Win eight speak however how succesful is the T100 as an advert-hoc laptop computer alternative?
Whether or not it’s flitting between webpages or working the complete model of PhotoShop CS6, the whole lot works superbly due to a brand new and improved 1.33GHz Intel Atom ‘Baytrail’ processor. With twin band 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi, searching and downloads are good and nippy with a formidable SunSpider 1.0.2 benchmark rating of 410.3ms to match (the iPad Air solely simply pips it).
Once we examined 2013’s batch of Atom gadgets (such because the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2), there was room for enchancment on efficiency, however getting giddy over working Artistic Suite on a tablet distracted us. Now every part is quicker and slicker – the keys and trackpad aren’t ideally suited for using these kinds of inventive applications for lengthy stretches however you rapidly get used to the set-up.
Beasts such because the Surface Pro 2 and Razer Edge Pro – each fairly a bit costlier than this T100 – are capable of play Steam video games at decent settings, however aside from a couple of easygoing indie video games we wouldn’t recommend making an attempt to tax the Transformer E book an excessive amount of. Serious avid gamers ought to look elsewhere however the Home windows Retailer does have titles equivalent to Halo: Spartan Assault for everybody else to move the time till they get again to their Xbox or PS4 for that correct gaming fix.
A GREAT SCREEN FOR THE MONEY (AND RESOLUTION)
All the things from motion pictures to the online seems to be nice on the T100’s 10.1in 1366×768 screen. Colors pop, hues are correct and whites look white – although if we’re being choosy we’d have appreciated them a bit of purer. Viewing angles are nice however the brightness may have achieved with just a few extra notches on the slider.
When constructing a catch-all laptop computer replacement it’s greatest to keep issues futureproof, and though the T100’s display screen is sensible for the worth, we all know Asus can do higher. You may get Full HD on a Home windows tab, albeit, an RT one (the £400 Nokia Lumia 2520) or pay extra for the Microsoft Surface Pro 2. Given the T100’s value, efficiency and battery life, although, the 720p decision is a really cheap compromise.
THIS IS A BATTERY
Asus Transformer tablets are inclined to rock insane weekend-lengthy battery lives as a duo – not so right here. The T100’s keyboard dock doesn’t truly supply any further juice so that you’ll solely use it for typing and the USB port.
Likelihood is you gained’t want the highest-up anyway. This can be a actual all-day tab, commonly lasting over ten hours of slate-primarily based work and play, typically into the second day of use and barely sipping proportion factors on standby – partly all the way down to Intel’s Baytrail tweaks.
Only one niggle, it’s one to depart on the bedside tech cupboard in a single day: the Transformer Ebook takes ages to revive from a useless battery (between half an hour to an hour, worryingly) and charging to full through microUSB isn’t too snappy both.
So long as hardcore gaming on the go isn’t on the agenda, the Transformer E-book T100 is probably the most inexpensive solution to get a slice of Windows 8.1 and Office whereas retaining the portability of a 10in tablet.
If you happen to’re extra bothered by worth and portability than the removable display, a Chromebook might be value a look. And positive, 8in 8.1 tabs such because the Toshiba Encore are even cheaper, however we’ve but to check one which matches the Asus’ all-spherical efficiency, typing set-up and battery life.
This can be a machine that will get issues accomplished however doesn’t overly scrimp on play ’n ’procrastination factors both, and that makes it a cracking all-rounder and an absolute cut price.