Saturday, February 15, 2014

Asus Transformer T100 review

PC industry and Windows OS are partners bracing storm of Android gadgets and Apple devices which have flooded mobile/computing market. Just read a news update today on weak Windows 8 licence sales, It validates problems in store for Microsoft which do not seem to go away very soon.

I have used iPad 2 before and currently using Nexus 7 for quiet some time now, when it comes to tablets I always felt these offerings are perfectly portable and best suitable for entertainment & function well as consumption devices overall.

When it comes to offering actual productivity option, they fail on most fronts even with a big library of apps, so when I thought of buying a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, I had to resist the temptation of excellent stylus support on a big screen and wanted to prevent myself turning into a complete Android fanboy.

Windows netbooks had caught my attention when they were launched, Intel Atom processors back then were not equipped to be zippy and fast, there was always an element of compromise associated with them. Recent launches of Windows 8 hybrid tablet/laptop devices from various manufacturers brought my interest back to Windows OS again.

Asus Transformer Book T100 is one hybrid Windows 8 offering that gives you perfect bang for your buck. Starting with the overall build of the tablet, it feels sturdy and premium even with the plastic material used and rubberized base of the detachable keyboard gives you good grip to carry it around. Using T100 as a standalone tablet feels heavy on hand after holding it for a while. Tablet fits in with detachable keyboard perfectly holding it firm and on the left hand side of the tablet you get a volume rocker which feels slightly tacky to operate and there is a button below it to enable Windows 8 metro mode.

On the right hand side of the tablet you have micro SD card slot, USB charging slot, a micro HDMI port. speakers are well placed on the rear end of the tablet, surprisingly loud and clear, however they can be obstructed by your palm while you are holding tablet in landscape mode. Using this tablet in portrait mode feels odd to start with on Windows 8 metro interface, do not even think of using it on regular desktop mode as they screen layout gets badly skewed.

Keyboard keys are aptly spaced and I am composing this article from the detachable keyboard with no hassles or mistyping issues. Intel Atom Z3740 Bay Trail processor is snappy and handles regular browsing, document editing and other desktop tasks with ease, processor did not show any signs of lag while using multiple apps in multi-window mode. Have not yet tested processor limit with any graphic intensive game or any software/app using high memory. 

1366 x 768 pixel display is okay to work with and I would not delve into the ppi comparison here with other tablets because as an alternative to my HP G62 laptop I don't have any complaints. Tracking pad on detachable keyboard is not so useful and it is better to use a wireless mouse. T100 has only a single USB port for attaching any external USB device so you may have to invest into a USB hub and I have got 32GB onboard memory version of Asus T100 and going to upgrade additional storage by 64GB micro SD card.

My browsing experience on this tablet was beyond expectation and nothing like I have seen in any other tablet used until now, very fast and watching YouTube videos in full HD mode felt more vivid and smooth. Windows store still feels like a lonely place even with some notable apps from iOS and Android ecosystem making an appearance, Microsoft would have to get serious about the app ecosystem if they want to give Windows OS a possible last chance to put up a decent competition to other operating systems.

To sum it up Asus Transformer Book T100 is a priced well at Rs 32,000 and getting a home and student edition of MS Office 2013 with Windows 8.1 makes it more attractive. The biggest advantage using this hybrid device is it's battery life and currently I have clocked 8-10 hours of battery back up on two charge cycles which is what I desire from a portable gadget.

I strongly recommend this tablet if you need a mix of entertainment and productivity along with good battery back up.

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