7 January 2016

REVIEW: ASUS Transformer Book T100HA

Transformer… tablets in disguise!

We can all agree that tablets are awesome, right? Well yes, that is until you need to do any work or write a super long email. That’s when you might reach for your laptop, with its lovely tactile keyboard and comfortable viewing angles. If only there was a tablet that also behaved like a laptop (or indeed a laptop that let its hair down once in a while and acted like tablet). There is baby, and it’s called the ASUS Transformer Book T100HA.

In a nutshell (we do like those, don’t we?) the ASUSTransformer Book T100HA is a very capable 10.1 inch Windows tablet that ships with its own detachable keyboard. That way you can either just use the tablet, doing tablet-y things like games, social media, watching stuff etc, or keep it docked to the keyboard and use it for laptop-y things like typing angry letters to the Editors of gadget review websites (“Dear Sir, I feel I must point out the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’”…). So best of both worlds then?

Yes, definitely. We’ve never been the biggest supporters of Windows on tablets before, but Windows 10 is the very best choice for ASUS to preload on the ASUS Transformer Book T100HA. We’ve never actually reviewed Windows 10 as a standalone product before (despite using it on several devices every day) but it is very good for both laptops and tablets, and this plucky little gadget uses it well. In laptop mode you get the normal desktop version of the OS, but when you pull the tablet from the keyboard dock, Windows 10 automatically switches to tablet mode, making it easier for your chunky fingers to navigate.

Anyway, the hardware itself. The ASUS Transformer Book T100HA itself might be a 10.1 inch tablet, but it comes loaded with details you’d normally expect on a conventional laptop. The ports along the 8.4mm edges include a USB Type-C (more on that below), a mini USB, a headphone port, mini HDMI, and also a Micro SD Card slot. As well as that, when connected the keyboard you also get a full-sized USB 2.0 port – something no other tablet of this size could boast.

On the inside there’s an Intel Cherry Trail Quad-core processor, and either 2 or 4GB of RAM, depending on the version bought. There is also a choice of 32, 64, or 128 GB storage, but all versions have a battery life up to a whopping 12 hours – again no other tablet (or laptop even) in this price bracket could compete with that.

 Both tablet and keyboard are wrapped in matte-feel metal, and the ASUS Transformer Book T100HA comes in a choice of four non-vomit-inducing colours. We tested the aqua blue one, and were pleased as punch with the subtle hue. In use, we found that going from tablet mode to laptop mode was seamless, as the dock features three sturdy attachments guided by magnets. When joined, the two parts feel as one, and looking at the whole thing you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a normal 10.1 inch laptop or netbook – helped in no small part by the keyboard dock’s trackpad, which is something that Bluetooth keyboards tend not to have. The hinge is solid and reassuringly stiff, keeping the tablet section upright and steady within a nice range of angles.

And when you feel like laying back and jabbing your finger across Twitter for a while… no worries, just yank the tablet free and you’re away. There’s no issues with Bluetooth or plugging in the correct leads; it’s all just there and ready to go. Also, when in tablet mode you have proper control over the 5MP rear camera, as well as the forward-facing 2MP camera, perfect for the likes of Skype. Neither camera is anything to over enthuse about but, as we’ve said MANY times before, tablets cameras shouldn’t be.

The processor is clearly doing the business, as in both tablet and desktop modes we threw quite a bit at the ASUS Transformer Book T100HA to test the limits. Even with multiple web pages open, as well as Windows app games and a few media files playing, there was no lag, and we only noticed a reduction in speed when we were doing silly things like streaming Netflix while simultaneously streaming YouTube and playing a large, memory-sucking game. But for everyday stuff like web browsing, streaming, and games, it was ideal.

The ASUS Transformer Book T100HA is a very well thought-out and put-together device that solves a lot of functionality problems we all have with tablets. This is both an excellent tablet, and an excellent laptop, and they aren’t many products out there you can say that about.

Around 150

Available from www.amazon.co.uk

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Kit USB Type C to A Cable

One thing we didn’t have that we needed to fully test the capabilities of the ASUS Transformer Book T100HA was the new kind of universal USB cable, a Type C. Fortunately our chums at Kit were able to furnish us with one from their new range, and if you’re planning to buy the above we heartily recommend you get one yourself.

The Kit USB Type C to A has a conventional USB head at one end (USB 3.0 no less) and the new Type C at the other, which can be plugged into a type C port either way up (like Apple’s Lightning connector). This allows you to copy huge amounts of data to and from the ASUS Transformer Book T100HA at incredibly fast speeds, and thanks to the design you’ll never have to fiddle about trying to get the wire in.

Kit’s stuff is always high quality, and it’s great to see them adapting to cater for this new type of wire. Get one – hopefully in the bear future all gadgets will need one of these.

From £9.99

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