We have already discussed that laptop-tablet hybrids are the future of computing but not the present because there is no platform which works perfectly as a tablet and as a laptop. But the Asus Transformer Book T100 has a different proposition: price.
Quick Tech Specs: 10.1-inch IPS touchscreen (1366×768 pixels) | 1.33GHz quad-core Intel Atom BayTrail | 2GB DDR3 RAM | 32GB internal memory, microSD card up to 64GB | USB 3.0, HDMI ports | Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 | 1.2-megapixel front camera | Windows 8.1
Price: Rs 32,000
Design: Some devices are more about form than functionality, but that’s not the T100. It’s thick, the plastic build belies its inexpensive price tag, and the buttons don’t inspire any confidence—in fact, one of them gave away in the course of our test. Still, it’ll get the job done and isn’t too heavy either, so you won’t mind carrying it around.
Screen: Laptops generally don’t have great viewing angles on their screens, but since this is a tablet as well, you can position it however you want and still see pixels without any discolouration. The touchscreen registers input well and you won’t have any complaints with it.
Performance: The Transformer Book T100 isn’t in the same class as the Intel Core i3-packing laptops in this price range, but those don’t snap off to become a tablet either. For a convertible, the T100 is pretty good and will give the kind of performance you can expect from a high-end netbook or a low-end laptop. But if you want to work on Photoshop or play some high-def games smoothly, this isn’t the device for you. Its big shortcoming, though, is in multi-tasking. Run Chrome and open up 15-20 tabs, and in half an hour, the T100 will be crawling and won’t keep up.
Memory: The 32GB of storage is best left for your Windows OS and any programs you need to install. There’s a microSD slot so you can throw in additional memory of 64GB, which is where you should store your media. But even then, that’s a total of less than 100GB. Not much for a laptop, but quite good for a tablet—it’s all about how you look at it.
Connectivity: With a USB 3.0 port and an HDMI port, there’s no faulting the connectivity options in the T100, which also supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Software: As mentioned in the HP Pavilion11 x2 review, Windows 8 is a great OS to use when you’re using these hybrids as a laptop, but doesn’t match up to Android or iOS when you separate it and use it purely as a tablet.
Camera: The front-facing camera is weak. It will get the job done when you want to make a video call, but you will need your face to be well lit up.
Battery: As a pure tablet, the T100 will last for about 3 hours of average usage, and that doubles when you connect it to the keyboard dock. Six hours is not bad for a laptop.
Special Mention: It might seem like a small thing, but the fact that the Transformer Book T100 comes with a standard microUSB charger is a big deal. Devices like these are meant to be used while moving about, so it’s tremendously helpful that you don’t have to carry a hulking battery brick around and can get by on a single charger for your phone and your laptop. And make no mistake, while it’s a tablet, this is a fully-functional laptop.
Verdict: Retailing at around Rs 32,000 for the 32GB version, the Transformer Book T100 is the first hybrid that I’d be comfortable recommending and that’s mainly because of its price. As a tablet, it can’t match Android and iOS. As a laptop, it far exceeds both of those. And so, if you see yourself using a hybrid in its laptop mode for 80% of the time and in tablet mode for 20% of the time, the Transformer Book T100 is a thrifty purchase. Plus, it charges via your smartphone’s charger (unless you use an iPhone), so there’s no cable clutter either. It’s not the best laptop, it’s not the best tablet, but I do reckon it’s the most convenient device a travelling professional can have in the suitcase.