Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it is no longer available. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Asus's Transformer Book T100 is aimed squarely at the netbook market. You can certainly use it as a tablet computer – its Intel Atom processor is, after all, perfectly capable of handling most of the apps you can download off the Windows Store. But with Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Office preinstalled, and a netbook-sized detachable keyboard included in the box, it's clear Asus was more interested in competing with laptops than other tablets – especially considering the fact that certain tablet mainstays, like a rear-facing camera, are conspicuously absent.
The best tablets offer great speed and plenty of battery life, and to its credit, the T100 supplies both. Its 1.3GHz processor is starting to seem a bit slow and can't hold up to intense 3D games like World of Warcraft, but when it comes to Windows, Office and other productivity software, you won't have any trouble breezing along. Its battery, meanwhile, is more than capable of powering through long work sessions, managing well over 12 hours of Wi-Fi web browsing with the screen at 40 percent brightness.
That battery might be impressive, but the T100's display is a stark disappointment. Where other tablets we reviewed featured 1080p or better screens, the Asus system offers a comparatively paltry 1366x768 screen in 10.1 inches of real estate. You'll be able to spot individual pixels with the naked eye, and we noticed dithering issues in video that wouldn't have been visible were it not for the low resolution.
What sets the T100 apart in our tablet comparison is its keyboard. Most tablets don't come with keyboards, instead forcing you to pay upward of $150 on an accessory many consider vital to their productivity. The T100's keyboard is included with the price tag, but there's a catch: It's cramped, and its trackpad is terrible. True, neither is necessarily a deal-breaker – netbooks often have small keyboards that can take some getting used to, while the T100's touch-sensitive screen could be used to navigate. But when you're using the system as a laptop, you shouldn't have to press down on the trackpad with several times the force of most mouse buttons just to click a link. Take our advice: If you buy the Asus T100, buy yourself a portable mouse, too.
When it comes to cheap but functional tablets, the Asus Transformer Book T100 is no slouch. Its plastic housing and mediocre trackpad aren't the most impressive pieces of hardware around, but they're perfectly serviceable considering you get a keyboard and full versions of both Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Office for the price of a tablet alone. Budget-hunters will probably be delighted, but average buyers beware: Much about the T100 is passable, but there's nothing outstanding to speak of.
Since it's running Windows 8.1, the tablet is compatible with almost any PC software or Windows Store app. Microsoft Office Home and Student Edition is freely included.
The chassis feels cheap and shoddy, the detachable keyboard is cramped and sports a terrible trackpad, and the 1.3GHz processor is starting to show its age.
The Asus Transformer Book trades quality for functionality and extras. If you don't want to pay extra for Office or a keyboard, this is your tablet.