Asus Transformer shows the way forward - review

Cape Town - It's not a secret that laptop sales are being hit harder than a fly-half being tackled by a 150kg prop, especially as smartphones and tablets grow at near exponential rates.

Manufacturers have been quick to retool and produce tablets, but they don't always suit the needs of those who still want a laptop to produce content, rather than watch YouTube videos.

Asus has built a great compromise unit in the Transformer Book T100: Part laptop, part tablet; quite useful.

It looks just like a regular laptop, but the 25.5cm display dislodges from the keyboard and it instantly becomes a tablet.

The T100 runs Windows 8.1 which is suited to touch, but in laptop mode you can use the track pad as well touching the screen directly if you prefer.

Compromises

Unlike most tablets that run Android, the Transformer unit is a replacement device for a laptop and after hitting its keys for several days, it's remarkable how quickly one becomes accustomed to the smaller keyboard.


The Asus Transformer can be used in tablet and laptop mode. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)


However, the Asus device is not at the top end of available hybrids and there have been some compromises in terms of features.

You only get 64GB of onboard storage and the device is powered by an Intel Atom 1.8GHz quad core processor and 2GB of RAM. Still, that's plenty if you're using the machine as a travel-with-me device.

Also, it has support for a micro-SD card slot so you can expand the memory.

A critical feature that makes the usable is that it also has a USB 3 slot, so you can hook up an external hard drive, though that is only possible in laptop mode.

There is also no 3G SIM slot, so connections are effected via Wi-Fi or via a special USB cable which is not included in the box.

However, the little Asus beats full size laptops in the time that it takes to boot up and if you really want to use it like a computer, Windows supports that with a desktop application.

It also sells in SA with a full copy of Microsoft Office so you have access to the most common desktop software.

While there are some smartphones that have faster processors that the T100, the 1.8GHz unit runs on low power and easily works the whole day (or two, in some cases) even with multimedia applications running.

Arguably, one of the best things about the Asus Transformer Book T100 is the price: It retails at R5 599 at Computer Mania and R5 999 at Incredible Connection, making far cheaper than some comparable standard laptops.

Check out the News24 video on the Transformer Book T100:



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