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The Asus Transformer Book T100 is an impressive attempt at marring some of the more appealing aspects of netbooks with the versatility of modern convertibles. It's not going to be the leader in the laptop or tablet category, but when the two are combined into a single, portable offering, it immediately ups the appeal by a notch or two.
Its build quality is plastic, but not overly so, and its backwards-extending hinge slightly bizarre. The T100 isn't any worse off for it though - just different. Its 10.1-inch screen size works well in both laptop and tablet mode, and if you're prepared to have a little faith in Microsoft's Windows 8.1 Store, the tablet portion of the device could come into its own in the future, making it something of an affordable investment.
However, should you already have a separate laptop, opting for a quality, affordable tablet such as Google's new Nexus 7 would be a sensible decision if you're not sold on carrying the two around together.
As a tablet, the T100 is light, plenty responsive and feels great to hold. It's only let down in this area by a lack of apps in MIcrosoft's Windows Store, which is growing all the time. It offers excellent battery life, meaning that you can juice it up and take it on the road knowing that it'll go for most of the day. That it can charge via micro-USB is a bonus too, even if it takes an age.
The addition of a USB 3.0 port on the dock isn't something to be sniffed at. It lends the T100 greater versatility and saves you having to mess around with micro-USB convertors.
You would be forgiven for not paying too much attention to Asus' own apps on the device, but the 1TB of storage is a handy amount for a year - particularly for UK users that can only get their hands on a version with 32GB flash memory. It's even more of a productivity boon when used with Microsoft's free Office applications, which wouldn't be much more responsive on considerably more expensive hardware.
It's a shame, but the T100 has to be ruled out for anyone who considers a below-par typing experience a deal breaker. The keys are cramped and leave you hunched over the device - you will have to adjust your typing style and work at it - which may not be a problem depending on how often you type.
If you're unsure, track down a T100 to test out its keyboard for peace of mind.
The lack of a rear-facing camera is annoying but far from a deal breaker if you have a separate snapper or decent smartphone. Additionally, the T100 only serves up average performance, which is to be expected at this price point, and you'll be restricted to installing desktop programs that won't ask too much of its modest CPU.
Gamers shouldn't expect to run any games that aren't from Microsoft's Windows Store if a smooth experience is a must.
The Asus Transformer Book T100 is almost a bargain considering how much less it will cost compared with Windows 8.1 convertibles such as Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 - but you have to make the purchase with realistic expectations to avoid disappointment.
The device is certainly waving the flat for Windows 8.1 and opens up the OS to a wider audience by appealing to anyone looking for a laptop, tablet or combination of the two.
The addition of Microsoft Office Home & Student is a real boost for productivity, and if you can get over the keyboard's small keys then it's perfect for both work and play. That said, you'll need an SD card - preferably 64GB - to extend what you can do with the T100, which would be a worthwhile purchase.