Asus Transformer Book T100HA review

Can the Transformer turn minimum specs into something surprising?

Asus Transformer Book T100HA
Asus Transformer Book T100HA

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Physically, the Transformer is around 100g heavier and 1mm thicker than the iPad Air, ignoring, for the moment, that device's superior specifications and performance – and of course the Asus offering is up to £300 (about $450, or AU$630) cheaper, depending on the model you choose.

Similarly, it's a third of the price of the Surface Pro 3, though the latest iteration of that device now boasts more screen real estate (12-inches from its previous 10.6-inches and 2160 x 1440 resolution – nearly double that of the Transformer). The Surface is around the same thickness as the Transformer, despite that larger size.

[Editor's note: The T100HA's price was originally listed as $450. We've corrected the wrong price listing and updated our review as such]

Those are luxury propositions, though, compared to the T100's £300 or $299 (about AU$630) price. But what does £300 buy you in the world of Transformers?

Asus Transformer Book T100HA ports

There's a pretty decent selection of ports

Spec sheet

Here is the Asus Transformer Book T100HA configuration sent to TechRadar for review:

  • CPU: 1.44GHz Intel Atom x5-Z8500 Processor (quad-core)
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Screen: 10.1-inches 1280 x 800 resolution
  • Storage: 58.2GB eMMC (34GB available)
  • Optical drive: N/A
  • Ports: 2-in-1 card reader (Micro SD/Micro SDXC), 1 x Microphone-in/Headphone-out jack, 1 x USB 2.0 port, 1 x USB-C Gen 1 (up to 5 Gbps), 1 x Micro USB, 1 x micro HDMI
  • Connectivity: Integrated 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v4.0
  • Camera: 2 cameras; front 2 megapixels, rear 5 megapixels
  • Tablet Dimensions: 265 x 175 x 8.45mm (WxDxH)
  • Dock Dimensions: 265 x 173.7 x 10mm (WxDxH)
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • Tablet Weight: 0.58kg
  • Dock Weight: 0.46kg

Despite being quad-core, the CPU is pretty damn slow, as we'll see in the benchmarks on the next page. That's also a pretty awful, slow eMMC drive – not just slower than an SSD, with all its bells and whistles, it's also slower than an SD card. That's a pretty terrible core drive for a laptop, though it does have pretty amazing low power consumption too – feeding into Asus' claimed 12 hours of video playback (more on that later). Thankfully, you can expand the storage using the SD card slot.

[Editors note: we originally stated the laptop charges by way of a USB Type-C port, however, the laptop actually tops off with a microUSB 2.0 port and we have since corrected this mistake]

At least there is a nice array of ports – the usual suspects, plus a USB Type-C port that supports fast USB 3.1 data and up to 100W of power, meaning the device plugged into the T100HA should charge quickly.

Bundled software

On the OS front, the good news is that the device comes with Windows 10 pre-installed, which saves you having to do the inevitable upgrade from Windows 8.1 – which would probably be impossible anyway, given the teensy-weensy eMMC drive that this comes with.

And Windows 10 is pretty sharpish on this, though we'd go for a coffee break during any intensive tasks. We did have problems during the initial Windows 10 setup, where the screen was incorrectly rotated throughout – but it seemed to have ironed itself out by the time the system was completely up and running.

The other applications are classic bloatware, but at least they're separated out into their own little part of the tablet. I've no idea what the Asus Giftbox app is doing on there. There's also an Asus WebStorage app that pops up regularly to offer you 1TB of storage for a year – and the Asus LiveUpdate app looks for updates for your other apps.