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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The change from the older T100 to this model also signified a change from plastic to aluminium, and the arrival of some bright colours to go alongside the tedious tin-grey finish. That's the biggest quality change in the product, followed closely by the improved CPU, which should handle everyday tasks slightly better.

So who might we recommend this device to? Someone wanting to use a cheap computer for work and home, mostly plugged in, and commuting regularly between the two locations. That poor recharge rate means it's not ideal for someone going on longer journeys, despite the good battery life.

We liked

The best thing about the Transformer is its price. You have a versatile, simple and passable laptop/tablet for £300 or $299 (about AU$630). It does a range of home tasks well, and can handle reasonable multitasking as well as any other laptop. And, as you can only do basic tasks on it, you don't have to worry about the processor-intensive stuff that eats up battery.

We disliked

There was plenty to be annoyed about with the T100HA. This is fundamentally not a very good laptop, and only a passable tablet – and perhaps not one that you'd pay £300 or $299 (about AU$630) for, when a Kindle Fire HD is so much less.

The keyboard build quality was of concern. It feels notably flimsy and the greater weight of the tablet compared to it can let the whole thing topple over on uneven surfaces. The aluminium shell on the tablet itself did scratch and mark, that's true enough, but looks like it should survive any real damage.

The excruciatingly slow charging speed and the reduced battery life compared to earlier models mean this device is going to spend a lot of every single day plugged into walls. It's a pity that Asus didn't include a second battery in the keyboard – but understandable, given the cost and weight impact of that.

The tiny, slow eMMC is an offensive choice for a tablet's storage unit. Being able to augment its size with an SD card doesn't stop it from being pretty useless – especially given how slow the Transformer was at processor-intensive activities like unzipping.

Final verdict

Despite our forced positivity above, we can't say that we enjoyed our time with the T100HA. It's not an immediately friendly laptop, at least in this grey incarnation, and the poor keyboard means it's mostly useful as a tablet – and not a wonderfully good value one at that.

That said, for the right role this is a good purchase – if you want a laptop/tablet that can handle just about any office task and won't need recharging for a good long time. Just be aware that when you do set it charging, you may want to consider going into hibernation yourself.

On the whole, you may want to consider the Transformer Chi as a much more modern version of the same machine, for not that much more money.