Asus Transformer Book T100 review: Long live the new Netbook

Here's the good news: the Transformer Book T100 outperformed last-gen Atom Windows 8 machines, and even did significantly better in some tests than the much more expensive (and heavier) AMD-powered Toshiba Satellite Click . That system cost over $500; the Transformer Book T100 costs under $400, and is a fraction of the size. More powerful and expensive systems like the Sony Vaio Tap 11 still outperform it by a significant margin, though.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The tablet's ports and connections are minimal but functional: Micro-USB, Micro-HDMI, a microSD card slot, and a full USB 3.0 port on the keyboard base. The tablet has 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0.

What should you expect? Again, for everyday basic work, this will get the job done. Honestly, the limitations of a small and lower-res screen and cramped keyboard and touch pad will set the tone for how much "serious hard-core work" you want to get done on this, anyway. It's versatile, and you could do more with it than you probably expect. As a Chromebook-level device, it's a world beater. Just remember you're still getting a budget, downsized machine. Think Netbook.

Asus offers both Microsoft Office Student Edition and a year's worth of unlimited Asus cloud storage with the Transformer Book T100, both nice perks. Microsoft Office comes preinstalled, but you have to redeem the code that should be in the box.

Battery life is great, lasting 591 minutes (9 hours, 51 minutes). That's equivalent to top-end tablets, roughly. But other laptops have done better. Other tablets, too. It's better than previous Atom tablets fared.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Asus Transformer Book T100
1,359

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Asus Transformer Book T100
1,045

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Asus Transformer Book T100
785

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Asus Transformer Book T100
591

Conclusion: Has Windows 8 found its new poster-child?
Who is Windows 8 for, exactly? It's not ideal for desktops or laptops without touch screens, and standalone tablets without keyboards can be hard to get work done on. You want both, like the Surface Pro. You're either picking a hybrid that's a tablet first and a laptop second, or a laptop first and a tablet second.

The T100 is more laptop than tablet, but has the option to be flexible. It's not a great laptop. But it's a capable one, and highly affordable, too. If you can find one of these around $350, you're getting a tablet and a Netbook in one, with plenty of battery life to spare and full Windows 8.

The Netbook is back, and it doubles as a tablet. Budget-minded Windows 8 shoppers should be happy about that.

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations
Asus Transformer Book T100
Windows 8.1 (32-bit); 1.3GHz Intel Atom Z3740; 2GB DDR3 SDRAM 800MHz; 32MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics; 64GB SanDisk SSD

Toshiba Click W35Dt-A
Windows 8 (64-bit); 1GHz AMD A4 1200 APU; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 512MB AMD Radeon HD 8180 Graphics; 500GB 5,400rpm hard drive

Acer Iconia W3
Windows 8 (32-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z2760; 2GB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 1003MB (shared) Intel GMA, 64GB SSD

Sony Vaio Tap 11
Windows 8 Pro (64-bit); 1.5GHz Intel Core i5-4210Y; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 1739MB (Shared) Intel HD Graphics 4200; 128GB Toshiba SSD

Dell Venue 8 Pro
Windows 8.1 (32-bit); 1.3GHz Intel Atom 3740D; 2GB DDR3 SDRAM 800MHz; 32MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics; 32GB Samsung SSD

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Operating System Windows 8.1 32-bit Edition
  • Installed Size 2 GB
  • Weight 1.03 kg
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