CNET First Look
Asus Transformer Book T100 is a netbook-meets-tablet with tremendous budget appealFull Windows 8, a touchscreen, a laptop and tablet combined...and great battery life. Did we mention it costs under $400?
Hi. I'm Scott Stein with CNET and holiday shopping season is upon us. You're probably looking for that great budget pack, some sort of super cheap laptop that can get everything done, not cost too much. It used to be called a netbook and then netbooks went away, then there's the Chromebook and Chromebooks may not do everything you need. Now, it looks like there are finally netbooks for the Windows 8 era. In fact, the Asus Transformer Book T100 is a prime example of that. This runs full Windows 8, has a very netbook like design and it can transform into a tablet with a press of a button right here. This all handy dandy concoction will cost about $379. You might even get it for less if you look at a Black Friday Sale or two. It's a really good deal and it approaches the rock bottom prices that you use to see in netbooks all over the place. Now, is it worth it? Well, you know that's up to you. How much do you wanna spend? I can tell you this. It feels like a netbook, which is both a good and a bad thing in the sense that it's very portable, the battery life is super strong, about 10 hours of battery life. Thanks to a new processor that's in here, that's an Atom Bay Trail processor, that's a quad-core CPU and it is a step above the previous Atom processor providing mostly that battery life boost a little more performance boost. And you know, this thing actually outperformed a more expensive, larger laptop that Toshiba had, that Toshiba Click that we reviewed recently. So, you know, in its territory, pretty good value. But again, this keyboard is crammed. It's plasticky feeling. It's not backlit and the track pad is small. Not the greatest work environment in the world but it's there if you wanna get your work done. And there's a USB 3 port, which is one of the new Bay Trail editions. So, it's a faster troupe up there. Everything else, you're gonna have little micro ports all over this tablet, kinda standard tablet land there with your micro USB, your micro HDMI, little slot there for memory storage, headphone jack, and it's super plasticky, huge finger magnet, I mean, fingerprint magnet. You know, this is not something you're gonna wanna show off but it's functional in the home. It's probably better in this laptop form than as a tablet. And other nice plus, this charges via micro USB. So, you-- even though it comes with a charger, you can easily find another lying around. That's pretty much the story of this. Runs Windows 8.1, so you don't have to deal with Windows RT, always a confusing landscape. And if you have under $400 to spend and you're looking for a do-it-all little portable, it has a lot more than a Chromebook because it has a much better offline storage and you have the full Windows support, plus Microsoft Office student edition is pre-installed. Take a look for it, it's a pretty good pick. Not a phenomenal product but we hope there are a lot more of these types of netbook plus devices to hit the markets soon. I'm Scott Stein and that's the look at the very budget friendly, Asus Transformer Book T100.