Asus Transformer Book T100HA: Our Take (Mini Review)
Who Is It For?
The 10.1-inch Asus Transformer Book T100HA ($295) is a budget-friendly hybrid intended for people who want the basic features of both a laptop and a tablet without spending too much. Available in several interesting colors, including aqua blue and rouge pink, the T100HA could be good for young adults looking to express their individuality. The small screen and light weight (2.32 pounds) make it very portable, but the small screen isn't ideal for productivity work.
Key Specs and Features
The Asus Transformer Book T100HA has a 10.1-inch, touch-screen display operating at a resolution of 1280 x 800, a change from the model we reviewed previously, which had a resolution of 1366 x 768. There is no option to configure it with a better screen, so if you have your heart set on this device, you are stuck with the relatively low-res 1280 x 800. You can get this hybrid in a variety of colors: tin gray, silk white, aqua blue and rouge pink, giving you plenty of visual options.
There is no way to customize this device other than by choosing a color. What you get is an Intel Quad-Core Atom "Cherry Trail" Z8500 Processor, an upgrade from its predecessor and its big brother, the T200. It has also upgraded the RAM from the T100, coming with 4GB on board instead of the previous 2GB. Asus has even upgraded the cameras, with a 2-MP front and 5-MP rear shooter. Some things haven't changed, though, including the 64GB eMMC drive and Integrated Intel HD Graphics.
The T100HA includes Dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth™ V4.0 and a Micro SD/Micro SDXC card reader. While 802.11ac Wi-Fi is faster, you don't always find it in budget devices. Asus' hybrid also has all the typical ports: a microphone/headphone jack, a USB 2.0 connection and a micro HDMI out for connecting to a television or projector. There is also a built-in micro USB connector, but most importantly, it features a USB-C connector, meaning much faster speeds and never having to flip the cable over because you've got it upside down again.
Our Experience with Similar Laptops
Since the introduction of the Transformer Book series, we have reviewed several models, including the original T100 and the upgraded T200 model. When we reviewed the original T100, we were pleased with its solid performance of 12-plus hours of battery life, but frustrated by its cramped keyboard and sticky touchpad. When we reviewed the 11.6-inch T200, we found typing more comfortable (likely due to the larger keyboard size) and navigating with the pad more accurate. On the T100HA, however, Asus has more cramped keys, because of its 10.1-inch screen size.
What Owners Say About the Asus Transformer Book T100HA
On Amazon, 56 percent of reviewers gave the T100HA a 4- or 5-star rating, meaning that owners are generally happy with their purchase, but they do have a few complaints. Not surprisingly, many consumers complained that the keyboard was too small for comfortable typing. And, as we experienced on the T100, some commenters reported that the T100HA's trackpad occasionally stuck or froze for them. The most common complaint from both positive and negative reviews, though, is that the speakers are of very low quality, with many people recommending that headphones should be used whenever possible.
Now, while many users are very happy with their T100HA, nearly a quarter of Amazon reviews list it as a 1 star. Many of the 1-star reviews refer to receiving defective units. One reviewer in particular mentioned having received several defective units, both the original and replacements. They did say, however, that the quality of customer service was superb, but outstanding customer service doesn't make up for defective hardware. Other people complained about the screen activating itself, software opening on its own and the keyboard or trackpad not working intermittently.
What Reviewers Say
While we have not officially reviewed the T100HA, other sites have. Dan Griliopoulos at TechRadar, for example, mirrored a number of our concerns about the previous T100, stating, "The latest Transformer suffers in comparison with the Flip and Chi, and even when compared to similarly priced Chromebooks. Its bright, colorful screen is one of this device's few saving graces." Their rating of 3/5 is lower than their 4/5 rating of the T100 back in 2013.
Matthew Buzzi at PCMag had nicer things to say about this 2-in-1, giving the T100HA a 4/5 rating, noting, "The Asus Transformer Book T100HA is an impressive detachable-hybrid tablet, boasting a wide variety of features, fast performance, a sharp display, and good battery life at a very affordable price." His cons were a bit different from everyone else's, too, mentioning that the screen is top-heavy when docked and that the cameras are disappointing.
If you are looking for a low-cost Windows 10 2-in-1, the Asus Transformer Book T100HA is worth considering. Based on our research, it seems like this hybrid is very similar to its predecessor, the Transformer Book T100, both in terms of its strengths and weaknesses. At first glance, the T100HA seems like quite a bargain, providing a bright screen, a long battery life and an attractive detachable design for under $300. However, to get that price, you may have to make a few trade-offs, living with a cramped keyboard, an inconsistent touchpad and a low-res screen.
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