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Asus TF100T Windows tablet review

Another day another tablet … In my quest to replace my Asus TF701 android tablet I have had a couple of bad devices. The Acer switch 10 as well as the Dell Venue Pro 10. Interestingly enough this tablet was the one I was first going to buy and then changed my mind. The TF100T has been in the market a while (Sept 2013). A fact that tainted my interest in the T100 originally. On the positive side there are lots of accessories available for it, and there are lots available on ebay and the like for very good prices.

Asus has freshened the product line with the T200 which has an increased screen size (11.6 Vs 10″) but sadly they did not increase the already low screen resolution leaving the pixels per inch even worse. The T200 also adds in a 2.5″ drive bay into the keyboard for more storage.

To frame this review, I am working at finding a Windows replacement for my Android Asus TF701. That’s a tall order. The TF701 is an excellent device. Fast, instant on, great battery life, high resolution, very usable keyboard but it has one HUGE limitation. Android. Web sites that don’t display right, constantly getting the modile version of the site, no decent Microsoft Office solution, clumsy multi tasking, clumsy cut and paste as well as RDP issues etc left me wanting to return to Windows.

Physicals
10.4x263x171mm 544g
10.75×279.8X176.4 mm 437g (for the dell Venue 10).
The edges are more rounded on the Asus making it actually feel better in the hand.

Ports include USB 3 on the keyboard, microHDMI, microSD, 3.5mm audio and a microUSB for charging and USB OTG. The adapter is a standard microUSB 5V 2A charger so as usual it is not the zippiest charge. Everything is a trade off. The microHDMI is a great thing to have!

Specs
10.1″ 1366×768 resolution for a pixel per inch of 155 which is a little low
Atom Z3740 1.33
2G RAM
64G SSD (but there are 32G ones out there)
Note this model does NOT have a GPS. Not a big deal since there are little to no decent navigation apps for Windows, but still a little disappointing.

The SSD measured 25 MB/s read and 40 MB/s write which compares well for the generation of device (25/46 for the Asus Vivotab Note 8) but compared to newer devices like the Dell Venue 10 at 66.2/81.6 MB/s and Vs 47/93 for the Acer Switch 10 is slow. The T100 is really starting to show it’s age.

Compared to newer atoms like the Z3735 in the Dell venue the CPU is about 10-20% slower. So not all that significant.

The keyboard is well laid out with all keys where they are supposed to be. The unit is entirely passively cooled (it has no fan) so is entirely silent. Since all the electronics are in the tablet the unit does not get all that warm and is very comfortable on the lap. The tablet itself does make the unit a little top heavy and it can tip. The locking mechanism between the tablet and keyboard is a little mushy requiring you to push it until you hear it click. Once in place it is reasonably solid but when you close the device it is possible for the keyboard/tablet to loose connection. The keyboard has nothing else in it. No extra battery like the TF701 and no hard drive bay like T200.

ASUS_Transformer_Book_T100_1175947

There is no rear facing camera (no big loss), there is however a front facing camera, albeit low res. There is no flash on the camera so this is basically a web cam.

Overall performance is smooth. Boot is reasonably quick. Resume is instantaneous. If your using it in tablet mode I highly recommend you add a pin to your windows account sign on options which makes unlocking the device much quicker (albeit less secure). You can find that in account settings, sign in options. Be ware that Windows 10 has a bug and this feature is not there.

As expected pens do not work well on this device at all. There is no digitizer. I tried a thin capacitive pen and it was completely ignored. A thick capacitive pen pen was somewhat registered but was not usable.

All in all there is little to complain about on this device. It works well and when you add in the price you can get it for on ebay it’s a bargoon. The 2G of ram is limiting but the reasonably quick SSD helps with swapping speeds. I’m not sure if I would pay new prices for it, too many other choices.

I played around a bit with Ubuntu on the device. After some futzing I was able to get a Ubuntu EFI boot USB drive to run following this post. (More on EFI in a future blog post). Ubuntu did boot and will install. On first boot the touch screen works but not the broadcom SDIO abgn network card. From what I can see it is not possible to boot off of the SD card. I tried to install to a USB hard drive but that would not boot once installed. I wasn’t ready to wipe the internal drive so left it at that.

I also played with Window 10 technical preview on this tablet. The 64G SSD leaves enough space to dual boot. Once all the Win 8 drivers were installed from the Asus web site Win 10 runs fine. It’s a little slow to come out of suspend compared to Win 8, and I had some instabilities in the networking. Other than that it runs well.

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May 1, 2015 - Posted by | Uncategorized, Windows tablets

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