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Asus Transformer Book T100 Chi Laptop Review

Asus Transformer Book T100 Chi – First Impressions

Asus launched a trio of new ‘Chi’ Windows hybrids at CES 2015, including the range-topping T300 Chi.
There’s also the tiny 8.9-inch T90 Chi and middle of the pack is this, the
T100 Chi. Set to cost just $399 it could be the perfect tablet-laptop
for those on a budget.

SEE ALSO: Best Laptops Round-up

Asus Transformer Book T100 Chi – Design

Along
with the rest of the Transformer Book Chi lineup, the T100 uses the
classic Asus Transformer model for its hybrid design. The screen section
completely separates from the keyboard section to make for a more
portable iPad-sized tablet.

This design means that all the
batteries, circuitry and connectivity, bar one Micro USB socket, is kept
inside the tablet, with the keyboard section simply adding the physical
keyboard and trackpad into the equation. As such the sides of the tablet
section are kept thick to allow for the various sockets and ports it
houses, making it not as sleek as either most tablets or
ultrabook laptops such as the MacBook Air.

Asus Transformer Book T100 Chi

Still,
this is a pretty elegant device. The main chassis is all aluminium
that’s finished in a nice dark colour, with thin bevels on the edges
showing just a glimmer of the raw aluminium below.

The overall
thickness of the tablet is impressive too at just 7.2mm, while in laptop
mode this only rises to 13.2mm, which is thinner than a MacBook Air at
its thickest.

Asus Transformer Book T100 Chi

What
really helps this latest iteration of the Transformer design is that
the hinge/dock mechanism no longer requires a supporting section on the
back of the tablet/screen. This used to create an unsightly bump, whereas
now it’s completely flush.

The mechanism is also now magnetic,
with no need for a sliding lock switch like on previous versions. Asus
has also got the balance of strength of looseness of the mechanism just
right, with there being enough force to support the keyboard when the
laptop is lifted from the screen and yet it being possible to unhook the
tablet one-handed.

Asus Transformer Book T100 Chi

Asus Transformer Book T100 Chi – Features

Backing
up this solid hardware design is a decent set of features, starting
with the screen. It sports a plentiful 1920 x 1200 resolution, making
it nice and sharp, and as it’s an IPS panel it has great viewing angles. Colours and black levels appeared decent in our brief hands-on time
with it too.

Asus Transformer Book T100 Chi

The
keyboard is impressive, too. The size of the laptop means it is a little
squished, but we still had few problems typing on it, even if our
overall speed wasn’t quite as high as on larger layouts. Most
importantly of all, the action of the keys was nice and pronounced, so
it’s easy to tell when a key has been pressed properly.

Further good news comes courtesy of the trackpad. It’s a little small, but sensitivity and responsiveness are excellent.

Asus Transformer Book T100 Chi

On
the inside the specs are quite modest. The Intel Atom Z3775 is a
decently powerful quad-core chip that runs between 1.46Ghz and 2.39GHz. However, it’s certainly no power house and
is only backed up by 1GB or 2GB of RAM. It’s plenty for most everyday
tasks, but it’s definitely still among the lower rungs of laptop
performance.

One potential major stumbling block for this laptop
is its connectivity. You get reasonable number of ports, with Micro USB
3.0, Micro USB 2.0, Micro HDMI, microSD and, of course, headphones. However
you don’t get any full-size ports, so most things – your camera’s SD card
and your mouse, for instance – will need an adapter to plug in. You
could certainly work with it, and of course it’s better than most
Android or iOS tablets, but it’s definitely a major stumbling block
compared to ‘proper’ laptops.

Asus Transformer Book T100 Chi

Early Verdict

Overall
we’re pretty impressed by the Asus Transformer Book T100 Chi. It
packs in a winning combination of slim design, reasonable connectivity, sufficient
performance, and a good-quality
screen, keyboard and trackpad, all for a bargain price.

However, the fact that the
connectivity is all of the ‘micro’ variety could be a sticking point for
some, while the processor and RAM combination may be just a bit too weak for
more serious users.

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