A Day with the ASUS Transfomer Book T100 + WiDi Demo

Posted on 22 November 2013 by

At the Intel Software Summit this week I had the chance to use the ASUS Transformer Book T100 for a day. I was very impressed at the performance level, quality and battery life but handed it back thinking it would work better as a productive device in an 11.6-inch version – as long as the tablet was the same weight.

WP_20131119_22_30_07_Pro

You’ll find a lot of praise for the T100 out there both from professional reporters and owners. It’s the biggest selling laptop on Amazon.com (currently $379 for the 64GB version) and we’re seeing a lot of activity for it here on the site. It’s kicking off the 2-in-1 category nicely and will account for a lot of consumer Windows 8.1 sales. Developers take note. (My estimate is that it will sell 0.5 million units before the end of the year if ASUS can keep up with stock demand.)

To add to my previous hands-on then, I was impressed by the USB charging. A lightweight charger is a bonus although charging speeds are fairly slow. It will rarely need charging in the day though because after 8hrs of a ‘on’ at a conference (with about 4.5hrs screen-on) I had 40% battery free.

I also got the chance to test WiDi. It works!

I will say a word about the keyboard and touchpad. I felt that I was really back in that awkward netbook zone again as I used it. it was cramped and the touchpad was very basic. it’s a shame because this platform supports productive working. A boost to an 11-inch screen and a larger keyboard could be the answer for those wanting the best in dynamic-range. Obviously the Dell Venue Pro 11 is a hot contender here, and available very soon.

The ASUS T100 is the rare thing that is a bargain AND a ground-breaking product. ASUS’ price is so aggressive that it will, without a doubt, catalyse a big 2-in-1 device category just like it did with the netbook category. This time round though I feel it’s going to be a bigger, longer-lasting category. There’s no device size or specification restrictions this time round. Where netbooks peaked at about 50 million sales a year, I expect the 2-in-1 category to be much bigger and to last much longer. Developers, pay attention because there are already app opportunities related to the T100.

  • Name

    Thanks for the video showing us absolutely nothing over the WiDi !!!

    I understand conditions might have not been ideal, but you could have at least shown us SOME movement other than gingerly nudging half a window onto the screen for a couple of seconds then giving up. Even duplicating the metro screen and playing about with that would have shown us infinitely more.. Sorry if I sound harsh but I can’t really believe you bothered to include the video frankly.

    • guy

      He could have done more stuff but the main point seems to prove that the T100 supports WiDi despite ASUS saying it doesn’t. The video was enough to back up his claim of WiDi support.

      In terms of better WiDi demos, he does mention that he’ll be getting a WiDi adapter for more in depth testing. Although, I don’t think it’ll be with the T100 if you looking that kind of test.

    • Yeah. the point is that it works. I have a WiDi receiver in the studio now and will demo various scenarios for you. Video, desktop and gaming are the three main areas I will demo. If you want to see something else, let me know and i’ll try and add it to the tests.
      Chippy.

  • guy

    Does this charge fine over micro-USB while actively using it? Can the micro-USB work in OTG mode while simultaneously charging the tablet with some ASUS adapter? In OTG mode, can it power external drives that draw more than 500 mA?

    About WiDi, how much bandwidth can it take up (average and peak)? I know it’s through WiFi but can it work over gigabit Ethernet? If I can, I always use Ethernet to save the available WiFi bandwidth for devices that can’t use Ethernet because I often saturate my LAN doing file transfers and streaming.

    • guy

      About, the 11″ screen for better productivity. If I were going to do that, I’d get a Core i based notebook. Price isn’t an issue if I need the bigger screen, keyboard and performance. Putting up with a small keyboard, small screen and slow performance are the expected trade offs for wanting a smaller overall device.

      Going with 10″ or smaller screens, people should (I hope they do) understand and weigh the pros and cons before buying. Too bad, I always read people complaining about, cramped keyboards, small screen content, not enough screen real estate and other things that are expected for such a device. It’s not like these are unknown before buying.

      • animatio

        this is exactly the point. if one goes for “stuff” one should select “stuff” and buy “stuff”. doing otherwise and criticise or complain thereafter is utterly stupid.
        if one goes for netbook size its because form-factor and portability counts. and as the market shows company s all over jumped already on the bandwagon again. and btw
        already 30 years ago it was completely nuts to by a pc and wanting doin’ multimedia a workstation was needed for and then to declare the pc a creepy machine. as the word goes – it’s always the operator, not the machine.

    • Adam

      Have any of you had any luck running external hard drives from this? It’s kind of a big deal for me considering the size of the HD.

  • Claudia

    Thanks for all the posts about the Asus T100! I’ve been on the fence — mostly because I was thinking of going for the slightly bigger form factor — but am going to pick one up. I’m finding the price point, functionality and portability too compelling to pass up. (I still have an Asus EeePC 701 kicking around. It’ll be fun to compare them side by side. I still remember how excited I was about that first netbook.)

    For me, the T100 is going to replace a 15.6″ laptop, my Viliv S5 and a couple of Android tablets. It’ll be nice to consolidate everything into one device; I don’t use any graphic- or CPU-intensive apps, so this will be my one and only PC/tablet. I have small hands, so I’m fine with the keyboard. I tested one in the store and found it comfortable to type on.

    • Sounds like an interesting plan to consolidate many devices. If you ever do a video, photos or article on the 701, let us know because it would be great to see.

      • Claudia

        Will do! My T100 hasn’t arrived yet; once it does, I’ll make sure to take some photos comparing it to the EeePC 701. In fact, I’ll also stack it up against the Viliv S5 (such a shame that company folded, it would’ve been exciting to see what they could’ve come up with to compete with the T100).

        • Sydney

          Hi Claudia,
          I just bought 2 T100 and I note that it’s quite difficult to get a cover for them since they are so new. Since you have the eee, can you tell me please, once your T100 arrives, whether they are the same size as am thinking of buying the eee sleeve/case for the T100. Thanks so much.

      • Claudia

        Hi Chippy,

        It’s a bit embarrassing to admit to such a large collection of netbooks, laptops and tablets but I posted a couple of photos for comparison purposes. I intend to whittle my collection down to the T100, a Nook HD 7″ Android tablet (Android has a much better touch interface than Windows 8.1), a Nook Glowlight (I love to read and nothing is better than eInk for that) and my 15.6″ Lenovo as backup (in case something happens to my T100). Click on my name above to access the album.

        Initial impressions: I really love the T100. I find the 10″ form factor is the perfect compromise in terms of usability and portability. I’m not crazy about the glossy display (I prefer a matte display, like in the first wave of netbooks), which doesn’t get as bright as I’d like. I find the keyboard and touchpad very usable, and performance is snappy. Coupled with a 64GB microSD card (I picked one up for $35 at the same time I ordered the T100) and cloud storage, space is not an issue. I love the fact that it’s fanless and therefore silent.

        My main complaint is with Windows 8.1, which is not quite ready for primetime. For example, the OS should ideally automatically recognize when the T100 is in tablet mode and open up the onboard keyboard whenever I’m in a text field, but instead I have to manually do that. That is beyond annoying, making web browsing a royal PITA. Plus the Windows Store selection of apps isn’t the best, lacking Android apps I use daily, like Scrabble. Or apps exist, but aren’t as good (e.g., HuffPost).

        On the other hand, it’s full Windows — that means I can use all the desktop applications I need on a day-to-day basis to be productive for work (MS Office, Visio, Microsoft Project, etc.) and play. Since I don’t use particularly graphic- or CPU-intensive apps, I find the T100 is ideal for me as my main computer since portability is really important to me.

        In short, I’d recommend the T100 highly to anyone in the same boat. That said, for people mainly interested in the tablet functionality and who don’t necessarily need to use desktop Windows apps, I’d suggest getting an Android tablet instead. Or waiting until Windows 8.1 matures.

  • Claudia

    Sure, Sydney. In fact, I still have the cover that the EeePC 701 originally came with so I can see if it fits the T100 when it arrives.

    • Claudia

      Hi Sydney,

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, but I just got my T100 (it was on backorder, but I’m not complaining since I managed to snag the 64GB version for only $349). The T100 is bigger than the EeePC 701, so cases for the latter will NOT fit the former. That said, there’s a ton of cases out there for 10″ netbooks — Case Logic, Belkin, AmazonBasics are just a handful of the vendors that make sleeves and bags for 10″ netbooks.

      Over the years I’ve owned a variety of 10″ netbooks, so I found that I already have quite a selection of covers I can use for my new T100.

      I’ll take some photos in a couple of days, but so far my impression of the T100 is very positive.

      • Sydney

        Ahh, thanks Claudia. My T100 also arrived and I was able to get a cover off eBay that just fits, although very snugly. I also had a few issues with it not starting and locking up, so had to start from scratch. Thought I had to return it but finally was able to get it working after accessing the bios. Hope yours is running smoothly.

        • Claudia

          Hi Sydney,

          I’m glad you got yours working! I’m happy to report — touch wood — no problems so far. There were some early reports about quality control issues regarding the keyboard, the trackpad and software but everything seems to work A-OK on mine. They do recommend letting the T100 charge for eight full hours before booting up for the first time and I did this to be on the safe side. (Apparently, some people didn’t and ran into problems as a result. You were smart to start from scratch when you ran into problems, because that seems to do the trick for most people.)

          After booting up the first time, I was prompted to download updates, including BIOS firmware version 220.

          The one issue I do find is that the battery “leaks” — that is to say, it was at 76% when I went to bed and it was 70% in the morning. Not a big deal, just a slight irritation that I hope Asus will address soon. It charges very slowly, but here’s some advice to speed things up: http://tinyurl.com/ma2ohx9

          That said, the battery life is so awesome that I don’t anticipate having to charge during the day anyway so it doesn’t bother me if it takes all night to recharge.

          You’ve probably already discovered the TransformerForums, which have a section dedicated to the T100. Some good info there.

          So, are you pleased with your T100? Any tips to share?

  • Ralph

    Did you have to install anything on the T100 to get it to work? Like drivers from Intel or other software?

    I own a T100 and previously thought WiDi was not supported. I’m going to pick up a WiDi receiver after work and try it out.

    • Ralph

      I was able to confirm that WiDi on the T100 works last night. I did not have to install anything on the T100.

      I was able to watch an hour worth of video on the TV with little issues. There is a tiny delay (like 0.5 sec) between the T100 and the TV but that is something I expect over wireless. The audio and video matched on the TV though so it wasn’t an issue for watching videos. I probably would not use it to play games with the TV acting as the primary display.

  • Pete Oliva

    I will say that I have, in fact, replaced my Asus 15.6″ laptop with this. This is a fine device all around. The only negative point I can really stress is the touchpad, but when using this with a keyboard I always use it with a USB wireless mouse anyway.

    I’ve very rarely felt processing speed to be an issue here. Bay Trail is truly excellent. It’s only 1.33Ghz, but the fact that it’s quad core really helps out here, I think.

    As a tablet, it’s even better. This thing goes a good 11-12 hours easily for me in tablet mode. I think when connected to the dock it drains a little more power. I always end up with somewhere in between 9-10 hours.

  • BC

    Can someone do more WiDi testing on the Asus T100 and let us know how well it works (e.g. respond time when playing a game etc.)

    • I will be testing WiDi with other Baytrail tablets soon and will report.

  • Jon

    I got the t100ha and it takes super long to charge. When I’m playing light gaming the battery just drains mean while its charging so it has to be off t charge… Can anyone help?

Recommended Reading