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Asus Transformer Book Chi T100 review

Michael Passingham
11 Jun 2015
Asus Transformer Book Chi T100 header
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
400
inc VAT

The successor to one of our favourite tablet hybrids fails to keep its crown with an increased price and some questionable design decisions

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 1.46GHz Intel Atom Z3775, Screen size: 10.1in, Screen resolution: 1,920x1,200, Rear camera: 5 megapixels, Storage: 64GB, Wireless data: None, Size: 265x175x14.8mm, Weight: 1.1kg, Operating system: Windows 8.1

The Asus Transformer Book T100 was one of the best-value and most attractive laptop/tablet hybrids we saw last year. However, things have moved on since then and Asus' latest Transformer Book Chi T100 has introduced a string of new changes to try and help it keep up with the latest rivals, such as the Microsoft Surface 3. However, we feel not all the changes have been successful, and it's these questionable updates that sadly unseat the new T100 from its throne.

The 10.1in Transformer Book Chi T100 uses the same basic design as the old model, with the tablet section of the device easily detachable from the keyboard base. However, although the old T100 connected to its keyboard through physical ports, the Chi dumps these connectors in favour of Bluetooth pairing.

Asus Transformer Book Chi T100 side on with keyboard

At first, this seems like a sensible step. The keyboard base has a toggle switch that turns it on, off and into discoverable mode so you can pair it with other devices. The prongs that hook it into the tablet have no electronic components and are instead purely magnetic. This means the tablet portion is firmly connected to the keyboard base and can be detached by simply pulling the tablet away without any need for a release button.

This works well, but the lack of a physical connection is a strange feature that might cause annoyance. Most notably, the keyboard charges separately from the tablet, which means when it eventually runs low, you'll need to use a Micro USB charger to ensure you can carry on using the device effectively. The second problem, which is admittedly more niche, is that if you're stickler to in-flight safety rules on some airlines, you won't be able to use the keyboard at all since it requires a Bluetooth connection at all times.

There are other design decisions that affect practicality, including the loss of the full-size USB connector on the keyboard base. Instead, your only USB host connection comes in the form of a USB3 Micro-B connector, and there's no adaptor in the box. This means you'll struggle to connect more than one wired peripheral to your Transformer Book Chi T100 at the same time. It's a shame this connector has been removed as it only makes the new device slightly slimmer than the old one - 22mm compared to 24mm.

Asus Transformer Book Chi T100 with screen all the way back

Aside from the impractical USB connector, you also get a 3.5mm headset jack, a Micro HDMI port and a microSD card slot, all on the tablet unit. All is not lost if you want to use a proper mouse with your tablet when you're at a desk, but it'll have to be a more expensive, battery-powered Bluetooth unit instead of a conventional wired mouse. If you want to get work done, though, the small keyboard feels a bit cheap and isn't brilliant for long periods of typing.

Asus Transformer Book Chi T100 tablet and stylus

The tablet weighs 571g by itself, making it lighter than the Surface 3, but the keyboard adds another 536g to the overall weight for a total over a kilogram. This makes the Transformer Book Chi feel pretty hefty by comparison when you're carrying it around in your bag. Still, as a tablet, it's perfectly usable, and the included Bluetooth stylus is a big help when it comes to precision tasks.

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