ASUS Transformer Book Lineup Bolstered With T100HA and TP200SA Modelsby Brett Howse on September 22, 2015 9:00 AM EST
ASUS has been quite successful at trying to carve out a place in the tech sector by packing more into their lineup than the competitors. We saw that clearly with the ASUS Zenbook UX305 Notebook, which offers much more storage and RAM than pretty much any other notebook in its price range, and doesn’t skimp on the form factor either. In the smartphone space, they also offer an impressive 4 GB of memory and 64 GB of storage in the ASUS ZenFone 2, and at a price that is pretty impressive. Back in 2013, Anand took a look at the ASUS Transformer Book lineup with the original T100. It was not perfect, but it certainly set a new bar for what to expect for what used to be netbook level pricing.
Today ASUS is at it again. The T100HA is the next generation of the original Transformer Book, and this time comes with Intel’s Atom x5, with the detachable keyboard that defines the T100 series. The TP200SA is a convertible notebook with a 360° hinge allowing it to be used as a tablet as well.
|ASUS Transformer Book|
|Processor||Intel Atom x5-Z8500
1.44-2.24 GHz quad-core 14nm
|Intel Celeron N3050
1.6-2.16 GHz dual-core 14nm
4W SDP 6W TDP
|GPU||Intel HD Graphics Gen 8|
|Display||10.1" 1280x800 IPS with touch||11.6" 1366x768 IPS with touch|
|Storage||64 GB eMMC|
|I/O||1 x micro USB
1 x micro HDMI
1 x micro SD
1 x Type-C USB 3.0
Keyboard Dock 1 x USB 2.0
|1 x micro HDMI
1 x micro SD
1 x Type-C USB 3.0
1 x USB 2.0
1 x USB 3.0
|Dimensions||(mm) : 265 x 175 x 8.38 plus 7.11-9.91 for dock
(inches) : 10.43" x 6.89" x 0.33" plus 0.28-0.39 for dock
|(mm) : 297 x 201 x 18.54
(inches) : 11.68" x 7.93" x 0.73"
|Weight||Tablet: 580 g / 1.28 lbs
Dock: 471 g / 1.04 lbs
|1.20 kg / 2.65 lbs|
|Battery||Up to 12 hours||Up to 8 hours|
The T100HA moves to Intel’s Cherry Trail Atom lineup which is the new 14 nm version of Atom. We first saw the x7 version of this in the Microsoft Surface 3, and ASUS is going with the quad-core x5-Z8500 model. The four cores have a base frequency of 1.44 GHz and a burst frequency of 2.24 GHz. The Scenario Design Power of this SoC is slightly lower than its x7 brother at just two watts. Graphics are Intel’s Gen 8 graphics with 12 execution units, and a frequency range of 200 to 600 MHz. This should be a pretty nice bump in performance over the outgoing Bay Trail model, and the 14 nm Atom should also increase battery life. ASUS claims that T100 can now get up to 12 hours on a single charge.
The tablet features an IPS display, and here it drops a bit of resolution over the old model but it also moves from a 16:9 to 16:10 aspect ratio, with the new model featuring a 1280x800 resolution. ASUS has also redesigned the keyboard dock, and the tablet now locks in with the help of neodymium magnets.
But I think where ASUS shows its strengths is the available storage and RAM, with the new model offering 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of eMMC storage as the only option. For the price of $299, the 10.1-inch tablet offers quite a bit of versatility and performance, and as is always the case with the Transformer Book lineup, the price also includes the detachable keyboard. Impressive stuff. The 1.28 lb tablet also features micro USB, micro HDMI, micro SD, and a USB Type-C port, albeit with just USB 3.0 speeds available, along with another USB 2.0 port on the keyboard dock.
For those that would prefer a more traditional notebook, ASUS offers the Transformer Book Flip T200SA. At 11.6 inches, it’s certainly a small notebook, but it also packs a lot in for a low cost notebook. The display is an IPS panel as well, which needs to be called out only because notebooks in this price range generally still ship with TN panels. The TP200SA features Intel’s Braswell SoC, with the Celeron N3050. This is also based on the same Airmont cores as Cherry Trail, but in this case it is just two cores, from 1.6 to 2.16 GHz, but with a TDP up to 6 watts which should let the two cores stretch their legs. The graphics is also Intel Gen 8 with 12 EUs and 320-600 MHz available. Once again, ASUS is outfitting this model with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage, which is a nice baseline offering to have. The 2.65 lb notebook also features micro HDMI, Micro SD, USB Type-C 3.0, and two full sized USB ports with one at 2.0 speeds and another at 3.0 speeds. The notebook will come in a dark blue color scheme and will be sold for $349.
We’ve seen some pretty impressive low cost offerings in the last while, but ASUS has stepped up their game and are outfitting these models with enough storage and RAM to not make them feel overly strained. 32 GB on Windows 10 is doable, but space management becomes an issue fairly quickly despite the changes to how the OS uses that space. Even low cost tablets generally come with IPS panels, including the outgoing T100 model, but the TP200SA being outfitted with IPS at this price is very nice to see.
ASUS will begin selling both models later in the month.
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Thrawn - Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - linkSo very close to perfect for the price category. Plenty close enough that I am considering getting one even through I already have a first generation 64GB T100 that works great. The fact that the first T100 charges from standard USB port is one of the best features in practice because everywhere has USB ports/chargers now.
All it needs to make it perfect for the price is if they put a second type-c port on the other side so you can charge from either side. That way instead of having a cable wrap around the device when you have to charge at the same time you use it, you could always have it on the correct side no matter where you sit relative to your charger.
Hrel - Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - linkDude, buy a longer chord.
[-Stash-] - Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - linkDude, learn to spell.
a group of (typically three or more) notes sounded together, as a basis of harmony.
What an unhelpful comment. I personally agree with Thrawn. As we start moving into the USB-C charging era, it would be great to be able to charge devices from either side. It's not so much a matter of "wah my cord isn't long enough" as not putting undue stress on ports, connectors and cables. Also, you don't really want the charging cable in the same side that you might use a mouse, and there are both right and left handed people in the world…
fokka - Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - linkabsolutely agree.
stephenbrooks - Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - linkI'm going to consider that. The chord that chomes with the T100TA by default is barely over a metre long, making it a pain in the arse to charge sometimes. It's just a USB-to-micro-USB.
azazel1024 - Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - linkConsidering the T100 Chi and the older T100, it would be nice if they offered a model with a 1200p display and the x7 cherry trail processor in the $399 price range. If they can do 800p and x5 for $299, I'd imagine a nicer panel and nicer processor wouldn't cost Asus $100 in BOM. Till then, no thank you.
[-Stash-] - Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - linkI think it's a great machine for the money, but I also agree that it would be nice to have a step up as you suggest (x7, 128GB, 1200p screen) for an additional $100 and then even a Core-M, 256GB, 8GB RAM, 1440p screen for another $100-$200 on top of that.
lilmoe - Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - linkIf that's what you want, Lenovo's got you covered with the Yoga 3 11" for the exact specs you mentioned. They also are running a discount to match the price you want as well.
This isn't the point of these tablets. It's all about the ~$300 price range. For that, these device are quite good.
azazel1024 - Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - linkOh, I agree. I think it is great value for the money. Just personally having the original T100, a downgrade in screen resolution (might be better or worse quality, but I have no serious complaints about the 768p display on my T100), I realize it is 16:10, but 1280x800 is slightly lower density than 1366x768 16:9. The x5 also isn't a MASSIVE jump in CPU performance over the z3740 in my T100 (a fair jump), though the GPU performance jump should be very substantial. The 4GB of storage is nice. The longer battery life is also nice. I'll certainly take a look at it, but more of a "hmmm, maybe if the price drops to $250 in a few months if there isn't a higher end option available".
It would also be nice to try it out to see the screen quality, the pixel density change isn't much (10% less) and the other improved bits would be nice. Reading a more detailed hands on review of the new model, it looks like the panel quality itself is pretty good with 83% sRGB coverage, great viewing angles and good color calibration (a bit cool) from the factory, which I think beats what is in my T100 some (IIRC in the 70's range on sRGB coverage, though viewing angles are excellent).
One of my concerns though is that review also mentioned an 802.11n Broadcom Wifi solution. The 802.11n Broadcom SDIO adapter in my current T100 sucks horribly. I half expect it is the same adapter and even if not, it is a 1:1 11n adapter. Those need to die horribly. A minimum for a current tablet, even a budget one, should be a 1:1 802.11ac adapter and 2:2 would be better.
So I am interested and the price is very good, but just seems like too many compromises and I would much rather pay $100 more for the step up processor, a step up screen and a step up on the Wifi.
speculatrix - Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - linkyes, even a 1080p display would be a great option.