$299 vs £350
Shurely taking the piss even with VAT on the £?
The Asus Transformer Book T100 looks like it’s going to be surefire hit, but not because it runs a quad-core Intel "Bay Trail" Atom processor. And not because it’s a convertible taking on tablet form or becoming and touchscreen notebook in a snap. And not because it runs Windows 8.1 and not one of the original wishy-washy …
I found it unclear where the $299 claim comes from; the device is $408.60 on Amazon US (before sales tax) and £339.99 on Amazon UK (with VAT). Take the VAT off the UK price and you get £283.325 (sic). Convert that to dollars and you get $463.83.
So the pre-tax difference is that UK residents pay an extra $55.23 — about £34. Which is almost exactly 10% of the price, but nothing like as bad as $299 versus £350.
Since my youngest decided to throw a glass of juice over my ageing laptop I've been looking for something cheap, small, HDDiskless, with a long battery life. The only thing putting me off this at the moment would be the fact that I'd be paying extra for Office (which I already have a license for) and the pointless tablet "feature".
MS have given Office away free for 10" devices, so there's no reason to think this is any additional cost for ASUS, so probably doesn't affect the price.
I'm tempted to get one of these as a replacement for my aging netbook (though waiting for 64GB - why ASUS isn't this released yet in the UK?) - the tablet feature is a nice bonus, even if I purely use it as a netbook it's a nice upgrade. I love netbooks for being small, long battery life, and having a keyboard; this would give a better resolution, and a significant CPU/GPU upgrade.
It is a shame that it isn't possible to buy a pure netbook at a lower cost. This would also have advantages - one of the problems of tablet convertibles is that all the tech has to go in the tablet portion, making it top-heavy unless the keyboard is also weighted, but then that makes the overall device heavier. ASUS have done a fantastic job of making a full x86 tablet PC that's around 550g in weight, so even the total device with keyboard is just over 1kg (most tablet convertibles are around 1.4kg or more; 1kg though is slightly lighter than most netbooks were). But, imagine if they just did a straightforward netbook, which didn't have to carry dead weight in the keyboard, meaning potentially a netbook less than 1kg?
But given last years news of netbooks apparently being dead, I'll gladly take this.
"as a complete recharge can take about 8 hours... but it clocked up 6hrs 18mins on PCMark 8's arduous battery test,"
So that means the charger can't keep up with the discharge rate when you're really flogging it and assuming everything is perfect and accurate it will run out of juice from a fully charged state in about 30 hours when plugged in. Seems reasonable since it can sleep and recharge when I would but I'd prefer a proper charger regardless.
Unlikely, the T100 is one of the first with Bay Trail and certainly the first Transformer, I suspect you might be thinking of Clover Trail. Bay Trail is quad core as opposed to Clover's dual and significantly better in almost every way.
I think you've been wooshed. I'm assuming it was a popular culture reference to a movie series...
The 2GB RAM was the turn-off for me. If I'm basically going to be unable to use the desktop then I might as well buy an ordinary tablet — it'll pretty much certainly get me a much higher pixel density for the browsing, media consumption, etc, that you're pretty much limited to anyway.
And don't tell Microsoft, but other office suites are available. Including ports of OpenOffice for Android — install AndrOpen Office and you'll actually feel like you're using a Windows desktop application.
I know it's a big pain, the same is true of Dell's line up too, I'm buying from the UK only for the reason that Dell (not sure on Asus) do not do a global warrantly and sending it back to the States for replacment/ repair is just not on my agenda.
Expect discounts after Xmas though on all of 'em.
The first of these Bay Trail tabs are all limited to 2Gb and are not upgradeable. Intel introduced a new power state with Clover Trail called connected standby, this allows processes to run when the screen is off in a low power mode (such as streaming radio). In the 64bit version of Win 8.1 there is currently no support for it so it was decided to keep the ram at 2 gb until it is ready. It;'s expected Q1-2 2014 so the first 64bit 4gb tabs should start coming out around then.
Ok, now I'm confused. What does that mean for the Win 8.1 flavor that ships on the laptab? Do they ship with 64 bit Windows or 32 bit? Presumably the 4gb ram version won't be upgradeable either since it sounds like it's soldered on the board.
I've had one for about a week now and I'm impressed with the price to value ratio.
When I read that it had 10+ hours of browsing, I assumed that you would have to stay in the TIFKAM (Surface UI) browser, but I found that I got easily10 hours of general use; including a couple hours of playing Hearthstone.
I think a second usb port on the tablet would have been nice so that I could hook up a mouse without hooking up the keyboard. If I already had bluetooth mouse around, I might not feel the same ;)
If you like to tinker, you could probably hide some more memory in the keyboard by wiring it up to the usb port.
It supports 5 touch points, so I've been looking at gesture utilities that enable more than Windows does.
"And yet my biggest grumble has to be the trackpad for no other reason than presses for left- and right-click make such a noise I felt quite self-conscious about using it in the office."
My old Asus 1000 with the SSD was the same. Crack of doom every time I used the silver chrome mouse button round the trackpad. Must be an Asus 'feature'. I, too, resorted to use of a mouse within Russell group University libraries for fear of ostracism. Now, I lug a recycled Thinkpad.
No USB on the tablet bit is a shame (thinking of proper external keyboards)
Otherwise: something reasonable that weighs less than 600g and may run Linux. Nice.
32Gb of storage space! You can't be serious!. By the time you's put on a proper (Linux) OS, you'll have a machine with operating systems and no storage for much more than a couple of .avi files. With that you don't really need all that battery capacity. I've an Asus 1225, which replaces my lovely 1008HA, sadly running out of battery capacity, which has 100Gb allocated to Win7 and 167Gb allocated to Linux (Mageia). Manners might maketh man, but storage space makes a useable PC. And the 1225 only cost me £219. 32Gb, don't make me laugh.
On my OpenSUSE 13.1 workhorse that has everything and more installed:
eurgain@fuchsia:~> df -h
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sdb1 20G 12G 7.4G 61% /
On the machine I am typing this, with Mint 16 loaded with lots of C and Python development tools, full LibreOffice, Gimp, VueScan, DropBox, Emacs ...: plus lots of other stuff I don't really need:
eurgain@irma ~ $ df -h
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda5 13G 9.5G 2.6G 79% /
So, 32G sounds like plenty to me, so long as your data is somewhere else. A sensible person could install Mint and easily have 24G free, no problem, with a fully functional machine.
Also on this machine:
/dev/sda2 88G 60G 28G 69% /mnt/windows
This is a far less usable install of Win7 for emergencies. It is kept up-to-date, has a few applications (including MS Word 2010) and a few others installed, but it is really rather minimal. Goodness only knows what occupies these 60G!
So, IMO, 32G is a fine size for a very workable full-featured Linux installation! Just keep the files you need locally, and the rest remotely.
If someone can post about their successful installation of a mainstream Linux distro, then this machine will probably be on my immediate shopping list!
For a start your "proper" OS - Linux - doesn't have touch optimisation in either the office suites or browser (the most commonly used applications). Many seem to enjoy complaining about the Windows 8 user interface but the Start Screen, IE and Office 2013 are far better on a device with a touch screen than Gnome 3, Firefox and LibreOffice.
Secondly, consumption devices, like this tablet, tend toward cloud usage models. Like it or not cloud storage and streaming is where the industry is going. Just because it doesn't fit your usage pattern doesn't mean that current users of Android and iOS tablets won't find this a step-up. I'm buying one to replace an iPad.
"Sometimes its better to install your own favorite distro"
As pointed out already, this is all well and good, but maybe I don't want to send my money to Microsoft by purchasing a product I have no intention of using?
It only encourages them you know.
Then there is the worry that they have used some stupidly obscure hardware components that are unsupported by Linux (now). Anybody who has bought a Sony Vaio will know what I'm talking about here. I've seen Vaio's that you can't even upgrade the version of Windows on because of the stupid proprietary crap that Sony uses that they refuse to provide drivers for any version of Windows other than the one it originally shipped with.
Getting something preloaded with some sort of Linux at least gives you an indication that the installation of a distro of your choice has a good chance of succeeding.
Does anybody have any suggestions as to what one should buy when it comes time to replace one's portable computing device?
→ Must have a full QWERTY keyboard + pointing device.
→ Must have sufficient storage capacity, meaning >200 Gb.
→ Must have both wireless and Ethernet connectivity.
→ Must have enough grunt to do actual work with (e.g., run Eclipse, gcc, Postgres). Does not need to be amazing performance, that's what the stuff in the racks are for, but it has to be runnable.
→ Must be small. The smaller the better, as long as the keyboard is there and usable. Screen size is not a problem.
→ Needless to say, Linux is going into it.
→ Willing to pay premium prices for premium hardware (but not for brand or any bundled software).
→ Card reader and multiple USB ports are highly desired.
Asus netbooks used to be (still are, I'm writing this on one) ideal machines, but the IT press seem to have decided that netbooks are so 2012 and need to die a death. I do note that Asus still make what appears to be a great machine (Asus 1015E). Any feedback on that one or recommendations on what else is out there would be much appreciated.
Try PCSpeciaaliist.co.uk Then you can spec your machine however you want it and, best of all, if you don't want windows on it you don't have to pay the Windows Tax. I got my current laptop from them last summer and stuck Linux on it as a Development machine.
I've also bought one of these T100 netbooks and it is a stonking bit of kit for the money. It has the odd little rough edge (literally) though I had no issues installing and registering Office. It took about 30s. The screen is excellent, it is a really nice tablet and I can imagine it being very useful for whiling away time on planes and trains. However, it is also plenty powerful enough to get some light work done. I haven't suffered any slowdowns yet. Normally I would shy away from anything with less than 4GB of RAM and my main machine has 8GB but the T100 seems to cope without issue. Oh, and I've been using it on and off all day including streaming video across the network. The battery currently says 57% remaining at 8pm!
"The good news is that despite these notifications of apparent incompletion, you can use the Office apps. I’ve written this whole review on the T100 and have not found myself cursing the keyboard or the device in the process. "
I'm fairly certain the Home and Student version of Office is licensed for non-commercial use only, which would lead me to believe you can use it to write a letter to Grandma but not a paid-for article for publication.
2013 and still pretending MS Ofiice is the big bruiser you have to pay before doing anything.
Yes actually, if you use it, then it is. If you're running a whole business on Student edition, you'll find that out next time Microsoft's lawyers start trawling for cash again. A bit like various small computer builders who were getting nastygrams for daring to replace a broken motherboard without charging the customer for a new OEM Windows install.
They'll wait until there's enough of a pool of license violators out there to bother with, then batch-threaten them for maximum return per hour of lawyer fees. If you think that won't happen, please feel free to carry on using MS Office: Grab 'Em While They Are Young Edition.
There will be an Android version with a proper display for much less. Wait for that to buy something to put Ubuntu on, as people will be able to strip the drivers out of Android's Linux kernel. With Windows kit you never know if they didn't gum up the works with windows-only secret-api hardware that takes years to work around. They do that to spoil the soup on purpose, thinking it gives Linux a bad name.
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