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Asus Transformer book T200 Hybrid review – 05/01/15

Asus Transformer book T200 Hybrid review – 05/01/15

As the second semester came around for a student studying computer technology, it was necessary for me to find a laptop to use at school. I guess I will begin by explaining how I decided which laptop to get.

Decision making

I needed something portable. My Nexus 7 is very portable and I bring it with me everywhere. It was perfect for content reading, streaming videos, and the occasional games. I could easily type up documents and share files through Google Drive, but it was obvious that I was unable to do some HTML programming easily without a solid keyboard. I had to find a device that would allow me to be more productive with school work.

The HP Stream 7 came to mind with the low $100 price tag. However, the 1GB of RAM was very displeasing to think about. The mediocre screen and super small form factor for a windows tablet was a point of interest, but it ultimately turned me away. I needed something bigger.

“The Surface!”, I thought. It had a beautiful display, solid construction… and hefty price tag. The Surface was simply too expensive. I was aiming towards a sub 400 dollar solution: the lower, the better.

Dell Inspiron? No, I wanted something with an SSD. Laptops without an SSD were sluggish. I went through the pain of waiting for chrome to open up on many devices and once I went SSD, I can’t go back. 32GB? Too little. 64GB? A bit better.

The T200 caught my eye. It seemed to put checkmarks in every requirement I suggested. 32GB of SSD, 500GB hard drive, a detachable keyboard, touchscreen, and a super low price? It seemed so perfect for what I needed it for. I had to get this model. Not the 64GB model, not the 32. This model was perfect.

 

The Order

It had everything I needed. Full Windows 8 and a very eye catching keyboard just sucked me in. The SSD had the OS installed, while the hard drive was built into the keyboard. The battery life was reported to be amazing by many tech review sites, and after endless hours of YouTube videos and spec reading, I was ready to place the order. The model retails for $575 on Newegg. And that is where I ordered it from. The amazing thing is, I got it for $399 (plus tax) with free shipping and a free 13000mAH battery bank – a solid deal in my opinion.

The laptop

The point of this review is to share my experience with others who are planning on purchasing the same laptop. I was able to find many reviews for the previous generation of the Transformer book (T100), but had difficulty finding one for the T200. I have had this hybrid for about a month now and have used it extensively enough to give my own opinion.150105-IMG_20150105_160148629_HDR

The Body

It is the first thing you see once you open the creatively designed box. A textured blue shell greets you with its premium feel, while the attached keyboard suddenly attacks your eyes. The body is thick. It feels fat. It weighs a lot for its form factor. But it was quickly forgiven once I opened the lid and turned it on. The construction of the tablet portion was pure plastic. Its low cost material was forgotten after feeling the keyboard. The silver reminds you of aluminum, but is sadly constructed with plastic. I was decently fooled though. The plastic, didn’t feel like plastic.

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Here are my thoughts. The back panel of the tablet portion attracts oil. It doesn’t attract finger prints, it attracts oil. Semi dry hands were able to mark the back and make the hybrid look dirty. The screen is obviously going to be filled with more fingerprints since it’s a touchscreen, but having it connected to the keyboard made me forget that it was a detachable tablet.

The keyboard

The keyboard is definitely a positive thing to talk about. A full sized keyboard (without a number pad) made typing easy. I am glad I went with this 11.6” T200 compared to the 10” T100. The keys are spacious and easy to type super fast. Response is near perfect as there is a small chance for latency of registering keystrokes. It isn’t bad at all. The touchpad is decent. It is usable. The only complaint I have is the left and right click. Sometimes it wouldn’t register at all. If you click too far right, the right click won’t register. Same goes for the left click. Clicking near the center just ignores they key press.

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Ports and input

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This hybrid has 2 USB ports in the keyboard add on: one USB 3.0, one USB 2.0. It also has USB OTG on the tablet portion (I’m not really sure as to why it’s there, but it works) it has a micro HDMI port so you can connect an external monitor or an HDTV. I am surprised it has a RJ45 port, however it only operates at 10/100Mbps. No gigabit is supported.

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The tablet portion has a micro SD card (although I would’ve preferred a full sized SD slot, but it is better than nothing), as well as an audio jack. Below the 3.5mm audio jack, it has an AC jack for charging. I think this is an improvement over the T100 as it used microUSB to charge. According to online sources, it was noted that charging over microUSB took a long time. I am glad they added in a proprietary charger for faster charging on this model. Oh and this thing has two cameras: a 2MP for the front and a 5MP on the back. Odd configuration, but I would have preferred the reverse

Performance

The eMMC SSD increases responsiveness of the laptop by a lot. An SSD paired with a lower end CPU makes up for the speed loss and is very pleasant to have. The SSD is slow compared to full desktop SSDs, but you can’t really complain because it really is better than a conventional hard drive. The CPU in this particular T200 is the Intel Atom Z3775. I was very iffy on the performance I would get out of the Atom line, but Intel really did show massive improvements in the product. It was able to play Left for dead 2 at a painstaking 20-25 FPS. This laptop hybrid 2-in-1 is by no means a gaming machine. You will be able to play simple internet browser games like tetris friends.

 

How did I like it? It was good for what I intended on using it for. Word processing is a no brainer. Watching YouTube videos was a tad slower than on a desktop, but it was able to stream 1080p movies and videos without a hiccup. An important thing that should be noted is when the battery dips to 10%, performance drops significantly. Pages take longer to load and video begins to stutter. This effectively puts your battery life to a good 7-8 hours.

The speakers on this thing are loud. Real loud. It was very surprising to have such punchy speakers on a small form factor. The only issue is that it may be a little too loud. Highs start to crack a bit but other than that, I am really satisfied by the volume output.

The Ethernet port is nice to have, and offers full speeds to my internet connection. However, the Wifi portion seems to be a little lacking. On my nexus 7, I was able to get 70-90mbps on the 5GHz frequency. On the transformer, I was only able to get a measly 30mbps. I had to do some tweaking to get a solid 65mbps.

That said, it is very important to note that the 500GB hard drive is running off the USB lanes – NOT through SATA. You can still get pretty good throughput on the hard drive.

Battery Life

Battery life is superb on this thing. I can use it semi heavily and can get around 8 hours of battery life (screen 75% brightness). The only issue with the battery life is when the laptop “sleeps”. It wakes up 5 minutes after it is set to sleep and the hard drive continues to spin. This eats the battery percentage at a pretty steady rate. This problem goes away when you eject the keyboard before putting it to sleep; an annoying issue regardless.

The hinge that connects the keyboard and tablet together is very solid. There is no way it’ll come out if connected properly (a three year old could do it). The bad thing about it is that the tablet can wobble back and forth. It doesn’t wobble a lot, but it just does.

Conclusion

I think this tablet hybrid combo is a solid choice for those who don’t want to spend a lot for a portable speedy laptop. Why would I choose this over the Acer equivalent? Warranty. It has a one year accidental warranty and I think that is a winning factor. It runs everything you bought it for, and has an appropriate amount of features to go with it.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 17:38:52. Republished by Blog Post Promoter


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