Transformer Book is a well-known series of tablets from Asus whose functionality can be extended by connecting a keyboard dock which is included in the basic package. Basically it is a 2-in-1 convertible which functions both as tablet and as a mini-laptop, feat that can prove useful in numerous situations.
Asus Transformer Book T100TA was one of the most famous gadgets of the kind and enjoyed great popularity among users so it is no surprise that it got a follow-up.
On its full name Asus Transformer Book T200TA, this successor comes with similar hardware components yet it uses a larger screen in order to increase functionality, which allowed for improvements at the docking station functionality. We have played with such a convertible in the past couple of weeks and in this review we will explain the advantages and the small downsides so that you could decide whether it is worth investing in this kind of product.
What is Asus Transformer Book T200TA?
Asus Transformer Book T200TA is a 2-in-1 convertible that can be used as an 11.6 ” tablet and as a mini-laptop with the aid of a docking-station that includes a keyboard, a trackpad, ports and possibly a storage device.
The new Asus product retains much of the design philosophy of its predecessor and has a solid construction for the price segment it belongs to. The finishing touches are of high quality and the tablet is robust, while the sides and back are made of a textured plastic which provides a good grip. Not surprisingly, the plastic is the material used for the docking-station as well. Inside it is silver, while at the rear Asus has opted for a black and a little rougher material.
The slight increase of the screen’s size allowed implementing a keyboard of more fitting dimensions with well-spaced keys and good quality touch feedback. Furthermore, the trackpad is spacious, it supports gestures and it has good accuracy, besides offering a generous sized palm rest.
The docking station benefits from a LAN port and from USB 2.0 and 3.0 ones, while inside there is a 500 GB HDD. It is worth mentioning that Asus will offer more than one version for the docking station, with or without the additional HDD. If you choose a version that lacks the HDD feature there is the possibility of adding one or even an SDD as the 2.5” bay is easily accessible by loosening a screw. Attaching the docking station to the tablet is straightforward and the hinge is strong enough to keep the screen at the desired angle.
You should still keep in mind that the screen is not perfectly attached to the hinge and it can be moved from its place from the docking station should you choose to use touch gestures over the keyboard and the trackpad. Asus chose to place all the ports on the left-hand side of the tablet and of the docking station, a positive element as it leaves the right side of the gadget completely free when you are using the device as a mini-laptop.
The IPS screen of the T200TA has an 11.6” diagonal and a resolution of 1366×768 pixels. Even though some users may be unsatisfied by the pixel density we consider it is fairly good for an 11.6” screen. The quality of the screen itself is good as it gives uniform brightness, good viewing angles and decent contrasts for this price segment.
Screen performances were tested with a Data Color Spyder4 Elite colorimeter, which showed that the screen covers 72% of the RGB standard and 55% of the Adobe RGB standard. The complete results are: maximum luminosity in the centre of the screen of 254 cd/m2 when it is plugged in and 211 cd/m2 on batteries; maximum luminosity contrast of 630:1; black at maximum luminosity of 0.40 cd/m2.
As its predecessor, Asus Transformer Book T200TA relies on an Intel Atom BayTrail-T chipset with an Intel Atom Z3775 processor tuned at 1.46 GHz, IntelHD graphics, 2 GB RAM and a 64 GB SSD for data storage.
About 34 GB remain available for use, the rest are taken up by Windows 8.1. In terms of performance the Asus tablet handles day-to-day tasks well. The user can enjoy good quality browsing, chat with friends by the medium of messaging apps, edit texts or listen to music. Moreover you can even try the games Microsoft Store has made available for touchscreens.
Also T200TA is capable of playing Full-HD movies even in MKV format and YouTube videos as well, especially because the Wi-Fi mode the tablet includes is really efficient and does not fail. The multimedia experience is improved by the integrated speakers which offer a high level of volume and an accurate sound representation.
Asus Transformer Book T200TA does not heat and neither does it make any noise, with the occasional exception of the HDD included in the docking station. This aspect is not surprising at all, as the device has no ventilation systems. Furthermore, the photo camera is decent but do not expect premium quality photos.
T200TA uses a 37 Wh accumulator which offers 8 hours of autonomy under normal usage conditions with the Wi-Fi connected and the brightness set at 50%. These results have been obtained with the docking station permanently attached and this does not include a battery of its own and the HDD consumes power for its own as well. T200’s autonomy can reach up to 11 hours on idle mode, but it can also go down to 5 hours if overused and set for higher luminosity. Complete charge of the accumulator is reached in about 2.5-3 hours.
Asus T200TA’s issues
Let us talk a bit about the things that are not completely good at the product. Even though we have appreciated the slight increase of the screen to 11.6”, the frame around it is very thick and contributes to the larger size of the tablet, but also to its weight (which is 780 grams), which is significantly larger than its 10” related similar ones. As a result you will feel the impact of its weight especially when using T200 as a tablet.
Furthermore, when the dock is connected it reaches 1625 grams, heavier than even some laptops with the same diagonal. Therefore the gadget’s portability is placed on a secondary plan.
Another issue is the strong light reflection on the screen, which can prove problematic if the weather is sunny or very bright. Intel Atom is a platform designed for power-saving, so it is not capable to perform some tasks.
This is why user experience becomes a little less pleasant especially if you are multitasking with a larger number of apps or if you are simultaneously running complex tasks. Though decent, the sound system has a problem: if the volume is too high the tablet tends to vibrate, an unpleasant element when used in this mode, without connecting it to the docking station.
Asus Transformer Book T200TA versus others
The tablet-laptop convertibles segment is one quite popular yet there are few direct competitors for the new Asus Transformer Book T200TA because there are little to none devices on the market with such an attractive price (starting from 400 euros – 550 USD).
Potential buyers could also take a look at Transformer Book T100TA which has the same hardware platform but in a more compact format and a slightly smaller price or at Transformer Book T300, which offers a 13.3” screen and a premium design but which costs about 1000 euros. Another mention-worthy alternative is the Dell Venue Pro 11.
All in all, we believe that Transformer Book T200TA is fit for regular users from a quality-price relation’s point of view.
As a conclusion
For the price it has, Transformer Book T200TA offers a decent screen, a hardware platform which is powerful enough for day-to-day use, good autonomy and a docking station with a good quality keyboard and a round number of ports.
Its size and weight might displease some potential buyers as might the inherent limitations of the Intel BayTrail-T platform but all in all the T200TA is a good quality 2-in-1 convertible with a fair price, reason enough for us to recommend having a look at it when it appears in shops and if it is convincing enough do not hesitate to buy it.
This gadget’s strengths are among others: The fine screen, pleasant daily user experience, good autonomy and a competitive price. Asus T200TA’s main issues are its weight and large case, as the limited performances in complex applications.