Asus Transformer T100 Chi Launches Ahead of Surface 3

The ASUS Transformer T100 Chi will be available in Singapore next week (15 April onwards) at $599. Following last week’s announcement of the Microsoft Surface 3 which will be available in May 15, I had forgotten about the other tablet / laptop combos in the 10″ category. It looks to be a gross oversight as the Asus Transformer T100 Chi looks like the more compelling choice.

The ASUS Transformer T100 Chi is the smaller sibling to the Transformer T300 Chi which was released in Singapore earlier last month. I hope to cover that in a review soon. It sports similar design elements, such as the neodymium magnetic hinge, chamfered diamond edges, and a chic all-aluminium unibody.

This is a tablet / laptop combo, and at 7.2 mm in tablet mode, it is one of the thinnest in the market. When docked with the provided keyboard, you can consider the Asus T100 Chi to be similar to other ultraportable laptop. When docked, it is still slim at only 12.7mm. Battery life is excellent at an estimated 11 hours.

The internals for the Asus Transformer T100 Chi is a little underwhelming, powered by an Intel® Bay Trail-T Z3775 quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. It runs full Windows, so it can handle all your typical Windows applications, just don’t think about gaming on it and you would be fine. From the tablet perspective, the 10.1″ full HD display and dual side-mounted stereo speakers would offer an excellent media consumption experience. There’s also an Array microphone which enhances voice clarity by eliminating surrounding noise for your Skype and video conferencing needs.

Pricing and Availability Details for ASUS Transformer Book T100 Chi

The Transformer Book T100 Chi is available from 15th April onwards at $599 from all ASUS authorised dealers and resellers.

ASUS Transformer Book T100 Chi Vs Microsoft Surface 3

As mentioned earlier, the other recently launched 10″ tablet / laptop combo is the Microsoft Surface 3. These 2 are rather similar in many ways so here’s a quick comparison between the two.

Specs T100 Chi Surface 3
Processor Intel Z3775 Intel Z8700
Ram 2gb 2gb | 4gb
Thickness 7.2mm 8.7mm
Dimensions 265mm x 174.5mm 267mm x 187mm
Screen 10.1″ 1920 x 1200 10.8″ 1920 x 1280
Weight 570g 622g
Storage 64gb 64gb
Connectivity HDMI (Micro), MicroSD, micro-USB, micro-USB 3.0 Mini Display Port, micro SD, micro USB, USB 3.0
Price From $599 From $748

In terms of specs, the T100 Chi is quite competitive with the reduced thickness and weight. While the Surface 3 sports a newer processor, the difference is really more marginal. The Z3770 base clock speed is lower at 1467 MHz compared to the Z8700 1600 MHz. It does have a slightly faster graphics core. Full comparison over at CPU World. More importantly, the bigger screen and smaller bezels on the Surface 3 make for more pleasing aesthetics. I also do prefer the connectivity options on the Surface 3. A full-sized USB port is always more convenient compared to the micro alternative. Specifications-aside, other considerations from the Microsoft camp would be the Surface unique kick stand as well as the compatibility with the Surface Pen (additional purchase required). On that same vein, the Microsoft Surface 3 pricing at $748 does NOT include the keyboard.

Sean

Sean is a tech geek and star wars fan. He loves playing with new gadgets, writing little code snippets in Python, JS, and dabbling with Android programming from time to time, while keeping a lookout for the next biggest happening in the world of tech!

5 thoughts on “Asus Transformer T100 Chi Launches Ahead of Surface 3

  1. So which one are you getting? ;-)

    One benefit of the Asus is the ability to flip the tablet backward and just use the keyboard as a stand or use the device in “tent mode”. This is good when you are doing single-person presentations with the touch screen and want to get the keyboard out of the way.

    Surface 3 has a stronger point in its kickstand, which allows the screen to lean back further. This might come in better when typing on your lap. It might give you better visibility of your screen.

    I think one big deficiency in both models is the lack of mobile connectivity (in the form a 3G/4G/LTE SIM card slot). This is when an iPad or Android tablet comes in much more handy to shoot off short email responses.

    Using a mobile hotspot isn’t necessarily a good solution when using Outlook 2013, as it tends to simply download all available email without regard to how much data it is consuming on your mobile plan.

    For this, it is much better to use an email app built for mobile usage (like the iOS Mail app or Android GMail app, or even the Outlook app for iOS or Android.)

    For now, I am getting by with my Asus VivoTab Smart ME400 (wifi-only) with Asus Transboard and my iPad with Lenovo S6000 keyboard. (The latter combination in particular is getting a lot of use this week.)

    1. No money to get either :)

      Thanks for your good points Stephen, always appreciated! Like that your points are always well thought through such as the note on the lack of mobile connectivity and the flaws of tethering. The scenario you described where Outlook 2013 burned through my data happened to me two days ago! I think Windows as an OS isn’t designed to be conservative on data usage.

      If I am not wrong, the Surface 3 has an LTE model which might be coming to SG in the later months.

      The Asus ability to use in tent mode or foldover mode is ok if you use it on a table, but otherwise it can be rather heavy, say in your lap. The kickstand is one of the best things about the Surface line. I am reviewing the T300 Chi now. The 16:9 form factor is rather hard to use in tablet, portrait mode.

      Good to see you using your iPad and Lenovo S6000 combo more! Is it because of the iOS generally more user friendly eco system?

      1. Hi Sean,

        Thanks for your comments.

        I have been checking out the Surface 3, and it is looking good. Though have to say that after you add the keyboard and pen, it sure ain’t cheap … and most likely would prefer to start off with the 4GB RAM / 128GB SSD option if I want a decent second mobile office productivity machine / travel companion.

        Unfortunately, it does not appear that the LTE version of Surface 3 is making its way to SG anytime soon, so will have to rely on wifi / mifi hotspots, and be wary about using Outlook 2013 on the move.

        However, as a OneNote machine, I think the Surface 3 is just right. The Atom processor is more than capable of keeping up, and it seems better designed for that application than its cheaper peers are.

        One great advantage of OneNote vs. Evernote is that you don’t have to subscribe to a package in order to have your notes available to you when you are offline (say working while flying in a plane).

        And OneNote seems to offer a wider set of fonts and text formatting options (sort of like Word Basic).

        The good part of Evernote is that it is better designed for iOS, and so I tend to use it more often, with the possibility that I might later transfer the notes to OneNote and reformat it properly.

        1. For the Surface 3, once you start consiering the 4GB / 128 SSD option, it might be time to consider switching to the Surface Pro 3 instead, just saying :)

          Thanks for sharing on Onenote vs Evernote. You are right, the ability to sync offline is an extremely handy feature. It’s a pity that Evernote charges it as a premium feature. Especially when there’s no LTE on your tablet or as you point out, when travelling overseas.

          Onenote has quite good sharing features, and with Microsoft bundling it free, and offering desktop / web integration, I find myself using it more often.

          1. Yeah … Surface 3 w/ 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD, might as well buy an Asus T100 Chi and bulk it up with an additional microSD card.

            They’re both great as travel notebooks with more than decent horsepower, though for a carry everywhere Windows tablet, I am thinking of the Lenovo Miix 3 8-inch, which is probably as portable and lightweight as it gets, and has a very usable 4:3 form factor.

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