iPad Air vs. Asus Transformer Book T100

I’ve been browsing for a laptop recently and the thought of replacing a laptop with a tablet has come to mind, since there are powerful devices out there which can do what a laptop can, if not more. If you think about it, you might find convertible devices that are perfectly suitable for laptop users. On the other hand, certain current gen tablets also offer you the functionality of laptops combined with the portability of a tablet. Two of these devices are Apple’s iPad Air and the Asus Transformer Book T100.

After a brief search on Best Buy and Amazon, I’ve found many powerful devices which would suit most of the needs of an average laptop user, including office capabilities, multimedia and gaming. Besides the iPad Air, there’s the iPad Mini and iPad Mini with Retina display, Lenovo Yoga tablets, Dell Venue 11 Pro, Amazon Kindle Fire HDX, Samsung Galaxy Tab S, Asus Vivotab Note 8 and the Acer Aspire Switch series. All of these tablets are among the best ones you can find, with some of them working as stand-alone tablets like the iPad Air, iPad Mini, Samsung Galaxy Tab S and others serving the purpose of hybrid or convertible devices like the Lenovo Yoga 2, Lenovo Yoga Pro 2, Aspire Switch 10 and 11 or the high-end Microsoft Surface Pro 2 and 3 editions.

In the current world of technology, advancements in tablet development have gone way beyond what we had expected and we already have gaming tablets like the Nvidia Shield tablet which can actually outdo some laptops and PCs. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that more and more people are gravitating away from laptops and notebooks and choosing their more portable versions like the iPad Air and Asus Transformer Book T100. The iPad Air is currently considered to be the best tablet out there, alongside the iPad Mini and iPad Mini 2 with Retina display. Nonetheless, the runner up might be the super affordable Asus Transformer Book T100.

Asus has quite a few convertible devices in the Transformer Book line, like the Transformer TF700 and Transformer Pad, both with good user reviews, but the Transformer Book T100 remains among the most affordable convertible tablets on the market. You can get for around or even under $400 from retail stores, which is an excellent price for a convertible tablet, considering that devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 can reach up to $1000 in price tags. The Asus Transformer Book T100 does have its shortcomings, though. For once, its design is not very impressive with a really glossy plastic back cover for the tablet and a matte plastic back cover for the keyboard you get in the complete package. The tablet itself weighs about 650 grams, but together with the keyboard it weighs just a little more than a kilo.

Nonetheless, it’s not an ugly device, but the iPad Air looks infinitely better. The iPad Air has an aluminium unibody far superior to the plastic chassis of the Asus Transformer Pad T100. The iPad Air got its name mostly because it’s only 500 grams and is a really thin tablet, at 7.5 mm. The Transformer Book T100 is 10 millimeters thick without a keyboard, and almost 24 millimeters with the keyboard attached. Overall, the iPad Air is a much more attractive device than the Asus Transformer Book T100.

Since tablets are designed for multi-purpose use including gaming, art, office and multimedia, both the iPad Air and Asus Transformer Book T100 are designed to be versatile and practical. You have a keyboard option for the iPad Air as well, but the keyboard that comes with the T100 is the better quality build, because it does double as a docking station, making the T100 a tad more versatile than the iPad Air. Nonetheless, the iPad Air offers the same features and about the same amount of power as the T100. The iPad Air runs on Apple’s iOS 8 currently (if you update), whilst the Asus T100 convertible runs Windows 8.1, fully convertible with all Windows desktop apps.

If you run iOS 8 on the iPad Air, you will be able to enjoy all the new features Apple has packed into the OS, launched just a few days ago. iOS 8 has improved functions, including third-party keyboard support, widgets and improved notification center, among others. Windows 8.1 has the advantage of being able to run desktop apps, which would be a desirable feature for those who are looking to switch from a Windows laptop to a convertible tablet like the ASUS Transformer T100. On the other hand, if you are upgrading from iOS 7 on the previous generation iPad or are looking to buy your first tablet, the iPad Air would suit you perfectly, as well, offering millions of apps and games.

In the matter of OS, both the iPad Air and the Transformer T100 offer great possibility so the choice remains yours, based on your preference and habits. Of course, there will always be people saying that one is better than another, but in my opinion, OS when it comes to these two tablets, depends entirely on preference, both operating systems being appropriately functional and practical.

The Retina display on the iPad Air is noticeably better than the 1,366*768 resolution on the Transformer Book T100, so if you’re looking for sharp and bright display, the iPad Air is superior to Asus’ convertible tablet. Nonetheless, the Transformer T100 isn’t the worst you can get and color reproduction isn’t bad, so if you’re keen on the convertible features, the display quality shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. On the other hand, if you are content with using a keyboard case or Bluetooth keyboard with the iPad Air, and would like to enjoy high resolution display on a thin-bezel device, the iPad Air should be your obvious choice. The Transformer T100 has a 10.8 inch screen, whilst the iPad Air sports a 9.7 inch display, so the Transformer T100 is the better choice for those of you who prefer a larger screen. But the difference between the screen-size on the two tablets isn’t that big, to be honest.

According to reviewers, the iPad Air is more touch-responsive than the T100, which sometimes doesn’t record your movements accurately and is a bit more difficult to use when in office applications, but that shortcoming is evened out if you use the keyboard. Since the T100 was designed more like a convertible laptop/tablet than just a tablet, there were sacrifices made with its touchscreen. The iPad Air on the other hand, was designed specifically for touchscreen use, so the quality if the touchscreen was among the main features Apple wanted to provide.

Most important in a any device, though, in my opinion, are its specs. The iPad Air sports Apple’s 64 bit A7 CPU M7 coprocessor, PowerVR G6430, 1 GB RAM and 16, 32, 64 and 128 GB storage configuration, whilst the Asus Transformer Book T100 has an Intel Atom Z3740 processor with Intel HD Graphics, 2 GB of system memory, and 64GB SSD with a microSD card slot. Both iOS 8 and Windows 8.1 run smoothly on each device, without any obtrusive lag or slowness. The Transformer Book T100 has the benefit of being able to run full-blown Windows desktop applications, as I’ve said earlier, but that’s only attractive if you truly want to use the T100 as a laptop replacement. Otherwise, the iPad Air will do just fine if you are not bothered by the $500 price tag.

I’m not keen on tablet cameras and I don’t use the camera on my everyday tablet at all, because the camera on a smartphone is more maneuverable and easy to use. Nonetheless, camera features are an important part of a tablet for many users out there who like to document with photos or work in a field where on-hand photography abilities built into a tablet are beneficial. Thus, the iPad Air has a 5 MP rear camera and a 1.2 MP front camera, whilst Asus’ T100 convertible has only a 1.2 MP front camera. That might be a deal-breaker for some, but in my mind, a rear camera on a tablet is an acceptable sacrifice for the powerful tablet. On the other hand, the T100 makes up for the absence of the rear shooter with very high quality stereo speakers many have praised. 

The Transformer T100 has excellent battery life, according to most reviewers, managing to last 12 hours of usage, which is an excellent performance, especially since the tablet is more of a laptop than a tablet. The iPad Air isn’t far behind though, with most users reporting up to 10 hours of battery life. The speakers on the iPad Air as not as good as on the Asus Transformer Pad T100, though.

To draw a conclusion, we can safely say that both the iPad Air and the Asus Transformer Book T100 are leaders in the field, both offering excellent specs, great OS, lightweight, versatile and practical use and are perfect for those who are looking to get into the tablet world. What needs to be, yet again, noted is that Asus’ Transformer Pad T100 is more laptop than tablet, whilst the iPad Air is more tablet than computer, meaning that the T100 offers a more integrated work space for those in need of a laptop-like experience, whilst the iPad Air is the ultimate tablet focused on applications and performance. Bottom line is that both tablets would be an excellent choice for anybody wanting to buy a tablet. But, if you are gravitating towards the iPad Air, you should be patient, since there’s rumors of a successor, the iPad Air 2 getting announced sometime in October, supposedly on the 21st.