The Asus Transformer Pad TF103C, an Android that more than meets expectations

Tablet R Banner_FotorI need a tablet.

That’s a thought which has been on many of our heads for the past few years. As new, thinner, and significantly more powerful models roll by with every quarter, we watch and wait for that perfect one. From notepads to iPads, it has been the seemingly evolutionary direction of modern education. Why carry tons of books when one screen can supplement the yearly endless barrage of textbooks? This was my initial reasoning for a tablet. I need it for school and work, with the occasional break for gaming.

Let’s take a look at our choices:

An iPad would be the first choice due to it being the premier social “ norm “ for those seeking entry to the tablet life. Something that I’ve never quite gotten used to are full (analog) keyboards, and since I have yet to find an iPad attachment which suits my intense typing needs, the T100 seemed like a perfect choice. A tablet which included a keyboard attachment seemed to be that dream come true, and would hopefully perform like the workhorse I need it to be. While I wasn’t disappointed, there are more than a few cadences I’ve had with Android tablets that still haven’t been addressed, even with the addition of a keyboard.

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The model I’ve been testing is the TF103C, a 16GB Android Transformer tablet with a quad-core Atom Z3745 – more commonly found with Windows-based machines. 1GB of RAM makes it somewhat weak for gaming, but still gets the job done with basic titles such as Farmville, Clash of Clans, and of course my daily notification buster, Candy Crush Saga.

Design

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As you can see, transformations are somewhat limited. The T103C basically has two modes. In the first, with the keyboard attached, it’s basically a netbook. This is the mode that’s made me fall in love with this tablet. The keyboard doesn’t feel cheap or out of place, and matches the overall aesthetic wonderfully. Sadly, it almost doubles the weight and girth of the T100.

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Black rubberized matte is the version that we received. It’ll match closely to other Android devices, staying away from the iPad white or the Kindle silver. The finish also means that it is somewhat stain-prone and greasy fingerprints populate both sides of the Transformer.

It’s slimmer than earlier versions, measuring just 0.4 inches thick, and weighing in at only 1.2 pounds.

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The main difference between the Android-based TF103C’s 10.1-inch display and the TF100 (Windows) is the Android tablet’s screen has resolution of 1280×800 pixels. The T100’s screen delivers resolution of 1366×768.

There’s micro USB for charging and a microSD card slot additional storage. Sadly, you’ll need to attach the keyboard to get a full-size USB 2.0 slot.

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This tablet also includes a headset jack, stereo speakers, a rather low-res (0.3 megapixels) front-facing camera, and a 2MP camera on its back. The TF103C supports 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and Miracast.

Specs

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  • Operating System
    AndroidTM 4.4
  • Display
    10.1″ LED Backlight WXGA (1280×800) Screen
    IPS Panel
    10 finger multi-touch support
    Anti-fingerprint coating
  • CPU
    Intel® Atom™ Z3745 Dual-Core, 1.86 GHz
  • Memory
    1GB
  • Storage
    8GB/16GB eMMC *1
    5GB Life Time ASUS Webstorage Space *2
    ; with an additional 11GB for the first year
  • Wireless Data Network
    WLAN802.11 a/b/g/n
    Bluetooth V4.0
    Support Miracast
  • Camera
    0.3 MP Front Camera
    2 MP Rear Camera
  • Audio
    Stereo Speakers
  • Interface
    Tablet:
    1 x Micro USB
    1 x 2-in-1 Audio Jack (Headphone / Mic-in)
    1 x MicroSD (SDHC/SDXC),supports up to 64GB of additional storageMobile Dock:
    1 x USB 2.0 port
  • Sensor
    •G-Sensor
    •E-compass sensor
  • Battery
    9.5 hours,19Wh Li-Polymer Battery *3
  • Navigation
    GPS & GLONASS
  • Color
    White/Black
  • Dimensions
    10.1 x 7.0 x 0.4 inch (WxDxH)
  • Weight
    1.2 lbs
  • Mobile Dock
    Dock only:
    Dimensions: 257.46 x 178.4 x 19.8 mm
    Weight: 550gTablet with dock:
    Dimensions: 257.4 x 178.4 x 19.8mm
    Weight: 1100g

Usage and Productivity

 

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Here’s where my statement of “I need it for class” was terribly daunted.

While the keys are well spaced and great for notes, it just isn’t a laptop.
For anybody with large hands, or fat fingers (no offence), it becomes quite the challenge to write anything post one paragraph. In fact, even for me and my tiny magical fingers, it’s still uncomfortable over long periods of time. It’ll get you through a class, but won’t be the preferred device for long essays. Android also isn’t the best platform for a workhorse as applications are limited, and the lack of Microsoft Office makes it difficult to export with a preferred format (OneNote is not an acceptable substitute).

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Battery life is always a concern when it comes to mobile devices used for work/school.
The T103C has another advantage over regular tablets that is often overlooked. The Keyboard attachment to the Transformer also acts as an extra battery, increasing and almost doubling the active daily cycle.

As a standalone tablet, it’ll last for roughly 8-9 hours of active use, 3-5 hours with video (depending upon streaming or on-board), and anywhere between 12-15 hours on standby. The keyboard attachment should increase battery life by up to 3 hours during any of these activities.

Final Reaction

Strictly as a tablet, the T103C is simply superb; sporting a long battery life, high resolution screen, and speedy application processing.

For those looking into a tablet ideal for taking notes and daily mobile entertainment, this Transformer excels and defeats previous expectations. As for students looking into a singular device for all educational purposes, the T100 may be a better choice due to Windows applications being vastly superior in both text processing and programming. A dual OS is possible, but not recommended due to the 1gb of RAM.

It’s not a workhorse, but as close as you’ll get to a laptop with the functionality of a high-end tablet.

4/5 Atoms

NR 4 Atoms - B

 

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