The Asus Transformer Book T300FA is a mouthful, and the name doesn’t really tell you a lot about the product. In short, it’s a 2-in-1 laptop/tablet. The T300FA is rocking an intel Core-M platform which should be powerful enough for your everyday tasks. Battery wise, it should last you several hours. I’ve been using the T300FA for a while now, so stick with me for a few minutes to see if it’s really worth your dollars.
First things first, let’s get the specs out of the way.
|Screen||12.5 inch, 1366 x 768 px resolution, IPS, touchscreen|
|Processor||Intel Broadwell Y Core M-5Y10 CPU|
|Graphics||integrated Intel 5300 HD|
|Memory||4 GB LPDDR3|
|Storage||64 GB eMMC inside the slate and 1 TB HDD (7 mm) in the dock|
|Connectivity||Wireless N, Bluetooth|
|Ports||micro-HDMI, microSD card reader (up to 64 GB cards), proprietary docking port, headphone jack|
|Operating system||Windows 8.1|
|Size||Tablet: 311 x 209 x 10 mm (12.2” x 8.2” x 0.39”)|
With dock: 311 x 218 x 24 mm (12.2” x 8.5” x 0.94”)
|Weight||Tablet: 812 g (1.79 lbs)|
With dock (and HDD): 1625 g (3.58 lbs)
|Extras||docking station included, with keyboard, trackpad, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 slots and HDD|
The Transformer Book T300FA is a stand-alone tablet with a docking station, which allows it to get the laptop features as well; a detachable 2-in-1 if you will. Most of the hardware and the battery for the T300FA is placed behind the screen, which enables you to use it as a tablet. Once you connect the tablet to the dock you get a laptop-like form: keyboard, trackpad, extra ports, extra storage, pretty much the works.
Hint: swipe left to view the next picture if you’re on a touchscreen device. If not, you can use your mouse to swipe left or use the arrows that pop up when you hover over the image.
The T300FA is made with textured plastic which tends to get smudged pretty easily. Around the 12.5 inch screen is a black plastic rim that’s narrow yet big enough to hold the “tablet” somewhat comfortably.
Although it’s easy to hold and use as a tablet, I found the screen a bit too big and it does get uncomfortable after using it for long, and for that reason my T300FA was attached to the dock most of the time. Latching the slate and the dock together is a breeze and the docking unit gives you a full-size keyboard, a trackpad, two USB slots and a HDD. Together the two make a 3.6 pound mini-laptop with a blue plastic case and a silver, aluminum like, interior, which is still plastic. For a 2-in-one device, it’s not the lightest but it’s still fairly portable and wasn’t too much of a burden for me to carry around. You don’t have to be a “lifter” at the gym to carry this guy around but if you do want something lighter, there are other options.
My first impression of the screen wasn’t that great, mostly because the finer details looked somewhat fuzzy on the screen but over time it didn’t really bother me as much since I got used to it. Asus went with a 12.5 inch display on this transformer book. It’s not the sharpest display on the market but it does get the job done. I may be just nitpicking here, but when you’re dealing with texts and fonts, you might notice some fuzziness but when you’re watching videos or looking at pictures, its totally fine.
Keyboard and trackpad
Asus didn’t do anything crazy with the keyboard here, it’s your average keyboard with full-size square keys. The typing experience is decent and keys feel pretty “clicky”. Oh and, there’s an LED light that lets you know when Caps Lock is active, thank god for that invention, right?
Underneath the keyboard is the trackpad, though it’s smaller than other Transformer Books, it’s accurate and reliable. It’s made out of plastic and is pretty loud when it comes to performing an actual physical click. If you’re like me, and you get annoyed when people actually click their trackpads, you should be fine when you’re using just taps, swipes and gestures. As long as you’re not beside someone who’s clicking away, you will have little to complain about here.
OK, lets talk about what this guy can actually do for you. I’m not going to mention any tech jargon or compare any benchmarks here, because things can look good on paper but the actual experience can be different.
Browsing the internet using Internet Explorer or Firefox, streaming 1080p or even 4K clips on YouTube, Netflix-ing, and watching movies you’ve downloaded can be done with no hiccup on this transformer book. Multitasking between apps is fine to some extent, without encountering stuttering or performance drops. Just an fyi, performance when you’re using Chrome is poor. This is not because of the T300FA but it’s more because Chrome takes a higher toll on the hardware compared to other browsers. Chrome pushes the CPU to max-load when you’re streaming videos on YouTube, or casually browsing with multiple tabs open.
The T300FA has no fan inside which makes it completely quiet, however when you dock the tablet you can hear the spinning HDD inside when it’s active. For some that may get annoying; for me, not so much.
The speakers on the T300FA is placed on the slate’s back (as shown on picture above), thus they are firing away from you which doesn’t really help much with media consumption. Quality wise, these speakers are pretty much meh. It’s not the greatest but for the average user it suffices. Who uses the speakers on their laptop/tablet anyway?
There’s a webcam on the T300FA (duh!), it’s placed on top of the screen, near the microphone and the ambient light sensor. As for performance, it’s decent enough for skype calls and hangouts calls. Which is totally fine because I don’t use the webcam to take selfies; that just doesn’t make sense.
Overall performance of the Transformer Book T300FA is decent, if you’re using the device for school and just casual use, it should suffice. If you’re looking for something more powerful to do picture editing or anything that requires a higher processing power, you might want to look at other options.
So far, the T300FA is a quiet mid-level device that is capable of handling your regular everyday tasks as long as you keep it simple, but the question is, how long does it last. Because the battery for the device resides in the slate and there is no battery in the dock, you can usually get about 5-6 hours if you just use the tablet on its own. When docked you get about 4-5 hours of use. For me, this is not much of a gripe since I mostly used the T300FA in it’s laptop form and when I’m using it in that form I usually have the charger near by.
The bottom line:
The T300FA looks alright and it’s well built, handles everyday tasks fairly well, and the performance is smooth enough to not make you go crazy. The average battery life might be a gripe for some and the spinning HDD in the dock kind of kills the noiseless experience when the tablet is attached to the docking station. If you can overlook these minor things, the T300FA is a great device overall.