Home Icon
asus-transformer-pad-tf103c-review-2014-04

Review: Asus Transformer Pad TF103C

By Leigh D. Stark | 4:34 pm 07/07/2014

The netbook is dead, but the cheap laptop lives on, with Asus attempting to find a middle ground with its Transformer style of tablet hybrid and a sub-$500 price point.

Features

Hybrid laptop tablets have never really been made for people on a budget, but the Asus Transformer TF103C hopes to change this, throwing enough tech into a tablet and keeping a keyboard nearby.

The tablet is going to be the most important part here, and for this machine, Asus has provided a 10.1 inch touchscreen display with all of the technology inside this section.

The screen itself runs a resolution of 1280×800, displaying a pixel clarity of 149 pixels per inch, which isn’t anywhere near Retina-class, but will be enough for most people.

Beyond the screen, look for an Intel chip under the hood, with the Atom Z3745 quad-core processor clocked at 1.33GHz and paired with 1GB of memory, below the 2GB sweet spot Android tends to prefer.

Storage is set to 16GB in our review model, and there’s room to move with a microSD slot on the top left edge of the touchscreen.

Connections are relatively standard on this model, with 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, Miracast, GPS, with a microUSB port to charge from and a proprietary dock connector found on the very bottom.

A headphone jack can also be found here, but the rest of the multimedia is catered for with cameras, and there’s a 2 megapixel rear camera with a 0.3 megapixel front-facing camera.

There are only a few buttons of which to speak of here, with the power button up top on the left side, the volume rocker on the left edge, and Android’s on-screen soft buttons for back, home, and multi-tasking sitting at the very bottom of the display in a black bar.

Like most tablet hybrids, all the bits and pieces you’d normally need to think about are in the tablet, but there’s a second piece to this puzzle as well.

That piece is the keyboard dock, which is a staple in the Asus Transformer range, and in this model, you’ll find a keyboard, trackpad mouse, and full-size USB port working with the tablet.

No other ports can be found here, unfortunately, but the keyboard does support several function buttons, including keys for media playback, searching, taking screenshots, and turning wireless on and off.

The battery in the tablet (screen section) is rated for up to 9.5 hours of battery life, and there is no other battery in the keyboard section.

Performance

Can an Android hybrid tablet be made for a budget?

That’s the question being asked with the Asus Transformer TF103C, a new lower priced entry model Transformer tablet looking to get in under where the older TF300 and TF201 models sit, offering similar design and functionality but with different technology.

We need to note that the TF103C is totally different from the Windows T100 made by Asus, which has a similar name and design — it even sports a similar processor — but differs by way of running Windows 8 instead of Android.

Move past that, though, and you’ll find the 10 inch Android-powered TF103C ready for use, encasing a decent 64-bit system-on-a-chip processor from Intel, and a nice screen ready for you to use.

Switch it on and the screen comes to life, which you’ll pretty much expect. To its credit, Asus has provided an excellent screen here, with solid viewing angles and excellent colour. The brightness is strong, and we’d be surprised if anyone really struggled with this display, even if its pixel per inch number isn’t as high as it could be.

In the hands, the tablet is comfortable to hold, but very plasticky, thanks to the reliance on plastic, which is used in the body.

We’ll talk performance later, because it’s both good and bad, but we’re very pleased to see Asus using Android 4.4 “KitKat” here, the most recent iteration of the Android operating system.

Even better is the overlay Asus is using, which is clean, relies on a flat design, and is very bright and colourful.

If you’ve played with Android before — especially some of the other devices running KitKat — you’ll see some familiar elements, such as the app menu, albeit with a few extra tabs at the bottom, and a different drop down menu with flat icons and shortcuts to tools you might want access to.

Pages: 1 2

Price (RRP)

$429

Pros & Cons

Product Pros

A relatively inexpensive hybrid tablet notebook; Despite the mediocre resolution, the IPS screen is actually very nice; Upgradeable storage via microSD; Nice version of Google Android tweaked by Asus;

Product Cons

It can be very, very slow; Keyboard has a small right shift key, which could pose some problems for lefty typists and those reliant on the right key; No battery in the keyboard dock; Only one USB port, and it's on the keyboard dock; Very low-end cameras on both the front and the back; Plastic on the back can be a little flimsy;

Ratings

Overall

Features

Value for money

Performance

Ease of Use

Design

Latest reviews

  • Review: Leica Q (Typ 116)

    Not all cameras are the same, and Leica’s Q proves it, packing a full-frame 35mm sensor, 28mm f/1.7 fixed lens, and a body that says “camera” more than most…
  • Review: KEF M200 in-earphones

    If there’s one thing KEF understands, it’s audio, with the company producing some of the best speakers we’ve ever heard. Unfortunately, we can’t carry big speakers everywhere we go,…
  • Review: Jawbone Up 2

    Need a bit of help getting in shape? Jawbone hopes to have the answer in an update to its Up 24, with the new sequel, the slimmer Up 2.
  • Review: Samsung Gear VR for Galaxy S6/S6 Edge

    With the upcoming releases of the consumer-ready Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive, virtual reality is about ready for use by regular people. Samsung is there now, though, and…
  • Oppo's 4.85mm thin R5 smartphone reviewed

    Apple may lead the smartphone wars with the iPhone, but Oppo is challenging the big A for some inventiveness, finding a way to make mobiles slimmer than ever with…
  • Review: LifeProof FRE Power for iPhone 6 (battery case)

    Smartphone batteries tend not to go for longer than a day, and Apple’s iPhone 6 is no exception, but the latest case from accessory maker LifeProof isn’t just about…
  • Review: Beats Solo 2 Wireless headphones

    Beats has one of those interesting reputations. Kids and young people love ‘em, while the older generation can’t stand them, but the latest pair tries to win over all…
  • Review: Toshiba Satellite Radius L10W

    Smaller computers are ideal for students and people on the go, and when they’re also technically tablets, they can be even better. Is Toshiba’s Radius L10W a hybrid worthy…
  • Review: LG 65 inch Prime 4K UHD TV

    It's not enough to have a big screen, and this year LG's 4K TVs are about more colours, fast operation, and sharp visuals. Does it succeed?
  • Review: HP Spectre X360

    HP's Spectre was one of the surprise laptops from last year, and a return for HP to the quality laptop space. Can the latest generation of Spectre keep the…

“How do you stop yourself from being caught out by these scam artists?”

Read More

Tell us…

Which smartwatch are you interested in buying?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

“There’s certainly no doubt that you can find a bargain, but like always, you get what you pay for.”

Read More