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: Aftershockz Bluez 2S Bone Conduction earphones

    Imagine if you never had to wear an earphone again and could just hear the music in your head. That doesn’t have have to be a dream, because the…
  • Review: LG 65 inch EF950T OLED TV

    OLED TVs are finally straightening out, and now that flat is back, it's time to see if these tellies are worth your cash.
  • Slim and sexy: Apple's 2016 MacBook reviewed

    We’ve been waiting for an update to Apple’s futuristic MacBook, and it’s finally here, delivering a dose of speed in a super svelte package. Is this still what the…
  • HTC's best yet is an interesting evolution: HTC 10 reviewed

    HTC didn't quite nail 2015's flagship phone, so can the 2016 one turn the company around?
  • AppMonday: Defense Zone 2

    Strategy games haven’t quite found the same comfortable sandbox on tablets and phones that they have on Windows and Mac, but Defense Zone gives it a good thwack with…
  • VR Friday: SBS On Demand VR

    The next revolution in entertainment will probably come from 360 degree videos that immerse you in what’s going on, and one Australian broadcaster is already there. Sort of.
  • As thin as it gets: Samsung’s Galaxy TabPro S reviewed

    Samsung is returning to computers, well, sort of. Fresh off the back of new and successful smartphones in the S7 range, the company responsible for the "Galaxy" range of…
  • AppMonday: Skip

    Waiting in lines for coffee or food has never been fantastic, and so the world of mobile devices is coming to the rescue. Can an app really make your…
  • VR Friday: StreetView VR

    When you think about it, Google's "StreetView" technology seems like the perfect place to showcase virtual reality, and so someone has taken it upon themselves to make it happen…
  • Review: HP Elite x2 1012 G1

    Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 isn’t the only hybrid in town with a fabric keyboard, and the Elite x2 is showing that HP can provide a well made machine that…

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

Read More

Tell us…

Will you be installing an ad blocker on your smartphone?

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