The latest 2-in-1 detachable notebook from ASUS has surfaced earlier this month. Called the ASUS Transformer Mini T102HA-D4-GR, this small ultra portable model is one of today’s most reasonably priced 2-in-1, considering the specs as well.
First of all, I want to start by mentioning that I don’t think a $400 price tag (as of 10/27/2016) is exactly affordable, but nonetheless, for less than what the average smartphone costs, you get a fully operational and ultra portable Windows 10 device.
It doubles as a tablet when needed, and comes with a stylish keyboard dock. This dock doesn’t add much weight to the whole system, and neither does it add much girth, making the ASUS T102HA-D4-GR a very slender laptop.
Furthermore, I noticed the premium materials from which it’s made. The magnesium-aluminum alloy we’re accustomed when seeing ultrabooks is present here as the main component. This, in turn, helps create a featherweight, highly resistant device, perfect for long distance travel.
Hardware-wise, I must say a more advanced Intel Core-M processor would have made more sense in a mid-range 2-in-1 notebook. Still, far from the entry-level Celeron we see on many Chromebooks and such, the ASUS Transformer Mini T102HA-D4-GR comes with an Intel Atom x5-Z8500 processor. This quad core 1.44 GHz CPU has a 2 megabyte cache size and a scenario design power of just 2 Watts.
It will operate within its design limits for daily tasks such as browsing the internet, streaming videos, editing documents, writing emails and so on. Cross the line into video editing and virtual machines territory and you’re bound to see it struggle.
System memory is adequate, especially when coupled with the Atom processor. The ASUS T102HA-D4-GR has 4 gigabytes of RAM installed. I don’t think more memory would have done any good here, since most tasks won’t require more than what is already available.
As for storage space, the ASUS has been equipped with a zippy 128-gigabyte eMMC drive. Fast, reliable and energy efficient, it’s more advanced than a bulky mechanical hard disk drive. It also makes the cut in storage capacity forgivable. Windows 10 will load in mere seconds, as well as most of the programs and apps.
The 10 inch HD glossy LED-backlit touchscreen display does have a wide view angle (up to 178 degrees), but the picture quality is nothing to write home about. It covers about 60% of NTSC gamut.
However, what it lacks in color depth makes up for in brightness. At 400 nits, you’ll be able to work even in extreme sunlight conditions without losing much of the screen’s vividness.
Interface and networking options
All of the ports that have been made available for the ASUS T102HA-D4-GR are located in the upper left corner of the tablet. Here’s a list of interface options:
- 1 x USB 3.0
- 1 x micro USB
- 1 x micro HDMI
- 1 x COMBO audio jack
- 1 x micro SD slot
As for networking, the ASUS Transformer Mini features the latest in wireless and Bluetooth tech:
- Dual band 802.11ac WLAN
- Bluetooth 4.1
Normally, I would have skipped this part to discuss battery statistics, but the ASUS Transformer Mini has some interesting and noteworthy features that can’t be overlooked. I have grouped them in the following list:
- Smart Hinge – ASUS’ hinge allows the screen to tilt back down to 170 degrees. The tilting action is seamless, and thanks to the support offered by the piece located on the back of the tablet, not much pressure is applied to the hinge mechanism. This means a less complicated, lighter and sturdier design.
- Fingerprint Access – The ASUS T102HA-D4-GR has an integrated auto-scanning fingerprint sensor which works with the Windows Hello feature to instantly unlock the notebook, without needing a password.
- Quick Launch – With this software, you can open any program or app by making a gesture or swiping on the screen.
Stylus Pen – Included in the package is a stylus, which can be used for sketching, writing and drawing on the touchscreen display. It can be safely attached to the holder located on the right side of the keyboard dock.
Portability and battery life
The ASUS Transformer Mini is a true featherweight notebook. So much so that it blows all competition out of the water. Just the tablet weighs 1.1 lbs, while the whole package (tablet and keyboard dock) doesn’t weigh more than 1.74 pounds. That’s 800 grams. That also means it’s one of the most portable devices on the market.
As for autonomy, the Transformer’s polymer battery pack will provide enough power to last for up to 11 hours of video playback or light work (editing documents, emails, etc). Having a half-day battery life is crucial for this laptop’s success. It holds rather well in real world scenarios for which it will likely be bought.
All in all, the ASUS Transformer Mini T102HA-D4-GR 2-in-1 laptop has impressive value for money. While certainly not the most powerful device out there, the ASUS will surely find adepts. Avid travelers, traveling professionals, students on the go and city folks will surely appreciate the extensive features, range, freedom of movement and versatility that the ASUS T102HA-D4-GR will provide.
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