Asus Transformer Book T200TA – Keyboard & Trackpad
Asus crams a full-size Scrabble-tile keyboard onto the T200TA’s base, and the layout is good – full-size Return key and space bar, and reasonable cursor buttons. It’s more akin to a laptop keyboard than a Bluetooth unit thanks to the row of function keys, too.
The base is flimsy, but the keys themselves don’t do much to improve the situation. They’re light, almost to the point of feeling hollow, and they suffer from a severe lack of travel. The keys are consistent, but they’re unsatisfying – we wouldn’t want to type emails on this, let alone longer bits of work.
It’s better than the average Bluetooth unit, but the keyboard doesn’t compare to proper laptops. It’s on a par with the poor Lenovo, and a little worse than the HP.
Asus has improved on its latest Transformer Book by including a larger and more responsive trackpad. It’s more akin to a typical laptop pad now, and that’s not bad thing: its surface is responsive, the entire unit clicks down, and the buttons at the bottom are responsive and fast.
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Other things to consider
Windows 8.1 is included on this machine, but it’s the 32-bit version. It’s the first time we’ve seen this version on a laptop in some time, and it’s going to impact on usage – several of our test applications didn’t function until we’d found workarounds or 32-bit versions.
Should I Buy the Asus Transformer Book T200TA?
The T200TA is thicker and heavier than the laptops and tablets it’s trying to replace, but it’s not far removed from some of the competition – and its 11.6-inch diagonal means it’s not much more bulky than full-sized tablets, either.
The T200TA’s smaller size and detachable mechanism makes it a more convincing hybrid than many of its rivals, and its build quality is better than we’d expect for a machine that costs just £350.
It’s not particularly fast and the keyboard isn’t too good, but they’re both serviceable for basic computing, and none of this machine’s rivals are much better in either area.
Hybrids still can’t comfortably replace tablets or laptops, but the Transformer Book T200TA is one of the best attempts we’ve seen. The detachable mechanism, good screen, decent battery life and £350 make this worth a punt if you want to try replacing two devices with a single product.
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The T200TA isn’t slimmer or lighter than some of its rivals, but its detachable mechanism makes it more versatile, and its 11.6-inch screen means it’s not a world away from full-size tablets. The screen and battery are both good, even if the modest specification and mediocre keyboard mean the T200TA is restricted to low-end applications. It’s still not perfect, but this hybrid is affordable and well designed, so it’s definitely worth investigating.
Score in detail
Screen Quality 6
Build Quality 8
Heat & Noise 9
Battery Life 8