Asus T102HA - The Best 10.1" Tablet 2-in-1 Yet

Chazzy J

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Nov 23, 2016
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At the request of one member and my overall stellar impressions of this machine so far, here's my review for this. stocks the 128GB versions in both Gray and White if anyone is interested:

(I apologize for any grammar errors or rough reading -- I did a check edit review. I'll go back and do a more thorough edit later)

At the request of one of the members, they’d like me to put together a review for the Asus Transformer 102HA. I, like many of you, want a reputable Windows 10 tablet. Something with enough computing power to make me realize just how awesome Windows 10 really is. When Windows 10 came out, I fell in love with it instantly. It’s like they had read my mind in some creepy way. I dumped Apple, dumped what little Android things I had and went sole Microsoft. We’re talking new Desktop, the Microsoft Band, Lumia 950XL, and tablets…lots of tablets.
The HP Slice I got is pretty damn awesome. My Microsoft Band 2 has been flawless since day one (kinda sad they dumped Band 3) and I’m one of the few that experience little to no issues with my 950XL. I’m not a big app user, so as you read this, keep that in consideration. Also, I’m not a big social media person. I have a LinkedIn and that’s it – no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, etc etc. So again, keep all of that in mind.
As for the tablets I’ve owned since Windows 10 came out: I’ve had a Toshiba 2-in-1 10.1”, and a Toshiba 2-in-1 12” dynaPad. In short, the 10.1” was great at the start – a little slow, a little laggy, more bloatware than I wanted, and only 2GB of ram, but it was sufficient for Windows 10 being so new and no reputable tablets on the market yet. Over the course of about 6 months the immature drivers began to rear their head as Windows continued to push out updates. Eventually the lag was just so noticeable I had to upgrade and I really wanted 4GB of ram (on a handful of occasions I actually got the “insufficient memory” message. The one thing the Toshiba 10.1” had going for was the screen res. 1920x1200 HD. Man that was a delight to stare at a 10.1” screen.
On to the dynaPad. Pretty slick. Had the “step up” Atom x5 processor over the 10.1” and was superior in just about every way. Very high quality. Never had an issue with this Tablet. But alas, I have small hands and I’m not exactly a big guy, so holding a 12” tablet in my hand can prove to be a little overbearing and uncomfortable.
I yearned to get my hands on another 10.1” tablet that had 4GB of ram and good processing power. Enter the Asus Transformer 102HA.
So let’s draw the immediate comparisons. The Intel Atom x5 processor. With the exception of the discontinued Surface 3, I could not find a better processor in any of the other 10.1” 2-in-1s out there. I was really hoping by this stage in the game there’d be some 10.1” 2-in-1s out there with Core M processors. No dice though. Those tend to start in the 11” and up tablets. So what few reviews (“professional” reviews) I did read, they had average remarks on the 102HA, but overall thought it was pretty good. I tend to take all reviews with a grain of salt. While I’m not the average user, I try to keep the mindset of an average user. They all said the x5 was a little on the slow side, but bearable for such a small tablet. I actually disagree. Quite a few “personal” reviews of this machine said that doing a “fresh install” of Windows to eliminate the bloatware actually substantially increased the performance on a purely noticeable user standpoint. I can attest, getting rid of the bloatware and having a completely fresh install of Windows 10 is the way to go. One guy’s personal review said he felt it was as fast as his i5. I’m not sure I’d go that far – but maybe it was like a 3rd or 4th gen i5 he was referring to. It’s definitely zippy. I use an adblock in edge so I don’t really have to deal with the ad scripting on webpages. I’d say I don’t notice a big difference on webpage loading times. Some of them load just as fast as my 6th gen i5 (HP Elite Slice), others are maybe 3-5 seconds slower. Nothing I would consider earth shattering. As far as the x5 navigating the OS screens and particular apps – it’s pretty flawless. I have no witnessed any notable slow downs in running Windows 10. Switches back and forth between Tablet and Desktop mode flawlessly and opens and navigates all menus seamlessly. The only lengthy item I’ve noticed is when it’s applying large updates. On one update is sat at the “Getting Windows Ready: Do not turn off your computer” for over 30 minutes. I thought it had locked up. Then magically it updated. So that was kind of weird, but that’s really the only weird thing I’ve noticed. I was skeptical of the Atom x5 because my previous two tablets have proven to be a little on the laggy side, but I would consider them having immature drivers in comparison to the age of Windows 10, and they were Toshiba. This Asus functions much faster than they did (though admittedly the dynaPad was just as zippy navigating the OS menus), but the web browsing was definitely slower on the dynaPad.
Additionally, using the Cortana search bar can take 1 or 2 seconds longer. Seemingly a little laggy, but nothing to really write home about.
So on a scale of 1-5: The x5 gets a 4. I would have given it a 5 if there was no discernable difference in web browsing and the Cortana search function. Which for the most part, there isn’t, but there are some pages I frequent that do load slightly slower as mentioned.
So this is one of the most important pieces to me. This 2-in-1 is what I use at work, it’s my notebook, it’s what I use to send text messages (via Skype Preview), and the function of the keyboard is one of the most important functions to me. So to draw immediate comparisons, my Toshiba 10.1” keyboard never sat well with me. I think it had about 1.0mm of key travel and that really just didn’t sit well with me. I like my keys to have a little bit more travel to make for a comfortable typing experience. I’d like to think this is universal across most users. It seems companies moved to having less key travel for the sleeker look and people just don’t really like it. Asus came out with a badass MacBook clone (Zenbook 3) and while everyone rant and raved about it, the .7mm key travel was the bone of contention in most reviews I read. Asus themselves admit that they put more key travel in this keyboard based on all the user feedback on the Zenbook 3. So the 1.5mm key travel in this keyboard is fantastic. I’m using it to write this review right now and it’s just fantastic. A very comfortable typing experience.
Now a work of the wise. One of the key items I had to adjust to on a 10” 2-in-1 was the size of the keyboard. It’s obviously not your standard keyboard size. Typically a smidge smaller. The Asus keyboard is BARELY scaled down for a standard keyboard. Expecting the same learning curve I had with the Toshiba 10”, I was pleasantly surprise that this was not the case. I picked this thing up and just took off. Typically on 2-in-1s this size, you’re subject to the inevitable keyboard flex. Not here. This keyboard is solid and far surpassed my expectations for the price point.
Now remember, as I stated earlier, I have small hands – I’m not a big guy. So my experience on this keyboard my drastically differ from those of your who have larger hands. I can somewhat foresee people with large hands having a more cramped typing experience, where as for me, I think I actually have a better typing experience on this than I do my standard desktop keyboard – and I’m a pretty good, fast typer.
A note though, the keyboard pauses if you pause. It’s hard to explain, but my dynaPad did the exact same thing. Basically, if you’re typing away and you take a quick 3 second break and pick back up, the keyboard is non-responsive for a full second and then picks it back up. It was rather annoying, and I think it has something to do with the magnetic connection – but really I have no idea. It’s almost as if the driver forgets it’s there for a second and then picks it back up. Again, exact same thing on my dynaPad. It’s not really a big deal, but is noticeable from time to time, but not often.
So on a scale of 1-5, this keyboard gets a solid 5 from me.
Ok folks, this is the weak spot. On one hand, it’s great, on the other hand the resolution could be better. Let’s start with the weak spot: the resolution. It’s only 1280x720. Now having said that, this is a 10” screen, so to the untrained eye, it’s not really going to be a huge difference maker. But where I’m not your average user, there are just certain pictures, websites, and smaller font that highlights it’s low resolution. It’s 1280x720, enough said. However, let’s highlight the good. This display by far has the best colors of any tablet I’ve had. So while the crispness of the image is noticeable to the average user SOMETIMES, the colors are very pleasing to the eye and offsets the low res display in my opinion. Also, the brightness capability of the screen is the best of the tablets I’ve had. I haven’t used it outside, but 100% brightness is definitely bright.
Building on the actual display is the touchscreen glass. I just flat out don’t like it. There’s a weird friction that just don’t make it pleasing to use. You can’t smoothly drag your finger across it and you can tell this was one of the cost cutting measures. A real shame since this is the ideal sized tablet where touchscreen/usage would be it’s primary function. I would have hoped for at least Gorilla Glass 3. Let’s remember though, this is a tablet on the cheap ($349 for 64GB, $399 for 128GB), so you’ve gotta accept some of the bad with the good. On that note though, I’ve ordered a cut-to-size tablet protector from TotalGuard and once that arrives, I’m hoping the whole weird friction thing will be resolved with a good quality screen protector.
If you choose not to get a screen protector (of which there are none specifically made for the 102HA on the market yet), it is definitely a fingerprint magnet. All that aside though, it’s a 10-point touch interface that is just as responsive as any other touchscreen out there.
So for the Display, I’ll give it a 3. Fantastic colors but a resolution would have put it over the top. And the weird friction when dragging your finger across the glass makes for less than smooth user experience
The stylus that comes with it is pretty standard, but the holder attached to the keyboard is rather sloppy. Part of my just wants to cut it off because I think it’s ugly, but alas, I won’t do that…yet. It’s a pretty standard stylus, but it also suffers from the weird screen friction. So I imagine drawing a picture might be frustrating – again, hopefully all solved by a good screen protector.
The Stylus gets a 3. Not because it’s bad or anything, but because it’s just your standard, no frills stylus that suffers from a weird screen friction when in use.
So this is very important to me. It’s gotta be sexy, it’s gotta be pleasing to look at, and I have to want to use it and show it off. This has always been Asus’ strongpoint. They understand form factor and the importance behind. Granted not all users care about it, but this is basically a Surface 3, but smaller. The Surface 3 is (was) 10.8” – still bigger than I wanted. This is a 10.1” with Surface 3 form factor. It’s really that simple. The kickstand is easy to use and has a good solid hinge. Not the same “ease” as a surface hinge, but it’s still good nonetheless.
Quality of the materials are good. It’s an all-metal body on the tablet portion and it stays cool to the touch no matter how much you use it – this was very surprising to me. Granted, I use this for standard computing. I’m sure under heavy computing it might warm up a little, but nothing that I’ve experienced to this point. The metal body feels pleasing to the touch and come from good quality material in both fit and finish. I sprung for the gray colored one after debating back and for on the white one. The pictures don’t actually do the gray one justice. It’s also pleasing to looks, has a very rich gray tone to it and the texture of the gray finish is pleasing to touch. The same color/texture is on the keyboard-side of the keyboard, so it’s pleasing to rest your palms on and type as well as cleans up easily.
On the back side of the keyboard, it has the soft felt finish that all the surface keyboards have.
The form factor gets a solid 4.5 from me, the 0.5 detraction is for the weird friction on the glass screen. Otherwise, it’s a solid 5 – again, hopefully a nice screen protector will fix all that.
Ah yes…battery life…started writing this last night and was on battery power for 4 hours. Left it in sleep mode all night (not plugged in) woke up this morning, started to poke around and now I’m finishing up this review. The display has been on 25% brightness and I’ve been using it for about 4 hours this morning. There’s 64% battery life left and a stated 7 hours and 45 minutes remaining. I think this is where the x5 Atom processing and 1280x720 screen res comes into appreciation. This thing can EASILY get through a whole day’s worth of work without needing a charge.
So while the battery life is great on it in comparison to any other Windows 10 tablet I’ve played with, it does come with a loooooooooong charging time. If you run the battery down to 0%, be prepared for an overnight process to recharge it. It snail crawls to 20%, it sloooooowly makes it to 50% and then take a few hours or so to get to 100%. Something to keep in mind as you’re planning to charge and what not.
Understanding the slow charge time, it still gets a solid 5 because I really never have had to worry about the battery charge.
I can’t really talk too much to this. I use OneDrive religiously, so I accept the slightly slower load times, but I do sync everything onto the SSD to make it as fast as possible. Browsing pictures in the picture app, loading music, etc is all seemless and is the speed I would expect – which is no discernable slowness.
Standard speakers. Nothing to write home about, but they’re not bad either. I find the clarity and highs and lows to be plenty acceptable with no mentions of anything negative
The speakers get a solid 4. I think they’re above average in comparison to the other tablets I’ve had.

There’s not really a solid Windows 10 tablet in the market. Not one that is of true tablet size like an iPad Pro (9.7in). I feel this Asus is going to be the closest thing you’ll find in a 10” form-factor that has good performance, runs full Windows 10 rather seamlessly and can make you feel like you’re using a true Windows 10 tablet. I can honestly say I am really really impressed and loving this thing, even with it’s few cost cutting corners. But for $349/$399, you’re not going to find something better in the 10” form-factor. That cost includes a great keyboard too – one of the best I’ve used. I honestly wonder how the heck Asus is making money on this to be honest (obviously they are – I say that to be facetious).
If you’re looking the best 10” Tablet to market so far, this is the one. I highly recommend, but you have to do a fresh Windows 10 install to really take full advantage of it.

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