Samsung Galaxy Book 12" vs Asus Transformer T100
I have been testing the new Samsung Galaxy Book 12 tablet for the last 3 weeks, but how does it compare to my trusty old Asus Transformer Book? Both are 2-in-1 devices, both run Windows 10 (The Transformer shipped with Windows 8) and both ship with a physical keyboard. My Asus is obviously at a disadvantage being 8 years older than the Samsung, but how much have things improved in that time?
These devices are designed to operate as both a tablet and laptop, so I’ll break down my review into those two modes.
I would class both of these as tablet-first devices – i.e. they have been designed as a tablet first and foremost, with keyboard attachments. The alternative would be something like the Dell XPS 2-in-1 or Lenovo Yoga that is more of a laptop with a keyboard that folds but is always attached. My preference has always been the tablet-first option, hence my decision to buy the Asus.
The Samsung and the Asus work great as tablets. The Asus is more compact with its 10” screen, but the Samsung is thinner at only 7.4mm (as opposed to 10mm for the Asus). The beautiful aluminium casing and slightly larger size of the Samsung comes at a price (financially and in terms of weight) weighing nearly 50% more than the Asus (754g vs 544g). It is a noticeable difference. I loved the T100 because it was the first “proper” Windows tablet – it had a touchable OS, was lightweight and still offered all the benefits of using Windows.
So, the Galaxy Book is heavier, but I wouldn’t say too heavy – I quickly got used to it (tablets are mostly on your lap or stood on a stand anyway, right?). The advantages of the Galaxy Book are the premium build (that aluminium casing is nice), the extra 2” of screen space and that eye-candy AMOLED screen. I never had an issue with the T100 IPS screen, but compared to the Samsung it looks like a dusty old sun-bleached watercolour.
The Galaxy Book obviously blows the Asus out of the water in terms of performance. The Samsung features the latest Intel Core i5, 4Gb Ram (8Gb available) and 128Gb SSD. The Asus runs on an Atom processor with 2Gb ram and 32Gb storage. The downside of the i5 is that fans are required to cool the processor, although these only kick in when needed. The battery life is similar for both.
The Galaxy Book obviously blows the Asus out of the water in terms of performance
For tablet use (web browsing, watching video etc.), the performance of the Asus is more than adequate. The choice between larger screen or lighter weight is personal preference and for watching movies, the Asus 16:9 screen ratio may be better. I would personally choose the Samsung every time for that beautiful display.
The secondary function of these machines is to serve as an ultra-portable laptop. This is where the highly-spec’d Samsung comes into its own. The larger screen and 4:3 ratio is more suited to work, and it gives more room to the keyboard which can feel cramped on the Asus. The trackpad is also much better on the Samsung, and the addition of the S-Pen is appealing to creatives (it works great with Photoshop and Illustrator). The full-fat i5 processor gives more opportunities for using powerful applications, but I would choose the 8Gb ram option rather than the 4Gb as the internals aren’t upgradable. The Samsung keyboard connects with a Pogo magnetic port, whereas the Asus has a physical clip. The Samsung approach results in a sleeker design, but the Asus connection gives finite angle adjustment and prevents accidental disconnect. The Asus comes with HDMI out and USB 3 ports, whereas the Galaxy Book has gone fully down the USB-Type C route (other than the 3.5mm jack, thankfully). I do like the versatility of the new USB standard, but currently lots of adapters and hubs are required.
The Samsung Galaxy Book is clearly the better machine and this is hardly surprising given that it is nearly a decade newer and over double the price. The Asus Transformer has aged well though and is still in use as my daily tablet. There are some situations where I would still choose it over the Samsung such as binge-watching Netflix on the train (where the 16:9 screen and light weight would be a winner). The raw power and glorious screen of the Samsung Galaxy Book make it a clear winner and the best 2-in-1 I have used.