As one of the first budget ‘Surface Pro lookalikes’ the ASUS has the dubious honour of being directly compared to a product costing over twice as much – so how does it measure up?
First impressions are good, the keyboard action is pleasing with solid feedback on every keyboard touch. Likewise, attaching and detaching the ‘surface like’ keyboard is reminiscent of the confidence inspiring ‘clunk’ of a car door. The overall feel of the product is reminiscent to that of the Surface itself – it feels like a well crafted product, perhaps a little thicker than Surface but with the same overall solidly made feel to it – at least at this early stage it doesn’t feel like it is something that will begin to fall apart after six months of use!
Sideways on the ‘surface look’ continues – happily ASUS have benefited from a few generations of improvements of the Surface design itself and the T102 adopts both the more solid ‘folding back lip’ for the keyboard and the ‘any angle you like’ positioning of the stand – nice! (As such it will feel like an upgrade to owners of the earlier Surface units that do not posses these features). And the addition of multiple choices of colour for the keyboards will please those who want to match it with their décor (I am assured such people exist!)
So are there any downsides? Well I can overlook the lack of Windows hello integration at this price point (and the fingerprint scanner tucked away on the reverse of the device does a similar job). The device is also a little heavier than I would like, though not so much as would prevent the average person from using it. It also “maxes out” at 4GB RAM so this is never going to be a power users or developers device (and why would it be – this isn’t the market that Asus is aiming at)
When I looked at this device it struck me as the perfect replacement for my wife’s’ now aging first generation Surface RT device, the price is good, the specifications quite generous for an entry level device and the style draws strongly on the hard work done in the Microsoft camp over the preceding years.