Microsoft’s Surface devices set a new standard for Windows laptops and since the Surface launched OEMs have risen to the challenge with an amazing range of Windows devices now available. I love the form factor of the Surface Pro 4 but if you want something a little smaller then the ASUS Transformer Mini is a device worth looking at.
Scroll to the bottom of the page to see my video review.
The ASUS Transformer Mini is a 10.1 inch two in one tablet PC with detachable keyboard and pen, think Surface Pro 4 but smaller and cheaper. The specs of the device are very much like the Lenovo Yoga Book I recently reviewed: Atom X5 processor, 4GB RAM and 128GB eMMC storage which means this device isn’t a desktop replacement but it is a small ultra-portable laptop. As a tablet is performs very well, 4GB of memory means opening lots of tabs in Microsoft Edge doesn’t slow down the device and its fast switching between apps. The Atom processor does a good job keeping Windows running smoothly and apps like Word, Excel work well. One of the benefits of having the Atom X5 processor is great battery life, ASUS say 11 hours and I have found that to be about right for general use like Facebook, browsing and email even playing Minecraft didn’t significantly reduce the battery life.
The ASUS Transformer Mini has a Magnesium aluminium alloy case that makes it feel like a premium device and it has some features not found on other devices small tablets. First off as well as having the standard tablet ports of Micro-USB, Micro-HDMI and Micro-SD card slot it also has a full-sized USB 3 port which is a great addition. It’s 13.1mm thick which in the pictures make come across a little chunky compared but its thinner than a Surface Pro 4 and doesn’t feel thick or heavy.
Another nice feature is a Windows Hello compatible finger print reader which I actually prefer over using a camera for Windows Hello. You just tap your finger on the sensor located around the back and it signs you in. It’s a fast and simple way of signing into Windows and I wish all devices had this.
The keyboard connects to the tablet with a magnetic clip just like the Surface Pro does and it has a nice soft covering over it. They key travel is 1.5mm and is combatable to type on, my main issue with they keyboard being that the keys are a little small for me which is a compromise ASUS have had to make to keep the device small.
The screen is very clear and bright; the resolution is 1280 x 800 which is a little lower than some of the other devices I have recently tested but with the small 10.1 inch screen the resolution isn’t a problem.
Coming with the device is a Pen which works supports with Windows and apps like OneNote and Windows Ink. It supports multiple pressure levels so you have very fine control with the pen. The addition of the pen makes the Transformer Mini a great note taking device.
The ASUS Transformer Mini is an excellent small tablet that can convert to a laptop, the keyboard while small it is usable and the addition of the pen makes it an interesting package. At around £500 on Amazon this isn’t the cheapest tablet around but for the package you get it is good value for money, the pen and keyboard are included unlike Microsoft’s devices.