IPS without the high PPI
Netbooks were always weak in the display department. The first Eee PC had a tiny 7" screen, and 1024x600 was the resolution of choice for most of the 9-10" systems that followed. TN panels were the norm. In that context, the T100's screen looks pretty good. The 10.1" panel uses IPS technology, and the 1366x768 resolution is comparable to that of larger budget notebooks.
The resolution is a decent fit for the screen size, even if it doesn't set any PPI records. In landscape mode, Microsoft's ClearType tech does a good job of smoothing out fonts. I don't see any jagged edges from a normal viewing distance, though text isn't as sharp as on higher-PPI displays.
Fonts look noticeably worse in portrait mode. On the Windows desktop, they're definitely blurrier. The smaller text on some unzoomed websites is difficult to read, as well, although zooming in on the main column resolves the issue. The limited horizontal resolution in portrait mode also produces visible artifacts in the images on unzoomed web pages. A higher pixel density would definitely help even if the 16:9 aspect ratio remained unchanged. A higher pixel density with a 16:10 aspect ratio would be even better.
When I'm flipping through vacation pictures in landscape mode, I don't see any obvious deficiencies unless I'm a few inches away from the screen or viewing the T100 next to a high-PPI tablet. Side-by-side comparisons make it easy to see more detail in higher-resolution displays. The T100 looks sharp enough when viewed in a vacuum, though.
The screen's color reproduction is similarly satisfactory. The display is definitely lusher than the TN panels typically found on netbooks and budget ultraportables. However, the colors aren't quite as vivid as those produced by the iPad's Retina panel. Compared to the IPS panels I've seen on other tablets, the T100's screen is about average.
Don't rely on my subjective impressions alone, though. We've used our colorimeter to measure the T100's color gamut precisely. Click the buttons under the plot below to compare the Transformer's color gamut to that of other mobile systems. Pay particular attention to how the T100 fares against the X202E, an ultraportable with a TN panel, and the iPad 3, which has the widest color gamut we've measured in a tablet to date.
The Transformer Book T100 clearly produces a wider range of colors than the X202E. However, it doesn't cover nearly as much of the spectrum as the iPad 3. The T100's color reproduction is almost identical to that of the VivoTab Smart, Asus' last-gen Atom tablet.
The 6500K "daylight illuminant" represents the color temperature of typical daylight. The T100's output is a little higher than the 6500K ideal, denoting a slight blue bias. My eyes don't detect much of a tint, perhaps because I tend to prefer cooler colors overall.
Colors can shift and become washed out when displays are viewed from off-center angles, so we snapped some pictures of the T100's screen leaning back at 110°, rotated 30° to the side, facing the camera at 90°, and leaning forward at 70°.
The T100's vertical viewing angles are quite good; the picture quality doesn't change too much when the screen is tilted forward or back. However, the right side of the display clearly looks darker when the tablet is viewed from 30° to the left. I noticed similar darkening while browsing in portrait mode with the screen tilted slightly away from me. The angle wasn't as extreme, but the browser window was noticeably dimmer toward the far edge at the top of the tablet.
Like most tablet displays, the T100's touchscreen is highly reflective. That's not a problem if the backlight is bright enough to overpower reflections, but the T100's 278 cd/m² maximum luminosity is pretty dim by modern standards. Reflections remain visible in some indoor lighting conditions even with the backlight cranked all the way up. Those reflections are only apparent in darker portions of the screen and in the surrounding bezel, though.
Since the cheap Ikea lamp next to me produces enough light to reflect my ugly mug in TR's blue theme, I'm not optimistic about how the T100 might fare poolside. I've seen far brighter screens wilt under direct sunlight.
With the screen cranked up to maximum brightness, our colorimeter detects a 13% difference in luminosity between the brightest and darkest regions. The lower right corner is the dimmest spot, while the center is the brightest. We measured no more than a 9% difference in luminosity between the other regions and the center of the display.
Luminance values don't track exactly with perceived brightness. When viewing a pure white background, the bottom right corner of the screen only looks slightly dimmer to me than the center. The brightness appears completely uniform when the screen is filled with actual applications.
Viewing a black background in a dark room exposes backlight bleed, which is minimal on the Transformer Book T100. Although a handful of slightly lighter regions can be seen around the edges, they're barely brighter than the rest of the display. We've certainly seen worse—and on more expensive devices.
|The TR Podcast 175: the Zen of chipmaking and ARM's Cortex-A72 revealed||4|
|Elon Musk lays out vision for a battery-powered future||101|
|Inside ARM's Cortex-A72 microarchitecture||33|
|Asus' 144Hz MG279Q monitor may top out at 90Hz with FreeSync||55|
|Deal of the week: A Bay Trail netbook for $161, free case fans, and more||17|
|DirectX 12 Multiadapter shares work between discrete, integrated GPUs||95|
|Gigabyte's 9-series motherboards are Broadwell-ready||44|
|The TR Podcast will be live on Twitch shortly!||3|
|AMD delays FreeSync support for multi-GPU systems||40|