Monday, 18 May 2015

Asus Transformer Book Flip TP500la Review

Is the tablet / laptop combo the ultimate dream? Do we so really need the choice that we'll fork over extra cash for plausible extra flexibility?

The hybrid market isn't yet mature enough for a definitive answer to have formed, so we'll reserve final judgement on Asus' Transformer Book until it's got some company - and we're not only talking about the Taiwanese giant's own competing Vivo line.

They're different, anyway; while the Vivo Tabs certainly incorporate keyboard and touchscreen portions to good effect, they're really just tablets with docking stations. The Transformer Book has a definite air of laptop about it.


The guts might have been refocused from the keyboard leaf into the screen, giving it a top heavy construction which fights with its hinge, but it's a laptop first, tablet second. We're almost assured, were a Transformer Book knocking around in our bag, we'd use its primary function much more regularly than we'd poke at its screen, despite Windows 8 at the helm. Watch this video

The screen locks in to the base with a sturdy, often tough latch. Once you've mated the two halves, it's going to be pretty tricky to accidentally separate them, which is a plus. You'll need the keyboard around for any serious connection, too; while there are cursory ports on the tablet (audio, micro USB, micro SD) we couldn't wrestle any acceptance from Asus that there would be any sort of breakout cable included when the unit launches in early 2013. We'd put money on it happening, though.


The backlit keyboard feels pretty standard. Well-spaced island style keys, decent layout, short travel; about what you would expect of an ultrabook, even though the lack of core components in the base means the keyboard is a little more recessed than usual, and the base itself only about as thick as its ports.

It's worth going in to detail on the Transformer Book's screen. It's really rather nice, a super-saturated panel running at full 1980p resolution, with a full ten touch points.

And we really mean super-saturated; Windows 8's lurid Start screen was almost burning bright, and the test images we saw exhibited out of this world colouring. If you're looking for a screen with range, Asus has really ripped it off. The unit we tested did end up a little hot after some relatively light use, we suspect due to the Core i7 nestling inside, but we're not concerned about its functions.


Asus isn't introducing specs or prices at this time, and the Transformer Book will probably get a few incarnations when it's finally released, but a little of advanced snooping revealed something about the guts of the machine that Techradar tested: a Core i73517 running at 1.9GHz, with a potential 2.7GHz speed boost and 4GB RAM. It only scored 5.4 on the Windows Experience Index, which usually suggests that the standard Transformer Book won't feature a discrete graphics solution.

Your results with the Transformer Book may vary, but we came away quite impressed with both its build quality and its capability. Pricing is obviously a concern, but if Asus manages to bring it in at a sweet spot – and if that latching system doesn't push it too far in advance of Ultrabook prices -- we can see the Transformer Book doing rather well, especially with a more modest configuration. The Transformer Book should hit the shelves in early 2013. VIEW PRICE HERE

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