Asus Transformer Book Flip TP300LA review
Processor: Dual-core Intel Core i3-4030U, RAM: 4GB, Size: 326x232x22mm, Weight: 1.75kg, Screen size: 13.3in, Screen resolution: 1,366x768, Graphics adaptor: Intel HD Graphics 4400, Total storage: 500GB hard disk
Despite its relative cheapness, Asus has managed to inject some class into the Transformer Book Flip TP300LA convertible laptop's design, using a brushed metal-style material for the lid. This opens onto a keyboard tray that looks similar to that of a MacBook Pro, with black, island-style keys and metallic silver surface that's cool to the touch. The tray is exceptionally well machined, with smooth corners and edges meaning it never digs into your wrists while typing, even for extended sessions. The keys have a fair amount of travel to them and a decent amount of tactile feedback. We had no issues with missed key presses during our testing.
Physical mouse buttons are incorporated into the touchpad. Clicking, dragging and multi-finger gestures all worked without a hitch. The touchscreen is responsive and when the screen is flipped all the way back, the keyboard automatically deactivates meaning you can hold this device like a thick tablet without inputting random key presses.
The chassis feels well built but remains very light (for a laptop, though it's very heavy as a tablet) at just 1.75kg. The screen hinge is slightly wobbly, but only when subjected to a fair amount of force, such as that experienced on a bumpy train ride. There are four buttons on the left edge of the laptop that are particularly useful you have the device in tablet mode. They are the sleep, volume up and down buttons as well as an additional Windows key. On this side you also get a USB2 port and a multi-format SD card reader. On the right there are two USB3 connectors alongside a full-size HDMI port and a combined 3.5mm audio input and output jack. There's no Ethernet port, but you'll still be able to connect to high-speed wireless networks thanks to the fast 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
This model comes with a 1.9GHz Intel Core i3-4030U processor, which is a dual-core chip with Hyper-threading, splitting the two physical cores into four virtual ones for better multi-threaded performance. Single-core performance was particularly strong, with the Transformer Book Flip managing to score an overall 49 in our benchmarks. Multi core performance was reasonable, too: it achieved 36 in the video conversion test and 33 in the multitasking benchmark. This equates to an overall performance benchmark score of 37. In the real world, you'll be able to use this laptop for web browsing, word processing, video watching and, at a push, some very light photo editing. There's 4GB of RAM, which is still plenty for a laptop of this spec.
A single 500GB mechanical hard disk is fitted. It's not high performance storage, but we didn't notice too much hesitation when it came to searching for items on the laptop.
Full HD versions of the Transformer Book Flip are available, but ours was equipped with a 1,366x768 panel instead. It's an IPS panel, which means it should have superior performance to one using TN technology. The screen can display 70.3 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut, which is a little above average for a laptop. This results in fairly vibrant colours, and is certainly better than an equivalent TN screen. Contrast wasn't so strong, with a ratio of just 268:1. Black levels were a little high at 0.68cd/m2, leaving blacks looking just a little grey. This, combined with the reflective coating on the touch screen, makes watching videos with a lot of dark scenes a little tough to make out.
The SonicMaster-branded speakers are above average for a laptop; they're loud and produce clear music and speech. There's not much bass presence and they won't replace a good pair of headphones, but they're certainly good enough for a bit of TV. It's best not to have the volume turned all the way up, because higher-frequency sounds such as human voices tend to get distorted at higher volume levels.
You'll be able to play basic games on the Transformer Book Flip, but advanced 3D games won't be playable. In our Dirt Showdown laptop test it managed a stuttery average frame rate of 17fps.
Battery life is superb. Going from a full charge to empty took a mammoth 11h 21m, which leaves us confident that with moderate usage you could go a full working day on this laptop without having to plug in.
The Asus Transformer Book Flip TP300LA is a great-value flexible laptop. It's built well, has a decent processor and lasts ages on a single charge. The only thing we'd like is a Full HD screen, which is available on more expensive versions of this laptop. Aside from that there's very little not to like about it, so it comes highly recommended.
|Processor||Dual-core 1.9GHz Intel Core i3-4030U|
|Memory slots (free)||2 (1)|
|Sound||Realtek HD Audio (3.5mm headset port)|
|Graphics adaptor||Intel HD Graphics 4400|
|Total storage||500GB hard disk|
|Optical drive type||None|
|Ports and expansion|
|USB ports||2x USB3, 1x USB2|
|Memory card reader||SDHC|
|Operating system||Windows 8.1|
|Operating system restore option||Restore partition|
|Parts and labour warranty||One-year collect and return|
|Price inc VAT||£450|