Tuesday 2 May 2017

ASUS Transformer Book flip TP550LD Review

Today I have ASUS Transformer book flip TP550LD with me for review. The ASUS website lists this a perfect work and play companion, and it fits the bill perfectly according to me.

Thanks to ASUS India for sending in the Review unit, the unit was sent back upon completion of this Review.

The age of Tablet and Laptop hybrids was brought upon us by Microsoft's Surface series of hybrids and they fizzled out pretty bad. It was an amalgamation of the things you don't want in your work/play machine. First, they had the Windows RT with pretty limited functionality and secondly they had the hardware prowess of a tablet, which is not ideal when you want to sell it at the price of a Work companion.

The ASUS Transformer Book flip (henceforth I am going to refer to it as ASUS flip book), which, as the name suggests is a Transformer which switches between being a Tablet and a full fledged Laptop with Windows 8.1 and a very useful touchscreen.

The price is approximately 700$ for the i3 version that I got for Review, lets have a quick look at the specifications then we will start with the in-depth review.

ASUS Transformer Book flip TP550LD

Processor Intel Core i3 4010U Haswell -ULT 1.7 GHz
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4400/ Nvidia GeForce 820M
Memory Single channel DDR3 1600 4 GB RAM
Display 15.6 inch 16:9, 1366x7768 pixel, Glossy
Chipset Intel Haswell, Intel Lynx point point LP
Harddisk 931.5 GB HDD 5400RPM
Weight 2.60 KG ( With Battery)

Body & connectivity ports : The body is fully plastic, with no small parts or aluminium or any metal. The display panel top and panel bezel is Black/gray hairline pattern, and the rest of the body around keyboard is silver/gray sanded smooth patterned, with the bottom again black plastic. The display part is as heavy as the bottom part with the main hardware and this many a times causes balance issues. The bottom bezel is very satisfactory to look at with its clean rectangle lines and smooth sanded tecture, the small notification lights glitter in an almost invisible way. The connectivity ports and exhaust vents are very cleverly placed to make this Hybrid usable both as a laptop and tablet, the vents are located towards the connector hinge of display, this ensures that you don't get your hands directly in contact with the heat expelled. The Power, Volume buttons and all connectivity ports are given so that they are easily accessible whether you use it in Laptop mode or Tablet mode.

The Exhaust vents sit neatly between the Hinge joint

The Exhaust positions brings me to Emissions, Now I am going to talk about the Heat and Noise emissions :-

Noise : There is very minimal noise emission from this Hybrid as the fan is very low RPM and the only thing that causes some whirring noise is the HDD.

Temperature : Temperatures didn't go in the very hot range that we generally see with other Laptops while running the same set of benchmarks that we used on this machine.

Input Hardware :

The Keyboard on this device is very soft and squishy, that you almost have no indication of the keypress. Other than that the, keys are Double shot and you should worry about losing the letters on this after heavy usage in some years.

The Trackpad on some of the ASUS laptops I have used are top notch and can be easily classfied among the top trackpads if you were to rank them among all brands in general quality and responsiveness, along with accurate touches and ignoring palm touches.

Same goes for this device, although this seemed more fingerprint attractive and an oleophobic coating could have helped.

Storage : According to the Product details on ASUS website, this comes in 500GB/1TB models, the one I had was 1TB model, with a standard 5400RPM HDD.

It was able to hit 94MB/s Read and 85MB/s write on CrystalDiskBenchmark I ran on it.

Graphics capbility : Since this is a work Transformer you shouldn't be expecting any heavy graphical usage out of this, it comes with a Nvidia GT820M GPU which was enough to handle the usual loadsets you will throw at it, but do not expect any gaming, atleast not on games from last 4-5 years.

Performance :

This section usually includes Gaming in average Laptop review I do, but since this isn't a Gaming Laptop I am not going to do that, so I will just run some CPU tests to let you know how powerful it is and give you a general idea in comparison to other work notebooks/ultrabooks you may have your eyes on.

PCMark 7 Score : 2344

AIDA64 Cache and Memory Benchmarks :

So I also ran a system stability test on this Unit, using AIDA64 suite, The basic premise of what it does is, it will run the system at 100% load for as long as you will let it run.

That easily puts the CPU/HDD usage at 100% and helps me gauge the temprature readings.

At 100% CPU and HDD usage after 30 minutes, the max tempratures reached 74C, which is high for a work laptop but keep in mind you are not usually going to run your PC at 100% CPU and HDD usage, atleast not for long periods of time. As it may usually damage it.

The Ambient tempratures at the time of test were 36C.

The Restore Windows Button sits between Media control buttons and Headset jacks

Battery and Power :

This unit comes with a usual brick sized charger we have all come to expect from fast charging batteries these days, and the ASUS website boasts of 90 minute to full charge claim which is somewhat not too far from my observation of 105 Minutes.

The battery on workload of Browser, Excel, and Lightroom runs at about 5 Hours, which is not that impressive considering it is an i3 low power variant.

Conclusion :

This is a good Transformer Laptop for the performance it gives, but if I honestly ask myself, would I buy this ? My answer would be No.

The reason for that is, there are many other better options like HP Ultrabook Series, Lenovo Ultrabooks, all of which give a better performance and battery time in slightly more of a budget. Maybe this was a good Tranformer one year back, it isn't now.

One other thing which I didn't like with this was, the position of exhaust vents, Asus really needs to reconsider the vents design and make it more ventilated. Right now the exhausts are all concentrated at the hinge joint between screen and lower body which creates a hot zone and may feel very uncomfortable in long run if you decide to use this in transformed position.

Lack of a SSD and using a HDD also contributes to vibration and heat generation in this so that is also a con.

For our other Recents Reviews do check out : HyperX SODIMM 1866Mhz Laptop RAM Review

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