First look: Asus Transformer Book Flip

First look: Asus Transformer Book Flip
Asus Transformer Book Flip.

Asus is taking on the Lenovo Yoga's versatile design with a new series of affordable Windows 8.1 convertibles.

Vincent Chang checks out the 13.3-inch version, which will be available this month.

First impression

The Flip is too heavy for a convertible, but it could make a decent mainstream notebook.

Keyboard

Though the keys are comfortably spaced, this island-style keyboard feels mushy, similar to the ones found on many thin and light laptops. But its touchpad is large enough for multi-touch gestures and seems responsive.

The keyboard is automatically disabled when you flip the screen back, so you will not accidentally hit any key when using the device as a tablet.

Design

The Flip's mostly aluminium chassis feels very solid. The silver finish on the inside reminds me of the Apple MacBook Pro, especially as it also has rounded corners and an island-style keyboard.

A flexible hinge allows the screen to rotate, turning the laptop into a tablet. But at around 1.8kg, this convertible is more than twice the weight of a typical slate. Imagine how heavy the 14-inch and 15.6-inch models could turn out.

Processor

A fourth-generation Intel Core i7 chip powers this convertible. It also provides graphics hardware decent enough to play casual and older games. This pre-production unit has 8GB of RAM.

Screen

This IPS touchscreen has good viewing angles and a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution. But the display is fairly reflective and wobbles too much when used as a touchscreen.

Storage

It is commendable that the Flip comes with fast solid-state storage. However, its 128GB capacity is probably too small for some users. To supplement this, Asus is offering 16GB of its own cloud storage service.

Ports

The Flip has one USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports. It can be connected to an external display via HDMI. It also has an SD card reader.

On its left edge is the volume rocker and power button. Interestingly, Asus has included a button which appears to mimic the Windows logo key.

It is likely to be useful when the device is in tablet mode.

This article was published on Aug 13 in Digital Life, The Straits Times.

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