Asus convertible's a lot of machine

SOLID: At 1.8kg, the 13.3-inch version of the Transformer Book Flip is too heavy for a convertible. Still, it could make a decent mainstream notebook.


    Aug 15, 2014

    Asus convertible's a lot of machine

    ASUS is taking on the Lenovo Yoga with its new series of affordable Windows 8.1 convertibles.

    The writer checks out the 13.3-inch version of the Flip, which will be available this month.


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


    While the keys are comfortably spaced, this island-style keyboard feels mushy, similar to the ones found on many thin and light laptops. The 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.


    The Flip's mostly aluminium chassis feels very solid. The silver finish on the inside reminds me of the Apple MacBook Pro, which 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.


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


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


    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 cloud storage service.


    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 that appears to mimic the Windows logo key. That should come in handy when the device is in tablet mode.