- Excellent battery life
- Decent build and display
- Better price to performance than other products in its class
- Subpar keyboard
- Too many Windows 10 bugs at launch
- Unnecessary bloatware annoying
If you really want a mobile Windows 10 2-in-1, it’s hard to beat the Asus Transformer Book Flip TP200SA.
Asus has a well-deserved reputation or delivering tablets and notebooks high in value. The company that popularized the netbook proved this with the $200 Nexus 7, $300 Transformer Book T100, and most recently, the $300 Asus ZenPad S 8.0.
This reputation certainly portends good things in regards to the Transformer Book Flip TP200SA, an Intel Celeron-powered 2-in-1 running Windows 10. We fully expect it to deliver more than its $350 price tag.
So, does it? Read on to find out.
Build & Design
Let’s be polite and say Asus borrowed the Lenovo Yoga design for the Flip. The Asus device sports a 360-degree hinge centered on the display, enabling all the same modes popularized by the Yoga, with tablet and notebook mode being the most important.
The Transformer Book Flip measures 11.6 x 7.93 x .73 inches (W x D x H), and weighs 2.65 pounds, landing it well within the mobile class. The display lid has a scratch-resistant metal finish that suggests a higher-quality device, as does the 360-degree hinge. It will likely last beyond the life of the device, and provides the right amount of resistance and stability. The lid, bottom panel, and keyboard all give with a bit more bounce than we like to see in a notebook or tablet, though not enough to alarm us.
Display & Speakers
The Asus Transformer Book Flip TP200SA has an 11.6-inch IPS panel with a 1366 x 768 resolution. It has a common 16:9 aspect ratio and relatively-low 135 pixel-per-inch count. Colors are suitable and accurate, and Asus packs in an app for various color settings. When maxed, the device hits average brightness, but is still suitable for use outdoors thanks to what Asus calls its “TruVivid direct bonding.” Basically, the display glass bonded in such a way to reduce glare even though it’s as glossy and reflective as most other tablets.
Touch input is not as accurate or responsive as we would like for a 2-in-1. There is a frustrating lag with simple Window 10 navigation, and we especially had problems getting taps to register, whether closing an app or trying to hit a checkbox. We’ve had similar issues with other Windows 10 hardware, even the Surface 3 and Pro 3, so this is likely a software problem. Hopefully Microsoft and Asus address it sooner rather than later.
Decent laptop speakers are a rarity, so we weren’t too disappointed that the Transformer Book Flip speakers have two major issues. First, their placement on the front edge of the bottom panel is lousy. They will never direct sound at the user in any of the Flip’s various modes, and if you literally use the Flip as a laptop and place it on your lap, the sound is completely muffled.
Second, and more limiting, the speakers just aren’t loud enough. We can comment on the sound quality because we can’t hear it well enough. Maxed out, they are just loud enough for personal use in a quiet room. But any background noise or bustle will make any dialogue from streaming media hard to discern.
Ports & Connectivity
The Asus Transformer Book Flip TP200SA features USB Type C 3.1, full-sized USB 3.0, and microHDMI ports on one side, next to a microSD card slot, power button, volume rocker, and proprietary charging input. The other side houses a 3.5mm audio jack and full-sized USB 2.0.
This is a good selection of ports, and we are especially happy to see USB C alongside the more ubiquitous older inputs. If we had to nitpick, the proprietary charging input is a bit annoying, even though it’s small and reversible. Going with microUSB would have served users better.
The Flip supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.1, as any non-budget device should. No complaints here, both worked as expected.
Keyboard & Touchpad
The 82-key QWERTY features Chiclet style keys that are nicely spaced, but are a bit too smushy for our liking. They lack the satisfying click that should accompany any key press, and this results in a few missed keystrokes. The keyboard is slightly better than those found on budget Windows devices, but that’s faint praise.
The top row of function keys serve double duty, with various Windows controls, like volume and display brightness, included. This is common with most laptops. What’s uncommon here is that the function key is the default, and users have to hit the key in combo with “fn” for the Windows controls. It should be the other way around, as users will probably want quick access to airplane mode and mute more than they do f2 (rename a highlighted folder) and f10 (enables keyboard navigation in open application).
We have little to complain about with the single-piece trackpad. It’s is big and responsive. The Transformer Book Flip is also very good at disabling the keyboard and trackpad when in tablet mode, and turning them back on again once the display is opened more than 180 degrees.