Even with a 360-hinge and and a low price point, this convertible laptop's most attention-worthy feature is its surprisingly swift performance. A bland, standard HD display arguably takes it off the table for designers, but there's plenty for others to like.
Good build quality and performance, low price, range of ports, more storage than competing detachables
Windows 8.1 instead of Windows 10, poor display quality, lots of unwanted Asus software
Processor: 2.2GHz dual-core Intel Core i5-5200U
Display: 13.3in LED at 1366x768 and 118ppi
Ports: Two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, one HDMI and one SD card
Storage: 500GB HDD
Operating system: Windows 8.1
Asus has a respectable track record with Windows convertibles, mainly thanks to its high-quality Transformer Book Chi detachables. The Transformer Book TP300LA, however, is the first of Asus' rotating-screen laptops we've been able to give the full review treatment.
Whether it would be able to stand up to its great 2-in-1 stablemates, especially with a relatively low-end price tag of £339.99, was a mystery. Thus, we spent a few days living with it, using it both at work and at home; here are our findings.
Despite the price, the Transformer Book Flip TP300LA feels sturdy enough; other than a plastic underside, it's mostly built from aluminium, which resisted the wear and tear of a few days' usage and transit. The 360-degree hinge is also reasonably firm, though like most of these kinds of devices, the screen can wobble when being poked in the "stand" configuration.
The downside is that it's still quite thick, and a little on the heavy side. It weighs 1.75kg and measures 326x232x22mm, neither of which are too bad by conventional laptop standards, but they do make a cumbersome experience when using the fully-rotated touchscreen like a tablet. We much preferred it sat on a desk in either the laptop, stand or "tent" setups.
That thickness doesn't afford the Asus Transformer Book Flip TP300LA an optical disk drive, like we sometimes see on full notebooks. However, there is room for plenty of connectivity options, including two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, a full-size HDMI port and an SD card reader. This covers all the essentials - removable storage, wired peripherals, display connectivity - more than adequately.
For something over 2cm thick, it's also quite classy-looking, with a lovely brushed metal finish on the lid and around the keyboard. Speaking of the latter, the keys are relatively shallow but perfectly spaced apart, and the trackpad buttons have a satisfyingly forceful click to them.
We're not keen on the placement of the power button - it's on the left-hand edge about parallel with the trackpad, so we accidentally put the device to sleep when picking it up - but generally, the Asus Transformer Book TP300LA's design is quite literally one of its stronger points.
The same couldn't be said for the display; it's a 13.3in LED screen at a barely-HD resolution of 1366x768, producing a low pixel density of 118ppi.
While it doesn't look terribly fuzzy, the Transformer Book TP300LA's display is therefore a significant step down in sharpness compared to its mostly full HD competitors, including the vast 15.6in Toshiba Satellite Radius 15. This makes it a lot less suitable for imagery-based tasks like photo and video editing, which usually deal with very high-res files.
Even more concerning is how washed-out colours appear; there are no individual hues that stand out, and the whole screen ends up looking dark and flat as a result - even on maximum brightness.
The anti-glare coating works to an extent, lowering the harshness of nearby light sources even if their reflections remain. Sadly, it also adds a grim, almost oily effect, which makes whites and light colours even less clean and clear. Viewing angles are quite restrictive as well, which is never ideal.
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