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Asus Transformer Book Flip TP550LA-CJ070P Convertible Review

Sascha Mölck (translated by Ariana Brodsky), 09/29/2014

Disappointing display. Asus wants to liberate buyers from having to decide between a tablet and a notebook, unifying the two into one device. Unfortunately, the result in the form of the Transformer Book Flip did not turn out so well.

For the original German review, see here.

The Asus Transformer Book Flip TP550LA-CJ070P is equipped with a display that rotates 360 degrees. As a result, it can be used as a normal notebook and also as a tablet (among other things). At first glance, the device looks structurally identical to the Transformer Book Flip TP500LN we recently reviewed. But looks are deceptive; the two computers are actually very different. The TP500LN is thinner, lacks an optical drive, it has a bigger battery and is housed in a metal case. The TP500LN only managed a "Satisfactory" (73%) in our tests. Can the TP550LA do any better? Read our review to find out.

The Transformer Book Flip's competition consists of all 15-inch convertibles, including the HP Envy 15-u001ng x360 and the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 2 15.

Case & Connectivity

Unlike the TP500LN, the Transformer Book Flip TP550LA's case is composed entirely of plastic materials. The top side of the base unit is silver-gray, whereas the rest of the case is black. The back side of the lid also has a brushed texture. The base unit makes a reasonably good impression; it yields slightly to pressure in some spots, but this is true of many notebooks. The base unit, however, can be pressed inward a little too much. The back side of the lid buckles enough that the image on the screen distorts under the pressure. The lower portion of the lid in particular lacks a little stability.

The TP550LA is equipped with the same connections as the TP500LN. Their positions, however, are completely different. The two devices also differ in that the TP550LA has an optical drive.

The Transformer Book comes to the buyer with Windows 8.1 preinstalled. There is no Windows DVD to assist in system recovery, but a wireless mouse is included in the packaging.

Notebook mode (image: Asus)
Notebook mode (image: Asus)
Tent mode (image: Asus)
Tent mode (image: Asus)
Tablet mode (image: Asus)
Tablet mode (image: Asus)
The back side of the lid is black. (Image: Asus)
The back side of the lid is black. (Image: Asus)
Left side: power connection, Ethernet port, HDMI, USB 3.0, memory-card reader, combined audio port, home button, volume rocker, power button (image: Asus)
Left side: power connection, Ethernet port, HDMI, USB 3.0, memory-card reader, combined audio port, home button, volume rocker, power button (image: Asus)
Right side: 2x USB 2.0, slot for a Kensington lock, DVD burner (image: Asus)
Right side: 2x USB 2.0, slot for a Kensington lock, DVD burner (image: Asus)
The front side houses the status LEDs and speakers. (Image: Asus)
The front side houses the status LEDs and speakers. (Image: Asus)

Input Devices

The Transformer Book Flip's input devices. (Image: Asus)
The Transformer Book Flip's input devices. (Image: Asus)

The Transformer Book is outfitted with an unlit chiclet keyboard. The flat and slightly roughened keys have a normal travel length and a comfortable degree of resistance. The click-point is also clearly recognizable. However, the keyboard rocks noticeably during typing. The multitouch-capable ClickPad takes up about 10.4 x 7.3 cm (~4.1 x 2.9 inches). At that size, there is plenty of space to execute multitouch gestures. Additionally, the pad's smooth surface lets fingers glide easily across the plane. The various multitouch gestures can be turned on and off in the Asus Smart Gesture menu. The pad has a short travel length and a clear click point. The touchscreen reacted unhesitatingly to input and did not cause us any problems.

Display

Asus installed a 15.6-inch display with a native resolution of 1366x768 pixels in their Transformer Book Flip. The screen's brightness (200.6 cd/m²), contrast (154:1) and black value (1.33 cd/m²) can only be referred to as bad. It is beyond comprehension how a display like this landed in a computer that costs 700 Euros (~$888).

209
cd/m²
214
cd/m²
194
cd/m²
211
cd/m²
205
cd/m²
192
cd/m²
195
cd/m²
198
cd/m²
187
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 214 cd/m² Average: 200.6 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 87 %
Center on Battery: 205 cd/m²
Contrast: 154:1 (Black: 1.33 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.6 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 5.38 | - Ø
41% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.18
Asus Transformer Book Flip TP550LA-CJ070P
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
Asus Transformer Book Flip TP500LN
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
HP Envy 15-u001ng x360
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541010A7E630
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 2 15
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
Screen
46%
-2%
23%
Brightness
201
143
-29%
242
20%
215
7%
Brightness Distribution
87
84
-3%
85
-2%
84
-3%
Black Level *
1.33
0.3
77%
0.59
56%
0.675
49%
Contrast
154
513
233%
447
190%
332
116%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.6
4.84
14%
12.78
-128%
5.8
-4%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.38
4.53
16%
13.46
-150%
5.03
7%
Gamma
2.18 110%
2.22 108%
3.18 75%
2.18 110%
CCT
7737 84%
7307 89%
19149 34%
7277 89%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
41
48
17%
36.19
-12%

* ... smaller is better

Transformer Book Flip vs. sRGB
Transformer Book Flip vs. sRGB
Transformer Book Flip vs. AdobeRGB
Transformer Book Flip vs. AdobeRGB

Asus often equips their own computers with color profiles. As a result, these devices reproduce colors more accurately than most other competing computers. The TP550LA is one such device -- its average DeltaE 2000 deviation comes to 5.6 (target range: DeltaE less than 3). The display does not have a blue cast.

CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Color saturation
CalMAN - Color saturation
The Asus Transformer Book Flip in outdoor use.
The Asus Transformer Book Flip in outdoor use.

Incomprehensibly, Asus built a simple TN panel into their Transformer Book. This means the display content is only visible from a limited range of angles. In a device like the Transformer Book, an IPS display with stable viewing angles is almost a basic prerequisite. Due to the highly reflective display surface, the computer cannot be used outdoors.

Performance

Asus' Transformer Book Flip is a 15.6-inch convertible with a Core i5 processor. The CPU provides enough performance power to handle everyday tasks. Our test device is currently available for around 700 Euros (~$888). There are other versions with different hardware -- the most inexpensive model at the moment (TP550LA-CJ086H) has a Core i3-4030U processor and a 1 TB hard drive and costs about 600 Euros (~$761).

Processor

The Transformer Book Flip is equipped with an Intel Core i5-4210U dual-core processor (Haswell). The CPU runs at a base frequency of 1.7 GHz. Using turbo, the speed can be increased to up to 2.4 GHz (both cores) or 2.7 GHz (only one core). Intel asserts that the processor's TDP is 15 Watts. The CPU is able to provide its maximum performance power in both AC power mode and battery mode; the Cinebench benchmark's CPU tests attest to this.

Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.19 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.55 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
22.47 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
82 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
239 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
23.83 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Help
Cinebench R15 - CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book Flip TP550LA-CJ070P
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
82 Points ∼42%
Medion Akoya S6213T MD98716
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3530
39 Points ∼20% -52%
Asus Transformer Book Flip TP500LN
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
86 Points ∼44% +5%
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 2 15
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
101 Points ∼52% +23%
HP Envy 15-u001ng x360
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541010A7E630
104 Points ∼54% +27%
Cinebench R15 - CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book Flip TP550LA-CJ070P
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
239 Points ∼13%
Medion Akoya S6213T MD98716
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3530
105 Points ∼6% -56%
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 2 15
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
228 Points ∼12% -5%
Asus Transformer Book Flip TP500LN
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
232 Points ∼12% -3%
HP Envy 15-u001ng x360
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541010A7E630
235 Points ∼13% -2%

System Performance

We did not encounter any problems testing the Transformer Book Flip -- it runs fluidly. Our subjective impression is validated by the computer's good results in the PCMark benchmarks.

PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2500 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
2420 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
3338 points
Help
PCMark 8 - Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book Flip TP550LA-CJ070P
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
2500 Points ∼42%
HP Envy 15-u001ng x360
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541010A7E630
2175 Points ∼36% -13%
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 2 15
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
2355 Points ∼39% -6%
Asus Transformer Book Flip TP500LN
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
2846 Points ∼48% +14%

Storage Devices

Asus installed a Hitachi hard drive in our test device. This HDD runs at 5400 rpm and provides 500 GB of storage space. As per usual with Asus notebooks, the hard drive is split into an operating system partition (186 GB) and a data partition (258 GB). All in all, the drive's data transfer rates are good and on the level of current 5400 rpm hard drives. 

Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
Sequential Read: 98.11 MB/s
Sequential Write: 98.75 MB/s
512K Read: 29.63 MB/s
512K Write: 32.32 MB/s
4K Read: 0.328 MB/s
4K Write: 0.687 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 0.642 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 0.691 MB/s

Graphics Card

Intel's HD Graphics 4400 graphics core is responsible for the computer's graphics output. The GPU supports DirectX 11.1 and runs at speeds of between 200 and 1000 MHz. Thanks to the fact that the working memory functions in dual-channel mode, the device's results in our graphics tests prove to be better than the results achieved by comparable notebooks with only one working memory module -- for instance, the HP Envy 15-u001ng x360.

3DMark Vantage P Result
4148 points
3DMark 11 Performance
960 points
Help
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book Flip TP550LA-CJ070P
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
852 Points ∼2%
Medion Akoya S6213T MD98716
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3530
174 Points ∼0% -80%
Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4
HD Graphics 4400, 4030U, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
713 Points ∼1% -16%
HP Envy 15-u001ng x360
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541010A7E630
722 Points ∼1% -15%
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 2 15
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
798 Points ∼2% -6%
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD128HAFV mSATA
799 Points ∼2% -6%

Gaming Performance

Once again thanks to the working memory modules that run in dual-channel mode, the computer is able to fluidly render many games at low resolution and low to medium quality settings. Older games and games with limited hardware demands should be playable in the display's native resolution.

low med. high ultra
Tomb Raider (2013) 53.125.714.5fps

Emissions

System Noise

The Transformer Book Flip runs quietly under every level of load. In idle mode, the fan usually stands still and the only sound the computer produces is the soft whir of the hard drive. During the stress test, the fan starts to turn a little faster, but the sound level is completely reasonable. We measured a sound pressure level of 35.4 dB.

Noise Level

Idle
32.6 / 32.6 / 32.6 dB(A)
HDD
35.6 dB(A)
DVD
38.8 / dB(A)
Load
34.3 / 35.4 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

The Transformer Book Flip in the stress test.
The Transformer Book Flip in the stress test.

In AC power mode, the CPU completed the stress test (Prime95 and Furmark running for at least an hour) at 1.3 to 1.5 GHz. The GPU accomplished its task at full speed (1 GHz). When we ran the stress test in battery mode, the processor and graphics core constantly swung between their minimum and maximum speeds (CPU: 800 MHz and 2.4 GHz; GPU: 200 MHz and 1 GHz). During the stress test, the CPU temperature (AC power mode) leveled off at 63 °C (145.4 °F). Since the CPU throttles during the stress test, the case hardly warms up at all. The temperature only crossed the 40 °C mark (104 °F) in one spot. In idle mode, all the temperatures are in the green.

Max. Load
 32.1 °C30.1 °C29 °C 
 33 °C30.9 °C28.1 °C 
 27.6 °C27.9 °C27.5 °C 
Maximum: 33 °C
Average: 29.6 °C
29 °C37.7 °C38.4 °C
28.6 °C35.7 °C41.2 °C
29.1 °C27.1 °C28.7 °C
Maximum: 41.2 °C
Average: 32.8 °C
Power Supply (max.)  46 °C | Room Temperature 24.2 °C | Voltcraft IR-360
 30.1 °C29.9 °C26.1 °C 
 29.7 °C30 °C26.1 °C 
 26 °C26.3 °C28.1 °C 
Maximum: 30.1 °C
Average: 28 °C
26.4 °C32.6 °C32.3 °C
26.7 °C31.2 °C31.6 °C
28.1 °C25.7 °C26.8 °C
Maximum: 32.6 °C
Average: 29 °C
Power Supply (max.)  32.1 °C | Room Temperature 23.6 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The Transformer Book Flip's stereo speakers are located on the front side of the device. They produce a reasonably good sound that is easy on the ears. The speakers have a very slight tendency to sound a little tinny. Speech is easily understandable. Alternatively, the user can connect either headphones or external speakers.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

In idle mode, the Transformer Book Flip's energy usage lies considerably under 10 Watts. During the stress test as well, the computer's energy consumption rates made no unexpected jumps and simply persisted at 30.6 Watts. Were the processor to run at full speed rather than throttling, the power consumption rate would be higher. Under every level of load, the Asus convertible proves to be considerably more frugal than some of its competitors, for example, the HP Envy 15-u001ng x360.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.2 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 4.9 / 6.2 / 6.4 Watt
Load midlight 27.7 / 30.6 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

In our WLAN test, which is designed to simulate practical, everyday use, we run a script that automatically loads a new webpage every 40 seconds. The energy-saving profile is active and the display brightness is set to about 150 cd/m². In this test, the TP550LA reached a runtime of 4:33 h -- on par with the TP500LN (4:36 h). It is noteworthy, however, that the TP500LN's battery has a greater capacity than that of the TP550LA (TP500LN: 48 Wh, TP500LN: 38 Wh).

Battery Runtime
WiFi Surfing
4h 33min
Battery Runtime - WiFi (sort by value)
Asus Transformer Book Flip TP550LA-CJ070P
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
273 min ∼10%
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 2 15
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
234 min ∼9%
Asus Transformer Book Flip TP500LN
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
276 min ∼10%
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD128HAFV mSATA
335 min ∼12%
HP Envy 15-u001ng x360
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541010A7E630
351 min ∼13%
Medion Akoya S6213T MD98716
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3530
617 min ∼23%

Verdict

The Asus Transformer Book Flip TP550LA-CJ070P always runs quietly and does not grow especially warm. The Core i5 processor has enough oomph in it to complete everyday tasks without a problem. The device's foremost feature is its 360-degree rotating display, which lends the user the ability to work in various modes (ex. traditional notebook, tablet, etc.). Whether this is a useful function is something dependent on the user. Unfortunately, Asus outfitted their computer with nothing more than a dark, low-contrast HD display with limited viewing angles. At a price of around 700 Euros (~$888), we would have expected a bright, Full HD IPS display -- especially given that the device is a convertible. It should be clear to Asus that the installation of this low-quality display practically begs potential buyers not to buy the device. The Asus Transformer Book Flip TP500LN does not really constitute an alternative, seeing as it houses just as pathetic a display -- though it does offer Full HD resolution.

In addition, in our opinion, the convertible is overpriced. 500 to 550 Euros (~$634-$697) would be a more realistic price. The actual price of 700 Euros (~$888) would only be justifiable if Asus had equipped the device with substantially superior components.

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In review: Asus Transformer Book Flip TP550LA-CJ070P. Test model courtesy of campuspoint.
In review: Asus Transformer Book Flip TP550LA-CJ070P. Test model courtesy of campuspoint.

Specifications

Asus Transformer Book Flip TP550LA-CJ070P (Transformer Book Series)
Processor
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 4400, Core: 200-1000 MHz, 10.18.10.3496
Memory
8192 MB 
, DDR3, Dual-channel, 4 GB soldered, One memory bank (occupied)
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, 10-point multitouch, Samsung 156AT35-P01, TN LED, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel Lynx Point-LP
Storage
Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680, 500 GB 
, 5400 rpm, 410 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Lynx Point-LP - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Combined audio port, Card Reader: SD, Sensors: Orientation sensor, Acceleration sensor
Networking
Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN (10/100/1000MBit), Atheros AR9485 WiFi Adapter (b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0
Optical drive
Matshita DVD-RAM UJ8E2 S
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 27.2 x 380 x 261 ( = 1.07 x 14.96 x 10.28 in)
Battery
38 Wh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HD webcam
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, Mouse, McAfee LiveSafe-Internet Security (trial version), MS Office 365 (trial version), 24 Months Warranty
Weight
2.26 kg ( = 79.72 oz / 4.98 pounds), Power Supply: 225 g ( = 7.94 oz / 0.5 pounds)
Price
700 Euro

 

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Links

Price Comparison

Pro

+Runs quietly
+Barely warms up
+360-degree hinge
+Reasonably good keyboard
 

Cons

-Dark, low-contrast display with limited viewing angles
-Expensive

Shortcut

What we like

The computer runs quietly and barely warms up at all.

What we'd like to see

A brighter, Full HD display with higher contrast and stable viewing angles.

What surprises us

That Asus installed a simple TN panel. A convertible needs an IPS panel.

The competition

HP Envy 15-u001ng x360, Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 2 15, Medion Akoya S6213T MD98716, Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro.

Rating

Asus Transformer Book Flip TP550LA-CJ070P - 09/21/2014 v4(old)
Sascha Mölck

Chassis
74 / 98 → 76%
Keyboard
72%
Pointing Device
81%
Connectivity
62 / 80 → 78%
Weight
61 / 78 → 60%
Battery
85%
Display
68%
Games Performance
62 / 68 → 91%
Application Performance
69 / 87 → 79%
Temperature
91%
Noise
89%
Audio
40 / 91 → 44%
Camera
40 / 85 → 47%
Average
69%
73%
Convertible - Weighted Average
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Asus Transformer Book Flip TP550LA-CJ070P Convertible Review
Sascha Mölck, 2014-09-29 (Update: 2016-02-18)