Story image

Hands-on review: ASUS Transformer Book

22 Feb 16

Asus’s Transformer Book is an 11” convertible featuring a flip-hinged screen and solid battery life. It isn’t a gaming powerhouse and storage is meagre, but it does offer solid value for money.

Look and Feel

The Transformer Book has the same brushed metal lid as other ASUS products. Its bottom half is plastic. It also feels solid with little to no flexing. Given its sub-$600 sticker price, this is a pleasant surprise.

Its arty trick revolves around its screen/hinge arrangement which allows the screen to flip around so it can do double duty as a tablet. It can also face outwards in “tent” mode, which is useful for presenting to small audiences.

In Use

The one downside of such a petite build is that the Transformer isn’t ideal for touch typists. Its keys don't have a lot of travel and feel small. This saw me creating more than a few typos when first testing it.

This isn’t a show stopper though, and after a few hours the number of typos dropped to their usual level. After a day’s use, I was able to knock out reams of text, however, it did still feel a little cramped.

The Transformer book keyboard is small, but the touchpad is just over 5” – which is plenty of room for mousey manoeuvres.

The Transformer's 11.6” screen is both bright and vivid. For watching video content, photo editing, or surfing, the screen is likely to be more than ample. The Transformer Book's speakers are on its underside. While they didn’t shake my house off its foundations, they worked for casual listening.

With extended use, the Transformer Book didn’t heat up too much. It remained warm (but not hot) even while the mercury hovered around the 30c mark and I was using it for light gaming.

Bells and Whistles

About the only thing missing connectivity-wise on the Transformer book is a kitchen sink. Given its petite size, it packs a surprising amount of connectivity. As well as USB 2/3 ports with a Type-C connector, it also has HDMI plus headphone/mic ports and a microSD card reader.

The Micro SD card reader is likely to be a pretty vital addition as the review unit I had only had a meagre 28GB of solid state storage which drops to a mere 17GB with Windows 10 installed (storage capacities can range up 128GB). The Transformer book is powered by a 1.6-GHz Intel Celeron CPU and packs 2GB of RAM. While that spec won't suit power users wanting to run the latest games or decode the human genome, it's still fine for basic productivity chores.

The upside to this is battery life. I wrung just over 10 hours of life with typical use, a solid improvement over most other devices I’ve tested at this price point.


Gamers and power users may want to look elsewhere, but anyone wanting a light and affordable notebook/tablet will find the ASUS Transformer a solid choice. I’d love more storage, but its display, USB C connectivity, solid battery life and the $549 price tag make it an ideal travel laptop.

Tech Specs


CPU:  Pentium Dual-Core N3050,

OS: Windows 10

RAM: DDR3L 1600 MHz SDRAM, (up to 4 GB)

Display: 11.6" 16:9 WXGA (1366x768)

Storage: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB

Card Reader (Micro SD Micro SDXC Micro SDHC )

Camera: VGA Web Camera

Networking:  802.11 a/b/g/n/ac

Connectivity: 1 x COMBO audio jack, 1 x USB 3.0 port(s), 1 x USB 2.0 port(s), 1 x USB-C Gen 1 (up to 5 Gbps), 1 x micro HDMI

Royole's FlexPai: So bendable phablets are a reality now
A US-based firm called Royole is delivering on that age-old problem of not being able to fold up your devices (who hasn't ever wished they could fold their phone up...)
Hands-on review: Having fun in Knowledge is Power: Decades and Chimparty
They don’t revolutionise social video gaming, but they are enjoyable enough to occupy you during a wet weekend. 
Kiwis losing $24.7mil to scam calls every year
The losses are almost five times higher compared to the same period last year, from reported losses alone.
Tile's Mate & Pro Bluetooth trackers land in NZ
If your car keys (or your tablet) have disappeared into the void at the back of the couch or if you left them somewhere in your car, retracing your steps to find them could be a thing of the past.
Government still stuck in the past? Not on GovTech's watch
What exactly is GovTech and what’s been happening in our capital city?
"Is this for real?" The reality of fraud against New Zealanders
Is this for real? More often than not these days it can be hard to tell, and it’s okay to be a bit suspicious, especially when it comes to fraud.
Hands-on review: The iPhone Xs
The iPhone Xs is a win that brought numerous new and exciting features to the market.
How much does your Amazon Prime Video subscription really get you?
For our NZ$8.90 per month, the average cost per title is US$0.00126 - but we only really get a choice of 416 TV shows and 4321 movies. Choice is a little bit limited compared to other countries.