The $349 Transformer Book TP200SA is an 11-inch hybrid with a sleek rotating design, a great display and fantastic battery life. While the performance could be better, and some more storage would be nice, this is a solid convertible for not a lot of money.
The TP200SA starts with a silky, brushed-metal lid that transitions to plastic on its deck and bottom half. The lid picks up a lot of fingerprints -- it's an oil magnet -- and there's not much you can do to keep it from being smudged. Inside, there's an 11.6-inch display surrounded by a shiny black bezel with a black, matte-plastic, chiclet-style keyboard below.
In back, a long plastic hinge allows the TP200SA's screen to rotate a full 360 degrees into modes such as tent, tablet and presentation. Two slots for the stereo speakers are on the bottom, just in front of some grippy rubber feet.
The TP200SA is stable in all of its four modes, and I appreciate its flat backside, which offers a solid feel when you transform the device into a tablet. Even better, at 11.69 x 7.93 x 0.73-inches and weighing 2.6 pounds, it's smaller and lighter than most 11-inch hybrids, including the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 (11.81 x 7.93 x 0.75 and 3.07 pounds), Lenovo Flex 3 11 (11.8 x 8.2 x 0.86 inches and 3 pounds) and HP Pavilion x360 11 (12.05 x 8.19 x 0.89 inches and 3.2 pounds).
Keyboard and Touchpad
With travel of just 0.65mm, the amount of movement on the TP200SA's nonbacklit keyboard is short (a typical notebook has around 1.5mm of travel). The keys are also on the small side.
The one redeeming metric is the standard 62-gram actuation weight, which gives typing a somewhat stiff but responsive feel. At first, I averaged just 69 words per minute on 10fastfingers.com. However, after a little practice, I got back up to my typical pace of 75 wpm.
The touchpad measures 4 x 2.5-inches, which gave me plenty of space to mouse around and perform multitouch gestures.
The TP200SA's 11.6-inch 1366 x 768-pixel screen is one of the better displays I've seen on a budget machine. When I watched the teaser trailer for Marvel and Netflix's upcoming Jessica Jones series, I loved seeing the violent purple light reflecting off the jukebox as Ms. Jones waded through the body-laden, yellow-tinted bar.
With a brightness of 243 nits, the TP200SA is more luminous than the typical budget 11-inch hybrid. Out of its three closest competitors, only the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 was brighter, at 308 nits. The HP Pavilion x360 11 and Lenovo Flex 3 11 both measured 227 nits.
The TP200SA's color accuracy was also impressive, as it registered a Delta-E rating of 0.32 (closer to zero is better). That's just barely behind the Pavilion 11 (0.2), but better than the Inspiron 11 3000 (1.4) and the Flex 3 11 (4.0).
Overall color reproduction was good for a value-priced system, too. The TP200SA covered 69 percent of the sRGB spectrum. Dell's Inspiron 11 3000 was better, at 84 percent; the HP Pavilion was quite similar, at 69 percent, but Lenovo's Flex 3 11 was more limited, at 58 percent.
The two stereo speakers located on the bottom of the system lacked punch. When I listened to Millencolin's "No Cigar," audio sounded very flat, with little impact from the snares or shallow-sounding mids and highs.
On the Laptop Mag Heat Test, the TP200SA straddled our 95-degree comfort threshold. After 15 minutes of streaming HD video, the bottom of the TP200SA measured exactly 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Thankfully, the touchpad and space between the G and H keys were much cooler, at 81.5 and 86 degrees, respectively.
Ports and Webcam
For such a small system, the TP200SA packs a lot of ports. On the left, there's a standard USB 3.0 port, a USB 3.1 port with the reversible Type-C connector, a microSD card reader and a micro HDMI port, while the right features a USB 2.0 port and a combo headphone/mic jack.
The USB Type-C port is a nice touch, because that means the TP200SA is future-proofed to work with the influx of phones and tablets equipped with the new omnidirectional port.
The 0.3-megapixel webcam (640 x 480) exists only to make sure there's something for video chatting, and even then, quality is pretty poor. In every situation, images looked noisy and soft, including a shot I took in our well-lit office.
Performance and Graphics
Featuring a 1.6-GHz Intel Celeron N3050 CPU, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage, the TP200SA doesn't wow you with superfast performance, but it's probably enough for most people. I had no trouble streaming 1080p movies from YouTube, but when I had more than 10 or 12 tabs open in Chrome, I noticed some occasional stuttering when switching between tabs.
On Geekbench 3, which measures overall system performance, the TP200SA scored a meager 1,315. That's less than half the scores from similar 2-in-1s, such as the Inspiron 11 3000 (3,406), HP's Pavilion x360 (3,406) and Lenovo's Flex 3 11 (3,992).
When we used OpenOffice to match 20,000 names and addresses, the TP200SA finished in a time of 15:32. That's about the same as the Flex 3 11 (15:40) and the Inspiron 11 3000 (15:28), but twice as slow as the Pavilion x360 11 (7:01).
The TP200SA's 64GB eMMC storage achieved a transfer rate of 34.15 MBps, which was significantly slower than both SSD-equipped and hard drive-equipped systems like the Pavilion x360 11 (82 MBps) and the Flex 3 11 (82 MBps), but about the same as the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 (32.4 MBps).
Graphics performance was even more anemic. In 3D Mark's Ice Storm Unlimited graphics test, the TP200SA scored 18,514. That's lower than both the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 (19,986) and the HP Pavilion x360 (23,664). At least in the casual card game Hearthstone, matches were playable at 1366 x 768 and medium settings, although I encoutered more than couple bouts of lag.
The best thing about the TP200SA is its prodigious battery life. On Laptop Mag's Battery Test (Web surfing over Wi-Fi at 100 nits of brightness), the TP200SA lasted an impressive 10 hours and 56 minutes. That's a full 5 hours longer than other wallet-conscious 2-in-1s, such as the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 (6:42), Lenovo Flex 3 11 (6:41) and HP Pavilion x360 11 (6:26), and 3 hours longer than the ultraportable average of 8:01.
In the United States, our $349 review unit (Intel Celeron N3050 CPU, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage) is the only config available, although you do get two choices of colors: dark blue and crystal silver. It will be available from retailers such as B&H, Amazon and Newegg, or direct via Asus' online store.
MORE: Best Asus Laptops
Software and Warranty
The Transformer Book Flip TP200SA ships with Windows 10 and is backed by a standard one-year warranty. The desktop is free of clutter, but there's a fair bit of bloat hiding among the list of preinstalled programs. There's TripAdvisor, Gameloft Games, Asus Giftbox, Candy Crush Saga and more. While some people may enjoy that apps for Netflix and Allrecipes also ship with the system, I prefer a cleaner install that I can customize for myself.
If I could get a little more speed and storage on the TP200SA, it would be my hands-down favorite budget 2-in-1. I really like the bright display, sleek design, USB Type-C port and seemingly endless 11-hour battery life. If you're looking for more punch from a sub-$500 hybrid, the $450 HP Pavilion x360 is a better fit. But at $349, the Asus feels nearly as good for a lower price.