A convertible notebook can be an excellent alternative for a traditional laptop. And I can certainly see why, such a hybrid model offers two useful devices – a laptop and tablet – in one package. Indeed, ASUS TP550LA-RHI5T01 is a convertible unit offering Core i5 level performance and 1TB hard drive. Whether such a model is useful to you is entirely different thing. We’ll tell you our opinion about that below!
The processor of ASUS TP550LA-RHI5T01 is called Intel Core i5-4210U. It contains two cores and clock speed of 1.7GHz. There’s also turbo feature upping the frequency to 2.7GHz. i5 processors are faster than common i3s – or Celerons to that matter – and it’s often power users and professionals who find them very useful. It will be a walk in the park for all the lightweight software, and most demanding applications (such as Photoshop) work rather smoothly as well.
The unit has 6GB DDRL3 (1600MHz) memory. It’s a solid amount if you ask me, good for keeping most software running without the system slowing down. As for memory distribution, it looks like 4GB is soldered on board while 2GB is installed on a stick. So you could take out the 2GB stick and replace it with a bigger module if you want a RAM boost.
There’s a terabyte hard drive offering a lot of storage to play with. However, the speed is only 5400RPM so performance is far from a true SSD. I don’t think there’s extra space for a new drive, but you may always remove the current HDD and place in a solid-state drive if you fancy better speeds.
Display and graphics
ASUS TP550LA-RHI5T01 comes with a 15.6″ touchscreen. Some sources say it’s 1920×1080, but in reality it’s just 1366×768. It would be almost too good to be true to get a Full HD laptop this cheap anyway. Also keep in mind you can rotate the display a whole 360 degrees, activating the tablet mode.
Graphics are brought to you by the Intel HD 4400 integrated card. It’s not the best gear for gamers, although many titles will run on lower details and resolutions. For example, the heavyweight GTA V should output ~15-20 frames per second. On the other hand, Counter-Strike: Go gives you a nice 60FPS on medium details and 1366×768.
ASUS TP550LA-RHI5T01 features one USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 to connect keyboards, mouses and other peripherals. A bigger display (such as HDTV) may also be plugged in to the laptop’s HDMI port.
This convertible notebook comes with a DVD burner. It also has an SD card reader for convenient memory card use. Furthermore, there’s an integrated front-facing webcam good for Skype video conferences.
To access Internet you can use either the WiFi adapter (802.11 a/b/g/n) or RJ-45 with cable. Bluetooth 4.0 is supported as well.
Anything else to keep in mind?
ASUS TP550LA-RHI5T01 is a heavy laptop. According to specifications it weighs 5.73 pounds which is more than similar notebooks usually weigh. Especially on the tablet mode, the weight and size can be uncomfortable. The 2-cell 38Wh battery will last up to 5.5 hours, although in real life you’ll probably get around four.
The keyboard is a normal one without illuminated keys. Numeric keypad is fixed on the right hand side.
ASUS TP550LA-RHI5T01 is a modern hybrid laptop, good for people who want a full-blown notebook but also the ability to use their computer as a tablet (albeit a big one). Performance-wise, this model packs a 4th generation Core i5 processor and 6GB RAM enough to deal with many heavy-duty software without issues. If you’re a gamer, you can fire up many of your favorite games, although you must not keep full eye candy or FPS will drop too low. There’s also one USB 3.0 good for bandwidth-intensive peripherals. One bad thing would be the weight which is more than most 15″ laptops are. Other than that, there are not many disadvantages I can see. So all in all, for the current price the ASUS is not a great deal but not waste of money either. If you want a decent convertible you might as well go for this one.