On the right of the laptop/tablet is a tray-load optical drive, able to read and write to DVDs and CDs, but not Blu-ray. Two USB 2.0 ports dwell here, but if you need high-speed connectivity you’ll need to turn to the left side to find a solitary USB 3.0 port. This sits between an SD card slot and HDMI port, with trap-door gigabit ethernet port and 3.5 mm headphone jack completing the port array. Note that the card slot is specified up to SDHC cards only, meaning a maximum 32 GB capacity.
Surprisingly the main power button is at the front of this line, alongside a volume rocker button. The positioning of these makes more sense when the screen has been wrapped around the back and you’re trying to use the TP550L in its tablet mode, but they’re quite handily placed for laptop use too, once you’ve remembered where they are. Also see: Tablet Advisor.
The display is a low-resolution shiny gloss panel with nothing in the way of reflection-reducing coating. So here the 2 in 1 aspect reveals the handy double duty as personal mirror under most lighting conditions.
Confounding its usability much further though, is Asus’ choice of low-grade TN technology panel. Besides its poor colour reproduction and lousy contrast ratio (just 62 percent sRGB, and 80:1 contrast ratio, in our lab tests) it has abominably narrow viewing angles. That’s bad enough news for a laptop; but an effective deal breaker for any device with tablet pretensions where you’ll be routinely viewing from different sides.
Used as a laptop touchscreen, it wobbles back and forth in a disconcerting fashion whenever you tap with your finger, eventually settling down after a few seconds’ oscillation. Also see:Laptop Advisor.