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Asus ZenBook Flip S review

Asus ZenBook Flip S assessment

The Home windows 10 2-in-1 enviornment has exploded over the previous couple of years, with a bunch of various type components that may morph from a conventional pocket book into touch- and pen-based tablets. The 360-degree convertible is a well-liked class that’s expanded to incorporate every thing from 17-inch behemoths to extremely skinny and light-weight machines with 13-inch shows, and smaller. The Asus ZenBook Flip S is without doubt one of the latest, and most excessive, examples of the latter design that we’ve ever reviewed.

In response to Asus, the ZenBook Flip S is “the world’s slimmest convertible laptop computer,” and the machine is definitely slim at zero.43 inches skinny. It’s additionally outfitted with a strong seventh technology Intel Core i7-7500U, that means that — in idea a minimum of — you’re not compromising operate for type.

You’re additionally not being requested to pay an excessive amount of. The ZenBook Flip S is an affordable $1,400 with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB solid-state drive (SSD). That worth contains an energetic pen, a USB Kind-C hub, and a slip case. We reviewed the Microsoft Signature Version model out there solely on the Microsoft Retailer, so it didn’t embrace all Asus software program utilities. In the event you can dwell with the matte grey coloration scheme and don’t want the energetic pen, you will get the identical primary configuration for $1,200 at Greatest Purchase, with all the Asus utilities pre-installed.

All this appears to be like promising, but it surely raises one basic query — what are you compromising to smash all that energy into such a skinny system?

Luxurious, rock stable, and scorching

The ZenBook Flip S is a surprising machine, identical to the smaller ZenBook Three and the bigger ZenBook Three Deluxe. Our assessment unit was adorned with a royal blue and gold coloration scheme, and we favored it — quite a bit. It’s simple to manufacture shiny components and daring colours and find yourself creating one thing garish, however that’s a faux-pas Asus masterfully prevented.

The ZenBook Flip S has nice efficiency — however hold it away from naked pores and skin when it’s working laborious.

The laptop computer’s colours mix collectively at simply the suitable angles, curves, and diamond-cut edges to create a machine that’s refined but hanging. Asus’ trademark concentric ring impact on the lid firmly locations the machine within the ZenBook household. It’s a premium and engaging look, and in response to Asus, can be costly to create.

Construct high quality can be a spotlight. The ZenBook Flip S is gentle, however nonetheless manages to really feel balanced whether or not the lid is open or closed.

At 2.43 kilos and zero.43 inches skinny, it’s round half a pound heavier than the ZenBook Three, but it surely’s additionally a bit thinner – despite the fact that it’s a 360-degree convertible that may fold into 4 configurations together with pocket book, pill, tent, and multimedia modes. The machine’s dimension is diminished by slim show bezels, but Asus managed to place the webcam in the popular location above the show.

Asus constructed the 2-in-1 with aircraft-grade aluminum alloy that’s 50 p.c stronger than what the corporate sometimes makes use of, and it exhibits. The ZenBook Flip S seems like one stable chunk of metallic.

The hinge — which Asus calls the world’s smallest — stays proper the place you need it as nicely, and it spins round into pill mode with confidence. Consideration to element is clear all through, with a pleasant cutout that makes it simple to seize the hinge and carry. When it’s opened past 135 levels, the sting of the lid props up the keyboard at a slight angle for extra comfy typing.

Asus ZenBook Flip S In contrast To

Asus engineers are good, however they’re not magicians. Physics issues, and in case you pack a full-power Core i7 processor into such a good house, you’re going to pay a worth in thermal administration, and even a contemporary cooling system can solely go thus far. The chassis will get scorching on the underside left facet the place the CPU is situated, and when the machine is working laborious you gained’t wish to maintain it in your lap.

Restricted however futuristic connectivity

When a pocket book is that this skinny, there’s not loads of room for ports. Some smaller machines, like Apple’s MacBook and Asus’s personal ZenBook Three, embrace a single USB Three.1 Kind-C port. With these, not solely will you want a dongle for legacy units however you’ll want one simply to attach a second peripheral. Asus contains two USB Three.1 Kind-C ports to go together with a Three.5mm headset jack within the ZenBook Flip S, which is an enchancment, however nonetheless represents restricted connectivity.

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Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

Observe that both port can be utilized for charging the machine with the included USB Kind-C charger — and in our testing, by some third-party chargers, as nicely.

Asus mitigates the ache a bit by together with a USB Kind-C mini dock with a 3rd USB Three.1 Kind-C port, an HDMI connection, and a USB Three.zero Kind-A port. It’s color-coordinated as nicely, so it appears to be like good when plugged into the ZenBook Flip S, and the included slip cowl features a helpful pocket for when you want to carry the dock round with you. Constructed-in ports are all the time higher, however kudos to Asus for together with a few good equipment.

The standard 2-in-1 enter choices with a couple of tiny flaws

It’s inevitable skinny 2-in-1’s keyboard will likely be a minimum of considerably compromised in comparison with thicker notebooks with considerably extra room. Surprisingly, although, the keys aren’t as shallow as, say, these on the MacBook’s keyboard, which feels such as you’re typing on a chunk of wooden. Asus has engineered a crisp, exact, and satisfying motion right into a keyboard with out loads of house.

The ZenBook Flip S has among the finest keyboards we’ve seen on a skinny and light-weight machine.

The ZenBook Flip S keyboard advantages from a backlight with three helpful brightness ranges, and a pleasing gold coloration that persistently illuminates with out being blindingly shiny. General, it’s not the perfect keyboard we’ve ever used, but it surely’s however among the finest we’ve utilized in such a skinny machine.

The touchpad is sweet — largely. It’s massive, clean, and offers full help for Microsoft Precision multitouch gestures. The one weak spot is that the built-in buttons register clicks in too small an space. We discovered ourselves persistently needing to take a look at the buttons to verify we have been urgent in simply the suitable place. In the event you solely use faucets for left and proper clicks, then you definitely’ll be completely proud of the ZenBook Flip S’s touchpad.

Subsequent, there’s a 10-point contact show that’s exact and responsive. Nonetheless, the show feels prefer it has a coating that makes it a bit sticky, and slows down swiping the tiniest bit. On the similar time, the show feels nice when utilizing the included energetic pen with 1,024 ranges of strain sensitivity.

A fingerprint reader on the suitable facet towards the entrance offers help for Home windows 10 Whats up password-less login; we discovered it correct and dependable.

The 1080p show is merely common

Asus presently provides solely a Full HD (1,920 × 1,080) show for the ZenBook Flip S in North America, which is simply superb given its 13.Three-inch dimensions. The corporate lists a 4K UHD choice on its website, however that hasn’t made its technique to shops but.

Our testing discovered the show was simply common in most exams. Its coloration gamut was 70 p.c of AdobeRGB and 94 p.c of sRGB, which is lower than the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, however barely higher than the equally skinny and light-weight Acer Spin 7. Shade accuracy, however, was a bit worse than we prefer to see at 2.82 (1.zero or much less is taken into account glorious), although proper consistent with our comparability machines.

Brightness was on the low facet at 285 nits – over 300 nits is often most well-liked to beat shiny lighting on shiny shows just like the one on the ZenBook Flip S.

The machine’s 2-in-1 competitors had comparable outcomes, nonetheless, such because the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 at 251 nits, and the Lenovo Yoga 720 13 at 291 nits. The distinction ratio was on the low facet as nicely at 720:1, whereas the QHD+ show on the XPS 13 2-in-1 was glorious at 1120:1.

Though these goal outcomes are underwhelming, the show was however a pleasure to make use of. Its distinction could be a bit low in response to our colorimeter, but it surely’s nonetheless adequate for comfortably working with black textual content on a white background.

Basically, the ZenBook Flip S offered a vibrant productiveness and video-watching expertise, though gamma was a bit darkish at 2.four, that means darker scenes in movies have been a bit tougher to see. Like many “common” shows as we speak, this one is probably not the perfect for professionals who want tremendous correct colours, but it surely’s excellent for everybody else.

Simply ok audio high quality

Asus partnered with Harman Kardon on the ZenBook Flip S’s audio system, and touts bigger audio system with a extra dynamic design. There’s additionally the IcePower AudioWizard app, to regulate sound for the use case (music, video recording, recreation, and speech) and push quantity to the max. In our testing, we discovered audio to be ok for watching the occasional video and for informal music listening, however quantity was restricted and distorted at 100 p.c. Bass was nowhere to be discovered.

The highly effective processor makes its presence identified

Asus took an aggressive strategy to efficiency with the ZenBook Flip S. Somewhat than choosing a extra conservative chip, it packed in a strong seventh-generation Intel Core processor, the Core i7-7500U. It outran many different 2-in-1 units, however not all of them.

Whereas the ZenBook Flip S performs higher than the low-power CPUs in machines just like the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 — one other extremely skinny machine, identical to the ZenBook – there’s some obvious throttling happening in comparison with different, barely thicker machines with the identical Core i7-7500U. And as we famous earlier, the chassis can turn into scorching at full load.

The Geekbench four outcomes reveal that, a minimum of in short-run efficiency exams, the ZenBook Flip S advantages enormously from its full-power CPU. It scored four,142 within the single-core take a look at and eight,158 within the multi-core take a look at. That’s very aggressive with different machines utilizing the identical CPU, and considerably quicker than most opponents, together with the thicker HP Spectre x360. The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, with its low-powered CPU, scored a a lot decrease Three,837 within the single-core take a look at, and 6,401 within the multi-core take a look at.

Asus managed to squeeze higher efficiency out, however at the price of utilizing the pocket book on a lap.

Our extra intensive Handbrake take a look at, which encodes a 420GB video to H.265, tends to push the CPU tougher for an extended interval, that means that warmth and throttling usually tend to be components. And in reality, the ZenBook Flip S took 1,477 seconds to finish the take a look at. That’s sluggish in comparison with the HP Spectre x360, which completed in 1,095 seconds, but had the identical processor. The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 and Acer Spin 7 each took longer at 2,027 and 1,751 seconds, respectively.

We interpret these outcomes to imply that Asus managed to squeeze higher efficiency out of the ZenBook Flip S’s very skinny chassis than if it had opted for low-power CPUs, however at the price of being unable to make use of the pocket book on a lap. We didn’t discover warmth to be a problem throughout common use, resembling internet looking, e-mail, and normal productiveness duties. In the long run, we expect the choice to make use of a quick, full-fat Core i7 was the suitable name.

Provide snafus restrict storage to SATA SSDs

Asus hoped to equip the ZenBook Flip S with PCIe solid-state drives (SSDs). The corporate knowledgeable us that last-minute provide points restricted it to utilizing slower SATA SSDs, nonetheless. For now, all North American items will likely be so outfitted, though in some unspecified time in the future quicker SSDs would possibly make their method into the pipeline.

As ordinary, using SATA as an alternative of PCIe resulted in good however not nice storage efficiency. The ZenBook Flip’s Sandisk X400 512GB SATA SSD scored 459 megabits per second (Mb/s) within the CrystalDiskMark learn take a look at, and 411 Mb/s within the write take a look at. That compares to the a lot quicker scores achieved by the fashionable Samsung PM961 PCIe SSD within the Lenovo Yoga 720, for instance, at 2,zero60 Mb/s learn and 1,209 MB/s write.

Provided that the ZenBook Flip S is probably going for use for mainstream productiveness duties, internet browsing, e-mail, and the like, this type of storage efficiency isn’t prone to matter. If you wish to work with massive information, then you definitely would possibly barely miss a quicker SSD, however total efficiency ought to nonetheless be greater than acceptable. In our subjective use, the ZenBook Flip S booted shortly, opened apps and information immediately, and we didn’t discover any storage-related slowdowns.

Gaming? Are you kidding?

Skinny and light-weight 2-in-1s just like the ZenBook Flip S don’t even faux to be gaming machines. Becoming an actual GPU into such a tiny chassis would seemingly lead to a meltdown, so that you’re assured to search out nothing higher than built-in Intel HD graphics.

It’s no shock that the ZenBook Flip S didn’t blow us away in our gaming benchmarks. Within the Fireplace Strike take a look at, the Asus scored 997, which is aggressive with different 2-in-1s, however nonetheless a rating which means you’re greatest off working older video games at decrease settings.

For kicks, we additionally ran a few fast Civilization VI benchmarks, and the outcomes have been completely predictable. At 1080p and medium element, the ZenBook Flip S solely managed 12 frames per second (FPS). Cranking issues as much as extremely element dropped efficiency all the way in which down to six FPS. That’s unplayable at both element setting.

Go forward and waste a couple of minutes with Sweet Crush if you’d like, however don’t anticipate to play something that’s graphically demanding.

Simple to hold, however the battery may last more

Asus couldn’t jam a ton of battery capability into the ZenBook Flip S given its dimensions, so there’s solely 39 watt-hours price of juice to maintain you working away from a plug. Given the comparatively high-end parts, that doesn’t bode nicely for battery life. Because it seems, although, Asus does handle to attain respectable life relative to its small battery capability.

Our most aggressive Basemark take a look at, which runs a machine by way of a collection of intensive CPU and GPU internet operations, was laborious on the ZenBook Flip S. It scored proper round two and a half hours, which isn’t spectacular, but it surely’s much like opponents just like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Pill. Provided that the Asus makes use of a full-power CPU, that’s not a nasty consequence.

The video loop take a look at was extra forgiving, serving to the Asus final round 9 and a half hours, which is correct consistent with its major 2-in-1 competitors. The XPS 13 2-in-1 managed about an hour longer, however in any other case, the ZenBook Flip S was fairly aggressive.

We noticed the identical ends in a take a look at that runs a machine by way of a loop of widespread web pages, the place the Asus lasted for simply over six hours. That’s a stable rating proper consistent with most 2-in-1s, though the XPS 13 2-in-1 once more carried out higher at over seven and a half hours.

General, we discovered battery life to be ok for lengthy periods of productiveness, however relying in your workload, you won’t be capable to work by way of a full day with out hitting the charger. Thankfully, Asus included its quick cost expertise into the ZenBook Flip S, which implies it costs from zero to 60 p.c in 49 minutes. It doesn’t take lengthy to get a little bit of a cost to maintain you working in a pinch.

When it comes to sheer portability, take into account this — the ZenBook Flip S is inside spitting distance of the 12.9-inch iPad Professional’s dimensions, a minimum of by way of width and top. It’s thicker, naturally, however nonetheless extremely skinny for a full-on Home windows 10 2-in-1 at zero.43 inches. That signifies that it’s simple to toss right into a bag and carry round. In reality, you would possibly neglect you’re carrying it, as a result of its 2.43 kilos gained’t weight you down.

Software program

The Microsoft Signature Version model of the ZenBook Flip S has no extraneous software program put in. In the event you choose up the Greatest Purchase model, you’ll see Asus’s utilities resembling IcePower AudioWizard for adjusting audio, and Splendid Know-how for adjusting the show. In any other case, it’s comparatively freed from bloatware.

Guarantee data

Asus contains the same old one-year warrant on components and labor, however provides in a 12 months of unintended injury safety. That’s some actual further worth and helps guarantee your funding is safe.

Our Take

The Asus ZenBook Flip S is an extremely well-built and engaging 360-degree convertible 2-in-1 that’s an actual pleasure to make use of. It’s simple to hold round, it offers stable efficiency, and it exudes high quality and magnificence. Given its tiny dimensions and weight, it’s a type of uncommon convertibles which might be actually comfy utilizing in pill mode with a pen for drawing and taking notes. It’s one primary flaw is that it will get scorching if you push the CPU, and that limits when you possibly can comfortably use it in your lap.

Is there a greater various?

There are a slew of equally helpful 2-in-1s within the Home windows PC ecosystem, and some which might be equally as skinny and light-weight because the ZenBook Flip S. Most of these use low-power CPUs and aren’t as fast, whereas stepping as much as barely thicker machines can improve efficiency and battery life.

The clearest competitor is the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, which is barely thicker at as much as zero.54 inches, and weighs just a bit bit extra at 2.7 kilos. At $1,600 with the identical 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD, and when outfitted with the elective energetic pen, the Dell is costlier. The Dell lasts a bit longer on a cost, however the ZenBook Flip S is the higher performer, and packs in some further worth with its included slip cowl and USB Kind-C mini dock.

The Acer Spin 7 is one other skinny and light-weight 2-in-1 that provides a barely bigger show at 14 inches. That’s a doubtful selection with a Full HD show, as a result of it’s not a lot bigger that its in one other class by way of show dimension but it surely’s barely much less sharp. There’s no straight comparable mannequin presently out there, however you’ll spend $1,250 for 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. The ZenBook Flip S is clearly a superior choice given its superior specs, efficiency, battery life, and construct high quality – to not point out its decrease Greatest Purchase worth of $1,200.

In the meantime, in case you’re not absolutely invested within the concept of a severely thin-and-light 2-in-1, then you would all the time step as much as a machine that’s a bit bit thicker. That will assist keep away from thermal administration points and permit for a a lot bigger battery and so extra time away from a cost. The HP Spectre x360 is a good various on this regard, and it’s equally priced at $1,350 for 16GB of RAM and a 512GB PCIe SSD.

How lengthy will it final?

The ZenBook Flip S is provided with two USB Kind-C ports and features a helpful USB Kind-C mini dock, that means that you simply’re lined with connectivity in case you’re keen to hold round an additional half. It makes use of comparatively latest parts and has a contemporary appear and feel. It’s a machine that ought to final you various years of helpful productiveness efficiency.

Must you purchase it?

Sure. In reality, you need to give it a glance even in case you’ve by no means been fascinated about a skinny and light-weight 360-degree convertible 2-in-1. You gained’t discover many which might be higher constructed and handle to squeeze a lot into so tiny a body. Simply don’t use it your lap in case you’re going to push the CPU.

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