ASUS ZenBook Flip S

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VERDICT

The ZenBook Flip S is an in­cred­i­bly thin con­vert­ible that packs in the fea­tures

AT A LU­DI­CROUSLY thin 10.9mm, the ZenBook Flip S is the slimmest con­vert­ible lap­top on the mar­ket, yet it still man­ages to squeeze in an Intel Kaby Lake Core i5-7200U pro­ces­sor in­stead of a low-power Core m. Could this be the ul­ti­mate 2-in-1 lap­top?

As it turns out, not quite, but it’s still a lovely de­vice. The all-metal, alu­minium al­loy chas­sis is gor­geous, its sump­tu­ous royal blue colour and di­a­mond-cut golden edges pro­vid­ing an el­e­gant look, while ex­tra touches of class, such as the back­lit key­board’s sub­tle golden hue, are vis­i­ble through­out.

TWIST AND SHOUT

Build qual­ity and fea­tures haven’t been ne­glected, either. The lap­top’s 360º hinge is well made and al­lows you to switch be­tween lap­top and tablet con­fig­u­ra­tions ef­fort­lessly, and there’s even a slim fin­ger­print reader on the right-hand edge, which un­locks the ZenBook Flip S with blis­ter­ing speed.

Con­nec­tiv­ity is limited, as you’d ex­pect from a lap­top this thin. The only phys­i­cal sock­ets, be­sides the 3.5mm head­phone jack, are two USB Type-C ports, which at least sup­port power and dis­play out­put (up to UHD res­o­lu­tion) as well as data.

On the un­der­side, you’ll find two Har­man Kar­don-branded speak­ers. Con­sid­er­ing how slim the lap­top is, these are in­cred­i­bly good. They pro­duce an im­pres­sive full-bod­ied sound that make watch­ing con­tent on the lap­top more en­gag­ing. Through the icePower Au­dioWizard app, you can also tog­gle be­tween sound pro­files, or set up your own through the Ad­vanced sec­tion.

De­spite the key­board’s mea­gre 1mm of travel, it’s very com­fort­able to type on, evok­ing the feel of a 2017 Mac­Book. The touch­pad is fan­tas­tic, too, track­ing move­ment and pinch-to-zoom ges­tures flaw­lessly. We didn’t ex­pe­ri­ence any is­sue in left- or right-click­ing either, de­spite the fact that the ZenBook Flip S doesn’t have dis­crete but­tons.

The bun­dled Asus Pen is a great ad­di­tion to the lap­top, es­pe­cially when it’s used with Win­dows Ink. It’s able to de­tect 1,024 lev­els of pres­sure, and you only need to ap­ply 10g of pres­sure on the pen nib to the screen to start draw­ing. There’s no tilt de­tec­tion, and that sen­si­tiv­ity looks low next to the Mi­crosoft Sur­face Pen’s 4,096 lev­els, but it works al­most as well for the most part.

The ZenBook Flip S has a 13.3in, 1,920x1,080 mul­ti­touch dis­play, util­is­ing an IPS panel. Putting it through our col­orime­ter, the screen achieved 84.6% sRGB gamut cov­er­age, which is quite low for a £1,000+ con­vert­ible or 2-in-1, though colours are rea­son­ably vivid none­the­less. Con­trast is much bet­ter, at 1,321:1, and its black level of 0.2cd/m2 is good, too.

The screen’s weak­ness is its bright­ness; we mea­sured a peak of 326cd/m2, which means it might well strug­gle in bright rooms with a lot of sun­light pour­ing in.

KEEP IT DOWN

In­side the lap­top, there’s the afore­men­tioned 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7200U, 8GB of RAM and a speedy, PCI-E-based 512GB SSD, which should be plenty for most ap­pli­ca­tions. Mul­ti­task­ing is a breeze, in­ten­sive ap­pli­ca­tions are easy to churn through, and for every­day tasks, the ZenBook Flip S pro­vides ev­ery­thing you’ll ever need. That said, it is a touch less pow­er­ful than the ZenBook 3 (Shop­per 350), to which the ZenBook Flip S owes much of its de­sign. This scored 43 over­all in our 4K bench­marks, along with 24 in the mul­ti­task­ing test, whereas the ZenBook Flip S could only make it to 39 over­all and 20 for mul­ti­task­ing. What’s par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive about the ZenBook Flip S, though, is how cool and quiet it re­mained in our test­ing. It isn’t fan­less, but we were barely able to hear it over the hum of the of­fice air con­di­tion­ing, and the CPU peaked at a max­i­mum tem­per­a­ture of only 71ºC. That’s highly im­pres­sive for a lap­top of such thin­ness.

Its Intel HD Graph­ics 620 GPU can han­dle games, too. Put through the in­ten­sive GFXBench bench­mark, the Asus achieved an av­er­age frame rate of 53fps in the Man­hat­tan on­screen test – that’s high enough that you should be able to get quite a few PC games run­ning, even if it is just at their low­est graph­i­cal set­tings.

FLIP TOP CON­DI­TION

For stor­age, there’s a 512GB PCI-E SSD. This ab­so­lutely flew through our SSD bench­marks, with se­quen­tial read and write speeds of 1,780MB/s and 613MB/s re­spec­tively.

Its bat­tery life is medi­ocre, how­ever, last­ing just 5h 27m in our video loop test. In short, it will strug­gle to get you through you a full day of mod­er­ate use with­out need­ing a top-up charge along the way.

Oth­er­wise, the ZenBook Flip S is a very good con­vert­ible in­deed: it’s well made, fast, and stuffed with use­ful fea­tures de­spite its beau­ti­fully thin chas­sis. If you can live with­out the touch­screen and flex­i­bil­ity that comes with hav­ing a flipped hinge, you can get the stan­dard clamshell ZenBook 3 for as lit­tle as £860, but as far as con­vert­ibles go, this is one of the very best you can buy.

Christo­pher Mi­nasians

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