ASUS ZenBook Flip S
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.