ASUS ZenBook Flip 14” 2-in-1 Laptop Review

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ASUS ZenBook Flip 14” 2-in-1 Laptop Review. The Asus ZenBook Flip is a 14 inch thin and light 2-in-1 laptop, so you can use it as both a traditional laptop or flip the screen over and use it like a tablet. In this review we’ll take a look at the features available and help you decide if it’s worth buying.

ASUS ZenBook Flip Storage

Let’s start by checking out the specs in this model. There’s an 8th gen Intel 8550U quad core CPU which runs at 1.8GHz and can boost up to 4GHz with a single core. There’s 16GB of LPDDR3 memory running at 2133MHz in dual channel. For the storage there’s a 256GB M.2 SATA SSD, and for the graphics there’s no discrete GPU present in this model, so we’ve only got the integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics, and we’ll see how this performs later in the benchmarks, but you can also get it with Nvidia MX150 graphics if you need more graphical power. There’s a 14 inch 1080p 60Hz IPS touch screen with a glossy finish, and for the network connectivity there’s Intel 8265 WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 support, no ethernet connectivity here, unless you plug in a USB dongle. The ZenBook Flip has a grey all metal design, featuring a matte interior and smooth lid with this circular metal finish.

The physical dimensions of the laptop are 32.7cm in width, 22.6cm in depth, and just 1.39cm in height, so it’s pretty thin. This model is listed at weighing 1.4kg and in my own testing I found this one to weigh just under 1.5kg, and just over 1.7kg with the power brick and cable for charging, so it’s really quite portable. As mentioned earlier the display is a 14 inch 60Hz 1080p IPS glossy touch screen, and as an IPS panel the viewing angles look great from anywhere. I don’t have much experience testing touch screens, but I had no issues while using this one, just keep in mind your fingerprints will make it dirty fast, so I suggest using the included pen where possible.

ASUS ZenBook Flip features

The touch screen features 10 point multi touch, and the included pen has 1024 pressure sensitivity levels, so it should be pretty decent for drawing. I’ve also measured the colours produced by the screen using the Spyder 5 Pro, and my results returned 93% of sRGB, 67% of NTSC and 72% of AdobeRGB, so in terms of colour accuracy it seems fairly good compared to many other laptops I’ve tested, and overall personally I thought the screen looked quite nice, it can get quite bright although as a glossy display it will easily show reflections. I’ve also performed my usual backlight bleed test, which involves having the screen completely black in a dark room to help emphasize any bleeding. I then take a long exposure photo to display any bleed, so this is a worst case scenario test.

There’s basically none, a little imperfections that only the camera could pick up, to my eyes even in a completely dark room it looked perfectly fine, but this will of course vary between devices. There was minimal screen flex while moving the display as it’s solid metal with the hinges towards the corners. While using it I noticed that if you push the screen back to what I’d consider to be an average viewing angle, the bottom of the screen comes into contact with the surface underneath, resulting in the back of the device lifting up a bit. I’m not sure if this contact with the desk would cause any problems long term, however it does prevent the rubber feet at the back from touching the desk properly, meaning that it’s really easy for the back to slide around if you lightly push it. I think it’s meant to be a feature to slightly tilt the keyboard up when in laptop mode, if so it would have been better to perhaps have the bottom of the screen somehow rubberised to prevent this, the only way to stop it seems to be to have the screen at a 90 degree angle.

This was also my first time testing a 2-in-1 device like this, where the screen can fully flip back to allow you to use it in tablet mode, and this is where the real use of the touchscreen comes into play. When you flip the screen back the keyboard and touchpad are automatically disabled, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally pressing anything on the back while holding it like a tablet. As the side bezels of the screen are fairly thin it makes it difficult to hold it on the edges without accidentally touching the screen triggering a click, so you’d either need to hold it down the bottom or underneath, or just use it on a flat surface like a table. If you set it up like this and use the pen the screen is pretty stable, but does wobble a little. Above the display is a HD camera capable of 720p video. It looks pretty grainy even with decent lighting, and the microphone sounds ok but it seems to pick up some of its own fan noises.

The keyboard

The chiclet keyboard has 1.4mm of key travel, has white backlighting and can be adjusted between three levels of brightness, or turned off if you prefer, I had no issues typing with it. There was a little bit of keyboard flex while pushing down fairly hard, and it was a little noticeable while typing if you’re looking for it, but I had no problems with it while typing.

 

The touchpad

The touchpad worked quite well, it was very smooth and gives a satisfying click when pushed down. As for the IO on the left there’s a battery power indicator which changes colour based on remaining charge, USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A port, volume up and down buttons, and the power button. Over on the right there’s a Micro SD card reader, USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C port, no thunderbolt support unfortunately, 3.5mm audio combo jack, another USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A port, HDMI port, and power input. There’s nothing at all on the front, and nothing on the back other than some ZenBook branding. Up on the lid there’s just the ASUS logo in the center with a mirrored finish. Underneath there’s some rubber feet on the corners which help prevent it from moving around on flat surfaces, unless you’ve got the lid open further than about 90 degrees as mentioned, and a small air intake vent towards the back.

The two speakers

The two speakers are found underneath underneath on the front corners, and they actually sound really good, there’s a fair bit of bass and they’re still pretty clear even at full volume. Powering the ZenBook flip is a 3 cell 57 Watt hour battery, and with a full charge and just watching YouTube videos with the screen on half brightness, keyboard lighting off and background apps disabled, I was able to use it for 6 hours and 20 minutes with just the built in Intel graphics.

I thought this was a pretty good result, but this will of course differ if you have the model with Nvidia MX150 graphics. During normal use with an ambient room temperature of 25 degrees celsius, the CPU and GPU idled fairly low, and here are the external temperatures of the laptop where you’ll actually be putting your hands, sitting around 30 degrees. Under a full synthetic load with Aida64 the maximum temperature of the CPU rises, but it’s not very hot as the CPU downclocks itself to 1.5GHz on all cores to stay cool. I reported a similar result in my 8550U comparison video, although this is a powerful CPU the thin laptops they’re placed in generally don’t seem to be enough to support a full multicore workload.

The keyboard area warms up by about 10 degrees or so after an extended period of time, so not too bad compared to other laptops with discrete graphics. As for the fan noise produced during these tests I’ll let you have a listen. At idle even with my ear right next to it it was completely silent, and even at full load it’s still fairly quiet, just a little louder than many gaming laptops at idle.

The temps

Overall I thought the temps were pretty good, it’s a shame you do lose some performance as it heats up, but that’s always going to be a trade off with such a thin machine. Although my model here doesn’t have discrete graphics, I’ve benchmarked a couple of esports games as these usually run on just about anything, just to give you a rough idea of how it holds up. Dota 2 actually played alright at minimum settings, I’m testing with a fairly resource intensive replay here so these should be close to a worst case scenario example. In CS:GO the smoke in the benchmark I’m testing with really killed the frame rate, it was somewhat playable on minimum settings otherwise, but not a great experience.

So less demanding games are sort of playable at minimum settings, but it’s worth keeping in mind this laptop is also available with Nvidia MX150 graphics, and while not amazing it would definitely be a nice step up above the integrated CPU graphics we’re dealing with here if you wanted to do some occasional gaming. In Crystal Disk Mark the 256GB SATA3 M.2 SSD performed around 550MB/s in sequential reads and 450MB/s in sequential writes, so fairly typical for a SATA3 based SSD.

With this exact hardware it seems to go for $1800 to $2000 AUD at the time of recording. In the US the model with the Nvidia MX150 graphics goes for just under $1,300 USD, quite a bit cheaper than what’s available here in Australia and with better graphics. So what did you guys think about the ZenBook Flip 14 laptop from ASUS? This is the first 2-in-1 device I’ve had for review so far, so at this time I don’t have anything else to compare it with. Overall though I thought that it was a nice machine in terms of build quality, the tablet functionality worked well if that’s something you’re after, and the only issue I had was the lid preventing the rear rubber feet coming into contact with the desk when in laptop mode.

Let me know what you guys thought down in the comments!

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