Asus ZenBook Flip S review: A stylish, lightweight convertible

asus-zenbook-flip-s-header.jpg
  • Editors' rating
    8.0 Excellent
  • $1,399.00

Pros

  • Sturdy yet attractive slimline design
  • Competitive price for an ultraportable
  • Desktop-replacement performance
  • Mini-dock, stylus and sleeve included

Cons

  • Modest battery life
  • Moderate (1,920x1,080) display resolution
  • Poor upgradeability

We've often commented on Asus's apparently slavish devotion to mimicking the designs of Apple's MacBook range. But every now and then, the company manages to go that extra yard and actually beat Apple at its own game.

That's very much the case with the new ZenBook Flip S, which Asus claims is "the world's thinnest convertible laptop". The 10.9mm-thick Flip S isn't perfect, but it does provide an attractive ultraportable design to rival the 12-inch Apple MacBook, while also offering performance and features with which the MacBook can't compete.

Design and features

asus-zenbook-flip-s-main.jpg

The 13.3-inch ZenBook Flip S runs on 7th-generation Core i7 or i5 processors with integrated graphics, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB or 512GB SSD. It's 10.9mm thick, weighs 1.1kg, and comes in Royal Blue or Smoky Grey.

Images: Asus

The design of the Flip S is certainly impressive. Its slimline aluminium casing measures just 10.9mm thick, but still feels sturdy enough to cope with life on the road (even without the protective sleeve that Asus includes for free).

A weight of 1.1kg means the Flip S is a little heavier than the MacBook (0.92kg), but that's mainly because Asus has opted for a larger 13.3-inch display, and there's no doubt that the Flip is one of the sleekest and most portable 13-inch laptops we've seen so far.

The display of the Flip S has other advantages too, being both touch-sensitive and reversible/convertible. You can fold it halfway back and use the keyboard as a stand if you want to sit back and give an impromptu presentation, or fold it all the way back and use it as a tablet for browsing the web or watching some streaming video.

We also liked the keyboard, which felt firm and responsive, despite the very thin keyboard panel. And one final bonus is the inclusion of a pressure-sensitive stylus that you can use in tablet mode.

asus-zenbook-flip-s-keyboard.jpg

The keyboard is a full-size, LED-backlit unit with 1mm key travel. The glass-covered touchpad features palm-rejection and supports up to four-finger gestures. There's a fingerprint reader, but it's mounted on the right-hand side, for extra convenience when using the system in tablet mode.

Image: Asus

Top ZDNET Reviews

We were a little disappointed that our review unit, priced at £1,299.95 inc. VAT; £1,083.29 ex. VAT, or $1,099, only had a full-HD (1,920x1,080) display, but the image is still very bright and colourful -- so much so that we were able to lower the brightness to just 40 percent during our battery tests, while still being able to view video on the BBC iPlayer perfectly well. Asus is also planning a model with a 4K display, although no price has been announced yet.

Connectivity is limited to a pair of USB-C ports, but Asus includes a 'mini-dock' adapter in the box that provides HDMI and USB-A interfaces, along with a USB-C pass-through connector so that you can continue to charge the laptop. It's a shame, though, that the adapter doesn't provide Ethernet for connecting to wired networks in the office. And, like its Apple counterpart, the Flip S is resolutely un-upgradeable. There are no direct sales via the Asus website either, so you can't choose any build-to-order upgrades at the time of purchase.

Price and performance

The main webpage for the Flip S notes that the laptop is available with either HD or 4K displays, and states that the Flip S is based on an Intel Core i7 processor with a TurboBoost frequency of 3.5GHz. However, our £1,299.99 (inc. VAT) review unit was actually based on a more modest Core i5-7200U running at 2.5GHz (or up to 3.1GHz with TurboBoost), along with 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. In fact, Asus tells us that there are currently three configurations available in the UK, with the top-end Core i7-7500U option bringing the total price to £1,378.62 inc. VAT; £1,148.85 ex. VAT, US pricing TBC). Make sure you confirm the pricing and specification of the Flip S before buying.

Still, the Core i5 version of the Flip S performs well, producing single- and multi-processor scores of 3833 and 7343 with the Geekbench processor tests. And its score of 45.5fps with the Cinebench R15 OpenGL test is twice that of the Core M3-based MacBook. The solid-state drive performs well too, delivering write and read speeds of 1,590MB/s and 2,010MB/s respectively.

Our main concern is with battery life. claims 'up to 11.5 hours' from the Flip S's 39Wh two-cell lithium-polymer battery. But even with the display turned down to 40 percent brightness, we only got six hours 20 minutes of streaming video from the BBC iPlayer. Less intensive use would probably allow it to last through a full day at work, but note that we had a Core i5/HD configuration: a Core i7/4K model would place more demand on the battery.

Conclusions

There's much to admire about the Asus ZenBook Flip S. It's a light, slimline convertible laptop that will appeal to anyone who travels a lot, and proves that Asus can do more than simply cloning its rivals' designs. The price is comparable to that of rival ultraportables, while the bundled stylus and other accessories provide good value for money. With an attractive 13-inch display and desktop-level performance, the Flip S will make a good workhorse laptop for running Microsoft Office and other business software. If you're planning to run demanding workloads though, beware that battery life may suffer.

Read more reviews

Specifications

General
Packaged Quantity 1
Processor / Chipset
CPU Intel Core i7 (7th Gen) 7500U / 2.7 GHz
Max Turbo Speed 3.5 GHz
Number of Cores Dual-Core
Cache 4 MB
64-bit Computing Yes
Features Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
Cache Memory
Installed Size 4 MB
RAM
Memory Speed 2133 MHz
Configuration Features provided memory is soldered
Technology LPDDR3 SDRAM
Installed Size 16 GB
Memory
Technology LPDDR3 SDRAM
Speed 2133 MHz
Storage
Interface Serial ATA-600
Display
LCD Backlight Technology LED backlight
Widescreen Display Yes
Image Aspect Ratio 16:9
Monitor Features 100% sRGB color gamut, 178° horizontal and vertical viewing angle, 72% NTSC color gamut, ASUS EyeCare Technology, ASUS Splendid Video Intelligence Technology, Corning Gorilla glass, Zero Bright Dot, blue light reduction, glare
Type LED
Touchscreen yes (multi-touch)
Diagonal Size (metric) 33.8 cm
Display Resolution Abbreviation Full HD
Audio & Video
Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics 620
Sound Stereo speakers, microphone
Features ASUS Bang & Olufsen ICEpower, ASUS SonicMaster Premium, harman/kardon stereo speakers
Hard Drive
Type SSD
SSD Form Factor M.2
Capacity 512 GB
Input
Type keyboard, touchpad
Communications
Wireless Protocol 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1
Wired Protocol Ethernet
Optical Storage
Drive Type no optical drive
Type none
Processor
Type Core i7
Processor Number i7-7500U
Generation 7
Manufacturer Intel
Clock Speed 2.7 GHz
Battery
Technology 2-cell lithium polymer
Capacity 39 Wh
Cells 2-cell
Technology lithium polymer
Run Time (Up To) 11 sec
AC Adapter
Input AC 120/230 V (50/60 Hz)
Output 45 Watt, 19 V
Connections & Expansion
Interfaces 2 x USB-C 3.1 Gen 1
Headphone/microphone combo jack
VGA (on supplied adapter)
USB 3.0 (on supplied adapter)
HDMI (on supplied adapter)
LAN (on supplied adapter)
USB-C (Power Delivery functionality) (on supplied adapter)
Header
Brand ASUS
Product Line ASUS Zenbook Flip S UX370UA
Model XB74T
Packaged Quantity 1
Miscellaneous
Color royal blue
Security Fingerprint reader, Windows Hello
Included Accessories mini dock, power adapter, sleeve, stylus
Networking
Data Link Protocol Bluetooth 4.1, Ethernet, IEEE 802.11ac
Monitor
Diagonal Size 13.3 in
Image Brightness 300
System
Notebook Type 2-in-1
Mechanical Design 360° flip design
Platform Windows
Hard Drive Capacity 512 GB
Security Devices Windows Hello, fingerprint reader
Dimensions & Weight
Width 12.3 in
Depth 8.6 in
Height 0.4 in
Manufacturer Warranty
Type 1 year warranty
Physical Characteristics
Weight 2.43 lbs
Operating System / Software
OS Provided: Type Windows 10 Pro 64-bit Edition
Video Output
Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics 620
Graphics Processor Series Intel HD Graphics
Input Device
Backlight Yes
Interfaces
USB-C Features USB Power Delivery

Where To Buy

Price
$1,399.00

Top ZDNET Reviews

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Where To Buy

ASUS Zenbook Flip S UX370UA XB74T - 13.3" - Core i7 7500U - 16 GB RAM - 512 GB SSD

Part Number: UX370UA-XB74T-BL
Price
$1,399.00

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All