Technophile

Asus Zenbook Flip S: Compact beauty

Jinoy Jose P | Updated on June 13, 2018 Published on June 08, 2018

The Zenbook Flip S UX370UA looks great and works superb, still falls a notch short of becoming a value-for-money deal

The world of hybrid laptops sees a lot of action nowadays. Laptops are shrinking in size and screen, getting more flexible and acrobatic and are packing more bang for the buck by making them do more with less. Asus, with its Zenbook ultrabooks, has been penetrating this coveted segment since 2011 and has found enough success with its affordable, powerful ultrabooks. The latest from the stable, the Asus Zenbook Flip S, sticks to the rule and blends great looks with strong body and good performance. But is this as good as its peers or even siblings? Let’s find out.

Asus claims the Zenbook Flip S UX370 — at 11.2mm thick(thin)ness — is the world’s thinnest convertible laptop, thanks to a “6013” aerospace grade aluminium alloy body which Asus says is 50 per cent stronger than the standard alloy that many laptops use. Sounds good. Still, the device is not so light-weight. It feels strong in your hands. The body has tapering edges and a golden Asus logo on the back.

Body and display

The review unit has gold-lettered keys and gold backlit keyboard. They keys are spaced out comfortably and the layout looks neat and clutter free, which makes typing a lot easier than other regular laptops. The Zenbook Flip S UX370 can take four postures based on your usage: laptop, tablet, tent and stand. In our experience, we rarely used the stand mode and the tablet mode is slightly tricky given the fact that the keys on the keyboard are giving an uneasy feeling while holding it in one hand.

The device is powered by 8th generation Intel Core i7-8550U processor and has up to 16GB RAM and sports a 500GB SSD storage. It has a two conveniently placed Type-C slots that can be used for connecting to display sources and for charging. The multi-function USB slot is a common feature in most high-end ultrabooks now. The Type-C slots in Zenbook Flip S supports video output to 4K displays. That’s a big plus.

The 13.3-inch Corning Gorilla Glass panel has Full HD (1920x1080) LED backlit touchscreen and a 6.11mm thin display bezel. This works out to be an 80-per cent screen-to-body ratio. This comes quite handy while playing games or watching Full HD, high aspect-ratio videos. The graphics department is backed by Intel HD Graphics 620, which is not the latest version, though. But you won’t be able to make out the difference while playing games or streaming HD video.

The device’s display skills are quite premium. It features Asus’ own Splendid Technology and Tru2Life Video technology, which delivers crisp, sharp and detailed video and image. Asus claims the display automatically adjusts images to give more accurate colours and avoids images with colour temperature extremes.

Audio and connectivity

The audio is crisp and not overly loud. It is a controlled affair thanks to the Sonic Master Premium software. The audio performance has the stamp of Harman/Kardon. Even while streaming HD content, or playing loud-enough games, the audio stayed true to life. While we played some lossless Flac audio, it game surprisingly sharp output.

The Zenbook Flip S UX370 supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1. Network connectivity has improved a lot from earlier Zenbook versions. The battery charges fast and can last up to 6-8 hours on moderate usage (browsing, streaming, and video excluding gaming).

Asus claims that the Zenbook Flip S has a revolutionary cooling system which uses a 0.5mm thin vapour chamber that moves wicks heated vapour from the area where the CPU is to another where the ultra-thin 3mm fan is for cooling. But the machine has got extremely hot while charging but remained cool during gaming and other heavyweight exercises. We would like to see it as a one-off device malfunction and hence is reserving our judgement on this.

The device doesn’t have an optical drive, Ethernet port or a card reader. Asus has bundled a The Zenbook a Mini Dock with the Zenbook Flip S, which can be connected to the laptop via the Type-C port. The dock has a USB 3.1 Type-C port, (charging and video out), a USB 3.0 Type-A port and an HDMI slot. Still, an Ethernet LAN port is missing, and for which you may have to buy the Asus Universal Dock or other compatible extensions available in the market.

Some misses

The Zenbook Flip S has a finger-print scanner, which is placed in the upper right (side) corner of the laptop, which is easy to miss if you don’t check carefully. The scanner works fine, but requires some amount of finger dexterity to get it quickly functional. If the device is on the laptop mode, finding and operating the fingerprint scanner is quite a task. Bad placement, Asus.

The touchpad supports Windows’ multi-gesture input. It looks larger and feels smooth thanks to the glass coating. You may use up to 4-finger gestures, making it easy to switch applications or screens. If you are an Apple Macbook fan, you’ll like this feature a lot. The touchpad supports handwriting recognition, but we couldn’t get it really functional. The Zenbook Flip S UX370 is bundled with the Asus Pen stylus. Most users may not need one and are likely to avoid using a stylus these days. Still, it is a creative and useful addition, especially if you are a designer or someone who sketches a lot.

The Zenbook Flip S comes preloaded with Windows 10 Home edition. The camera is generally and routinely ignored by most ultrabook makers and Asus is no exception. Given that hybrid laptops are used for video chats and interviews, it is curious why gadget-makers are not improving the front camera quality in ultrabooks. The sooner they wake up, the better.

Verdict: Asus Zenbook Flip S UX370 is a compact, powerful performer with great display and crisp audio. It has some heating issues when charging, but offers seamless, smooth functionality while browsing, video-audio playback and gaming. If you are looking for a handy, strong, beautiful hybrid laptop, you may go for it.

Pros: Great display and audio, strong and compact body, good performance

Cons: Heats up while charging, poorly placed fingerprint scanner, camera

Brand: Zenbook Flip S (UX370UA)

Price: ₹1,30,000

Published on June 08, 2018
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