DO YOU EVER FIND that your back aches from a long day carrying all the things you need for school or work as well as a colossal computer? The Asus ZenBook Flip S aims to fix that with the Olympic gymnast of laptops – ridiculously flexible but still immensely powerful.
Coming in at under £1300, the ZenBook Flip S packs an Intel i7-8500U processor, a 512GB SSD, 8GB of RAM and a 13.3″ FHD touchscreen display. Sounds reasonable, but not incredible, right? What if we told you that the Asus ZenBook Flip S is only 10.9mm thick and weighs just over 1kg? That’s when it starts to get impressive.
Unfortunately, because the laptop is so slim, Asus could only give you 2 USB-C ports and a headphone jack. There are no other ports, and the laptop charges via USB-C, so one of these will be in use a lot of the time. You will, however, find a USB-C hub in the box which has another USB-C port, a USB 3.0 port and a HDMI output.
Did we mention that there’s also a fingerprint scanner? That’s right. Built into the right-hand side of the laptop you’ll find the Asus Instant ID reader, which allows you to log into Windows faster than you can say “my fingers are too oily for a fingerprint scanner”. You’ll also be covered for those long Netflix sessions with the Harman Kardon sound system built into the device. No more grainy Jake Peralta voice for you, my friend.
By far the most useful feature of the ZenBook Flip S, other than its portability, is that it’s an all-in-one laptop, meaning the hinges allow you to rotate the screen 360 degrees around the keyboard, so if you fancy carrying it around your house as a tablet you can do. Want to read fake news while burning pasta? Just stick it in tent mode and fry your brain away into nothingness. You can do anything you want.
The Asus ZenBook Flip S has two colour options – black or the flagship blue with a gold trim. We’ve got the blue and gold one, and while at first we weren’t too sure about it, it has really grown on us over time. It’s certainly very eye-catching and turns heads when you pull it out in a public place. Much like something else.
The laptop’s profile is very impressive. The small size makes it perfect for work, university lectures or travel. And even though it’s only 1.1kg, Asus have still managed to use Corning Gorilla Glass for the screen, so you don’t need to worry about cracking it when it eventually slips out of your butterfingers.
Despite how thin it has to be, the keyboard on the ZenBook Flip S is actually very easy to type on. This review has been entirely written on our unit and it’s been used everywhere. The kitchen table, at a desk, on the bus. If you can name it, this laptop has probably been used there. And yes, that includes your grandmother’s bathroom.
The Flip S is made from an aluminium alloy, so it’s quite tough but still a very handsome piece of kit. The trackpad is plenty big enough for trawling endless spreadsheets and the power and volume buttons are large enough for even the meatiest of fingers.
The display on the ZenBook Flip S is a 13.3″ FHD touchscreen. The screen-to-body ratio is 80% according to the Asus website. The screen is also coated with an anti-glare display and has a 178-degree viewing angle.
The display is very bright at the brightest setting, and the colours and contrast aren’t bad. They’re not amazing, but they’re certainly nothing to complain about. It makes use of Asus’ Tru2Life technology, which allegedly improves contrast by up to 150% using various pixel-altering algorithms, but that will have been tested under optimal conditions.
The screen isn’t OLED , so it still has to manually produce a black “colour” (you won’t get true black), but the blacks are still deep enough for a good viewing experience. You also have to consider that the laptop is primarily designed for working while travelling, though Asus have considered the many hours we, the human race, waste trawling through the darkest corners of YouTube. I’ve seen some scary things down there…
Performance and Battery Life
Powered by an 8th generation Intel i7 processor, the ZenBook Flip S is nothing but speedy. Sure, the lack of a dedicated GPU will hold you back if you want to blow up some zombies, but you won’t have any trouble ploughing through algorithms to find the perfectly sized tank for your three dead goldfish.
On top of this, the 8GB of RAM that comes installed ensures that your ass is covered when the army of pop-up ads declares war on your unconventional viewing habits.
One of the biggest downsides to the Asus ZenBook Flip S is the battery life. Because the laptop is so crazy thin, there’s very little room for a large battery, so don’t expect it to last a full working day under heavy use. It most likely wouldn’t cover a long-haul flight either, but you should be fine using it for travel if you have a quick battery top-up at either end of your journey.
At the end of the day, if you’re looking for a powerful laptop that’ll sit on your desk permanently and cope with the most strenuous of tasks, you’ll have to take your search elsewhere. However, if what you want is a slim, responsive bundle of utility, the Asus ZenBook Flip S is worth it… if you have the cash.
While it might be an expensive package, luxury always costs and that’s ultimately what you’re paying for. The ZenBook Flip S is perfect for commuters who want to work while they travel, or for train journeys around the country. The tablet function and the lightweight profile also make it very good for media consumption.
The biggest turn-offs are the short-ish battery life and the lack of ports. While Asus aim to fix this with a little hub, that’s extra kit that you wouldn’t necessarily need with something slightly thicker, but that’s always going to be the trade-off.
Student Score: 4.5/10
The Asus ZenBook Flip S would be perfect for taking notes in lectures and working on projects in coffee shops… if it was about half the price. If you have £1300 spare, go for it! But, if you belong to the other 99.99% of students in existence, you don’t have that kind of cash, so this isn’t the one for you.
Still, we love this little all-in-one, but that’s just us. The verdict is now yours.