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Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370 review

Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370 review

The Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370 is a fantastic 2-in-1: it’s well-engineered, fast, packed with useful features and at only 10.9mm thick with a beautiful colour scheme, a fingerprint sensor and a blisteringly quick Core-i5 processor, there aren’t many competitors that come close.

Tired of the Lenovo Yoga reign in the convertible segment? Well, ASUS has a nifty solution that has everything that it takes to challenge the Yoga series. However, the ZenBook Flip S that we have with us raises some good questions – is it worth paying a bit extra for the ZenBook Flip S over the comparable Yoga solutions like the Yoga 720 and will the overly-compact chassis be able to provide enough airflow so it won’t cripple the quad-core Core i5-8250U CPU on board?

But even if the laptop can’t keep the processor running at its maximum potential, the ZenBook Flip S has some compelling reasons to be your daily convertible. It has a premium all-aluminum chassis that exudes quality, excellent IPS 360-degree rotatable display, surprisingly good input devices, a handful of useful accessories including a portable dongle bringing the conventional I/O at your disposal and, of course, all of this comes in an extremely portable chassis. Some may say it’s an upgraded successor to the ZenBook Flip UX360 but in our opinion, it’s an entirely different product.

If you’re experiencing a sense of deja vu, then worry not, there’s no glitch in the matrix here, just another relentless release schedule.

It wasn’t too long ago that Asus updated its ZenBook Flip S, only a few months ago in fact, but then Intel released some new Kaby Lake R 8th-generation processors and Asus felt the need to squeeze them into its product lines. And we’re glad it did, as the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370 is a machine that has plenty of performance to spare, while keeping the base frequency low until it’s needed.

An all-aluminum chassis painted in “Royal Blue” with gold-colored chamfered edges stand out from the crowd without compromising mobility. The device weighs just 1.1 kg and measures 10.9 mm in height. That’s downright impressive for a 13-inch device, especially for a one packing a ULV (ultra-low voltage) CPU like the Core i5-8250U.

Anyway, the lid is the first thing that gives away the brand of the device – with ASUS’ logo in the middle and the concentric brushed aluminum surface around it, you can’t mistake the convertible for anything else other than a ZenBook. The plate itself feels pretty stable while the whole lid is almost impossible to twist. The hinges provide smooth and linear travel and allow the first few centimeters to be opened with just one hand. And if you open the panel just enough, the lid will lift up the notebook just a little – ASUS calls this ErgoLift hinge design but, to be honest, we barely felt the incline. Anyway, the side bezels are rather thin and allow for smaller than most 13-inch laptops dimensions. And as for the bottom, it’s made of anodized aluminum and provide just four small grills for the loudspeakers.

The sides are where the ZenBook Flip S impresses and disappoints the most. While the device sports incredibly thin 10.9 mm chassis, there are plenty of connectivity options that are left out. On the left, you will find just one USB-C 3.1 (Gen 1) connector also used for charging, a 3.5 mm audio jack and the main grill for dispersing the heat. On the right, you will find another USB-C 3.1 (Gen 1) port along with the fingerprint, which is placed in unusual position but it’s quite comfortable to reach when in tablet mode, and the usual volume rocker and power button. Considering the price, at least one Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C Gen 2 port would have been greatly appreciated. Just two USB-C connectors don’t cut it even for a 13-inch device.

The interior is where the laptop shines and disappoints to some extent at the same time. The anodized aluminum surface is a huge fingerprint magnet – so is the exterior, of course, and the Royal Blue color makes the smudges even more visible – and fails to impress with sturdiness. It’s not necessarily bad or too flexible since it’s an ultra-portable convertible, but pressing the middle of the keyboard and the wrist rest area results in visible deformation. The input devices, on the other hand, fit the device’s price and are surprisingly good given the limited space. The trackpad features light mouse clicks, buttery-smooth gliding surface and excellent responsiveness. In addition, it’s pretty big for a 13.3-inch device. The same kind words go for the keyboard too – it doesn’t feel small at all, the key spacing is nice, the keycaps are fairly big and despite the rather shallow nature of the keys, the tactile feedback of each keypress makes it a great keyboard.

To sum things up, the ZenBook Flip S is a well built and extremely portable premium device that’s definitely an eye-catcher. Along with the comfortable input devices, the ultrabook justifies the slightly higher. However, the fingerprint magnet surface and the flexible interior keep us from giving the ZenBook Flip S a perfect score.

We did fear that this super-sleek design would make for a particularly unpleasant keyboard experience, but this simply wasn’t the case. In use, we had no problem typing on it, and the majority of this review was written on it. Even more surprising is the fact that the touchpad was perfectly usable, so there’s no need to pack a mouse when out on the road. The fact that it also has a touch screen means you’re spoilt for choice here.

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