Asus ZenBook Flip S hands-on review: Companies love shouting about it when one of their new wares can tout to be the world’s first or best in one area or another and that’s exactly what Asus is doing with the new, impressively thin, ZenBook Flip S.
The new convertible, which the company launched at Computex 2017 in Taipei, measures in at 10.9mm thick (making it the world’s thinnest convertible) and weighs just over a kilogram (1.1kg), making it a suitable lap-based tablet for graphical work or enjoying media when you don’t fancy using it as a more conventional laptop.
The hinge mechanism, which Asus promises has been torture-tested through an impressive-sounding 20,000 cycles, allows for full 360-degree rotation of the 13.3-inch touchscreen, which sits snugly between impeccably thin 6.11mm bezels in what the company brands as a ‘NanoEdge’ display.
You’ll be able to pick the Flip S up with either a Full HD or 4K UHD panel, both of which accommodate Asus’ own Pen stylus, which offers up to 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity and in our testing, impressively low latency when leveraging Windows Ink, which forms part of the convertible’s Windows 10 Pro user experience.
The screen itself (we went hands-on with the 4K version) is an unquestionable stunner, with bright, colourful output and strong viewing angles in any orientation (up to 178 degrees, according to Asus). It’s protected by Gorilla Glass and protects your sight with the company’s blue light reduction technology, which filters out up to 30 percent of those disruptive frequencies.
Helping push its media credentials, the machine’s two enlarged stereo speakers are both Asus SonicMaster Premium and Harman Kardon-certified, with surround sound functionality backed up by a smart amplifier that promises to minimise distortion whilst offering maximum output. The Flip S’s body also conceals an array of microphones for responsive voice recognition when interacting with the likes of Cortana or simply making and taking VoIP calls.
The body of the Flip S is a surprisingly sturdy effort with an aerospace-grade aluminium alloy chassis accented by diamond cut chamfers and a backlit keyboard. The Royal Blue colourway is the more arresting of the two, combining a dark blue metallic bead-blasted finish with gold accents around its edges and across its keys, however, the Smoky Grey option is better suited if you’re after something a little more conservative.
Due to its slim profile and form factor you don’t get a whole lot of I/O with the Flip S; with two USB-C connections (both USB 3.1 compliant) positioned on either side being the only other ports aside from its 3.5mm headphone jack. Their presence does allow for up to a 4K UHD display output, up to 5Gbps data transfer speeds and fast charging (60 percent in 49 minutes) of its 39Wh battery, which when full promises up to 11.5 hours of use. Luckily Asus does also throw in its Mini Dock to allow for USB-C-through alongside a full-sized USB-A and an HDMI connection.
To round out the hardware, you can have your pick of Intel’s Core i5-7200U or i7-7500U processors with integrated HD Graphics 620, up to 16GB of RAM and a top-tier, lightning fast 1TB PCIe 3.0 x 4 SSD if you need both the space and speed. There’s also a side-mounted fingerprint sensor so that it’s reachable in any orientation versus Asus’ typical placement on the trackpads of its more conventional laptops.
The word is still out on UK pricing or availability for the Flip S but provided it touches down soon it could make for a powerful and versatile productivity or creativity machine for those on-the-go, or simply want a sexy, reasonably-sized, slim Windows 2-in-1. Stay tuned for a full review when it hits the market.
Read next: Asus ZenBook Pro (2017) hands-on review