Asus has been releasing thinner notebooks each year. This is especially true during the company’s recent press event here at Computex 2017. In fact, Asus unveiled as many as five notebooks during its event, and a couple of them feature one similar theme: thinness.
One product that stood out during the event was the Asus ZenBook Flip S, which Asus claims is the world’s thinnest 2-in-1 convertible notebook. That said, aside from its incredible thinness, there are plenty of other rather interesting traits about the ZenBook Flip S as well. Of course, one of the most important aspects of a notebook has to be its specifications, right?
Right. When it comes to specifications, Asus has equipped the ZenBook Flip S with an Intel Core i7-7500U CPU, 16GB LPDDR3 RAM running at 2133MHz, and a 1TB PCIe SSD. Of course, there are lower-end variants of this notebook as well. The bare minimum specifications that one can opt for is a ZenBook Flip S with a Core i5-7200U CPU, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD (SATA).
In addition, the ZenBook Flip S is also packed with a 13.3-inch 4K display, but Asus says that a 1080p display option will be made available too. Connectivity options of this slim notebook, on the other hand, include two USB 3.1 Type-C ports (with support for Thunderbolt 3), one fingerprint reader, a power switch, one volume rocker, and naturally, a 3.5mm headphone jack as well.
But enough about specifications; let’s talk about its design. My first impression upon looking at the Asus ZenBook Flip S from afar was…well, uninspiring. For one, it has the same peculiar colour scheme as last year’s Asus ZenBook 3, but after taking a closer look, that’s not really the case at all. I’m not quite sure if Asus changed or refined the colour scheme of the ZenBook Flip S, but the dark blue and gold accents of the notebook somehow looks a lot more “sexy” this time round.
That aside, one of the first few things I tested was the ZenBook Flip S’ keyboard. I’ve been using the 12-inch MacBook’s shallow keyboard for quite some time now, and I’ve got to say: the keyboard on the ZenBook Flip S feels a lot…better. Then again, the same can be said for many other notebooks in the market.
Nonetheless, the ZenBook Flip S’ key travel is very adequate, which makes for a particularly comfortable typing experience. Needless to say, it’s definitely an improvement over the ZenBook 3’s very shallow keyboard.
Speaking of which, the Asus ZenBook Flip S comes with a chassis that’s only 19mm thick, and it weighs about 1.1kg. Despite the fact that my 12-inch MacBook is thinner and lighter, I don’t think it makes for a huge difference. Aside from that, Asus mention that the ZenBook Flip S’ body is made out of aerospace-grade aluminium; this probably explains why the notebook feels sturdy in my hands – its build quality is very reassuring.
One key component of a notebook that I feel doesn’t get enough attention lies in the hinge system, and the ZenBook Flip S is equipped with Asus’ new “ErgoLift” hinge, which apparently has been proven to withstand 20,000 cycles of lid opening and closing. To me, a hinge that’s sturdy is of the utmost importance for consumers who are looking for a convertible; especially those that can be flipped 360-degree.
Asus has also introduced its “NanoEdge” technology with the ZenBook Flip S, which allows for the notebook to come with a ridiculously thin display. Measuring only 0.61cm thin, it’s definitely impressive. Speaking of which, the ZenBook Flip S’ display also comes with multi-touch support.
Performance-wise, the ZenBook Flip S is surprisingly capable. The responsiveness of the touchscreen display when on tablet mode is great, and the screen gets bright enough too. Likewise, the performance of the notebook when on desktop mode is fluid as well. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to run any benchmark on the Flip S, but we’re sure its Kaby Lake Core i7 CPU can handle most tasks pretty well.
The only qualm I have with the ZenBook Flip S would be its chassis. Not only does it attract fingerprints rather easily, it’s also quite slippery. For people with sweaty palms – like me – holding the Flip S for the first time feels oddly slippery. I’m really only nitpicking at this point, of course – it’s still a gorgeous-looking convertible.
Overall, I think we will see a lot more convertibles like the Asus ZenBook Flip S in the future. Notebooks are only going to be thinner and more portable, especially with recent advancements like Asus’ NanoEdge technology and Nvidia’s Max-Q’s design approach.
I’m pretty certain that other manufactures will go towards the same design route as Asus. We consumers will, obviously, benefit a lot from having slimmer laptops in the future.
The Asus ZenBook Flip S will be ideal for folks who want a beautifully slim, light, and robust 2-in-1 convertible, but this does come at a price: the Flip S will retail from US$1,099 – that comes up to about RM4,705. As usual, Malaysian availability of the Flip S has not been announced yet.