ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360UA review
+ Excellent all-metal design
+ Very portable at just 13.9mm thin
+ 512GB SATA III SSD is capacious and fast
+ Cooling performance is great
+ Battery life is awesome!
+ Backlit keyboard is comfortable to type on with 1.6mm key travel
+ 13.3" 1080p IPS display is sharp and vivid'
+ Connectivity options are quite comprehensive
+ Audio quality from the speakers and 3.5mm audio jack is decent
- 360 degree hinge is quite flimsy
- A fanless design would have been preferable
ASUS has been at the forefront of making convertibles with their ASUS Transformer series, but their ZenBook series of premium Ultrabooks still rocked the standard form factor of laptops. The ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360UA is a departure from that, with a 360° hinge to allow it to double as a convertible, while still keeping the premium build quality that ASUS ZenBooks are known for. Let’s take a closer look.
The ASUS ZenBook Flip comes in quite a classy packaging, looking a lot better than the average notebook PC’s box. The top lid features the name and also the product image, over a stylish concentric “Zen” circles background. The unit we got here is the gray one, and it is also available in gold.
Lifting off the lid reveals the ASUS ZenBook Flip, with the charger in a compartment beside it and also a USB Ethernet adapter. Great job ASUS for considering the people who might not want to use WiFi.
And here are all the included stuff. The ASUS ZenBook Flip even comes with a sleeve, which is pretty awesome! The sleeve looks pretty good, and is a perfect inclusion for a highly portable PC like this.
A closer look at the USB Ethernet adapter. Pretty basic, but something that is overlooked by quite a few other manufacturers.
The ASUS ZenBook Flip features the Zen concentric circle pattern on its lid, typical of products in the Zen series. The lid is made of aluminium, which offers a nice cool-to-the-touch feel.
Opening up the lid, yeah, the lid can open 360°, so the 180° here is no sweat. We have the glass touch-enabled 13.3″ display, and the pretty well spaced out keyboard. Keys are pretty standard-sized here.
Raising the aluminium bottom of the ASUS ZenBook Flip from the surface of the table are four round nubs. Along the top edge there are vents for cooling. The two grilles at the sides house the speakers.
The ASUS ZenBook Flip even looks good from the sides! The lower half is tapered off at the edges, making it look even slimmer than it already is.
Featuring a precision-engineered multi-gear metal mechanism, the 360° hinge on ZenBook Flip has a silky-smooth, stepless action with a jewelry-inspired mechanism, features a contrasting two-tone color scheme on the covers, adding both style and a touch of luxury. Yeah it looks pretty great, but in practice it left me a little disappointed. More on that later.
|CPU||Intel Core i5-6200U @ 2.3 GHz (Turbo Boost up to 2.8 GHz)|
|RAM||8GB 1866 MHz LPDDR3 (dual channel)|
|GPU||Intel HD Graphics 520|
|Storage||512GB SK Hynix M.2 SATA III SSD|
|Software||Microsoft Windows 10 Home
ASUS Splendid Utility
|Connectivity||Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 AC 2×2 WiFi Adapter
2 x USB 3.0 Type-A
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C (5 Gbps)
SD card reader
|Display||13.3″ FHD IPS (1920×1080) 72% NTSC, 10-point multitouch display|
|Audio||2 x 2W stereo speakers
1 x 3.5mm combo audio port
ASUS SonicMaster Technology
|Power||45W AC adapter, 57 Wh battery (non-removable)|
|Dimensions||321 mm (W) x 219 mm (D) x 13.9 mm (H)|
Storage speed is great for a SATA III SSD. The 512GB SSD is actually pretty generous, with many of the competition offering less storage. With these nice read/write rates and large capacity, you are pretty well set to make the ASUS ZenBook Flip your main PC.
CPU performance of the Intel Core i5-6200U inside the ASUS ZenBook Flip is pretty good, with a nice boost in multi-core performance over the Intel Core m5 CPU in the HP Elite x2 I previously reviewed.
GPU performance is also decent. With the Intel HD Graphics 520, you can actually play DotA 2 and CS:GO on the ASUS ZenBook Flip. Not at maximum graphics, but it will suffice to satiate the urge to frag some n00bs.
Aside from the good performance offered, the ASUS ZenBook Flip runs pretty cool too. The highest temperature under heavy loads was 75°C, with the keyboard kept reasonably cool, but the metal near the Tab and Caps lock keys can get quite hot to the touch. The fan is pretty silent, only becoming barely audible in an absolutely silent environment. Battery life was also decent, with up to 10 hours of battery life. This makes it an excellent candidate as an ultrabook to use on the go.
The ASUS ZenBook Flip’s keyboard is backlit, with adjustable brightness too. Despite being packed into such a slim chassis, ASUS still fitted a keyboard with 1.5mm of key travel. Tactile feedback was decent, and the standard key sizes are a boon to touch typist. Within moments of using the ASUS ZenBook Flip, I got used to it and was typing as fast as I do on any laptop keyboard.
The highlight of the ASUS ZenBook Flip has gotta be the 360° hinge. And yeah it works as advertised. However it could be a little flimsy. Since I used the keyboard a lot during my time with it, I had it open like a normal laptop most of the time. Touching the screen is enough to make it wobble, and as it wobbles it may tilt a little further back, bit by bit. After a while I had to readjust the display tilt again. Kinda annoying.
So yeah, with the 360-degree hinge system you get to configure the ASUS ZenBook Flip in any way you want. However I think they should increase the tension of the hinge a little more, to make it more resistant to wobbling while not sacrificing ease of use. In its current state, the future may seem a little bleak. As we all know, all mechanical parts will suffer from wear and tear as time goes by. This is a brand new unit, and it is already so flimsy. What happens a year down the road?
Display wise, it is quite a solid sample. Despite the standard 1080p resolution, the 13.3″ IPS panel it is plenty sharp and vivid enough at default. Wide-viewing angles are a given for IPS displays, and the ASUS ZenBook Flip is no different.
If the color is really not vivid enough for you, go ahead and enable the Vivid mode in the ASUS Splendid app. Manual mode allows you to tune the warmth and also contrast of the display if you feel you need to. Eye Care mode cuts out blue light for a more comfortable viewing experience in low light, or to help you sleep easier at night.
Connectivity wise, the ASUS ZenBook Flip covers most bases despite its size. On the right, you get the SD card reader slot, 3.5mm combo audio jack, 5 Gbps Type C port, HDMI port, standard USB 3.0 Type A port and the charger connector.
Over on the right, we get a single USB 3.0 port, the exhaust vent, battery indicator, volume rocker and also the power button. The buttons are very nice to press, but I did not find much use for the volume rocker since you can adjust the volume with the hotkeys on the keyboard. Despite featuring a fan when a lot
Stereo speakers under two nice grilles on opposite ends are all that you get in the way of audio. Sound quality is decent, sufficient to enjoy a movie or some music with them. Audio through the 3.5mm is also good, but nothing out of the ordinary.
ASUS AudioWizard software allows you to customize the sound output of the ASUS ZenBook Flip. However it does not feature the custom equalizer like the ASUS ROG STRIX GL502VT has in its version of AudioWizard.
For RM4499, the ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360UA is a pretty pricey buy. But then, when you factor in the nice performance figures, strong battery life as well as the capacious and fast SSD storage, all packed into the slim 13.9mm all-metal chassis, it seems quite justified. On the other hand, the rather flimsy hinge did detract from my experience of using it. The 1080p screen may seem a little outdated to some, but that is really quite the perfect resolution for the 13.3″ screen. The ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360UA is a great ultrabook, that also doubles as a convertible.