The ASUS ZenBook Flip 14 UX461UA-DS51T is a 14-inch convertible 2-in-1 that boasts a premium design, peppy performance and incredible battery life than most peers out there. It is a worth buy for travel, office work and entertainment.
PROS: Strong all-round performance. Svelte, premium design. Active pen included.
CONS: Lacks Thunderbolt 3 port. A 4K screen would be welcome.
How Asus manages to pack so much power in a 14-inch body but make it look like a 13.3-inch device is something Apple have not managed to crack even in the newly released MacBook Pro MR942LL/A (2018 Model). So, how does the ZenBook Flip 14 stand out in the crowd of svelte, extremely portable 13.3-inch convertible laptops. For one, it doesn’t have a13-inchscreen, the Flip 14’s chassis is fairly bigger than its rivals and the screen measures 14 inches diagonally.
Secondly, it is powered by a ULV quad-core processor, the same chip you’d find in competitors like the HP Spectre x360 13, Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB and the Dell Inspiron 13 (5379). It uses an Integrated graphics card, unlike the Asus ZenBook Flip 14 (UX461UN-DS74T) that’s billed as the world’s thinnest 2-in-1 with a discrete graphics card. Still, even with the graphics card both Flips are not fast enough to play the latest games at highest settings.
If you’re a 2-in-1 convertible fan and on a tight budget, you’ll love this device. Plus, as a purely professional ultraportable, we still feel that Asus has a grasp of what pro users really want.
The ZenBook Flip 14 we are reviewing is model UX461UA-DS51T, which features an eighth-generation Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and integrated graphics. For around $400 more, the model UX461UN-DS74T upshifts to an Intel Core i7-8550U processor, 16Gb of memory, a dedicated Nvidia MX150 graphics card and a 512GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD).
Whichever configuration you choose, the design you’ll get is a gray aluminum unibody with black display bezels. The lid has Asus’s trademark ZenBook finish of concentric circles radiating outward from the chrome Asus logo. It measures 0.55 by 12.9 by 8.9 inches (HWD), slightly bigger than the Lenovo Yoga 920 (0.5 by 12.7 by 8.8 inches), but in the same ballpark as the largest 13.3-inch convertibles, including the Inspiron 13 5000 (5379), which measures 0.77 by 12.8 by 8.9 inches.
At 3.1 pounds, the ZenBook Flip 14 weighs less that the Inspiron 5379 (3.56), and slightly more than the Lenovo Yoga 920 (3.02 pounds). Like most convertibles, it’s quite heavy to hold in one hand in Tablet mode, but will comfortably sit on your lap. Its hinges allow the screen to pivot through the typical four positions –Laptop mode, Tablet mode, Stand mode and the inverted-V Tent mode, as well as allowing you to lift or tilt the back of the keyboard to a handy position in Laptop mode.
It is a feature that is more helpful on a desk than on your lap, where the bottom of the laptop has a solid resting base. The keyboard has some amount of flex on both the lid and keyboard deck, but the ZenBook Flip 4 feels solidly built overall. The illuminated chiclet keyboard has flat, smooth keys with three-level illumination, with a comfortable touchpad that houses a fingerprint reader with Windows Hello support.
The 1,920-by-1,080 resolution display offers wide viewing angles, albeit with somewhat reflections on its glossy surface. Brightness on the screen is adequate, with a couple of backlight options, but with good, well saturated hues and deep contrast. The touch-screen is smooth and accurate, but the Flip 14 comes with a handsome, battery-powered stylus that responds to 1,024 levels of pressure.
On the left side, there is a power button, a volume rocker, and a USB 3.0 port. There’s another USB 3.0 port on the right, alongside a USB-C port, an HDMI port, an audio jack, a microSD card slot, and a charging port for the AC adapter. Bottom placed Harmon/Kardon-tuned speakers produce above-average sound with rich tones. A webcam placed above the screen is average, too, and captures detailed selfies even in medium light.
This model of the ZenBook Flip 14 boasts an Intel Core i5-8250U (Kaby Lake Refresh) quad-core processor, 8GB of memory, and a 256GB SSD. This combination is good enough among first placed collection of convertible and clamshell peers for office productivity. This built-in ULV processor (TDP:15 watts) supports Hyperthreading, meaning it can run two threads per core simultaneously. It is a 1.6GHz chip, but can increase up to 3.4 GHz in Turbo.
The Flip 14 utilizes the power of a Core-i5 processor, working memory driven in dual-channel mode and an SSD to deliver smooth performance for all your office applications and entertainment needs. For gaming, the Intel UHD Graphics 620 card doesn’t count for much, as such can’t offer the best gaming experience.
However, it can play some games smoothly, only if you limit yourself to low resolution and quality settings. Graphic-sipping games like The Witcher 3 can’t yield any impressive results here, you might have to look at something like the Asus ROG Zephyrus S – our Editors’ Choice for gaming ultraportables.
While the ZenBook Flip 14 doesn’t raise any concerns over power consumption, it still gets the best battery life around. It surpasses the 2-in-1 convertible average of 9 hours 31 minutes, yielding almost 12 hours on a simple charge. This is impressive, and enough to get you juiced through a workday, plus a few more hours for Netflix or light gaming. Still, it doesn’t beat the Lenovo Yoga 920, which delivers almost 22 hours of battery life.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, there isn’t anything with having a do-it-all office and on-the-road machine that has power to provide peppy performance in productivity tasks and is equally suited for entertainment. With a fairly brighter display and speedy SSD, those are maybe, some of those things we’d be looking out for in an Editors’ Choice. A Thunderbolt 3 port would be better, but we’re OK with USB-C that ensures that the price remains friendly.
If Thunderbolt 3 is a must-have in your 2-in-1 of choice, its present in the Asus ZenBook Pro (UX550VE-DB71T), that even includes a discrete graphics card, double the RAM and SSD storage. As such, for those with modest pockets, the ASUS ZenBook Flip 14 UX461UA-DS51T $819.99 at Amazon is a good buy, a beauty to look at and a solid performer; that shines in its own right.