Asus ZenBook Flip 14 (UM462) Review: A better traditional laptop than a convertible

It’s no secret that Asus is focusing its efforts in India on selling more AMD-powered smartphones. At least a half-dozen of the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer’s 2019 laptops are equipped with AMD’s Ryzen CPUs.

The ZenBook 14 (UM431), which we evaluated shortly before its official release, is one of the most recent devices to undergo this makeover. You may read our evaluation of that model by clicking here. We believed it was a great laptop for regular use, with a sturdy structure and eye-catching appearance. It was especially striking in the new Utopia Blue colorway.

The ZenBook Flip 14 (UM462), which debuted with the ZenBook 14 (UM431) in November of last year, is essentially a hybrid comparable with an optional CPU increase.

In place of the ZenBook 14’s AMD Ryzen 5 3500U, you may have the AMD Ryzen 7 3700U CPU, which has an increased clock speed of up to 4.0GHz while maintaining the same four-core eight-thread configuration.

In India, the Asus ZenBook Flip 14 begins at Rs 64,990, making it a direct competitor to the Lenovo IdeaPad C340. You may read our evaluation of the convertible here before proceeding to the ZenBook’s.

Performance

On our synthetic benchmark tests, our review unit of the ZenBook Flip 14 received average results. The review device received 3350 points on PCMark 8’s Accelerated Creative test, which is a few hundred points lower than the Lenovo IdeaPad C340’s result.

To recap, the IdeaPad C340 we tested was powered by an Intel 8th Gen Core i5 CPU, an Nvidia GeForce MX230 GPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB PCIe NVMe solid-state drive. The ZenBook Flip 14 scored 2340 and 13114 points in 3DMark’s Fire Strike and Cloud Gate tests, respectively. The latter result is actually substantially higher than the IdeaPad C340, which does have a dedicated graphics card.

The Ryzen-5-powered ZenBook 14 (UM431) performed admirably in our everyday performance testing, while the Ryzen 7-powered ZenBook Flip 14 follows suit. Our evaluation unit performed multitasking on several programmes across many virtual desktops with no latency or stuttering.

During a typical workday, programmes including Outlook, Word, Excel, Chrome, Photos, OneNote, File Explorer, and WhatsApp for PC opened and restored without a hitch.

Furthermore, I didn’t notice a single slowdown in the animation while switching between windows or desktops. Background music and videos were also played on numerous websites without incident. In conclusion, the Asus ZenBook Flip 14 is an excellent computer for general computing work.

Battery

Asus says that the non-removable 42Wh three-cell prismatic battery in the ZenBook Flip 14 can run the laptop for up to 9 hours straight. Things were a little different in our tests. On our typical battery benchmark test, our review unit received a respectable result.

It lasted 3 hours and 54 minutes on a single full charge, which is longer than the IdeaPad C340’s 3 hours and 38 minutes on the same test with the identical settings. However, the Asus convertible performed poorly in our everyday tests.

In one test, the review unit’s battery level dropped from 97% to 30% in just over two and a half hours. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth were both enabled on during the run, and the screen brightness was set at 70%. The laptop was given the responsibility of doing a lot of browsing.

After another trial with comparable circumstances, the laptop’s battery level dropped from 100% to 30% in three hours and thirteen minutes. When I activated the keyboard backlighting, I noticed that the laptop’s battery drain rate jumped dramatically. In summary, the ZenBook Flip 14 offers roughly four hours of continuous use, which is on the low side for any convertible laptop.

Display, Tablet Performance, Audio, and Input/Output (IO)

The ZenBook Flip 14 sports a 14-inch touchscreen display with Full HD quality, as you might expect. The display, according to Asus, can reproduce 100% of the colours in the sRGB colour space and has a maximum viewing angle of 178 degrees. In my opinion, the display is both bright and colourful enough for daily usage.

Colors are realistic, with no evidence of oversaturation, and the panel’s brightness is enough for usage in daytime. When viewing information under harsh overhead lighting, the panel’s glossy appearance becomes a hindrance. Overall, it’s an excellent display for seeing papers, online sites, spreadsheets, and films.

The ZenBook Flip 14 is a convertible with a glossy touchscreen panel that can be slid all the way back into tablet mode. While the touch precision of the display is excellent, the provided stylus is not suited for sketching.

In my experience, the stylus does not always recognise inputs on compatible programmes like OneNote and Paint 3D on the first try, necessitating several strokes.

Pressure sensitivity is also a tad low at 1024 levels. However, it is enough for minor scribbling work. You should be able to take notes and annotate documents with ease. I wish the laptop had a separate storage compartment for the stylus. That would have given the ZenBook Flip 14 a significant advantage over the IdeaPad C340.

The Asus ZenBook Flip 14 emits audio through two down-firing speaker grilles located at the chin of the laptop’s base panel.

The sound from these Harman Kardon-certified speakers is downright hollow, giving the impression that the laptop is playing music from inside a well or cave. The highs and mids leave the grilles with considerable clarity, while the lows do not.

On the positive side, the speakers provide a discernible degree of stereo separation. Nonetheless, this duo is better suited for talks and casual music listening rather than full-fledged entertainment. Invest in a nice set of headphones if you want high-quality audio.

Unlike prior ZenBook Flip models, such as this one, the ZenBook Flip 14 includes a plethora of mainstream networking choices. A round-pin power port, a full-size HDMI port, a USB-A 3.1 port, and a USB-C 3.1 port can be found on the left side of its body.

A microSD card slot, a USB-A 2.0 connector, and a 3.5mm audio socket for headsets may be found on the right side. On the right side, we can also see a pair of status lights and a tiny power button, which is difficult to see without glancing at the device. It also doesn’t help that the button is flush with the frame and doesn’t provide any feedback.

The ZenBook Flip 14 foregoes fingerprint verification in favour of facial recognition through its embedded IR webcam. For sign-ins, it works in conjunction with Windows Hello.

The unfortunate issue is that the notion of face unlocking does not always function, at least not as quickly as fingerprint scanning.

For example, if you try to sign in to Windows with your face at a strange angle or while wearing your backup set of glasses, Windows Hello will fail after a few seconds and prompt you to input your password instead. However, the ZenBook Flip 14 earns points for having the functionality.

Touchpad and Keyboard

The ZenBook Flip 14’s keyboard is one of the most comfortable I’ve experienced on a convertible laptop. The huge three-stage illuminated keys provide appropriate travel and resistance. As a consequence, you’ll get a pleasant, comfortable typing experience that’s ideal for long emails and papers.

Having said that, I wish the arrow keys were a little bigger for increased comfort. I also wish Asus had selected a darker tone for the keycaps because the lettering on the silvery keys are hard to read when the illumination is turned on. Nonetheless, it’s an excellent keyboard for intensive typing.

The ZenBook Flip 14’s touchpad is a contemporary precision device, which means it supports multi-finger taps and swipes natively on Windows 10 without the need for a third-party driver or software.

The smooth Mylar-covered touchpad surface is ideal for multi-finger motions. The two click keys under the surface are also simple to use. Overall, it’s a great input device that’s fun to use when surfing, altering spreadsheets, and moving files in File Explorer.

Construct and Design

The ZenBook Flip 14 is composed of metal, as is the ZenBook 14 (UM431), with the top cover made of aluminium and the base panel made of magnesium alloy. As a consequence, the laptop body is strong and smooth, making it comfortable to handle and attractive to look at.

The laptop looks sleek and professional in its one and only Light Grey colorway, but it’s not especially intriguing. The back edge and hinges are finished in dark chrome, which I anticipate will be a hit or miss with today’s users.

The characteristic ‘Zen-inspired’ spun-metal finish on the top cover, however, is missing. It also lacks the company’s new offset Asus logo. But that’s comprehensible since it’s well-built, and that’s what matters.

The ZenBook Flip 14’s top, which opens with two hands, shows a glossy touchscreen panel with somewhat thick black bezels on all four sides.

With the 4.37-millimetre ‘NanoEdge’ bezels, Asus promises a screen-to-body ratio of 90%. The laptop is on the heavier side, weighing 1.6 kg. When the gadget is utilised as a tablet, this becomes clear. On the plus side, it feels somewhat lighter in the hand than the Lenovo IdeaPad C340.

I truly wish Asus had shaved more weight from the device and included a storage compartment for the included pen, as this would have made the ZenBook Flip 14 a more appealing package for heavy tablet users.

Verdict

The Asus ZenBook Flip 14 excels as a traditional laptop, with a current AMD CPU, 8GB of RAM, and enough of solid-state storage. It also boasts a superb keyboard and touchpad layout, as well as a bright and colourful screen.

However, it falls far short of becoming a superb tablet. That’s because it has a heavy frame and a frustratingly limited battery life. Furthermore, the associated pen might benefit from improved on-screen reaction for drawing and more on-board storage capacity.

Even if it does not exceed the Lenovo IdeaPad C340, the Asus ZenBook Flip 14 does not fall below it. The ZenBook Flip 14 is an AMD-powered alternative to the Intel-powered IdeaPad C340, with no discrete graphics option and a slightly higher price tag of Rs 64,990.

The ZenBook Flip 14 is an excellent product for individuals who desire a traditional laptop but also want to dabble with flexible computing. The ZenBook 14 (UM431), on the other hand, is a better alternative for consumers who are certain they do not want a hybrid tablet. More information may be found here.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.