What we think of it as a product aside, I can’t help but be amazed at what Asus just revealed at their Computex 2017 press conference today. The 13.3″ ZenBook Flip S is crazy small for a laptop of any kind, at just 10.9 mm thick — especially one with premium specs. But, after a little hands-on time and observation, I can’t help but wonder if it’s actually a little too thin.
It’s a ZenBook through and through. Like with their other premium laptops, Asus has used an aircraft-grade aluminum construction with the spun metal concentric circles on the back. That helps keep it light at just 2.42 pounds, as well. The 360-degree hinge has been tested for 20,000 opens and closes, and keeps its position nicely even when in tent mode. Ultra-thin bezels round out what’s a very attractive device.
But, it’s that crazy 10.9 mm thickness that remains shocking and a little concerning. It definitely looks cool, but I noticed that when someone would wipe down the display or the back, the frame would deform a little. Obviously, putting pressure on something to wipe away a bunch of smudges isn’t normal usage, but it does make me wonder how this thing will hold up in a crowded backpack. Better make sure that padded sleeve is really padded!
Inside, it’s all good. There’s a 7th generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, up to 16 GB of RAM, and up to a 1 TB PCIe SSD. A 1080p touch display comes standard, but the Flip S can be configured with a 4K touch display. The Flip S does have a stereo sound system from Harman/Kardon, but this one just has two speakers instead of the four speaker array we’re seeing on the ZenBook 3 Deluxe and Pro. Powering everything is a 39 Whr battery that Asus says should get 11.5 hours on one charge. If you’re wondering how the heck Asus can cool that kind of hardware in a frame this small, they actually created a completely new liquid-crystal-polymer fan that’s only .3 mm thick.
Unsurprisingly, there’s not much room for ports. There are two of the tiny USB Type-C 3.1 ports, along with a combo audio port and a tiny, thin fingerprint scanner that can work with partial reads.
The are some big disappointments here. One is that Asus really cheaped out on the webcam — it’s only 480p, so you’re still going to look a bit muddy to whoever you’re chatting with. We’ve been seeing 720p at a minimum on most other machines this year, so this comes as something of a surprise. The other is with the pen. Not only are we not sure that it’ll be packaged in with the Flip S, the pen only has 1,024 levels of pressure. We’re seeing 2,048 or even 4,096, plus tilt recognition, on better stylus pens like Microsoft’s newest for the Surface Pro. Considering these 2-in-1s tend to be marketed toward mobile artists, this may prove to be a key misstep.
The ZenBook Flip S is peerless when it comes to thickness and weight among other 360-degree hinge 2-in-1s, to the point where we have to at least wonder a little bit about its durability. But, if you know you’re going to be super careful with it, it’s not badly priced for a versatile, lightweight machine — the Flip S will start at $1,100.
Check out more of our Computex 2017 coverage right here!
Disclosure: Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), an organizer of COMPUTEX, covered our travel expenses to attend COMPUTEX 2017. All thoughts and opinions are 100% our own.