Intel’s 11th Gen “Tiger Lake” processors are here, and with them a series of new laptop designs. The first crossing through our labs is the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX371 ($1,449), a sleek, attention-grabbing convertible with the new Core i7-1165G7. It packs a 13.3-inch, 4K OLED touchscreen and offers solid battery life in spite of it. Thunderbolt 4 shows up too, but Asus made the strange choice to eliminate a headphone jack, instead bundling a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter in the box.
If you’re one to use Bluetooth headphones, the big question will be this: Does the ZenBook Flip S squeeze enough performance out of the i7-1165G7 to make it the best ultrabook for you?
Design of the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX371
I really can’t get over just how pretty the ZenBook Flip S is. It’s not a drastic change to the ZenBook aesthetic, but it’s sleek and honestly, I can’t stop looking at it. The lid is black with Asus’s signature concentric circles, which attract light just so. Asus’ logo is in a copper accent, and there’s more of that around the edges of the device.
The 13.3-inch display is surrounded by a bezel thicker than that on the Dell XPS 13, and I wish Asus would trim it down on the bottom. But the attention to detail continues on the keyboard deck, which is black and built solid, with white backlighting shinking through the keyboard keys. The touchpad is nice and wide, though it definitely breaks the aesthetic when you turn on the backlit touch-based number pad built into it.
There’s a big, copper-colored stripe under the display, but you only truly see it when you pull back the display on the 360-degree hinges. It’s a striking contrast, though how often will you be looking at the keyboard in tablet or tent mode?
My only true quibble with the design is the port selection. At first glance, it seems fine. There’s an HDMI port and a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports on the left side, with a full USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port on the right side. But there’s no headphone jack. And while Bluetooth headphones are becoming more commonplace, there’s definitely room for one here. Instead, Asus includes a USB Type-C to 3.5mm headphone dongle in the box. Even laptops, now, are part of living the #donglelife.
At just 12 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches and 2.7 pounds, the ZenBook Flip S is petite. The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is even smaller at 11.7 x 8.2 x 0.5 inches, but a heavier 2.9 pounds. The HP Spectre x360 is 12.1 x 7.7 x 0.7 inches at 2.7 pounds, and the Acer Swift 3, a standard clamshell, is 2.7 pounds and 1.7 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches.
Asus ZenBook Flip S UX371 Specifications
|CPU||Intel Core i7-1165G7|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Xe (Integrated)|
|RAM||16 LPDDR4-4267 MHz|
|SSD||1TB PCIe Gen 3 NVMe SSD|
|Display||13.3-inch, 3840 x 2160 OLED touchscreen|
|Networking||Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX 201 (2x2), Bluetooth 5|
|Ports||2x Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.0a, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro|
|Size||12 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches / 305 x 211 x 13.9 mm|
|Weight||2.7 pounds / 1.2 kg|
|Price (as Configured)||$1,449.00|
Productivity Performance on the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX371
The ZenBook Flip S UX371 is among the first laptops we have tested with an Intel 11th Gen “Tiger Lake” CPU with Iris Xe graphics. This convertible boasts the 4 core/8 thread Intel Core i7-1165G7, and the laptop, with 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, is part of Intel’s Evo platform.
We compared the ZenBook Flip to a pair of competing 10th Gen “Ice Lake” 2-in-1s: the Dell XPS 13 and HP Spectre x360, as well as a far cheaper machine, the Acer Swift 3, to compare the Ryzen 7 4700U.
On Geekbench 5.0, the ZenBook earned a multi-core score of 3,880, beating out the XPS. The Spectre scored a bit higher, but the Swift 3 blew it out of the park at 4,862.
Asus’ laptop transferred 4.97GB of files at a rate of 1,296.7. That’s far faster than the Ice Lake Machines (the XPS 13 at 462.7 MBps and the Spectre at 318.1 MBps), and the Swift 3’s 462.7 MBps.
The ZenBook suffered on our Handbrake video transcoding test, in which it converted a 4K video to 1080p. It took 22 minutes and 5 seconds, a minute beyond the Spectre and twice as long as the Ryzen system. This result surprised us, but we ran the tests again while monitoring the PL1 power limit and saw that the CPU dropped as low as 12W while converting, which could easily affect speeds. The 1165G7 has a TDP that moves between 12W and 28W.
We stress tested the Tiger Lake system by running Cinebench R20 on a loop 20 times. The CPU ran at an average of 2 GHz with an average temperature of 63.1 degrees Celsius (145.6 degrees Fahrenheit). It ran at 12W throughout (though we saw it go higher at idle and during other tasks). Scores were in the 1,200 range.
Display on the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX371
The 13.3-inch, 4K OLED display on the ZenBook Flip S looks really nice. As with most 4K laptops, I checked out the open-source 4K short Tears of Steel. The film, which features tons of colorful holograms in gray lab settings, looked great on the ZenBook’s screen, with deep blacks and bright colors.
That OLED screen covers 113.1% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, far beyond the non-OLED panels on the XPS 13 and Spectre (both under 80%) and the more budget Swift 3 (44.2%).
At 375 nits, the ZenBook is plenty bright, though the XPS 13 2-in-1 beat it at an incredibly luminous 516 nits.
Keyboard and Touchpad on the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX371
The keyboard on the ZenBook has a true edge-to-edge design, taking the full width of the keyboard deck. It needs all the room it can get. On this small machine, the keyboard will feel cramped if you have bigger hands. For me, I ultimately got used to it, but it felt small at first.
Asus claims that the keys offer 1.4mm of travel. They’re a bit more bouncy than clicky, but typing was still comfortable. I hit 121 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, which is higher than usual for me, and had no errors at all.
The touchpad is nice and wide, with plenty of room for Windows 10’s most complex four-finger gestures. It’s hard to complain about a Windows 10 precision touchpad these days, either.
A small calculator icon in the top right corner enables a touch-sensitive number pad built into the touchpad. It certainly makes up for room you wouldn’t have on the deck, but I can’t use it without looking at it, which means looking away from the screen. I would be faster using the numbers at the top of the keyboard, even if it’s not ideal.
Audio on the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX371
Despite its svelte size, the ZenBook Flip S’ speakers pack some punch. They get quite loud - more than I need for my apartment, and the Harmon Kardon tuning definitely seems to be helping. When I listened to Dashboard Confessional’s cover of Post Malone’s “Circles,” the beat of the drums and the mellow vocals blended well, and the guitars were nice and clear. Even the bass made an appearance, which is usually missed on laptops of this size.
There’s plenty of customization in the DTS Audio Processing Software that comes preinstalled, but I don’t think you need to make too many changes. There’s barely any difference between the music and movie presets, for instance. You can change the equalizer to your liking, and I think the pre-enabled bass boost is something that should stay on.
Upgradeability of the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX371
To open the ZenBook Flip S, you need to remove nine screws from the chassis. They’re Torx screws, and a size T4 fit the bill perfectly. You will need something to pry open the chassis, like a spudger or other tool.
There are only two easily accessible parts to upgrade in the ZenBook Flip S: the M.2 SSD and the battery. The latter takes up the majority of the room inside the system. The SSD has a protective material over it, but you can peel that off.
Battery Life on the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX371
4K OLED screens usually prevent laptops from lasting through a workday, but the ZenBook managed to do so on our battery test. Our battery trial has laptops browse the web, run OpenGL benchmarks and stream videos, all over Wi-Fi and at 150 nits of brightness.
Specifically, the ZenBook Flip S ran for 8 hours and 11 minutes. All of the competitors did better, but we also tested those with 1920 x 1080 (or 1920 x 1200, in the case of the Dell XPS 13) screens. The XPS 13 ran for 10:57, the Spectre lasted for 13:19 and the Swift 3 endured for 11:09.
Heat on the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX371
We measured skin temperatures while running our Cinebench R20 stress test to get a sense of how warm to the touch the ZenBook Flip S gets under load.
At the center of the keyboard, between the G and H keys, the laptop measured 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 degrees Fahrenheit), while the touchpad was a cooler 34.5 degrees Celsius (94.1 Fahrenheit).
On the bottom of the laptop, the hottest point measured 54.5 degrees Celsius, (130.1 degrees Fahrenheit). That’s hot under load, though in normal use I didn't have any issues.
Webcam on the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX371
Another laptop, another 720p webcam. On the bright side, on the scale of “bad’ to “passable,” this falls towards the latter. In some shots from a well-lit area, the details in my face were better than some comparable webcams. My red t-shirt wasn’t as vibrant as it was in real life, but my blue eyes did appear accurate, so it’s not entirely inaccurate.
The webcam supports IR to unlock your laptop with facial recognition via Windows Hello. I found this to be blazing fast, almost instant, every time I used it. I could be from the lock screen to the desktop almost immediately.
Software and Warranty on the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX371
Asus has largely kept the software to a minimum.
The big application Asus includes is MyAsus, which serves as a hub for all of your hardware settings, serial number, warranty information, customer support, and a link to the MyAsus mobile app.
Otherwise, there’s just a bunch of bloat from McAfee. WebAdvisor by McAfee, McAFee LiveSafe and McAfee Personal Security all come on board with trials. There’s also two links to Asus’ websites in the bookmarks in the Edge browser, which is just unnecessary.
But otherwise it’s just the usual load that comes with Windows 10, with a few bloatware apps like Hulu, Facebook Messenger and Hidden City: Hidden Object Adventure.
Asus sells the ZenBook Flip S with a 1-year warranty.
If you want a convertible 2-in-1 and prize sleek looks in a thin chassis, the ZenBook Flip S should attract your attention. The OLED screen is beautiful (even if 4K is sort of lost on a screen this size).
The lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack will bug some more than others. I know people who haven’t used wired headphones in years, but it still seems like an unnecessary omission. Apple ditched it on phones but still hasn’t gotten rid of it on laptops -- yet.
In this chassis, the new Core i7-1165G7 seems plenty usable for everyday tasks. But during our more taxing benchmarks, the Flip S wasn’t as powerful as a far cheaper Ryzen system, the $649 Acer Swift 3. And it wasn’t always better than some 10th Gen Intel designs, though I still wouldn’t suggest going for last year’s laptop unless you can find a great deal on it and don’t care about Intel’s graphics improvements.
Those looking for a capable 2-in-1 and who no longer need wired headphones should strongly consider this laptop. The current Tiger Lake chips could be better implemented, but the design and screen are premium, and in that sense you get what you pay for.