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Asus ZenBook Flip S UX371EA review: The luxury yacht of laptops

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,794
inc VAT

A gorgeous laptop that competes with the Dell XPS 13 but it just falls short

Pros 
Gloriously vibrant display
Light and well-made
Stylus compatible touchscreen
Cons 
Under par thermal management
Mediocre battery life
No 3.5mm headphone jack
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In the world of TVs and smartphones, OLED screens are commonplace but, in the world of laptops, they’re a rarity, which is why products like the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX371EA are so interesting.

The reasons behind this trend are understandable: OLED screens are typically more expensive to manufacture than IPS screens, which tends to bump up the price for consumers. They might be more power hungry, too, which also brings battery life down.

The Asus ZenBook Flip S proves, at least in part, that this doesn’t always have to be the case.

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Asus ZenBook Flip S UX371EA review: What you need to know

Indeed, the £1,794 price tag may look high, but it’s around the same price as you’d pay for a Dell XPS 13 and other premium machines with the equivalent hardware specification.

The OLED tech isn’t this laptop’s only appealing feature, however. The display is also touch-compatible and it has 360-degree hinge, which allows it to be folded back on itself so you can hide away the keyboard and use the laptop in “stand” or “tent” mode for watching movies and TV shows. You can also use the laptop as a large tablet if you want to scribble on the screen with the bundled stylus.

Elsewhere, the specification is pretty ordinary, although unlike most Windows laptops there’s only one model to choose from; that model comes with an Intel 11th gen Core i7-1165G7 CPU with integrated Iris Xe graphics, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD.

Asus ZenBook Flip S UX371EA review: Price and competition

At a price of £1,794, this is certainly no budget laptop but, as highlighted above, you’d normally pay this sort of price for a laptop with the same specifications, let alone one with an OLED display, so it actually looks like a pretty good deal.

The equivalent Dell XPS 13 (4K touchscreen, 11th gen Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD) will set you back £1,699. The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is another lovely ultraportable but costs even more for the same specification, at a whopping £2,349. Neither machine has an OLED display either, nor a bundled stylus or 360-degree hinge.

The new M1-powered MacBook Air, perhaps, provides the stiffest opposition but again, for the same spec, you’ll be paying £1,649 for a fairly basic laptop.

Of course, you don’t have to stump up this much cash for a capable ultraportable. The basic M1 MacBook Air is £999 and if it’s a great display you’re after, then you can pick up a Samsung Galaxy Book Ion with a nearly-as-good QLED screen for £1,150.

Asus ZenBook Flip S UX371EA review: Design and features

The display might dominate the headlines but the Flip S UX371E is clearly no one-trick pony. It genuinely looks the part of a luxury laptop, with gleaming brushed bronze chamfered edges trimming the base and spine, contrasting nicely with a matte-black finish surrounding the keyboard and a “spun” brushed aluminium finish to the lid.

Despite the 360-degree hinge, it’s extremely slim and light, too, weighing only 1.2kg, and measuring a slender 13.9mm at its thickest point. This makes it half a kilogramme lighter than the Dell XPS 13 (which weighs 1.7kg with a touchscreen), which is doubly remarkable when you realise that the Asus comes with a beefier 67Wh battery.

Asus hasn’t sacrificed much to usability, either, with both the keyboard and touchpad fine examples of the oeuvre. The backlit, Scrabble-tile keys have a depth of travel to them that you might not expect from such a slim laptop and the touchpad is broad, sensitive and accurate.

The latter also has a neat extra trick up its sleeve: hold your finger in the top-right corner and the surface of the touchpad lights up, transforming into a touch-sensitive number pad. It isn’t quite as good as the real thing but it’s better than using the number row at the top of your keyboard, especially if you have a lot of data entry to do.

The selection of physical connections is a bit odd. You get a full-sized HDMI 1.4 video output included as well as a pair of USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports and a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port. Weirdly there’s no 3.5mm jack (Asus does include a USB-C to 3.5mm audio adapter in the box, though).

As for other features, you’re getting an Intel AX201 chip for Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity, as well as a 720p Windows Hello-compatible webcam, which is okay as far as quality is concerned. The Harman/Kardon tuned speakers go quite loud and don’t distort but don’t deliver much in the way of richness or bass.

Asus Flip S UX731E review: Display

The star of this particular cast has to be the 4K (3,840 x 2,160) resolution OLED display and it is an absolute beauty. It’s as bright as you need, reaching a peak luminance of 460cd/m2 in my testing and it has perfect contrast, too, which means it’s a fabulous display to stream your favourite TV shows and films. Bear in mind that you’ll need to jump through the usual hoops to enable HDR properly before it will look its best, though.

Technically speaking, it’s a zinger. It’s able to reproduce a huge 121% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut, with coverage of 99.2% and colour accuracy is decent as well. Although, you do need to make sure you choose the correct option from the presets provided in the MyAsus software. Vivid is the most eye-popping but not particularly colour accurate.

Normal is the mode you want for best colour accuracy and here I saw an average Delta E colour difference score of 1.74 compared with Display P3. That’s a great score for watching movies and TV; but for advanced photo and video editing you may want to recalibrate the display.

Asus Flip S UX731E review: Performance

Alas, where the display is gobsmackingly brilliant, performance is considerably less so. And, despite having the same 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU as the Dell XPS 13 I tested at the end of last year, the UX371EA performs significantly worse overall.

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This is mainly due to poor thermal management: as soon as you put the laptop under stress, the temperature of the CPU cores skyrockets and performance drops off a cliff. While running a video conversion, the CPU maxed out at 99-degrees Celsius, even with the fan mode set to max, which doesn’t bode well for long-term longevity.

This is why in our in-house 4K media benchmarks, which put a sustained load on storage, CPU and GPU processing, show a larger difference in performance than the Geekbench 5 and GFXBench tests, which are much shorter:

Overall, then, you’ll get similar performance to a Dell XPS 13 in bursts but that evaporates under sustained load.

Battery life is much the same, too. Although the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX371EA has a higher capacity battery than the Dell XPS 13 at 67Wh, it simply doesn’t last as long between charges. This suggests that, with all other things being equal, you’re paying the price for that OLED screen in a lack of stamina.

In our video rundown test, where we set the display brightness to 170cd/m2, engage flight mode and play a fullscreen video until the battery dies, the Asus ZenBook Flip S lasted only 7hrs 18mins. That’s not horrendous but it does fall a long way short of the current standard for 11th Gen Core i7 laptops (around 12 hours), and it’s embarrassed by the M1 MacBook Air and Pro, which last 14hrs 40mins and 17hrs 31mins respectively.

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Asus ZenBook Flip S UX371EA review: Verdict

Had the ZenBook Flip S been able to post better battery life and sustained performance scores, I’d have been inclined to sing its praises. It has a jaw-dropping display, looks slick, is well built and offers more flexibility in how you use it compared with its rivals.

In many ways, it’s the most opulent, ambitious laptop I’ve ever used – a luxury yacht among ultraportables.

However, as much as it impresses in some departments, it falls significantly short in others. Compromised cooling means that performance isn’t all it could be and the OLED screen is power hungry, leading to mediocre battery life. Put simply, for a laptop that costs the better part of two grand, I’d expect much, more more.


Asus ZenBook Flip UX731E specifications

vs Apple MacBook Pro 13in (Apple Silicon)

ProcessorIntel Core i7-1165G7Apple M1
RAM16GB16GB
Additional memory slotsNoNo
Max. memory16GB16GB
Graphics adapterIntel Iris XeApple M1 (8-core)
Graphics memorySharedUnified
Storage1TB256GB
Screen size (in)13.313.3
Screen resolution3,840 x 2,1602,560 x 1,600
Pixel density (PPI)331227
Screen typeOLEDIPS
TouchscreenYesNo
Pointing devicesTouchpadTouchpad
Optical driveNoNo
Memory card slotNoNo
3.5mm audio jackNo (USB-C to 3.5mm jack adapter supplied)Yes
Graphics outputsHDMI 1.4, USB-C (Thunderbolt 4)USB-C (Thunderbolt 4 / USB 4)
Other ports1 x USB-A (3.2 Gen 1); 2 x USB-C (Thunderbolt 4)USB-C (Thunderbolt 4 / USB 4)
Web Cam720p720p (FaceTime HD Camera)
SpeakersStereoStereo
Wi-FiWi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
BluetoothBluetooth 5.1Bluetooth 5
NFCNoNo
Dimensions, mm (WDH)305 x 211 x 11.9-13.9mm304 x 212 x 15.6mm
Weight (kg) - with keyboard where applicable1.21.4
Battery size (Wh)6758.2
Operating systemWindows 10 ProMacOS

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