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Asus ZenBook Flip 14 review: A slim, stylish 2-in-1 with some graphics muscle

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The Good The Asus ZenBook Flip 14 puts discrete graphics in a thin-and-light, two-in-one laptop. The system's other components are better than you'd find in competing models at the same price.

The Bad Its USB-C port isn't Thunderbolt 3 and can't be used to charge the laptop, the keyboard feel might take some adjustment and there's no storage for the included pen.

The Bottom Line Asus packed a lot of value -- and discrete graphics -- into the slim ZenBook Flip 14, making it fine choice for more performance and portability in a two-in-one design.

8.2 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Performance 8
  • Battery 8

Asus currently makes the world's thinnest 13.3-inch laptop with discrete graphics, the ZenBook 13. If you'd rather have the flexibility of a two-in-one, Asus has you covered there, too, with the ZenBook Flip 14. 

Though the Flip 14 is slightly larger, owing to its 14-inch 1,920x1,080-resolution display, it's nearly the same thickness as the ZenBook 13 at 0.5-inch (13.9mm). That, for the moment, makes the Flip 14 the thinnest two-in-one to trade integrated graphics for a more powerful discrete GPU, in this case an entry-level Nvidia GeForce MX150.

While integrated graphics are more power efficient, run cooler and cost less than a standalone discrete graphics chip, they also eat into your system memory and can't handle more demanding graphics tasks such as photo and video editing or gaming. The Flip 14 is not a full-fledged gaming laptop or a graphics workstation, but games are smoother and faster, and it can make quicker work of tasks you wouldn't even consider doing on other thin-and-light convertibles. 

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Asus' concentric pattern is a hallmark of ZenBook design.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Asus ZenBook UX461UN-DS74T



Price as reviewed $1,299
Display size/resolution 14-inch, 1,920x1,080 touch display
PC CPU 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8550U
PC Memory 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 2,133MHz
Graphics 2GB Nvidia GeForce MX150 Graphics
Storage 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.1
Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

Priced at $1,299, the ZenBook Flip 14 stacks up well to our favorite premium two-in-one, Lenovo's Yoga 920. It might not be as polished as Lenovo's offering, but compared to a similarly priced 920 configuration, Asus puts in a faster processor, twice the memory and storage and includes its active pen for drawing and writing on its screen. And you get the Nvidia graphics chip; Lenovo just uses Intel's integrated graphics for the 920. (The ZenBook Flip 14 currently isn't available in the UK, but the price converts to roughly £945. Australian buyers can buy the Flip 14 without discrete graphics for AU$1,998.)

If you value mobility and price over the two-in-one design, the Asus ZenBook 13 UX331U is the better option. It's smaller, lighter, has a bit better battery life, and is $300 cheaper. There are performance differences between the two since the Flip 14 has twice the memory and a faster processor, but the differences are not huge. (You can see how they compare in the benchmarks at the end of this review.) 

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The display's bottom adds an ergonomic tilt to the keyboard. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

The ZenBook Flip 14 does look the part of a premium laptop, but like ZenBook 13, there are few things that take some of the shine off this model. The all-metal body is nice, but the way the top and bottom fit together isn't seamless and takes away from the overall feel. 

I really like the hinge design, which holds the screen in whatever position you want, but also tilts the back of the laptop up for improved typing ergonomics. However, the keys don't have much travel, so hard typists might find the experience jarring (at least I did). The precision touchpad works well and feels good, though it might upset some to find the laptop's fingerprint reader built into the top-right corner of it. 

The laptop has a good port assortment including two USB 3.0 (type-A), a headphone/mic combo jack, a full-size HDMI 1.4 output and a microSD card slot. It also has a USB-C port, but it's USB 3.1 (gen 1) and not Thunderbolt 3, so data speeds and display support is more limited, and it doesn't support charging the laptop.

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