Asus ZenBook Flip UX360 review

An affordable 2-in-1 laptop with a few compromises

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Great Value

The ZenBook Flip remains impressively thin with a 12.71 x 8.66 x 0.54 inch (32.28 x 21.99 x 1.37 cm) footprint. It’s slight thicker than the UX305 because of its included touch screen. At 2.86 lbs, it’s not the lightest ultra-portable on the market, but it’s still light enough to be carried around all day. However, it is quite an unwieldy beast when used as a tablet in your lap. 

Speaking of tablet mode, we’re not sold on the need for a convertible laptop. While the ZenBook Flip’s software does a good job of disabling the keyboard and trackpad when the screen is flipped around, Windows 10 still isn’t really designed to be used for tablets. The lack of apps and clunky tablet mode make using the Flip as a slate an exercise in frustration. 

This is not to say the problem is exclusive to Asus, but something all convertible Windows laptops face. Combined with the slightly increased weight and thickness, it’s hard to recommend the UX360 over the UX305’s traditional laptop form factor.

For the starting price of $699 (£599, AU$1,199), the UX360 is a bargain. We had the top of the line model, which is only $50 (about £40, AU$68) more and features a 512GB SSD instead of the 256GB of the base model. Processor and RAM are the same across the two models. 

Comparatively, the top end $1,149 or AU$1,999 (about £930) Lenovo Yoga 900S only comes with a 256GB SSD, though, you’ll have a faster Intel Core m7 processor. Likewise, the ZenBook Filp is more affordable than the lowest end $799 (£749, AU$1,349) Surface Pro 4 or any of the Windows 10 tablets it has inspired.

Benchmarks

Here's how the Asus ZenBook UX360 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Cloud Gate: 2,849; Sky Diver: 1,633; Fire Strike: 447


Cinebench CPU:
216 points; Graphics: 30.57 fps
GeekBench: 2,524 (single-core); 4,912 (multi-core)
PCMark 8 (Home Test): 2,275 points
PCMark 8 Battery Life: 5 hours and 51 minutes
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 6 hours and 51 minutes

Performance

With an Intel Core m3 processor onboard, don’t expect the Asus ZenBook Flip UX360 to be a speed demon. The processor and integrated graphics are good enough for web browsing, playing full HD video and some photo editing. However, combine these processes together and it gets bogged down easily when heavily multi-tasked.

As you can see from the benchmarks, the Asus ZenBook Flip UX360 is a decent performer when it comes to light loads. However, pushing the integrated graphics card is an exercise in frustration. Don’t even try to game on the UX360 as your games will be an unplayable slideshow. 

The ZenBook just barely outpaces the Apple MacBook, with a multi-core GeekBench score of 4,912 points over the latter's 4,423 point performance. The HP Spectre x2 offers faster performance with its Intel Core m5 processor, producing the better overall numbers and a 5,701-point GeekBench result.

Battery life

Asus rates the ZenBook Flip UX360 at 12 hours of battery life. In the real world, we never got anywhere near 12 hours. In our PCMark Home battery test, the UX360 lasted 5 hours and 51 minutes, which is decent but not class leading. The UX360 last nearly 7 hours during TechRadar’s standardized movie test, which loops a movie with volume and screen brightness set to 50%. 

During a typical work day, I managed to squeeze nearly 7 hours of use out of the battery with heavy multitasking, using Word, Slack, and Chrome with 20 tabs open. With the screen set dimmer and a lighter workload, you’ll be able to stay away from the outlet for a full work day. 

Inescapable glare

The Asus ZenBook Flip UX360 features a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution touch screen, which looks very good for the most part. Colors pop, offering a good balance of saturation and text is crisp, even if the screen isn’t quad-HD or 3K like competing laptops. Viewing angles are great as well, though there is a slight rainbow effect when viewed at extreme angles.

 Where the screen falls short is in glare. The UX360 features a glossy screen, which is highly reflective. It’s nearly impossible to work outside because of the inescapable glare. The screen is definitely a step down from the UX305 in this regard.

We liked

Asus did an excellent job turning the already excellent ZenBook UX305 into a convertible laptop. Its build quality, design, and full-featured port selection are a great value. 

Although heavy multitaskers won’t enjoy using the Intel Core m3, the power-efficient processor is more than enough for those looking to do basic work, web browsing and for streaming media. For most people, trading raw power for all-day battery life is a worthy tradeoff. 

With a starting price of $699 (£599, AU$1,199), the Asus ZenBook Flip UX360 is an incredible value. For the price you get solid performance for everyday tasks, build quality, 8GB or RAM and a spacious 256GB SSD (optional 512GB SSD available).

We disliked

We’re still not sold on the utility of convertible laptops and the Asus ZenBook Flip UX360 didn’t do much to change our minds. The convertible design adds a bit of bulk and weight, but the most annoying part is the laptop’s glossy screen. While the screen gets plenty bright, it’s still difficult to see outdoors. 

Performance isn’t the best, but that’s expected with an power-sipping Core m3 processor. We wish there were options to add a Core m5 or m7 processor for road warriors. Forget about gaming on the UX360. 

The speakers are also a let down, producing tinny sound, anemic bass and distortion at high volumes. Yes, they’re Bang & Olufsen branded but don’t be fooled. The speakers sound bad.

Final verdict

Asus did an admirable job turning its excellent ZenBook UX305 into a convertible laptop. All the things we loved about the UX305 like design, battery life, keyboard, trackpad and incredible value transfer over to the UX360. 

Unfortunately, the convertible form factor of the UX360 offers compromises that we don’t think are worth the trade off. The convertible form factor has very limited uses while adding thickness, bulk, and finicky software. We recommend going with the UX305 as it offers the same great design, build quality, performance, and a better screen at the same price. 

Still, the UX360 is an excellent choice for those looking for an affordable hybrid machine. There’s a lot to like here from its aluminum build, sunburst finishing, and performance. For the price, the Asus ZenBook Flip UX360 is a great package.