ASUS ZenBook Flip S review: An OLED beauty with a few flaws

The true star of the show is the ZenBook Flip S’s 13.3-inch 4K OLED screen, which makes just about everything look fantastic. The inky blacks and saturated colors are particularly well-suited to binge-watching Netflix and YouTube clips. I’m looking forward to the day when we see OLED screens beyond a 60Hz refresh rate, though. A 120Hz LCD like the Zephryus G14’s offers smoother scrolling for web browsing and office documents, at the cost of battery life.

As great as the OLED display looks, though, the ZenBook Flip S could have used thinner bezels, like ASUS’s ZenBook Duo. The sides of the screen are far thicker than competing ultraportables like the XPS 13, and the large bottom border is an unfortunate eyesore. We know ASUS can make thinner bezels work — I’d wager the company was more limited since it was trying to fit an OLED into a thin convertible notebook.

Maybe ASUS was just in a rush to get this thing out before other PC makers. That could explain why there’s only one configuration available: a Core i7-1165G7 Tiger Lake CPU with Intel Xe graphics, 16GB of RAM and 1 TB NVMe SSD. I’m not complaining too much, since this is the sort of spec list I recommend to new notebook buyers, but you’re out of luck if you were hoping to save money by configuring it with less RAM or storage.

Geekbench 5 CPU

PC Mark 10

3DMark (Sky Diver)

ATTO (top reads/writes)

ASUS ZenBook Flip S (Core i7-1165G7, Intel Xe)

1,429/4,749

4,575

9,185

3.1 GB/s / 1.4GB/s

ASUS ZenBook Duo (Core i7-10510U, NVIDIA GeForce MX250)

986/3,487

4,160

9,507

1.6 GB/s / 1.62 GB/s

Dell XPS 13 (2020, Core i7-1065G7, Iris Plus)

982/4,659

4,005

9,502

2.7 GB/s / 1 GB/s

HP Spectre x360 13-inch (2019, Core i7-1065G7, Iris Plus)

1,101/3,546

4,215

9,318

1 GB/s / 1 GB/ s

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2019, Core i7-1065G7, Iris Plus)

N/A

4,346

N/A

2.2 GB/s / 1.1 GB/s

Thanks to that beefy hardware, the ZenBook Flip S handled my daily workflow like a champ. I juggled dozens of tabs across multiple browsers; worked on documents on Word and Evernote; edited images; streamed Netflix and uploaded large files all at once, without any noticeable slowdown. As for benchmarks, it scored 500 more points in PCMark 10 compared to the XPS 13 with a 10th-gen Intel CPU, though it ranked lower than that machine in Geekbench 5.

With its Xe graphics, the Flip S scored four times higher than the XPS 13 in the Geekbench Compute test, which measures OpenCL performance for workloads like video rendering. That GPU also gave it enough power for light gaming: Minecraft ran at a steady 60FPS in 1080p, while Overwatch reached 50FPS in 720 with low quality graphics, which is similar to what we saw with last year’s Iris Plus graphics. This isn’t a gaming machine — but at least Intel Xe’s hardware can handle some less demanding titles. It’s just a shame it can’t quite match the faster performance we saw on Intel’s 11th-gen CPU reference machine.