Asus ZenBook Flip 15 (UX563FD) full review
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The Asus ZenBook Flip 15 UX563FD is primarily geared towards creatives, with an enviable display, a versatile design and a powerful processor - though all these elements could also be great for somebody looking for a high-end all-rounder.
Nonetheless, this laptop isn’t without its faults - which considering the premium price tag is a little frustrating.
Price and availability
The Flip 15 sits at the higher end for laptops in its class, retailing at £1499.99/US$1549.99. Though the Asus website does list another model, there’s only the higher-spec 4K SKU on sale in the country right now. In the UK you can currently buy it from Asus directly, Amazon UK and John Lewis, along with Best Buy, if you’re in the US.
This is quite a big investment, so you’ll want to be certain that you’ll get use out of all the features that this device boasts. Other 2-in-1 laptops that sit in the same price range include the HP Spectre Folio and the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390).
If all you’re looking for is a 2-in-1 without the need of a powerful processor or a 4K screen - and would like to save a few quid - take a look at the other laptops that made our list of the best 2-in-1s out there.
Design and build
Versatility is key with the ZenBook Flip 15, with a 360° hinge that allows you to use the device in multiple ways. From the traditional laptop mode, to tablet style (both vertical and horizontal), to propping the laptop upside down for things like watching Netflix. The hinge is smooth and not at all janky; the whole thing feels secure when moving it into different positions.
As this 2-in-1 boasts high specs, it isn’t a particularly portable laptop - weighing 1.9kg - so it's not really one that can slip into your bag easily. The same logic applies to using it as a tablet - whilst the transformation is extremely handy, this doesn’t necessarily turn it into a device that you can use on the go or while standing.
This is more suited as a laptop for productivity - particularly for the likes of designers who’ll be using the tablet mode and stylus for creative work. For this review, I also tested the stylus from the Asus Collection, which comes included with the laptop.
The build of the stylus isn’t as premium as that of rivals like the Apple Pencil - it’s feather-light and feels a little flimsy - but this could come down to personal preference. Performance-wise, the stylus does have a bit of latency - something to be expected on a bog-standard accompanying accessory.
You can alter the touchpad to one of three modes: completely off, in traditional mode or use it as what Asus calls the ‘ScreenPad’, which turns it into a second mini-screen. On this you have a number of apps like Spotify, as well as creative tools like handwriting.
Some may enjoy the novelty of having a smaller screen on the bottom half of a laptop, but personally I found myself always wanting it turned off, mainly because it didn’t always work as expected. For example, turning off the ScreenPad mode and then trying to exit this via touchscreen didn’t always work - it would only close by using the keyboard button.
The backlit keyboard as a whole is relatively deep for a laptop, and slightly on the mushier end, with more resistance when you press - so you don’t necessarily get the satisfying ‘click’ that other keyboards boast. There was one occasion where the backlight had a spasm and started flashing without any obvious reason - but this did stop after I rebooted the device.
Other than the hinge and ScreenPad, there’s nothing particularly flashy or groundbreaking about the machine's styling. The laptop only comes in one colour (Slate Grey) and one display size (15.6in), which is most likely to fit in with its target audience.
Though the foldable design makes the screen great for watching the likes of Netflix, depending on where you position the laptop, the speakers become slightly muffled, with the keyboard flipped back and rested on a surface - something quite annoying considering that otherwise, the 4K screen would make this a great streaming companion.
Ports-wise, you get a whole range: USB-C, two USB-A, HDMI, a headphone jack, a DC-jack and a microSD card reader.
Specs and performance
The screen is the crown jewel on the ZenBook Flip 15, with a 4K UHD Pantone-validated touchscreen display and a 90% screen-to-body ratio. Colours contrast extremely well, and the quality is clear and vivid. It's truly a pleasure to watch TV programmes and high-performance gaming videos on the 4K setting - made even more impressive by the slim bezels. Working on creative software like Adobe Photoshop is also especially pleasing.
When testing gamut coverage, the Flip managed 99% across sRGB and 77% across AdobeRGB with a colour accuracy average of 1.33. Overall these are pretty good scores, though the AdobeRGB score isn’t quite as high as other rivals. Therefore, if you’re an experienced graphic designer working on extremely detailed projects, you may want to consider something like the Dell XPS 15. If, however, you’re looking for something more broad (and less expensive), this is still a compelling choice.
As for the main systems, the ZenBook Flip 15 runs on a 10th-gen Intel Core i7, and comes with 16GB RAM and 1TB worth of storage; this is the only version that is on sale in the UK. It’s extremely quick and responsive to everyday tasks, even when running numerous programmes and apps at once. It comes pre-installed with Windows 10 Home.
Battery life on this laptop is pretty good, lasting most of the day, even when running high-performance programmes. It also managed nearly 14 hours in our internal battery stress test and charges very fast, with the included 120W power adapter - getting up to 47% in just 30 minutes from flat and turned off.
The PC comes equipped with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q GPU - which is a pretty decent graphics card. Combined with the processor and a whole bag of storage, you’ll be able to undertake creative tasks quickly and easily with this device. Of course, if you wanted to play the odd game as well, this laptop is more than capable of running most with these specs.
The built-in HD webcam on the top of the display is also infra-red-capable, meaning that if you want to turn on facial recognition to unlock the laptop using Windows Hello, you can.
Under our internal tests, the ZenBook Flip 15 performed well across the board - you can find out more in our benchmarking results below:
There’s a lot to love about the Asus ZenBook Flip 15. The large 4K display, durable hinge and powerful processor and graphics really make this a laptop that’s extremely tempting for designers, creatives and those who are guaranteed to use it for a combination of business and personal use.
However the ScreenPad is a bit glitchy and considering that this feature will have likely bumped up the price of the design, it’s annoying that it doesn’t work seamlessly. The speaker volume could also do with a boost or an adjustment to placement.
Nonetheless, the overall design and performance still overpower these niggles, so we’d still be happy to recommend the ZenBook Flip 15.
Asus ZenBook Flip 15 (UX563FD): Specs
- Windows 10 Home
- 15-inch 4K (3840x2160) display
- 10th Generation Intel Core i7 10510U Processor
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
- 16GB RAM
- 1TB SSD
- 8 -Cell 71 Wh lithium-polymer battery Battery
- 2x USB-A 3.1
- 1x USB-C 3.1
- 1x HDMI
- 1x 3.5mm headphone jack
- microSD card reader
- Full size, backlit chiclet keyboard
- Smart AMP
- Supports Windows 10 Cortana
- Harman Kardon
- Integrated Wi-Fi 6
- Bluetooth 5.0
- IR camera
- 356 x 229 x 19.9mm
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