Asus ZenBook Flip UX560UQ review

This 15in convertible is a flipping powerhouse

IT Pro Recommended
Price
£1,083
  • Dedicated GPU; Large port selection; Strong performance
  • Battery life isn't superb; Keyboard is slightly poor quality

Large, workstation-grade laptops aren't an especially common sight these days, but the Asus ZenBook Flip UX560UQ is an even rarer breed than most. This 16in behemoth of a notebook is also a convertible, featuring a touchscreen and a 360-degree hinge. But can the marriage of hardware grunt and mobile flexibility pay off, or is the ZenBook Flip caught between two worlds?

Design

The first thing to note about the ZenBook Flip is that it's absolutely ginormous. The 2.2kg chassis is almost 20mm thick, and packs a 15.6in screen - a far cry from the svelte, razor-thin convertibles we're used to seeing from the likes of Microsoft or HP.

There's a reason for all that bulk, of course, which we'll talk more about later - but don't be fooled into thinking this is something that you can easily sling into a bag. This monster is likely to spend most of its life on your desk.

While you can technically flip the screen round to use it tablet-style, it's hardly comfortable or convenient. Aside from the fact that its enormous weight will quickly tire your arm out, the device's large footprint makes it quite unwieldy to use in this manner. It works a lot better in 'tent mode', however, which is useful for watching videos or giving presentations.

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Visually speaking, the ZenBook Flip is pleasant enough to look at, with an attractive matte-black finish on the aluminium chassis and rounded corners. We do have a couple of complaints, however; the hinges feel a little flimsy, and the keyboard has some definite flex to it, visibly bowing inward if you're typing with any degree of force.

Display

Unfortunately, compromises have been made with regards to the display as well. The 16in panel has a resolution of 1080p, which would have been perfectly adequate if the picture quality wasn't so disappointing.

A maximum brightness of just 276cd/m2 is just about acceptable, although not impressive, and with a measured sRGB coverage of a little over 71%, colour accuracy isn't a particular high point either. It's also lacking the matte anti-glare coating seen on many business laptops, so you'll likely struggle if you're trying to use it outside in bright sunlight.

It puts up a fine performance in day-to-day use, however, and in well-lit conditions, you're unlikely to have too many complaints. Text is sharp and clear, and images and video are rich, colourful and detail-packed.

Keyboard and trackpad

ne of the benefits of having such a large footprint is that the ZenBook Flip can pack in a full-size keyboard and a large trackpad. The keyboard has a full complement of function keys, and even a number pad. The all-in-one trackpad is also larger than average, with a nice, smooth finish and multi-touch gesture support.

Despite all the space that it has to play with, however, the keyboard still feels a little cramped. There's virtually no separation between the numpad and the rest of the keyboard, which led to frequent mis-types.

The travel distance also isn't as deep as it could have been, and the feedback from keystrokes felt mushy and poorly-defined, on top of the flexing issue. Asus could have fit a larger trackpad onto the ZenBook Flip, too - although this is nitpicking somewhat.

With that having been said, however, it's a perfectly serviceable keyboard and trackpad combo. We've definitely seen worse, and it's not going to be much of a disappointment - especially at this price point.

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