Curious how the ASUS boffins managed to squeeze so much into such an affordable little laptop, we just had to give it a hands on test. Is this the best budget computer yet?
There are a few very low cost laptops out there – such as the sub $300 ASUS EeeBook X205TA and the HP Stream 11. While the Flip is a whole lot more expensive, it also has a lot to love.
Check out our earlier coverage, but here is a rundown of the features.
A 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 IPS touchscreen that can rotate backwards through 360 degrees.
A USB 3.1 Type-C port.
18.45mm thickness and a weight of 1.2 KG.
A Dual Core Celeron N3050 CPU coupled to 2GB of RAM.
32GB eMMC SSD + a 32GB micorSD card.
802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 and a webcam.
Want more USB Type-C? It’s slowly reaching new devices.
A Flip In The Hand
The Flip feels surprisingly nice to hold and the metal parts of the shell really firm it up. The trackpad is massive and one of the best we have used – even compared to much more expensive models.
With the efficient Celeron CPU, the laptop doesn’t need a cooling fan at all – though the entire unit does get warm under load.
The hinge is firm and the flip functionality works really well. It would be nice if the screen was a tiny bit thinner, but it’s comfortable to use as a tablet.
Windows 10 is makes switching from tablet to laptop mode very effortless, and the touchscreen is great for typing.
ASUS has also put in extra effort with the physical keyboard. Most on this size laptop are a bit rubbish, but the Flip has a firm feel, decent travel and very little bounce.
Having a USB Type-C port is great, and very satisfying to plug in our Kingston DataTraveler microDuo 3C flash drive. Unfortunately though it’s not quick enough to test the USB 3.1 spec and maxes out at around 100 MB/s.
I was pretty cautious about the 1366 x 768 resolution, but the screen is better than expected. Being an IPS panel helps, but it’s bright and the colours and viewing angles are good.
But What About Performance?
But what about that Celeron CPU? Windows 10 is well optimised for lower end devices, so it feels as fast and smooth as on a more powerful laptop.
Normal day to day tasks like surfing the net, word processing or watching video will work without a hitch. Load up enough Chrome tabs (15+) and it will eventually start to bog down due to only having 2GB of RAM.
The Flip is rated at 8 hours of battery, and for normal use we actually managed almost 10. It will drop a fair bit if you are loading the CPU, but equally, for watching videos on a plane, you can probably eke out extra time.
The eMMC SSD has enough performance for the rest of the hardware, but 32GB is not a lot of space. There is a 64GB version, but it is not yet for sale in Australia. On the plus side, the microSD card slot means you can upgrade the storage pretty cheaply.
The audio is better than most small laptops – which means loud, with little bass. But you can still easily watch a movie or listen to some music.
Should You Buy It?
In a word, yes.
For a sub $500 laptop, the Flip is amazingly good. It’s no powerhouse, but for the low end market there simply is not a better laptop.
Somehow ASUS has managed to get every component above average, yet keep the price very affordable.
It’s not going to suit a lot of users, but if you want a small affordable laptop to take on holidays, or for using at uni, the Flip is a solid choice.
If you want something with a little more grunt and a bigger screen, take a gander at the new XPS laptops.
Check out some more of the official pics below.