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Computing

Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip review: a value-first laptop

Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip

MSRP $690.00

“Its display aside, the Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip is a very solid laptop for the price.”

Pros

  • Decent productivity performance
  • Good battery life
  • Solid built quality for the price
  • Touch and pen support
  • LED numeric keypad

Cons

  • Display has poor colors
  • Too expensive in higher end configuration
  • Keyboard is a little harsh

Laptops have gotten expensive in recent years, especially with many cheaper models being sold out last year.

At $690, though, the Vivobook S 14 Flip is a breathe of fresh air in the world of budget laptops. For the most part, the Vivobook S 14 Flip manages to balance price, quality, and performance, making it a reasonable value in an increasingly competitive market. The disappointing display aside, the Vivobook S 14 Flip has a lot to offer for its price.

Specs

  Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip
Dimensions 12.33 inches x 8.96 inches x 0.74 inches
Weight 3.31 pounds
Processor AMD Ryzen 5 5600H
AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
Graphics AMD Radeon Graphics
RAM 8GB DDR4
16GB DDR4
Display 14-inch 16:10 WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200) IPS touch
Storage 512GB PCIe 3.0 SSD
1TB PCIe 3.0 SSD
Touch Yes
Ports 1 x USB-A 2.0
1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
Wireless Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0
Webcam 1080p
Operating system Windows 11
Battery 50 watt-hours
Price $690+

I know of two configurations of the Vivobook S 14 Flip that are available. There’s the $690 review unit configuration that I tested, which comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 14-inch WUXGA IPS display.

Then you’ll spend $1,100 to bump to an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. That places the laptop either in budget or mid-range territory, depending on the configuration.

Inexpensive doesn’t have to mean cheap

Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip front angled view showing display and keyboard deck.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Let’s get this one out of the way: The Vivobook S 14 Flip is constructed in part of plastic, specifically the chassis, while the lid is metal. While plastic is sometimes associated with cheap, that’s an unfair characterization. The Vivbook S 14 Flip is solid enough for a budget laptop, with just the slightest bending of the lid and flexing in the keyboard deck. If this were a $1,500 laptop, then I’d have more of an issue with the build quality.

But, it’s not. Note that I’d feel a little less confident about the $1,000 configuration. In addition, the hinge is too tight to open with one hand, but it does hold the display firmly in place in clamshell, tent, media, and tablet modes. Most truly premium laptops have smoother hinges.

Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip tent mode hinge.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The overall aesthetic is minimalist, but that’s not an attribute of budget laptops. In fact, in previous years, budget machines were often kitted out with tons of plastic “chrome” that made them garish and cheap looking. The Vivobook S 14 Flip is a uniform blue color with the line’s new logo on the lid and no embellishments other than chrome hinges. The single, slightly weird standout feature is a striped pattern running along the bottom of the Enter key.

Still, I have no complaints about the Vivobook’s appearance, and it’s not much different from last year’s Vivobook Flip 14. The laptop is reasonably thin at 0.74 inches and weighs 3.3 pounds.

Interestingly, the Vivobook S 14 Flip is one of a handful of Asus laptops that incorporate the company’s Bacterial Guard technology. That’s a coating throughout the laptop that inhibits the growth of 99% of bacteria, making the laptop less likely to spread disease. It doesn’t protect against COVID-19 and other viruses, but for the usual day-to-day bacteria that usually coat electronic devices, it’s welcome. And it’s a nice feature for a budget machine.

Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip top down view showing keyboard and touchpad.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The keyboard is spacious with large enough keycaps, and its switch mechanism has plenty of depth with a light feel. There’s a confident click midway through a keystroke, but the bottoming action is harsh. It’s not as good a keyboard as you’ll find on premium laptops like HP’s Spectre and Dell’s XPS lines, but it’s better than some other budget offerings. The touchpad is wide and spacious with a smooth surface and firm clicks that are just a tad too loud.

In a nod to the “S” designation in the laptop’s name, Asus included its NumberPad 2.0 technology that embeds an LED numeric keypad in the touchpad that can be easily switched on and off. If you enter a lot of numeric data, then you’ll love it, and if you don’t, then you can just switch it off and forget it’s there.

But it’s not something you typically find on a $690 laptop. Finally, the display is touch-enabled and supports the active Asus Pen 2.0 (not included) with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and USB-C charging, another surprise given the price.

Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip top down view showing numeric LED keypad.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The webcam is Full HD, while some newer premium laptops like the Dell XPS 13 Plus are still stuck on 720p. It incorporates Asus’s 3D noise reduction technology and provides a great image with plenty of detail in all kinds of lighting conditions. The resolution alone, though, is excellent for a laptop of this price. A physical shutter, meanwhile, provides peace of mind regarding privacy.

There’s no infrared camera for Windows 11 passwordless login support; instead, Asus incorporated a reliable fingerprint reader in the power button, the perfect location.

Finally, connectivity is solid. There’s a single USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port (no Thunderbolt 4 given the AMD chipset), a USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 port, a USB-A 2.0 port, a full-size HDMI 2.0 port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Power is provided by a propriety connection running at 90 watts, leaving the USB-C port available for connectivity. Wireless connectivity is a step behind with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.

Inexpensive also doesn’t have to mean slow or short-lived

Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip rear view showing lid and logo.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

My review unit was equipped with the AMD Ryzen 5 5600H, a six-core/12-thread CPU running at up to 4.2GHz with a default 45-watt TDP that’s configurable between 35 and 54 watts. On paper, the CPU should provide solid productivity performance.

In our benchmarks, the Vivobook S 14 Flip does well against the slower Vivobook Flip 14 AMD and the VAIO Fe 14.1 with a 15-watt Core i7-1255U. It can’t keep up with the 28-watt Core i7-1260P. Interestingly, the Ryzen 5 5600H was fast in Cinebench R23 multi-core while slower in Geekbench 5 and our Handbrake test that encodes a 420MB video as H.265. It also did well in the PCMark 10 Completely benchmark that tests a variety of productivity, multimedia, and creative tasks.

Overall, as expected, the Vivobook S 14 Flip was a solid productivity performer but isn’t going to be very well-suited for more than lightweight creative tasks. Its Radeon graphics scored unusually low in the 3DMark Time Spy graphics test, at just 727 and about half of what Intel’s Iris Xe graphics achieve. The laptop hit just seven frames per second (fps) in Fortnite at 1200p and epic graphics — poor by any standard.

Geekbench
(single / multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
PCMark 10
Complete
Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip
(Ryzen 5 5600H)
Bal: 1,132 / 4,833
Perf: 1,333 / 5,060
Bal: 152
Perf: 159
Bal: 1,370 / 8,630
Perf: 1,367 / 8,861
5,537
Asus Vivobook Flip 14
(Ryzen 5 5500H)
Bal: 1,102 / 5,432
Perf: N/A
Bal: N/A
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,180 / 7,579
Perf: N/A
5,191
VAIO FE 14.1
(Core i7-1255U)
Bal: 1,682 / 5,167
Perf: N/A
Bal: 208
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,562 / 5,045
Perf:
4,895
Acer Swift 3
(Core i7-1260P)
Bal: 1,708 / 10,442
Perf: 1,694 / 10,382
Bal: 100
Perf: 98
Bal: 1,735 / 9,756
Perf: 1,779 / 10,165
5,545
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 6800U)
Bal: 1,417 / 6,854
Perf: 1,404 / 7,223
Bal: 112
Perf: 111
Bal: 1,402 / 8,682
Perf: 1,409 / 8,860
5,647

Battery life is important here, too, as it’s a characteristic that old-school budget machines once compromised. The Vivobook S 14 Flip does well enough, though.

With its 50 watt-hour battery (a 70 watt-hour version comes with the OLED display configuration), the Vivobook S 14 Flip did well in our web browsing test, leading our comparison group. It fell behind in our video test but still managed an average score. Overall, the Vivobook S 14 Flip can likely manage a full day’s work with a light enough productivity workload. Like some other AMD systems I’ve reviewed, it was unable to complete the PCMark 10 Applications battery test that’s the best indication of productivity battery life.

Web browsing Video
Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip
(Ryzen 5 5600H)
10 hours, 15 minutes 10 hours, 53 minutes
Asus Vivobook Flip 14
(Ryzen 5 5500H)
9 hours, 1 minute 12 hours, 7 minutes
VAIO FE 14.1
(Core i7-1255U)
7 hours, 14 minutes 11 hours, 57 minutes
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1
(Core i7-1255U)
6 hours, 42 minutes 10 hours, 6 minutes
 Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 6800U)
8 hours, 4 minutes 13 hours, 13 minutes

A very budget display

Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip front view showing display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

So, where did Asus cut a corner to slip into such a low price? Arguably, the display qualifies. While it was bright enough at 321 nits, exceeding our 300-nit standard, and its contrast was good at 1,230:1, its colors were narrow and not terribly accurate.

It shared similar results with the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 while falling well behind contemporary premium and midrange display standards. You definitely don’t want to do any photo editing or design work on this laptop — at least not without connecting to a better premium monitor.

Brightness
(nits)
Contrast sRGB gamut AdobeRGB gamut Accuracy DeltaE
(lower is better)
Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip
(IPS)
321 1,230:1 64 48 3.14
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1
(IPS)
288 1,330:1 64 48 3.35
Acer Swift 3 OLED
(OLED)
439 31,380:1 100% 97% 1.31
HP Pavilion Plus 14
(OLED)
398 27,830:1 100% 95% 0.78
Acer Swift 3
(IPS)
368 1,330:1 98% 75% 1.51

Audio was just okay, with two downward-firing speakers providing adequate volume and clear enough mids and highs. Bass was lacking, though, meaning you’ll want a good pair of headphones for binging Netflix and listening to music.

A solid budget alternative with the right configuration

At a price of $690, the Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip is an attractive laptop with solid if not spectacular performance, good battery life, and a solid enough build. Its display lacks colors, which is the laptop’s primary weakness. That’s not unusual at these prices, though — even today.

Jump up to the $1,000 configuration, though, and you’re competing more directly with laptops like the HP Pavilion Plus 14 and the Acer Swift 3 OLED that have spectacular displays and stronger performance. So, pick the low-end configuration and enjoy a solid value.

Editors’ Choice




Repost: Original Source and Author Link

Categories
Computing

MSI Summit E16 Flip Review: Stepping Up to Compete

MSI Summit E16 Flip

MSRP $2,299.00

“The MSI Summit E16 Flip is a decent laptop for content creators, if only it were a bit cheaper.”

Pros

  • Solid build quality
  • Attractive aesthetic
  • Strong productivity performance
  • Excellent IPS display with 120Hz refresh rate
  • Very good keyboard

Cons

  • Too expensive
  • Battery life is mediocre
  • Small touchpad

I liked the MSI Summit E13 Flip quite a bit, particularly the modern aesthetic, excellent battery life, and solid performance. It proved that MSI can make an excellent productivity-oriented convertible 2-in-1 to go with their popular gaming laptops, even if the price was a bit high.

MSI has a larger version of the machine, the Summit E16 Flip, that not only expands the 16:10 display from 13.4 inches to 16 inches but adds in a discrete GPU by way of Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3050. It has a similar look and feel, but is aimed more at creators who can use the extra power a GPU can provide to applications that can use it, like Adobe’s creative suite.

I reviewed the top-end Summit E16 Flip with a Core i7-1195G7 CPU and the RTX 3050 that has a retail price of $2,299. The three available models vary only in their RAM and storage, with the review unit being the top model with 32GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD. Like with the 13-inch model, the Summit E16 Flip is a bit expensive — but I found enough to like about the machine to justify the investment.

Design

Back view of the MSI Summit E16 Flip.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Summit E16 Flip, like its smaller sibling, has a sleek, all-black chassis with just a few rose gold accents in an MSI logo on the front and along the chamfered edges on the lid and touchpad. The larger model doesn’t have the 13-inch model’s clipped-off chassis and lid corners reminiscent of the HP Spectre line, including the Spectre x360 15, but the rose gold and black color scheme still hints at HP’s machines.

The 2-in-1’s lines are simpler, with a slightly angled edge along the rear of the chassis and a steeply angled keyboard deck. It’s an elegant overall look that’s not overstated, and it’s more striking than the HP Envy x360 15 that also comes in black but has a purposefully minimalistic design. Also, as with the smaller version, MSI notes its use of the Golden Ratio (1.68) in designing the laptop’s dimensions.

The 2-in-1’s display bezels aren’t tiny on the top and bottom, so the Summit E16 Flip’s overall dimensions are somewhat inflated. It’s almost exactly as wide as the Spectre x360 15, but over an inch deeper thanks due the taller display and larger bezels. It’s thinner, though, at 0.67 inches, and a little heavier at 4.4 pounds, compared to the Spectre x360 15 at 0.79 inches and 4.23 pounds. The Summit E16 Flip is also deeper than the Envy x360 15 with its 16:9 display, while again being thinner and slightly heavier compared to the Envy’s 0.72 inches and 4.11 pounds.

MSI Summit E16 Flip folded backwards.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Overall, the Summit E16 Flip is a large convertible 2-in-1 but not unexpectedly so, given its large and tall display. You won’t want to hold it in one arm for inking, but that’s typical for larger 2-in-1s.

The Summit E16 Flip is made from CNC-machined aluminum, which fits with its premium nature. Accordingly, the entire chassis is rigid, with no bending in the lid (which the 13-inch model displayed) or flexing in the keyboard deck or chassis bottom. It’s easily the equal of the Spectre x360 15 and ahead of the Envy x360 15, which had some keyboard flex.

The Summit E16 Flip is a very well-built laptop. The hinge opens easily with one hand, which is unusual for convertible 2-in-1s, and it holds the display firmly in its four positions — clamshell, tent, media, and tablet. It also props up the keyboard deck at an angle for a more comfortable typing experience and improved airflow.

Connectivity is a strong suit. There’s a full-size HDMI port and two USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 ports (one of which is used for charging) along the left-hand side, and two USB-A 3.2 ports, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a microSD card reader along the right-hand side.

Given the usefulness of this 2-in-1 for creative types, a full-size SD card reader would have been welcome. The latest Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 provide speedy wireless capabilities with the right router.

Performance

MSI Summit E16 Flip folded backwards in a tent fold.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Summit E16 Flip uses a 28-watt, 4-core/8-thread Intel Core i7-1195G7, a fast chip but still one meant for thin and light laptops rather than portable powerhouses. That’s contrasted with the 45-watt, 6-core/12-thread Core i7-10750H in the HP Spectre x360 15 and the 8-core/16-thread AMD Ryzen 7 5700U in the HP Envy x360 15.

Then there are clamshell laptops like the Dell XPS 15 and MSI Creator Z16 that use the latest 8-core/16-thread Core i7-11800H CPUs that are significantly faster — although it’s not entirely fair to compare those portable workstations with a convertible 2-in-1. Given everything, my performance expectations for the Summit E16 Flip were tempered.

According to our benchmarks, the Summit E16 Flip’s performance was strong for productivity work but mixed for creative tasks. Note that MSI provides a utility to switch from “balanced” to “performance” modes, and that made a noticeable difference in some of these results but not enough to warrant analysis. Just know that if you need a little bit more power, you can kick the 2-in-1 into overdrive.

The MSI Summit E16 Flip balances CPU and GPU performance very well.

In Geekbench 5, the Summit E16 Flip did well, beating out the Spectre x360 15 in both single- and multi-core tests, but losing in the multi-core test to the blazingly fast AMD Ryzen 7 CPU in the Envy x360 15. In our Handbrake test that converts a 420MB video to H.265, the MSI couldn’t keep up with any of our comparison machines except for the LG Gram 16 that uses a slower Core i7, but it wasn’t much slower than the Spectre x360 15. The same held with Cinebench R23, another CPU-intensive benchmark. In the PCMark Complete test, the Summit E16 Flip did exceptionally well, and its Essentials, Productivity, and Content Creation scores were also good for the CPU class.

One surprising result was in Pugetbench, which uses Adobe Premiere Pro to run through a series of demanding video-editing tasks and can use both the CPU and the GPU to accelerate performance. Here, the Summit E16 Flip had an excellent score of 552, which was significantly higher than all but the Dell XPS 15 (which it beat) and the MSI Creator Z16 (which dominated this benchmark). MSI did an excellent job of balancing the CPU and GPU to perform well on this real-world test.

The Summit E16 Flip may not be the fastest laptop around in the 15- and 16-inch classes, but it’s speedy enough for a convertible 2-in-1. It’s faster overall than the HP Spectre x360 15, and while the HP Spectre x360 16 has been announced with a 35-watt H-series CPU, details are sparse — it might be another solid competitor, but we won’t know until we’ve benchmarked it. In any case, the Summit E16 Flip is a 2-in-1 that will rip through your demanding productivity tasks, but it won’t handle demanding creative workflows that are CPU-intensive.

Laptop Geekbench 5 Cinebench R23 Pudgetbench Handbrake
(seconds)
PCMark 10 3DMark Time Spy Fortnite
(1080p Epic)
Civilization VI (1080p Ultra)
MSI Summit E16 Flip (Core i7-1195G7)  1607 / 6096 1589 / 5344 552 175 5681 4138 52 fps 62 fps
HP Spectre x360 15 (Core i7-10750H) 1237 / 5013 1102 / 5492 339 160 4676 2325 54 fps 60 fps
HP Envy x360 15 (AMD Ryzen 7 5700U) 1198 / 6790 1258 / 8131 185 116 5419 902 20 fps N/A
Dell XPS 15 OLED 2021 (Core i7-11800H) 1544 / 7692 1513 / 9979 509 101 6024 4540 50 fps 73 fps
MSI Creator Z16 (Core i7-11800H) 1540 / 7625 1444 / 9615 738 103 6486 6322 59 fps (1200p) 92 fps
LG Gram 16 (Core i7-1165G7) 1573 / 5454 1394 / 4137 N/A 213 4827 1390 13 fps n/a

The Summit E16 Flip is equipped with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, an entry-level graphics chip. It scored well in the 3DMark Time Spy test, not too far off the RTX 3050 Ti in the Dell XPS 15 and well ahead of the HP Spectre x360 15’s GTX 1650 Ti. Testing performance in a few popular games, I found the Summit E16 Flip a competent performer at 1080p or 1200p and moderate graphics settings.

Fortnite hit 52 frames per second (fps) at 1200p and epic settings, behind the Spectre x360 15 but ahead of the XPS 15 and competitive with the MSI Creator Z16 (with an RTX 3060). In Civilization VI, the Summit E16 Flip managed 62 fps at 1080p and ultra graphics, slightly ahead of the Spectre x360 15 and behind the XPS 15 and Creator Z16, but not by much. MSI’s 2-in-1 hit 43 fps at 1200p and high graphics, well behind the XPS 15 and Creator Z16, and it fell off from there as resolution and graphics settings increased.

Finally, in Battlefield V, the Summit E16 Flip ran at 49 fps at 1200p and medium graphics, again well behind the XPS 15 and the Creator Z16, but still quite playable. Even at 1600p and ultra graphics, the Summit E16 Flip hit 30 fps.

As long as you’re OK with limiting the graphics quality, you can play modern titles at 1080p or 1200p. It’s not made to be a gaming laptop, but it’s not a bad entry-level machine.

Display

Closeup on the MSI Summit E16 Flip display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

I faulted the Summit E13 Flip for its poor calibration, with colors and gamma that were way off. I noticed that when I was performing my testing and before I pulled out my colorimeter. There were no such issues with the Summit E16 Flip’s display, which seemed very bright, with dynamic and natural colors and deep blacks. And the large, 16-inch display is in the productivity-friendly 16:10 aspect ratio, with a sharp enough QHD+ (2,560 x 1,600) resolution. I enjoyed using the display quite a bit as I ran through my tests.

I wasn’t wrong in my impressions. According to my colorimeter, MSI picked an outstanding IPS panel for the Summit E16 Flip and did a much better job of calibrating it. First, it was very bright at 482 nits, well above our 300-nit threshold. Colors were much wider than the average premium display at 89% of AdobeRGB (most displays are around 72%) and 100% of sRGB (with 95% being close to average).

I discovered quite by accident that the display supports a 120Hz refresh rate.

The colors were also accurate at a Delta E of 1.12 (1.0 or less is considered excellent). The contrast was 1,140:1, above our 1,000:1 threshold. That’s much better than the HP Envy x360 15’s IPS display that came in at 270 nits, 71% of Adobe RGB and 95% of sRGB with an accuracy of 1.06 (slightly better) and a contrast ratio of 900:1. Of course, the HP Spectre x360 15 with its OLED display had even wider colors at 99% of AdobeRGB and 100% of sRGB, with an accuracy of 1.21 and an inky-black contrast ratio of 426,180:1.

In an interesting twist, I discovered quite by accident that the display supports 120Hz, even though that’s noted nowhere in the literature I received with the review unit. I was trying to run Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which wouldn’t run correctly, and in the settings I noticed that the game defaulted to the non-native 60Hz.

Lo and behold, I could switch to 120Hz if I wanted. I checked the display settings and there it was, defaulted to 120Hz. I didn’t notice anything before making this discovery, but as I switched back and forth between 60Hz and 120Hz, I noticed that things were a bit smoother. So, that’s another plus for the display that MSI should advertise more prominently.

Closeup on the MSI Summit E16 Flip's webcam.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Overall, the Summit E16 Flip’s display is great for productivity work, with more than wide and accurate enough colors and contrast that made black text pop on white backgrounds. It’s also good enough for creators who might want a slightly wider AdobeRGB gamut, but who could certainly get their work done on this 2-in-1. It’s an excellent display that helps justify the Summit E16 Flip’s higher price.

The audio was surprisingly quiet, even at maximum volume. Mids and highs were clear and pleasant and there was even a touch of bass, but there just wasn’t very much loudness. It’s good audio for bingeing Netflix and such, but you’ll want to do so in a quiet environment. Headphones will be required if you need to drown out any background noise.

Keyboard and touchpad

MSI Summit E16 Flip keyboard and stylus.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Like the smaller model, the Summit E16 Flip enjoys an excellent keyboard. It has plenty of spacing and large keycaps, even given the small numeric keyboard tucked in along the right-hand side. The switches offered plenty of travel at 1.5mm, with a light touch and snappy mechanism. My only complaint was that the bottoming action was a little softer than I like, but that’s picking nits. I’d rate this keyboard right up there with the best, including the versions on HP’s Spectre and Dell’s XPS lines.

But I have a bone to pick with MSI. There are acres of space on the palm rest for a huge touchpad — that’s one of the advantages of a taller display. And yet, it built in a tiny wide-format touchpad that leaves almost an inch of empty space above and below.

Dell used up that space with the XPS 15, equipping one of the largest touchpads you’ll find on a Windows machine. The E16 Flip touchpad is fine for what it is, with a smooth surface, reliable support for Windows multitouch gestures thanks to Microsoft Precision Touchpad support, and firm yet quiet buttons. But it’s so tiny.

Tablet mode and stylus on the MSI Summit E16 Flip.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

MSI includes its active pen in the box, and it can be magnetically attached to the Summit E16 Flip’s chassis or lid. It supports 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity with tilt, and its charges via USB-C. Although the 16-inch 2-in-1 is quite cumbersome in tablet mode, if you place it on a surface and use it for drawing or taking notes, then the pen performs admirably. The touch display was responsive as well.

A fingerprint reader provides windows Hello support on the palm rest. As with most fingerprint readers today, it was fast and reliable. MSI also implemented a couple of ways to shut off the webcam for privacy. You can either hit a button on the keyboard or flip a physical switch to turn off the webcam electronically, leaving nothing for hackers to exploit.

I prefer that to the physical sliders and such that other manufacturers use. HP originated the concept with its Spectre x360 13 and Spectre x360 15, but it has since moved over to physical covers controlled by keyboard buttons.

Battery life

MSI Summit E16 Flip sitting on a table.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

MSI packed in 82 watt-hours of battery into the Summit E16 Flip’s chassis, which is close to the HP Spectre x360 15’s 83 watt-hours and significantly more than the Envy x360 15’s 51 watt-hours. With a large, high-resolution display, I wasn’t expecting spectacular battery life.

What I got was longevity that may or may not make it through a working day, depending on your workload. In our web-browsing test, the Summit E16 Flip lasted for eight hours, which is under the 10 hours we like to see on this test. While the Spectre x360 15 lasted just 6.2 hours with its OLED display, the Envy x360 15 lasted for a more impressive 11 hours. That puts the Summit E16 Flip’s result in perspective.

In our video test that loops a local Full HD Avengers trailer, the Summit E16 Flip made it to 10.75 hours, an OK result, compared to the Spectre x360 15 at just 6.5 hours and the Envy x360 15 at 13.65 hours.

The MSI Summit E16 Flip’s battery life is only mediocre.

I also ran the Summit E16 Flip through the PCMark 10 Applications battery test, where it hit almost 8.5 hours. Again, that’s under the 10 hours we’ve been seeing in this benchmark that best approximates productivity battery life. The Spectre x360 15 was well under at 5.5 hours, and the Envy x360 15 was again much stronger at 12.5 hours. In the PCMark 10 Gaming battery test, the Summit E16 Flip managed 2.25 hours, which is about average. This test seems to measure how hard a laptop works while on battery life rather than reflecting its overall battery life.

Overall, the Summit E16 Flip’s battery life is only mediocre. As I said, it may or may not get you through an entire day’s work, and I suspect it won’t if your workflow is at all heavier than average. Keep your charger with you when you’re on the road.

Our take

The MSI Summit E16 Flip is a great-looking and well-built convertible 2-in-1 with an outstanding 16-inch 16:10 display. It’s large and uncomfortable as a tablet, but that’s to be expected with such an expansive display. It performs admirably as a workhorse productivity machine, and it can handle entry-level creative tasks as well. The keyboard is very good, but the touchpad is way too small given the available real estate.

MSI has made one of the better large-format convertible 2-in-1s you can buy. If you’re in the market for a flexible machine that can handle serious work, then the Summit E16 Flip should be on your list.

Are there any alternatives?

The Spectre x360 15, although it’s getting a little long in the tooth, is a solid alternative. Its 45-watt CPU and discrete GPU perform well, and its OLED display is outstanding. You’ll save some money as well.

The new Spectre x360 16 will likely be another good alternative, although its 35-watt CPU probably won’t provide significantly better performance. But you’ll have an OLED display option and a display that’s just as large and expansive. We don’t know much else about the machine, though, including its price.

Finally, if you don’t need a 2-in-1, the Dell XPS 15 is a solid choice. It has even better build quality, an even better display, and its performance is better for creators. You’ll pay similar prices for equal configurations.

How long will it last?

The Summit E16 Flip is solidly built and should last for years of productive service. Its components are modern and up to date, including the fastest Wi-Fi you can get, and it should keep up with Windows 10 — and Windows 11 — for as long as you’ll need it to. The one-year warranty remains disappointing at this price.

Should you buy it?

Yes. You’ll love the way the Summit E16 Flip looks and performs — just be prepared to keep it charged up.

Editors’ Choice




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Computing

Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 Review: Slow But Really Cheap

Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 review: The ultimate student Chromebook?

MSRP $330.00

“The Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 isn’t the fastest Chromebook in the world, but its price is unbeatable.”

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Solid build quality for the price
  • Surprisingly nice display
  • Very good battery life
  • Excellent touchpad and active pen

Cons

  • Performance is subpar
  • Keyboard is cramped
  • Touch display is finicky

Sometimes, a product comes along that’s defined by one specific characteristic. In the case of the convertible 2-in-1 Asus Chromebook Flip CM3, that characteristic is its price. The $330 starting price will be extremely attractive to those looking for a cheap way to access the internet. Budget laptops have their place, especially for students.

I reviewed the $330 Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 configuration with a MediaTek MT8183 CPU, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of eMMC storage, and a 12-inch (1366 x 912) IPS display in the 3:2 aspect ratio. There are certainly corners to be cut in reaching this low of a price. But more often than not, the Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 makes the right sacrifices for a cheap student laptop.

Design

Angled view of the Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 sitting on table top.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 is a mix of a silver aluminum alloy lid and a matching plastic chassis. It uses the same electro-deposit coating as the more expensive Asus Chromebook Flip C536, which creates a ceramic-like texture on the lid. There’s also the same in-mold roller process used on the C536 that gives the Chromebook Flip CM3’s all-black keyboard deck a velvety feel that makes the palm rests surprisingly comfortable. You don’t expect this kind of technology with such an inexpensive laptop, and it confers an attractive if simple aesthetic that looks like it should cost quite a bit more.

The build quality is equally impressive, with the lid bending only slightly under pressure and the keyboard flexing a bit if you press hard enough. Again, the Chromebook Flip CM3 punches above its weight class, offering a surprisingly robust build. It may not be quite as well-built as the Chromebook Flip C536 (which itself was a step behind the Asus standard) or the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, but both of those laptops cost around $600. The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 is another 2-in-1 that’s around the same price as the Chromebook Flip CM3, and it’s made completely of plastic but still feels solid.

This is a small laptop, albeit not as small as it could it. It’s built around a 12-inch 3:2 display, which should result in a tiny chassis, but the bezels are large and add to the width and depth. Still, it’s smaller than 13-inch laptops and comes in at 0.64 inches thick and 2.51 pounds. Overall, it feels like a thin and light laptop that’s meant to be easily carried around.

Connectivity is limited to a single USB-C port, a USB-A port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a microSD card reader. Wireless connectivity includes Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2, both of which are a generation behind.

Left side view of the Asus Chromebook Flip CM3. Featuring: Micro USB port, micro SD slot, USB port, and headphone jack.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Performance

Remember when I asked about which corners were cut? Well, the simplest answer here is: Performance. The Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 uses a MediaTek MT8183 ARM CPU running at 2GHz. While this processor has been optimized for Chrome OS, there’s only one way to characterize it. It’s slow.

Consider the 2-in-1’s Geekbench 5 scores, a low 299 in single-core mode and 1,407 in multi-core mode. The closest comparison I could find in our database is the Asus Chromebook Flip C436 with a Core i3-1011U CPU, which scored 938 and 1,653. The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5, also running the Core i3-1011U, scored 975 and 1,649. Clearly, the MediaTek processor does better running multi-threaded apps than single-threaded ones.

I’d stick with simpler, less graphics-intense games on the Chromebook Flip CM3.

The Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 also did very poorly in the Speedometer 2.0 web browser test, hitting just 24.4. That’s at the bottom of our database and less than half of what you can expect from other Chromebooks. Of course, most of those cost hundreds of dollars more than the Chromebook Flip CM3. Notably, the Chromebook Flip C536 scored 158 in this test with a Core i3-1115G4.

Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 folded backward, sitting on table top.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

In real-life use, I didn’t find the machine as slow as these benchmarks imply. Things got choppy if I opened too many browser tabs and had some Android apps running in the background, but with a more reasonable workload, the Chromebook Flip CM3 was perfectly usable. Given the price, it makes for a decent second machine that’s easy to move about, and for users who just need to browse the web and check email, the performance is acceptable.

Gaming didn’t go well, though. I tried out Asphalt 9, my go-to game for testing Chromebooks, and it wasn’t a fun experience. I’d stick with simpler, less graphics-intense games on the Chromebook Flip CM3.

Display

Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 sitting on table top.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 enjoys a 12-inch IPS display in the productivity-friendly 3:2 aspect ratio and with a 1366 x 912 resolution. The taller aspect ratio is another surprise in such an inexpensive laptop — it’s a real boon for anyone who can appreciate more vertical space and less scrolling. The resolution is lower at just 1366 x 912, but that’s still sharp given the small screen size.

I liked this display at least as well as the ones on the more expensive Asus Chromebook Flip C536 and Acer Chromebook Spin 713

The difference is hardly noticeable with the naked eye, but a 13.3-inch 1080p screen is technically 165 pixels per inch compared to the 137 ppi of the Asus Chromebook Flip CM3.

I can’t test Chromebooks with my colorimeter, and so all I can provide is my subjective opinion. And my opinion is that this is — once again, surprisingly — a vibrant display for such an inexpensive machine. It’s not terribly bright, but it was able to overcome all the interior ambient lighting I threw at it. I couldn’t use it outside in direct sunlight, but that’s not unusual. The colors were pleasant and seemed accurate when I used the Chromebook Flip CM3 side by side with other more expensive laptops. Photos and videos looked great without being too light or too dark. The contrast wasn’t as high as I’d like, but black text on white backgrounds wasn’t grayish, as it is on many budget laptops.

I liked this display at least as well as the ones on the more expensive Asus Chromebook Flip C536 and Acer Chromebook Spin 713. It doesn’t rank up there with the best, like the premium display on the Google Pixelbook Go. But once again, you’re paying twice as much money to get that higher quality. Asus did a great job of equipping the Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 with a display that’s sure to please all but the most demanding creative professionals — who aren’t likely to buy this laptop, in any event.

Keyboard and touchpad

Stylus sitting on top of the Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 keyboard.

The small chassis has one unfortunate byproduct, and that’s a very cramped keyboard. The keycaps are tiny, and there’s not a ton of spacing between them. If you have larger hands, you’ll probably have some trouble typing on this keyboard. The switch mechanism provides plenty of travel, but it’s a bit dull without the clickiness that contributes to precise typing. The bottoming action is a bit abrupt, and I’d definitely rate this keyboard as one of the less comfortable I’ve used. As I mentioned above, the palm rest is amazingly comfortable, thanks to the special coating, but the keyboard doesn’t follow suit. Note that the keyboard isn’t backlit, which is disappointing.

The touchpad is better, being larger than expected, thanks to the extra palm rest space afforded by the taller display. It’s smooth and responsive, providing precise control over the cursor and supporting all the usual Chrome OS multitouch gestures.

The screen is touch-enabled, as is usual for 2-in-1s, and I found it to be finicky. I sometimes had to tap two or three times to get it to respond, especially when I was trying to engage smaller on-screen buttons. It’s not egregious, but it did detract from the usefulness of the touch panel. The Chromebook Flip CM3 supports an optional active pen with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, and that was included with my review unit. I found it to be as good as any other Chromebook pen I’ve used, supporting the suite of Chrome OS pen tools with plenty of precision.

Battery life

Closeup on one of the Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 hinges.

The MediaTek processor might be slow, but it’s also efficient. The Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 equipped a 32 watt-hour battery, which isn’t particularly large even given the 12-inch low-resolution display.

Even so, the 2-in-1 lasted for almost 12.5 hours in our web browsing test, which is a strong score. The Asus Chromebook Flip C536 managed just 6.75 hours in this test, while the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 went for 8.45 hours. I went back a couple of years and couldn’t find a Chromebook that lasted longer.

In our video test that loops through a local full HD movie trailer, the Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 lasted for just over 12 hours. It’s not uncommon for Chrome OS machines to last longer in the web browsing test than the video test, unlike Windows 10 laptops. Again, the Chromebook Flip CM3 outlasted the comparison laptops by a few hours.

Overall, the Chromebook Flip CM3 offers up impressive battery life for such a small machine. If you’re using it as a primary system, you’ll get a full day’s work out of it, and if it’s a secondary laptop, you’ll get days of use.

Our take

The Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 is a budget Chrome OS 2-in-1 that exceeds the expectations established by its low price. It’s slower than I’d like, but it has great battery life and a solid, comfortable chassis. The keyboard could be larger and the touch screen a little more responsive, but the touchpad and active pen are excellent.

I wouldn’t recommend buying the Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 as your primary work machine unless your needs are minimal. But as a second laptop to carry around and use for web browsing and checking email or as a starter student laptop, it’s a great option.

Are there any alternatives?

The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 is another Chrome OS 2-in-1 that’s similar in price and provides similar performance. Its build quality is a little better, but its battery life can’t match up.

You can jump up in price a bit and consider the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, which is around $600 but is much faster and offers a sharper 3:2 display.

Finally, as we usually recommend, Google’s Pixelbook Go should be on your list if you don’t need the flexibility of a 2-in-1. It’s more expensive, but it also has long battery life and a stunning display that can’t be beaten.

How long will it last?

The Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 feels solid enough to last for years of typical use. The biggest question is how Chrome OS advances — if it requires more CPU power at some point, the Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 won’t be able to keep up. The one-year warranty is fine at this price.

Should you buy it?

Yes. As a secondary laptop, the Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 is a tremendous bargain that’s worth the small investment.

Editors’ Choice




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Tech News

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 leaked with a shocking price tip

A set of images of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 showed leaked specifications of the device today, far in advance of Samsung’s own event for the device. Per the leak, this device will have a design that’s surprisingly similar to the first Google Pixel smartphone – two-tone and everything. Similar to the original Pixel, this Galaxy Z Flip 3 will likely roll with a variety of colors for the bulk of the casing, with a black glass for the top, amid the back-facing camera array.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 leak from GizNext includes colors that they suggest will launch with the device – potentially right from the first release date of the device. Dark Green, Light Violet, White, Dark Blue, Pink, Black, Grey, and Beige are listed, right from the get-go.

The leak listing suggests that the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 will have an under-display front-facing camera. That’s the camera that’ll appear in (under) the display, inside the clamshell. This device is tipped to have a 6.7-inch main (foldable) display. This is a touchscreen display with a 25:9 aspect ratio.

There’ll also be an external (back) display, that’ll appear in the glass panel that also holds the back-facing set of cameras. This external display will be larger than the last, according to the leak this week, at 1.9-inches diagonally.

It’s likely this device will have a processor that matches that of devices like the ASUS Zenfone 8, with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC.

The release date for the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is tipped to be right around August 3, 2021. Per the leak from GizNext this week, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 will have a price at around $1400 USD. That’s a significant price increase over the other Galaxy Z Flip devices, now and at original launch.

That price seems a bit wacky, especially given Samsung’s suggestion that they will start to make foldable smartphones more affordable in 2021 and beyond. Cross your fingers this is a case of crossed lines – we shall see!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJ78bYGKVZY

This device would be the third of three devices, though you’d be forgiven for losing track of which device was called what – as there was no Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 2 (no device with that name, anyway). First there was the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, then the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G. Naming this new device Galaxy Z Flip 3 also puts the name in line with the Galaxy Z Fold line, which will very likely have a new model this year called Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.

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Tech News

Galaxy Z Flip 3 FCC filing reveals surprising Samsung Pay feature

When rumored devices pass through the FCC, it is often a sign that their arrival in the US market is nigh. Of course, that only confirms the earlier launch dates rumored for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Galaxy Z Flip 3 as they make their way through the certification process. While the former got some of its features confirmed, the filing for the Galaxy Z Flip 3 reveals one feature that is both unexpected yet surprising at the same time.

It is, of course, expected that the phone would support Samsung Pay as almost all high-end Samsung phones do. What is surprising in PhoneArena’s discovery is that the Galaxy Z Flip 3 still supports MST technology. This is the feature that gives Samsung Pay an edge over other mobile payment solutions since it can work on traditional mag strip terminals as well as NFC.

Despite that advantage, Samsung is believed to be focusing on NFC moving forward. In fact, the Galaxy S21 doesn’t support MST even as it has Samsung Pay. That makes finding the tech in the Galaxy Z Flip 3 a pleasant surprise.

The FCC filing also confirms the 5G bands the phone will support, which includes Verizon’s mmWave. It supports 9W reverse wireless charging, just like what was noted for the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Curiously, there is no mention of UWB so the smaller foldable phone might be skipping that wireless tech.

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is expected to bring a larger external cover display and dual cameras on its back. Although it seems to be getting less attention from leaks and reports, the Galaxy Z Flip 3’s rumored sub-$1,000 price tag could actually make it the foldable that more people will gravitate to, simply because it’s the one they will be able to afford.

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Tech News

Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 Unpacked gets another date leak

Samsung definitely has a lot of devices coming that will compete for consumers’ attention and wallets, but it seems that sources can’t agree on when they will actually debut. The most that leaks could agree on is “some time in August,” which might not be enough time for some to prepare their finances. The latest word from the South Korean market seems to push forward a more believable theory for the next Unpacked 2021 that will unveil Samsung’s next batch of mobile products. Unfortunately, one of those might not arrive as soon as the others.

Some put an August 3 date on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3, while others say August 27. Those two dates might actually be correct but in slightly different ways. According to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, Samsung will unveil the devices in the early half of August and then make them available for purchase before the end of the month.

More specifically, there is a chance that the August 3 date for Unpacked was close to correct but, since Samsung often does its unpacking on a Friday, an August 6 date is more likely. Even so, August 13 is also a probable date, according to the report. Either way, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 will launch on August 27.

The foldable phones won’t be alone on the stage, though. It will be accompanied by accessories such as the Galaxy Buds 2 and the Galaxy Watch 4, and the Galaxy Watch Active 4. The last two will be of particular interest since they are expected to run Wear OS rather than Samsung’s Tizen.

The Galaxy S21 FE will also be sharing the spotlight, but its story will play out differently. Instead of launching in late August, Samsung has reportedly delayed the smartphone’s launch to Fall, probably sometime in September. Part of the reason was to give more attention to the two new foldable phones, but the shortage of chips, particularly the Snapdragon 888, reportedly also played a role in that decision.

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Computing

Asus VivoBook Flip 14 Review: A Fast, Cheap AMD Laptop

Asus VivoBook Flip 14 2021

“The Asus VivoBook Flip 14 is a powerhouse budget laptop despite a disappointing display and build quality.”

  • Outstanding productivity performance
  • Mostly attractive aesthetic
  • Affordable
  • Active pen is bundled
  • Upgradable RAM and storage
  • Mediocre build quality
  • Lackluster display
  • Below-average battery life

Everyone likes a good budget laptop. They might not seem as exciting as the latest and greatest, but budget-oriented laptops have their place. Not everyone has the resources or need for a laptop that costs well over $1,000, but everyone deserves something great. Locating a diamond in the rough can be a lot of fun.

Most manufacturers have a distinct budget lineup, and in the case of Asus, that’s the VivoBook. Recently, the company released the updated VivoBook Flip 14, an AMD-powered 360-degree convertible 2-in-1 that’s meant to offer solid performance and an exciting experience at a budget laptop price.

I reviewed the $629 VivoBook Flip 14 configuration (when Asus offers it on their site, it will retail for $600) that includes an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe SSD, and a 14-inch IPS Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) display in the increasingly old-school 16:9 aspect ratio. You can also get a version with a 256GB SSD for just $529. That’s an attractive set of components for the price, but does the VivoBook Flip 14 live up to its value promise?

Design

The VivoBook Flip 14 is mostly plastic, with aluminum alloy lining the lid. You don’t have to get plastic at this price, but it’s not uncommon. Unfortunately, the build quality wasn’t up to the usual Asus standard, with a lid that bends with too little force and can cause LCD distortion, quite a bit of flex in the keyboard deck, and a chassis bottom that gives in to pressure. The similarly priced Acer Swift 3 is more solidly built, and for $300 more or so, you can grab the HP Envy x360 13 that’s also far better built — unsurprisingly, both machines are on our list of best budget laptops. You don’t find many 14-inch 2-in-1s at this price level, and so I can’t think of a direct comparison that we’ve reviewed.

Aesthetically, the VivoBook Flip 14 is a little more impressive, if a bit odd at the same time. It comes in a “Bespoke Black” color scheme that covers 99% of the chassis. There’s a bright silver logo on the lid and some chrome trim around the touchpad, but that’s mostly it. What’s odd is that the Enter key is lined and lettered in lime-green, standing out quite boldly — but I’d say garishly at the same time. And it’s the only element on the laptop to sport that color, so it’s not part of a theme.

If you typically have difficulty finding the Enter key, then the bold coloring will help, but I usually don’t run into that predicament, so the coloring detracts from the aesthetic for me. Even so, I find the VivoBook Flip 14 to be better looking than the Swift 3 and on par with the Envy x360 13. It’s even as attractive as a more expensing laptop like the MSI Prestige 14 Evo and has a more distinctive look than the Lenovo Yoga 7i 14 2-in-1, which is also about $300 more expensive.

The bezels are a little large, with a screen-to-body ratio of 82%. More premium laptops tend toward a 90% ratio or better, but the VivoBook Flip 14 isn’t bad for a budget machine. That does make the chassis a little larger, and it’s not the thinnest or lightest 14-inch laptop at 0.72 inches and 3.31 pounds. The Yoga 7i comes in at 0.69 inches and 3.09 pounds, while the MSI Prestige 14 is 0.63 inches thick and weighs 2.85 pounds.

The Acer Swift 5, another 14-inch clamshell, is a mere 0.59 inches thick and quite light at 2.31 pounds — it’s also twice as expensive. Looking at our budget competition, the Acer Swift 3 is 0.63 inches thick and weighs 2.65 pounds, and the HP Envy x360 13 is 0.65 inches thick and weighs 2.92 pounds. Clearly, the VivoBook Flip 14 doesn’t win the thin-and-light battle.

Asus incorporated its ErgoLift hinge into the VivoBook Flip 14, which is a nice touch given the general complexity of the 360-degree hinge. It works well, lifting the keyboard deck to a more comfortable typing angle and theoretically giving additional room underneath for airflow — except there aren’t any vents on the laptop’s bottom. Rather, air is drawn in via the keyboard, and so there aren’t the usual thermal benefits. Anyway, the hinge is a bit stiff, and the lid requires two hands to open, but it does a respectable job of holding the display in place in clamshell, tent, media, and tablet modes.

Asus also built in some upgradability. The SSD slot is readily accessible if you want to upgrade storage at some point, and of the review unit’s 8GB of RAM, 4GB is soldered on the motherboard, and the other 4GB plugs in. So, you can swap that out for an 8GB chip if needed and increase your RAM to 12GB. The maximum available is 16GB, which of course must be configured when ordering the laptop.

Connectivity is good, with one USB-A 2.0 port, a USB-A 3.2 port, a USB-C Gen 2 port, a full-size HDMI 1.4 connection, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a microSD card reader. A proprietary connector provides power, and given the AMD chipset, there’s no Thunderbolt support. Wireless connectivity is a bit behind the times, with Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2.

Performance

The VivoBook Flip 14 equipped the first six-core Ryzen 5 5500U CPU that we’ve tested, and I was looking forward to seeing how it compares to Intel’s various Tiger Lake variants and the Ryzen 7 line. I came away impressed.

It didn’t dominate in Geekbench 5, with the lower single-core score and more competitive multi-core result typical of AMD chips. It came in third in the comparison group, behind the Asus ZenBook 13 UM325UA with an eight-core Ryzen 7 5800U that dominated and the MSI Prestige 14 Evo with its quad-core Intel Core i7-1185G7. In PCMark 10, the VivoBook Flip 14 came in second behind the ZenBook 13, and it scored particularly well in the Content Creation portion of that test. According to these results, the Ryzen 5 5500U is competitive with Intel’s Core i7 and much faster than the Core i5.

In two particularly CPU-intensive apps, Handbrake and Cinebench R23, the VivoBook Flip 14 was particularly impressive. In the Handbrake test that encodes a 420MB video as H.265, the Asus was 31 seconds faster than the Prestige 14 Evo and only seven seconds behind the ZenBook 13. The results were similar in the demanding Cinebench R23 test where, at least in multicore mode, the VivoBook Flip 14 came in a close second to the ZenBook 13 and was significantly faster than the Prestige 14 Evo. And the Ryzen 5 5500U is a real step up from the previous generation, making the VivoBook Flip 14 an impressive budget performer.

As with all the recent Ryzen laptops we’ve reviewed, the VivoBook Flip 14 excels at CPU-intensive tasks and will churn through the typical productivity workflow. It can tackle creative applications as well, although its Radeon Graphics won’t offer much in the way of boosting applications that can utilize the GPU. That’s also true of Intel’s Iris Xe integrated graphics, of course. In this comparison group, only the HP Envy 14 with its Nvidia GeForce GTX-1650 Ti will bring real value to those applications. Everywhere else, the VivoBook Flip 14 will perform exceptionally well, especially given its $630 price.

Geekbench 5
(single/multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single/multi)
PCMark 10 3DMark Time Spy
Asus VivoBook Flip 14
(Ryzen 5 5500U)
1102/5432 131 1180/7579 5191 1099
MSI Prestige 14 Evo (Core i7-1185G7) 1593/5904 162 1479/6680 4866 1465
Acer Swift 3 2020 (Ryzen 7 4700U) 1120/4831 152 N/A N/A 975
HP Envy x360 13 (Ryzen 5 4500U) 1101/4485 176 N/A N/A 902
Asus ZenBook 13 UM325UA
(Ryzen 7 5800U)
1423/6758 124 1171/7824 6034 1342
HP Envy 14 2020 (Core i5-1135G7) 1398/4741 190 1343/5028 5178 3147

One area that won’t impress is gaming. The 3DMark Time Spy test result isn’t anything to write home about, and the VivoBook Flip 14 was a weak performer in Fortnite. It managed just 25 frames per second (fps) at 1080p and medium graphics, in line with laptops equipped with Intel Iris Xe graphics. It hit 15 fps in epic graphics, again equivalent to Intel’s integrated GPU. Simply put, the VivoBook Flip 14 isn’t a gaming laptop at any price.

Display

Spend $630 on a laptop, and you’re going to give something up. Usually, a major compromise shows up in display quality, and the VivoBook Flip 14 is no exception.

First, it’s not very bright, at just 230 nits (we like to see 300 nits or more). That’s almost identical to the Acer Swift 3’s 233 nits, and so the VivoBook Flip 14 isn’t alone among budget laptops in having a dim display. The contrast is also poor at 720:1, below the Swift 3’s 770:1 and well below our preferred 1000:1 threshold. The Lenovo Yoga 7i 14 was even worse at 690:1, demonstrating that it’s not just true budget laptops that suffer from poor contrast.

Next were the VivoBook Flip 14’s colors, which were incredibly narrow. Coverage of the Adobe RGB gamut came in at just 50%, and of the sRGB gamut at just 66%. That’s well below the 70% and 95%, respectively, that we typically see as a minimum with midrange and premium laptops — and the HP Envy x360 13 that’s on our best budget list hit 71% and 96%, which is much better. I’ll note that, again, the Swift 3 was in the same class as the Asus at 48% and 64%. The VivoBook Flip 14’s color accuracy was better at a Delta E of 2.62 (1.0 or less is considered excellent) than the Swift 3’s 4.76, while the Envy x360 13 managed a lower 2.26.

Subjectively, the VivoBook Flip 14’s display wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great, either. It’ll do for web browsing and productivity apps, but that’s about it. Watching media on the 2-in-1 wasn’t a terrible experience either, despite the poor colors and contrast.

Two downward-firing speakers provide audio with Harman Kardon tuning. The speakers get loud, but they also get distorted, with crackling at any volume above 80%. Highs were blown out and mids were subdued, giving a tinny sound. Of course, there was no bass to speak of. You’ll be okay with system sounds and the occasional YouTube video, but for anything else, you’ll want headphones or a pair of Bluetooth speakers.

Keyboard and touchpad

The VivoBook Flip 14’s keyboard is eerily reminiscent of HP’s Spectre keyboard, which is a good choice if intentional. It enjoys good spacing, large keys with attractive and legible lettering, and a row of Home, PgUp, PgDn, End, and Fn keys on the very right-hand side. Unfortunately, while it may look like a Spectre keyboard, it doesn’t quite feel like one. There’s plenty of travel and a nice click to the switches, but the bottoming action is too abrupt. There’s no crisp bounce like you get from HP, and the overall typing experience isn’t nearly as comfortable. I’d rate this keyboard a few steps behind the Spectre and Dell XPS keyboards and way behind Apple’s Magic Keyboard on the latest MacBooks. I’ll note that the three-step backlighting is even and useful.

To put it bluntly, the touchpad is way too small. There’s so much room left on the keyboard deck for a larger version, and the small size is exacerbated by the fingerprint reader stuck up in the right-hand corner. The touchpad is a Microsoft Precision version, so it works well with good support for Windows 10 multitouch gestures, but it’s just tiny.

The display is touch enabled, of course, this being a 2-in-1, and an Asus active pen is included in the box. It supports Windows 10 inking well, with smooth strokes and precise response.

The aforementioned fingerprint reader provides Windows 10 Hello passwordless login support. It was fast and accurate during my testing, and it was welcome on such an inexpensive laptop.

Battery life

Asus only packed 42 watt-hours worth of battery into the VivoBook Flip 14, which isn’t a lot for a 14-inch display, even at Full HD resolution, and a powerful CPU. I wasn’t expecting great battery life.

Starting with our web browsing test that loops through a series of popular websites, the VivoBook Flip 14 lasted for nine hours. That’s a little less than average for this class of machine but not a terrible result. The Acer Swift 3 managed just eight hours, while the HP Envy x360 13 made it to a little over nine hours. In our video test that plays a Full HD Avengers trailer until the battery dies, the VivoBook Flip 14 went for 12 hours, again a bit less than average but not too disappointing compared to the Swift 3’s 10 hours. The Envy x360 13 beat out both at 13 hours.

In the PCMark 10 Gaming test that pushes the CPU and GPU, the VivoBook Flip 14 lasted for just over two hours, which is average for the test. The Lenovo Yoga 7i made it to just over 2.5 hours, and we didn’t test either the Swift 3 or the Envy x360 13 with this benchmark. In the PCMark 10 Applications test, which is the best indicator of productivity battery life, the VivoBook Flip was — again — below average at just over nine hours. That still beat out the Yoga 7i’s 8.5 hours.

Overall, the VivoBook Flip 14 was just a hair behind the pack in terms of battery life. It will likely last you a full day of work if you don’t push the CPU too hard, but it definitely suffers from the small battery. Again, though, this is a budget laptop, and so the results are pretty good when the price is kept in mind.

Our take

The VivoBook Flip 14 is really, really fast for a $630 laptop. Its build isn’t the best, its battery life lags, and its keyboard isn’t among my favorites. But a laptop that performs like this for so little money shouldn’t be disregarded.

If you have a demanding productivity workflow or use the occasional creative application, then the VivoBook Flip 14 will give you the performance you’re looking for. And nothing else is so bad about the laptop that you should be dissuaded from giving it serious consideration.

Are there any alternatives?

I’ll start with the Asus ZenBook 13 OLED UM325UA. It’s not a 2-in-1, but it’s just $170 more for a color-accurate OLED display, a faster AMD Ryzen 7 5800U CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB PCIe solid-state drive. If your budget isn’t so tight and you don’t really need a 2-in-1, then the ZenBook 13 is a great option.

If you need a 2-in-1 and your budget is limited, then the HP Envy x360 13 is a solid alternative. It’s also a bit more expensive, but you get better performance, better battery life, and a better display. What’s not to like?

How long will it last?

The VivoBook Flip 14 isn’t the most solidly built laptop we’ve tested, but it’s not bad for a budget machine. It won’t stand up to extreme abuse, but it should last for several years given the normal wear and tear of home and office use. You won’t be surprised by the limited one-year warranty.

Should you buy it?

Yes, if you don’t need a color-accurate display and you’re strapped for cash. The VivoBook Flip 14’s outstanding performance makes up for a lot of its flaws.

Editors’ Choice




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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 leaks with more confidence in folding

The newest in foldable phones leaked this week as the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. This device has a slightly more refined look than its predecessor, coming with flatter sides and a better understanding of its hinge. This new device will have a display size nearly identical to the Z Flip 2, but here Samsung’s handling of the finer bits make for a more solid final product.

According to Ice Universe, the next Samsung foldable phone will look a lot like what you see above. Below you’ll see the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 2 on the left, and the Z Flip 3 on the right. Note that both devices are being shown as renders, not actual product photos. It’s also quite likely that the Z Flip 3 is a mockup made by Ice Universe, not Samsung.

In general, Ice Universe has provided some rather on-point details on this sort of device before. It’s not out of character for this leaker to deliver key details about a device with imagery that’s mocked up as we see here, near real-deal imagery from Samsung. In this case, it would appear that the Galaxy Z Flip 3 design is getting more in-tune with the design of Samsung’s recently successful tablet line, the Samsung Galaxy Tab (as shown in these preview images in the Tab S7 FE.) This is different from the original Z Flip, and all the round edges in the world.

The Galaxy Tab S7 line has flat sides a single-width bezel around its display. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 as Ice Universe sees it retains its single front-facing camera, volume rocker, and side-mounted fingerprint scanner. This new device also seems to have a more confident handle on its display – note the bezel edge reaching right out beyond the hinge, where the Z Flip 2 has a very clear point of bending. This might also just be Ice Universe’s idealization of the hinge with respect to the bezel – it could just as easily have a less elegant look in the real release.



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ASUS Chromebook Flip CM3 and Detachable CM3 start under $350

ASUS has revealed its latest Chromebook, with the new Chromebook Flip CM3 and Chromebook Detachable CM3 promising two options when it comes to folding, rotating Chrome OS. Both tap MediaTek processors to help keep prices down to under $350.

ASUS Chromebook Flip CM3

The 2-in-1 of the duo, the Chromebook Flip CM3 pairs a 12-inch 1366 x 912 display with a rotating 360-degree hinge. That allows it to be used as a regular laptop, or twist around into an easel or all the way to a full tablet.

There’s ASUS Pen support, for digital note-taking, annotations, and sketching, with the 3:2 aspect screen nearly the size of an A4 sheet of paper. Inside, there’s a MediaTek MT8183C processor running at up to 2.0 GHz, with Arm Mali-G72 graphics, 4GB of LPDDR4x memory, and either 32GB or 64GB of storage. The latter can be expanded by up to 1TB with a microSD card.

A 720p webcam is above the display, while connectivity includes WiFi 5 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, and both a USB 2.0 Type-C and USB 2.0 Type-A port. There’s also a combo audio jack, plus 2W stereo speakers and a digital array microphone. The whole thing weighs 2.43 pounds.

Google’s Titan C security chip is included, while ASUS says the 32 Wh battery is good for up to 16 hours of use.

ASUS Chromebook Detachable CM3

If you want a more tablet-esque Chrome OS machine, meanwhile, ASUS’ Chromebook Detachable CM3 takes similar specs to the Flip CM3 but cuts off the keyboard altogether. Much like a Surface Go 2, the keyboard cover clings on magnetically, with the tablet itself having a detachable fold-out stand on the rear that can hold it at multiple angles.

The display is a 10.5-inch 1920 x 1200 multi-touch panel, with a 16:10 aspect ratio. The keyboard, meanwhile, has 1.5mm travel and full-size keys; alternatively you can use the ASUS Pen stylus. Take off the keyboard cover and the tablet is 7.9 mm thick, with a Mineral Gray aluminum unibody chassis with matte black diamond-cut edges.

Inside, there’s a MediaTek MTK8183 processor with 4GB of LPDDR4X memory and either 64GB or 128GB of storage. Connectivity includes USB 2.0 Type-C and a combo audio jack; they keyboard hooks up via a Pogo Pin interface. There are dual stereo speakers and both a 2-megapixel front camera and 8-megapixel rear camera.

As for the battery, the 27W pack should last for up to 12 hours, ASUS says. Shorter than the Chromebook Flip CM3, true, but then the Detachable CM3 tablet weighs 1.14 pounds, while even with the keyboard and stand it’s just over 2 pounds.

Pricing and availability

The ASUS Chromebook Flip CM3200 will be priced at $329.99, while the Chromebook Detachable CM3 will be priced at $349.99 including both the stand and the keyboard. Both will come with a 12 month Google One 100GB subscription for extra cloud storage.

Disclosure: SlashGear uses affiliate links, If you click on a link in this article and buy something we’ll get a small cut of the sale.

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Nokia 2720 V Flip comes to the US through Verizon

HMD Global isn’t just making Android phones with Nokia’s name on them, it is also making feature phones with Nokia’s name on them. The company has been reviving Nokia’s most iconic handsets and nothing probably gets more iconic than the clamshell form-factor that is always depicted on TV and movies back in the days. That revival arrived with the Nokia 2720 Flip back in 2019 and that same phone is finally arriving in the US as the Nokia 2720 V Flip, courtesy of Verizon.

It’s definitely no foldable phone, at least not in the modern sense of the word, but the Nokia 2720 V Flip does bring back the sophisticated feeling of the classics, the classics that revolved around making calls. Simply flip open the phone to answer calls and flip it close to end it. Of course, you get to see first who’s calling thanks to the 1.3-inch screen on the outside.

Inside, you do get an old-school 2.8-inch QVGA screen that lets you connect with family and friends via Facebook and WhatsApp apps. You do have to recall your muscle memory stabbing at a T9 keyboard to type out text messages. For some people, that might actually be better than on-screen keyboards.

What makes the Nokia 2720 V Flip special, however, is its built-in Google Assistant support enabled by KaiOS. That operating system for feature phones also has its own app store but don’t expect anything close to the likes of Google Play Store, of course.

The Nokia 2720 V Flip is pretty much the same Nokia 2720 Flip announced in 2019, just with the “V” branding earmarking it for Verizon. It will be available starting May 20 for only $79.99. The phone does support 4G LTE connections, of course, and can even be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot if needed.

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