The ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA (DBM2T) is an excellent 2-in-1 convertible hybrid laptop, with sleek, ultra-thin design, a responsive touchscreen, fast SSD and strong overall performance, decent connectivity and it costs much less than the competition.
- A sleek, ultra-thin design
- Responsive touchscreen
- Fast SSD storage
- Strong overall performance
- Non-backlit keyboard
At first glance, the ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA (DBM2T) mirrors the design of Asus’ high end laptops that usually carry premium prices, especially ones that are way thinner than the MacBook Air and boast of Intel’s high-end Core M-Series processors. The latest release from Asus is a 13-inch model that has been designed to be very thin, uses a Skylake Intel Core M processor, a 54 WH battery and a FHD touchscreen: an impressive combo for a laptop running an ultra-low-power CPU.
What is different, however, it is the first machine we’re seeing in the Asus ZenBook UX line with a 360-degree hinge for transformation into tablet mode, rather than a plain-old analog laptop. For those in the market for a convertible notebook, that features moderate specs and is relatively inexpensive unlike most high-end machines in the same line, the ZenBook Flip UX360CA is certainly worth considering.
The newly unveiled ZenBook Flip UX360CA is superbly designed, and it manages to be really slim, something many consumers will be glad to see. It is only 13.9mm thick and weighs a 2.9 pounds. Unlike many ultra-convertible laptops and hybrids, this one sports a fanless design, which translates into less system noise and better overall battery life.
Just like the premium and pricier Lenovo Yoga, the ZenBook UX features a 360-degree hinge that easily folds back all the way to transform the clamshell laptop shape into a tablet. Plus, the hinge can pause along the way, meaning that the device can stand in a table tent shape, giving you access to the 13.3-inch, 1,920×1,080 FHD display, while the keyboard is conveniently hidden from view. Its body is made of aluminum with concentric circle design on the design lid.
The Asus ZenBook Flip UX360CA is based on a 6th generation Intel Core M3-6Y30 CPU, with two Skylake cores, 8GB system memory, ninth-generation of Intel’s integrated graphics (HD 515, Gen 9) and SpeedShift technology that enhances turbo mode when multitasking. The processor is tweaked to run in ‘cTDP Up’ mode, which gives the machine a power push to 7W for an increase in base and turbo mode frequencies; which is a similar feature in the MacBook line. The Core M processor are fanless, so we don’t expect any machine noise during use.
For storage, you have a 512GB Solid State Drive (SSD), which is way better than the 128GB SSD in the HP Pavilion 13-s128nr x360, an Intel Core-i5 powered convertible laptop. The SSD storage suffices for faster boot times and snappy performance unlike the traditional-spinning hard drives found in most entry level laptops, but we’re glad that SSDs are becoming a new standard for ultrabooks and mid-high-end laptops.
Like most of the convertible-hybrid laptops we’ve seen, the ZenBook Flip UX360CA relies on integrated Intel HD Graphics 515 graphics card, which is more than enough for browsing the Web and streaming media, but struggles when dealing with 3D gaming. If you need a gaming rig, a 2-in-1 may not be a perfect fit, perhaps you can check out the conventional gaming rigs such as the Acer Aspire V15 Nitro with its 16GB memory, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M gaming card combined with 1TB (5400 rpm) hard drive for storage and a further 256 GB Solid-State Drive. Predictably, the ZenBook Flip UX360CA not only stays clear of its direct competitor the HP Pavilion 13-s128nr x360 but also other convertible hybrids, like the Dell XPS 12, which boasts an Intel Core i7 instead of a Core M processor.
The FHD touchscreen is, perhaps, the Flip UX360CA’s most appealing aspects, especially when put side-by-side with its direct competition. The 13.3-inch laptop comes with a FHD touch screen and has a 1,920-by-1,080 resolution set on Mineral Grey style. The FHD touch-sensitive display panel is very responsive and boasts of 72% NTSC and full sRGB color gamut, which means that photos and films show more accurate colors.
That said, the system has a non-backlit keyboard with chiclet-style keys, which is quite unforgivable for an otherwise superb ultraportable. We expected a backlit keyboard, but if you can do without, then its isn’t much of a deal breaker since the machine does score well in overall performance.
Since it uses a fanless design, we are looking at better battery life; the 3-cell 54 WH battery can give you anything close to 12 hours before you can plug it to a power outlet. This adds up as a big plus to such a decent system, since most competitors offer a maximum of 6-8 hours of battery life.
You get the same generous set of ports as on the Asus Flip UX360CA. Here you have a 3.5mm connector for headsets, two 1.6 W speakers, an array of microphones, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, one USB 3.0 (5 Gbps) Type-C port (with quick-charging capability for smartphones), one SDXC card reader, a 720p webcam, one micro-HDMI output and 1.6 watt speakers. Internet connectivity comes in way of dual-band 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth 4.1.
The Bottom Line
By combining some of the best features and leveraging on a sleek design from Asus’ ZenBook line, the ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA (DBM2T) delivers the power and features to get real work done while remaining ideal for travel and carrying around the office or job site. It’s roughly as fast as the ASUS ZenBook UX305UA, but bumps up from a plain look into a 360- degree hinge convertible design without adding noticeable weight or any cost. Because of its business-ready feature set, streamlined design, the ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA replaces the HP Pavilion 13-s128nr x360 as our top pick for 2-in-1 convertible-hybrid laptops.