Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S review: the screen is no dream

Asus' Vivobook 14 Flip S reads well on paper, but can't deliver in the real world where it matters. We explain why in our review...

Asus Vivobook Flip 14 S review
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

The Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S is a portable mid-price hybrid laptop with good specs and unusually strong speakers. However, its screen is poor in a couple of important areas, battery life isn’t great among its AMD peers, and it doesn’t perform as well as laptops with the same internals.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Loud speakers, good sound quality

  • +

    Solid specs for the money

  • +

    Has a 1080p webcam

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Disappointing gaming performance for its chipset

  • -

    The battery won’t quite last a full day of work

  • -

    Poor colour reproduction

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The Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S is a laptop for greedy buyers. It packs a lot in for its asking price. It's a hybrid, has a powerful processor, is still fairly slim and lightweight, offers more connections than some of the glossiest models, and even has a touchpad that turns into a Numpad at the touch of a virtual button. 

That's a lot of stuff, some of which you don't always see at the price. However, a few of the core parts aren't perfect. This Vivobook's display colour is really quite bad, way below expectations. And it's a shame the laptop has a 5-series AMD Ryzen processor rather than the newer 6-series type. This is no doubt a cost consideration, but the latest generation is much better for gaming, sharing GPU tech with the Steam Deck.

Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S: Price & Availability

Asus Vivobook Flip 14 S review

(Image credit: Future)

The Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S is available right now, although it's pretty tricky to locate at the time of writing. You'll most find it on Asus' website directly in the UK, but few retailers are actually stocking this flexible laptop. Retail price is expected to be around £800 in the UK.

Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S review: Design

Asus Vivobook Flip 14 S review

(Image credit: Future)

Asus makes a lot of ambitious and, at times, slightly bizarre laptops these days. The Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S has a relatively normal design, while having some of the "swiss army knife character" that sets Asus laptops apart in this mid-range category. 

It's a hybrid laptop with a 360-degree hinge. It is not the flashy kind you an open with a single finger but, to be honest, I'm glad it's not. One of the most annoying design traits of these hybrids is a screen hinge so floppy it gradually works its way open if you use the laptop on your knees. The Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S's hinge is stiff enough to avoid that. 

Okay, so the hybrid hinge is pretty common. But Asus has a special interest in making unusual touchpads. Some have full screens embedded, and can be used as secondary monitors. The Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S doesn't go that far, but it does have a light-up Numpad, accessed by pressing the icon in the top-right corner.

I could take or leave the Numpad, but the Vivobook 14 S Flip's speakers are something of a highlight. While they sit in the usual locations under the front of the laptop, they are unusually loud and confident-sounding, and have the tiny smidge of lower-frequency output to give kick drums at least some weight. 

They are comparable with the speakers of a MacBook Air, just with less higher frequency sizzle. And for a Windows laptop at this price that’s a real result.

Asus has also gone big on anti-bacterial protection recently. It says the Vivobook’s top layer can inhibit bacterial growth by up to 99 per cent over a period of 24 hours, achieved through charged silver ions. This is not something I can test. And as Asus now puts this Antibacterial Guard layer into most of its Vivobook and Zenbook models, it’s far from unique. However, it’s good to know Asus is thinking about elements you can’t appreciate just by looking.

Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S review: Display

Asus Vivobook Flip 14 S review

(Image credit: Future)

This laptop has a 14-inch screen, as its name suggests, and it's a 16:10 aspect screen. These days this is considered preferable to the classic 16:9 widescreen shape, as it feels much more roomy in apps. 

The 1920 x 1200 resolution is perfectly solid, and the most you'll get from a laptop of this type, at this price. The general character of the screen surface is good. The glassy top layer gives it a glossy finish, making the most of what image pop the panel can muster. 

But that pop isn't so ho,  as the the Asus Vivobook 14 S Flip has among the weakest colour reproduction I've seen in laptop at this price. Tones that should be bold and vibrant look pastel-like and reserved. And while you do get used to a less saturated screen, that I see some of the same app icons on my phone and MacBook acts as a reminder every time I fire up this Asus. 

The strange thing is, Asus also currently pushes affordable laptops like no other brand. It makes some of the most colour-rich mid-range laptops you can get, and yet the Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S is one of the least bold-looking. 

It's bad news for gaming, too, and colour reproduction is poor enough to make photo editing or video editing a bust. I find it less distracting in movies, where an oversaturated red face is more obvious than undersaturation, but this Asus Vivobook is never going to do justice to a bright and punchy Pixar movie. 

Our particular Vivobook also suffers from pretty bad backlight bleed in a few spots. This is where you can see brighter areas of the screen, usually at the edges of the display. It becomes distracting when, say, you watch a movie in a darker room.

Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S review: Keyboard and touchpad

Asus Vivobook Flip 14 S review

(Image credit: Future)

I've already touched briefly on the Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S's touchpad, how it can turn into a light-up Numpad. However, the pad itself is otherwise unremarkable. 

It has a plastic surface, not a glass one, and the clicker doesn't feel velvety smooth or expensive. At this price you'll find some Lenovo Yoga series laptops that have textured glass pads and that, for many, is going to be more important than having a Numpad crammed inside the surface. 

The Asus Vivobook 14 Flip's keyboard is a bit more satisfying, thanks to the very pronounced feedback at the actuation point. It gives the keyboard a very clear, responsive feel. It has a bit more substance than some pricier models, and good 1.4mm travel. 

I’ve seen some other reports suggest it’s a bit too severe, but I disagree on this one. It’s a solid keyboard. 

Our particular review sample has a US layout, though, so check what your version will have before buying if that will bother you. Other than that, it has a good three-level white backlight. 

Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S review: Software & Performance

Asus Vivobook Flip 14 S review

(Image credit: Future)

The Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S is a good performer for most uses, but in 2022 it just isn't that interesting for us reviewers. Right now we have Intel 12th Gen laptops flying around, and Ryzen 6-series processors entering the stage. 

This one has the Ryzen 5 5600H processor, which launched way back at the beginning of 2021. But should people who aren't professional tech nerds actually care?

For productivity jobs the Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S absolutely still stacks up, and its multicore performance isn't far off that of the cutting-edge Intel Core i7-1260P. Were it not for the weak colour of the screen, you could certainly use this laptop as a decent little video editing work station - preferably at 1080p as 16GB RAM is the ideal minimum for working in 4K. This laptop has 8GB RAM and a 512GB SSD.  

The Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S is not the best pick for gaming, though, as its Vega 7 graphics perform badly compared to laptops with the same processor. And also significantly worse than laptops with Intel competitor CPUs, and their Intel Xe graphics. 

In 3D Mark's Time Spy, for example, the Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S only achieved half the points of a laptop with the Intel Core i7-1260P. And where both this generation and last-gen Intel rivals can run high-end game Control comfortably enough at 720p, at low settings, this Vivobook doesn't even get close. It crawls by with frame rates in the teens. 

At first I thought this might have been a driver or settings issue. But looking a little further it appears to be down to the power limit applied to the processor. This is likely needed because the Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S is pretty thin for a laptop with the Ryzen 5600H processor. It would have been more sensible for Asus to use a lower voltage “U” series chipset if that is the case, as it seems to affect the CPU side too, if to a lesser extent.  

Or perhaps Asus just wanted to keep the laptop quiet. It does need a fan, of course, unlike a MacBook Air, but Asus has managed to avoid obvious high-pitch whine even when the laptop is under strain for an extended period.  

Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S review: Battery Life

Asus Vivobook Flip 14 S review

(Image credit: Future)

AMD-powered laptops like the Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S are usually the go-to picks if you want ultra-long battery life for productivity work, but this one isn't really among that crowd. It has a 50Wh battery, a lot lower capacity than the 71Wh of the Lenovo Yoga 7i, for example. 

Pair a smaller battery with a moderately power-hungry processor and you're going to struggle to last a full day of work. The Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S lasted 8 hours 9 minutes in PC Mark's Modern Office benchmark, and 7 hours 41 minutes when streaming video from YouTube. 

Both of these tests are pretty light, and represent a best-case scenario when doing light work, so don't expect it to last quite a full eight hours if you're jumping around browsers with dozens of windows open. 

The Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S also uses a cylindrical charge adapter rather than the trendier USB-C. But there's a reason: most USB-C laptop adapters go up to 65W, this one is a 90W adapter. And if you'd rather use USB-C charging, you can. You’ll just have to supply the adapter. 

However, this will use up your one USB-C connector, which sits on the right side next to a USB-A and full-size HDMI video connector. On the other side you get another USB-A. There are no card slots here, and an extra USB-C would have been ideal, but it's not a bad array of connectors. 

The Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S also gets a 1080p webcam rather than a classic 720p one, like so many laptops riding this late 2022 wave. Manufacturers have finally caught up with the Zoom meeting trend, just as so many are settling back into working in an office. 

Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S review: Verdict

Asus Vivobook Flip 14 S review

(Image credit: Future)

The Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S is a moderately priced hybrid laptop with a 360-degree hinge, Asus's customary dual-purpose touchpad and a powerful processor. 

Highlights include some loud and confident-sounding speakers and a keyboard with a much snappier feel than most of the competition. 

A few parts are a little odd, though. The Asus Vivobook 14 Flip S's colour reproduction is poor, unusually so considering this is a hybrid lifestyle laptop. Asus chose to use a fairly low-capacity battery in this model, too, meaning it struggles to last through a full day of work, while gaming performance does not hold up well even next to laptops with the same processor. 

Also consider

Other hybrid options around the price include the HP Envy x360, the Lenovo Yoga 6 13, and Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1. 

All of these will offer better colour reproduction than the Asus, handy if you want to edit photos or play games. They all have lower-power processors than the Vivobook 14, but given this laptop doesn’t max out the potential of its chipset, this doesn’t matter too much either. 

Many of you will prefer the 16:10 aspect ratio of the Vivobook to the 16:9 of the Envy x360, but all of these laptops improve upon the biggest issues we have with the Asus.