Asus ZenBook Flip 13 Review: Intel 11th-gen Is Looking Good!
Updated: Aug 20, 2021
It took a bit of time, but we finally got our hands on Intel’s new 11th-gen processors, codenamed Tiger Lake. This is the Asus ZenBook Flip 13 and it’s packing the new Intel Core i7-1165G7.
Now I’m excited, but I have to say that this is slightly different.
But before we get into that, I do want to talk about the laptop itself and I do have to say that it’s been quite some time since I really do like a ZenBook design.
It has a really minimalistic design, and I also quite like this colour. But more so than that, it’s the little details that have been really refined, like the edges of the frame, the slight groove on the keyboard deck, the tapered silhouette, the slightly compressed keyboard to allow for more space for your wrist to rest on, so on and so forth. Now you might say it’s pretty much like past ZenBooks, but I feel that those little details do really make a difference especially if this is going to be your daily driver.
For the display, you do get a couple of options. The first being a standard 1080P IPS panel, which we have, or a 1080P OLED panel. The IPS panel is honestly great, giving you good colour reproduction, covering 100% sRGB, and gets reasonably bright at about 350 nits. It’ll do you well for any kind of video content, or just general browsing.
Now, of course, the OLED is going to be better, but it will cost you quite a bit more. But if you’re more into creative work like photo or video editing, perhaps that’s a worthwhile investment as that panel covers 100% DCI-P3.
Up top, you do get your standard webcam. It’s not the best, but it’s not the worst either. It’ll work fine for conference calls and the likes.
My only gripe thus far would be the size of the bezels, or specifically, the chin, which I feel can still be slightly slimmer. Though if you’re using this as a tablet, it’s not too bad. Which of course, if you’ve yet to notice, you can do so, for it is a Flip. Asus does also provide a pen, should you want to get into some sketching action. But I do have to mention that there is an advantage as a side-effect of that chin, which is about the keyboard.
Because of the slightly taller chin, it means the physical size of the laptop is longer on the vertical axis. This means you get slightly more space on the keyboard deck and coupled with the slightly compressed keyboard on that same axis, it makes for a much better typing experience in my opinion. The keys themselves feel great as well, and you do get white backlighting. I have no qualms with the keyboard, and I would say that it’s almost as great as my Surface Laptop.
Moving down, we get the trackpad, which is a little elongated as well. Like the keyboard, I have no qualms about it. It’s of a good size, it tracks well, and does also feature the touch numpad which might be useful for some of you out there.
Next, we have ports, and this is where I have my second gripe with this laptop. You get a standard USB 3.2 port on the right, along with the power button, while on the left, you get a couple of Thunderbolt 4 ports and full-sized HDMI.
Now Thunderbolt 4 is definitely a welcome, and it opens up a variety of accessories you can get to further enhance your experience with this laptop.
My issue is that there isn’t a 3.5mm headphone jack.
There’s more than enough space for a 3.5mm headphone jack, and I do feel that that’s the bare minimum. Now, I know that Bluetooth is all the rage nowadays, and Asus does provide a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter but if Apple can still put the headphone jack on their Macbooks, this has no excuse.
But anyway, we now come to the performance, and this is where things get dicey but interesting.
To start off, as mentioned, the CPU in this laptop is slightly different from most.
Now back when Intel first announced the 11th-gen processors, they showcased quite a number of benchmarks in creative, synthetic and gaming workloads, and they claimed superior performance compared to the AMD Ryzen 7 4800U.
But you have to take note that those benchmarks shown, have the Intel chip configured at 28-watt. This particular Core i7-1165G7, however, is configured for 15-watt. So with that in mind, on to the benchmarks!
In Cinebench R20, the Tiger Lake chip scored 1719 on the Multi-thread run, and 503 on the Single-thread run. In comparison to the previous Ice Lake chip on the XPS 13, it’s almost a 20% or so improvement across the board, and both of them are configured at the same 15-watt TDP. Now, in comparison to the AMD Ryzen 7 4800U however, it’s quite a bit different.
The Ryzen 7 basically smashes the Tiger Lake chip out of the water when it comes to Multi-threaded performance. Not to be surprised at all, given it has twice the cores and threads, but here, we see Intel taking back the single-thread crown, proving that they are once again king when it comes to lightly threaded workloads.
In Resolve, the Tiger Lake chip manages to render the 1080p edit in about 45 minutes, while the 4K edit took about an hour and 15 minutes. In comparison to the Ice Lake chip, it is a slight improvement.
When it comes to Ryzen, however, things aren’t looking as great, with the Ryzen 7 4800U basically leaving the Core i7-1165G7 in the dust.
But here’s the takeaway, this particular Core i7 on the Flip 13 is only configured for 15-watt TDP, while the Ryzen 7 I tested was configured for 25-watt TDP. So it’s not exactly a fair comparison in that sense. But if you’re taking a look at the previous Ice Lake Core i7 and compare the results with the Tiger Lake, then I would say that there’s definitely an improvement.
But one of the biggest features which Intel boasted with 11th-gen is the new IRIS XE graphics, so how does this stack up in terms of gaming?
As you can see from the graph, you can pretty much expect very playable frame rates for games like CS:GO. If you’re more into graphically intensive eSports titles like Apex or PUBG, you might want to drop both resolution and graphics down a tad to achieve much better frame rates. As for AAA titles, I would say it’ll depend on the game, but I’ll simply steer away from most.
And for those of you out there who’re into Genshin Impact, you can expect a 30 fps experience.
Now if you were to compare to the Ryzen 7 which I tested before, the frame rates on average are just slightly worse, about 10% across the board. I would say that these results are then kind of great because as mentioned, you need to take into the account the configured TDP for the chips.
Even as we delve into thermals, the laptop keeps that Intel CPU relatively cool, hovering in the mid-70s at most, for both creative and gaming workloads, and the fan doesn’t spin all that loud as well, which is a plus.
I do however have to mention that this performance that I’m getting does not come right out of the box. For one, I had to update the BIOS, and two, you actually have to change the fan profile to Performance via the MyAsus app. By default, it’s on Standard, and while it doesn’t limit the TDP, it does limit the clock speed and fan speed. As an example, here’s a result of Cinebench R20 when I ran it out of the box, and yes, it isn’t ideal at all.
So if you’re looking at this laptop, I would suggest making sure to change this setting, to make the most out of it.
In terms of battery life, you needn’t worry, as you can easily get over 8 hours on a single charge with standard usage.
In any case, this has been a slightly more in-depth look into the Flip 13 with the new Tiger Lake chip. As I’ve mentioned, this is just the 15-watt variant and not the full-fledged 28-watt chip, but even so, I do feel that Tiger Lake is looking promising and I can’t wait to get my hands on a 28-watt version to fully test it out.
But anyway, no matter which camp you’re in, competition only serves to make things better for us consumers.
For more information about the Asus ZenBook Flip 13 (starting at S$1,698) or to support us, get it on Amazon here.