I Bought an Asus Vivobook Flip 14 2-in-1 Convertible 2-in-1 Tablet

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I don’t know how exciting this is. The Asus Vivobook Flip 14 is not a bleeding-edge piece of hardware. It is definitely not one of the nicest 2-in-1 ultrabooks, but the price was just too good for me to pass it up.

Costco had the maxed out version of the Vivobook with a Ryzen 7 5700U, 16 GB of RAM, and a 1 TB NVMe for $600. That was $100 less than the Vivobook Flips on Amazon with half the RAM and half the storage, and a good bit less than other brands and models with an 8-core Ryzen chip.

I didn’t expect to buy this laptop

I post good deals every day on the Butter, What?! Discord server, and this looked like a good deal. I’ve been saying that I should keep lugging my giant gaming laptop around until there’s a good deal on a 6000-series Ryzen 2-in-1, but nobody has even released one of those yet. I imagine it will be a long time before I’ll see a good discount on something like that!

NOTE: That’s the Asus Flip 14 sitting in its temporary home to left of my two monitors.

Since I don’t have a membership, Costco charged me a $30 fee. After the fee, shipping, and taxes, my Vivobook Flip 14 cost me $692.78. I was expecting to use my American Express card to extend the 2-year warranty to 3 years, but Costco doesn’t accept the card. I was however surprised find a card in the box that explained that registering the warranty with Asus would provide me with a year of accidental damage protection. That was a nice bonus!

I’ve been wanting a nice 2-in-1 for a years

I’ve had my little 12” Chuwi tablet six years. It was a really nifty, and really inexpensive device. It has the same beautiful 2160x1440 screen as the Microsoft Surface Pro from the same year, and sitting on the couch surfing Reddit on a tablet like that was delightful.

The trouble with the Chuwi Hi12 was its slow Atom Z8350 with barely enough RAM to run a web browser. It was just enough to tease me with how awesome a giant tablet would be, but it was slow enough to be miserable to use for most tasks.

What am I giving up here by saving money?

I skimmed through some reviews, and the worst thing that everyone seemed to agree on was that the Asus Vivobook Flip feels like a cheap, plastic laptop. That is kind of what I expected to hear, and I am OK with this. The Asus isn’t a super thin wedge like the 13” Dell or HP 2-in-1 models, but it seems to be pretty well made for a block of cheap plastic.

I didn’t need reviews to tell me the disappointing things about this laptop. They are all right on the spec sheet.

The screen is only 250 nits. That’s the same brightness as my old Acer gaming laptop, and I know I have to switch Emacs from solarized-dark to solarized-light to be able to use it at a picnic table. I have a lot of thoughts on this, but I think they should wait until after I’ve put some miles on the machine.

I don’t know why, but this Asus convertible laptop doesn’t charge via USB-C. It has a port, but it doesn’t support USB-PD. I assume this means it doesn’t support video output via USB-C. The Vivobook Flip 14 is quite a few years newer than my Acer VX15, so I can’t imagine what their excuse is here.

The weather hasn’t yet permitted me to take the Asus on a field trip to the park, but the screen is plenty bright enough around the house at about 30% brightness.

The Vivobook has an HDMI port, but it is only version 1.4. That means it can support 1080p60 or 4k30. That would be a real bummer if I ever expected to dock this thing.

I am mostly OK with this. It is very likely that I will plug this tablet into a TV to play some FPV simulators like Liftoff and Velocidrone. I may never plug it into a monitor.

None of these limitations are things that make me want to spend hundreds of dollars more to circumvent. The super premium Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Titanium Yoga has comparable hardware under the hood, but it has better build quality and one of the brightest screens available in a 2-in-1. It costs somewhere around $1,600 to $1,800.

There was a deal on a 13” Ryzen 5700U Lenovo Yoga 6 convertible while my new laptop was in transit. This particular Lenovo has a 20% brighter screen, charges via USB-C, and the video output is the USB-C port, but it also had half as much storage. This may have been the better value, but I’m not going to nitpick.

This convertible isn’t my primary workstation

This will be the device I grab when I ride my electric unicycle to the park. I’ll use it to scroll through Twitter and Reddit on the couch.

It is going to be a handy device, and it is going to make my life easier and more enjoyable, but this most definitely does not have to be the ultimate convertible laptop for me to get a ton of mileage out of it.

I think the Asus Vivobook Flip 14 is going to get the job done just fine.

Will it run Linux?

I’m sure it can boot Linux, but that’s not really what I’ve been wondering. Will Linux have support for the accelerometer? Would something like Ubuntu and Gnome know how to flip the screen to the correct orientation when I rotate the device? Does any of the touch-screen support work well on Linux?!

I have no idea, though Reddit seems to think I might do OK right out of the box with Ubuntu and Gnome!

My plan is to attempt to use Windows. I want to treat the Vivobook like I treat my Android devices. It is just going to be an appliance with a web browser, Emacs, Davinci Resolve, and a stack of games.

We will see how that goes. I don’t have a whole lot to complain about so far.

14” probably isn’t too big for tablet, but 16:9 is really tall!

I have only been using the Vivobook Flip for two days. The first thing I noticed is how ridiculously tall it is when I prop it up on my lap in portrait orientation, and it hasn’t gotten any less ridiculous!

My Chuwi Hi12 has a 3:2 aspect ratio. That seems more appropriate for a big tablet, but I imagine LCD panels like that are rare. You’ll probably get a better deal when the manufacturer can just pick a common 16:9 panel off the shelf!

How is the battery life?

I don’t really know what counts as good battery life, and I certainly haven’t done any exhaustive testing. I’ve just messed around with the brightness, looked at the estimated battery life meter, and did math. The numbers in the next paragraph are very rough estimates.

With the brightness cranked to the max, I should be able to surf sites like Reddit, Hacker News, or Twitter for nearly 6 hours or watch YouTube for a little more than 3 hours. It looks like I can get an extra hour of YouTube by turning the brightness down to about 30%, which is a comfortable indoor brightness.

I am under the impression that I could increase these numbers quite a lot by using a different browser. It looks like Edge might give me more like 5 to 6 hours of YouTube or Netflix playback at full brightness.

That is a pretty big difference, so it might be worth using Edge to watch YouTube and Netflix when I know that I will have to spend an entire day away from power. Using Firefox is more comfortable for me, because that’s what I am already using everywhere else. All my bookmarks, add-ons, tabs, and history are already in sync!

NOTE: I am going to need to revisit all those Firefox numbers. Setting gfx.webrender.all to true seems to have put it on par with Edge for video playback battery efficiency.

It has been nearly 20 years since I bought a laptop that runs all day on battery. It’ll be nice having one again. It looks like I could eke out more than 9 hours of Emacs in the kitchen at 70% brightness!

How do you carry this thing?

I have a simple AmazonBasics 11.6” shoulder bag. I actually like it a lot! It only cost me $11, and it actually holds quite a lot of stuff for such a small bag. I know it says 11.6” on the label, but I’m pretty sure it just barely fits most 13” ultrabooks just fine, and it very nearly fits my 14” Vivobook.

I wound up ordering the 14” version of the same bag. It is only about an inch wider and taller than my old bag, so it really shouldn’t seem much bigger, but it feels so much bigger! The 11.6” bag seems like a purse. The 14” bag looks and feels like comically sized version of a laptop bag I would have carried 20 years ago.

I do wish my new laptop fit in the smaller bag. Both the 11.6” and 14” bags can easily hold a charger, an assortment of tools, connectors, and cables, and I can even squeeze the Nintendo Switch in there. It is good that I can actually close the zipper on the 14” bag, and I can also squeeze more gear in if need be.

If I really need to take more a ton of gear with me, I have larger backpacks. If I am traveling, I can even squeeze the entire AmazonBasics 14” shoulder bag into my old Targus laptop backpack.

I can of course just walk out of the house with just the bare laptop!

Conclusion (for now!)

I am quite pleased with my purchase of the Asus Vivobook Flip 14. I am reading Hacker News while sitting in a comfy chair. I can carry my laptop to the park on my electric unicycle without having to ride with a 12-pound bookbag on my back. I have a mobile OBS recording studio, and I can even finish this blog post while roasting coffee in the kitchen.

Sure, I could manage many of these things with my heavy old laptop, but almost everything is an improvement with the new hardware!

What do you think? Are you using an Asus 2-in-1 convertible laptop? Are you using a different 2-in-1? Do you think I should have splurged on a higher-end laptop? Do you agree with me that every laptop should have a 360-degree flip-around screen in 2022? Let me know in the comments, or stop by the *Butter, What?! Discord server to chat with me about it!