ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 TP401 review – laptop… tablet… you decide

ASUS is a strong player in the 2-in-1 game. Aimed at artsy people and creators, 2-in-1 devices are getting a lot of attention recently. Ever since all the big manufacturers like HP, Lenovo, Acer, Dell, and ASUS, of course, found out that there is a high demand in this segment, the battle began. The version of VivoBook Flip 14 TP401 we’re going to review today is more budget oriented. It is equipped with the mobile Intel Core m3-7Y30 chip, which consists of two physical and four logical cores working at a base frequency of 1.00 GHz and being able to pump up to 2.60 GHz when boosted. The respective GPU here is Intel HD Graphics 615. When talking about Core m3 we should note that it’s an ultra-low voltage chip. Using this CPU, provides the option of excluding the fan, making the VivoBook Flip 14 completely silent. This promises a good battery life but that also depends on optimization.

Memory-wise the device is set up with 4 GB of LPDDR3 RAM, running at 1866 MHz. The storage here is 128 GB of eMMC. None of the said above though is a major selling point of the computer. Those types of devices focus on their screens. The VivoBook Flip 14 TP401 we have with us today is equipped with a 1366 x 768p screen with a TN panel (16:9 ratio). Of course, the display is touch sensitive and sports an adaptive stylus and Windows Ink support.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: http://laptopmedia.com/series/asus-vivobook-flip-14-tp401/

Contents


Specs Sheet

The current specs sheet is for this particular model and configurations may differ depending on your region.

ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 TP401C technical specifications table

Acer
Not available
Display
14.0”, HD (1366 x 768), TN
HDD/SSD
128GB eMMC
RAM
4GB LPDDR3, 1866MHz
Dimensions
327 x 226 x 15.4 mm (12.87" x 8.90" x 0.61")
Weight
1.50 kg (3.3 lbs)
Ports and connectivity
  • 1x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
  • 1x USB MicroUSB 3.0 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • HDMI
  • VGA
  • DVI
  • Card reader SD
  • Ethernet lan
  • Audio jack headphone/microphone
Features
  • Web camera
  • Microphone
  • Speakers

Retail package

Unboxing a VivoBook Flip 14 is a bit more compelling than that of a conventional laptop. The ordinary cardboard box that meets us at first hides interesting stuff inside. First, of course – the boring manuals, then we have a tiny, tiny charger.

Recently we showed you the charging device of the Acer Swift 3 (SF315-41) and we shared with you that it’s almost the size of an iPad charger… well this one is even smaller. Obviously, the most important thing here is the VivoBook Flip 14 itself, as always put in a small white bag. Lastly, in a small cardboard package, we found the dedicated stylus that comes with the 2-in-1. It has its battery pre-charged so you can start using it right away.


Design and construction

ASUS markets the VivoBook Flip 14 (TP401) with its hardware of a 14-inch device being fit inside of a 13-inch laptop body. The official dimensions are 12.9″ x 8.9″ x 0.6″ (32.7 cm x 22.6 cm x 1.52 cm), which is a slim form factor indeed. The device has some weight to it with its 3.3 lbs (1.5 kilos), evenly distributed between the screen part and the body part.

As every foldable computer, the hinges are a very intriguing part. At first sight, they look like ordinary hinges, but when you look at the details, there’s more to it. Actually, there are two moving parts in each of them – one connected to the screen, and one to the body, and that gives the impression that the middle piece is not moving. The whole device is made of anodized aluminum, looking kind of premium.

Lifting the lid of the device, we notice the hinges to be a little bit tight, but that is obviously for folding purposes. This reveals the good old keyboard plus touchpad configuration. That’s all. No fingerprint reader, no On/Off button. We like how simple and not overpopulated it looks. The keyboard itself is a bit mushy and we miss the num pad keys but nobody would expect to find them on a 14-inch device (in a 13-inch chassis, huh). The touchpad feels good but we have to note that buying this type of device means that you’re going to rely more on the touchscreen.

Speaking of the screen – it can be used in several positions. The most convenient ones for touchscreen input are the tent position and the tablet one since you’re going to get some shaky-shaky time if using the basic laptop form. The panel has a glass protection on top, and the touch sensor is well calibrated. We tried the provided stylus and found it pretty accurate, having good pressure sensitivity. ASUS has implemented the software well but that excludes unintended input when using the stylus – for example when you draw something, and your hand touches the screen. Unfortunately, we lack the artistic skills to take advantage of 100% of the device, so we leave this part to you. Tell us in the comments, if you ever tried the device, what do you think about the touch sensor and the stylus.

Next, we’ll take a look at the sides of the VivoBook Flip 14 (TP401), where we find some unusual peculiarities for a laptop. The speaker grills are found on both sides of this device. Also on the left, we can see the on/off button, and right next to it we have a volume rocker – pretty tablet-like. After that, we can see an SD card slot, and again something unusual – micro USB port. On the other side we see more common stuff – 3.5 mm jack, USB Type-C 3.1 connector, as well as a micro HDMI port, and the DC jack. That pretty much sums up the design part of our review. There are no ventilation grills anywhere to be found on the VivoBook Flip 14, which could result in hotter thermals, despite the mobile chipset used in the device.


Display quality

The Display of ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 TP401 has a touchscreen TN panel with а model number BOE NT140WHM-N44. The diagonal measures 14.0 inches and the resolution is 1366 x 768 pixels. This gives a pixel density of 112 ppi, and a pitch of 0.23 x 0.23 mm, making the display “Retina” (the distance from which the eye can’t distinguish the pixels) when viewed from a distance of minimum 80 cm – which is not very good for a 14-inch device.

ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 TP401 has uncomfortable viewing angles. The images provided below shows the picture viewed from the most common angles.

We measured a maximum brightness of 219 cd/m2 in the center of the screen and 208 cd/m2 average for the whole surface and a maximum deviation of 14%. Because of the glossy finish, the display will be too dim if used outside with a direct sunlight. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and maximum brightness is 6340K, which is pretty close to the optimal 6500K – not bad! However, the average temperature of the grey scale goes above 10000K – cold, bluish light (corrected by our profiles).
In the image below we can see the dE2000 values (they shouldn’t go above 4.0) of the screen with brightness adjusted to 140 cd/m2 (White level = 143 cd/m2, Black level = 0.48 cd/m2). That gives a mediocre contrast ratio of 300:1 (290:1 after calibration)

Next, we look at the sRGB gamut coverage of the display of ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 TP401. The human color reproduction limitations are represented by the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram, which gives you an idea of the color accuracy of the screen. Inside the dark-grey triangle, we find the standard colors, used in digital television and the Internet – rec. 709/sRGB.

The colors in the sRGB gamut are used practically everywhere by millions of people and the accurate representation is of key importance for the quality of a display.

We have also included the Adobe RGB color gamut, used in professional photography, as well as the gamut used by the world-known movie studios – (DCI-P3), and the one used by UHD-digital television (Rec. 2020), which at this stage is pretty difficult to adapt from the modern day displays. The black line gives us the Pointer Gamut, which represents the visible for the human eye refracted colors.

The yellow dotted line, on the other hand, shows us the coverage of the ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 TP401’s display. It covers 49% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE 1976 – it will show no more than half of the colors available in the web space.

Our Design and Gaming profile is created at 140 cd/m2 luminance, illuminant white point – D65 and sRGB gamut.

Next, we tested the display via 24 colors, including the most common colors, distinguished by the human eye, some of which are dark and light human skin, blue sky, grassy green, and orange. On the image below you can compare the results of ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 TP401 in default settings (on the left), and with “Gaming and Web design” profile installed (on the right).

On the next chart, we can see the display’s capabilities of comfortable gaming and movie watching. Precisely we are looking at the darkest parts of the screen.

The left side represents the default settings of the display, and the right one shows us the “Gaming and Web design” profile in action. Vertically we have the screen brightness, and horizontally the level of gray. VivoBook Flip 14 TP401 has a well-calibrated display in this aspect.

The first five levels of Grey (1%-5% White) are demonstrated by the five squares in the bottom part of the chart. Whether you can see it or not, depends on the display on which you’re reading this article right now, its calibration, your vision, the ambient light, and the viewing angle.


Response time (Gaming capabilities)

Attention gamers – this part is for you. The diagram below illustrates the response time of the pixels going from White to Black and then backwards, brightness levels from 10% to 90% and vice versa. We calculated Fall Time + Rise Time = 17 ms.


PWM (Screen flickering)

The PWM adjustment of the brightness from the backlight of an LCD monitor is the alternation of periods of emitting and not emitting light, as well as changing the bright-dark ratio. This is straining the eyes and the brain, especially when the frequency is below 300 Hz. You can find out more about PWM in our dedicated article.

The only occasion when the screen of ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 TP401 doesn’t use PWM is when the brightness is set to maximum level.

Blue light emissions

Installing of our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SPD) graph.

Conclusion

The display of ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 TP401 is touchscreen, which is probably its one and only positive. Its limited viewing angles don’t combine very well with the 360° flipable screen concept because the display can be looked comfortably at only when standing directly in front of it. In other words, we would suggest upgrading to the more expensive Full HD screen, even though some of the problems are fixed by our profiles.

Buy our display profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 TP401 configurations with 14″ BOE NT140WHM-N44 (HD, 1368 x 768) TN screen: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 TP401 offers a very crisp stereo sound from its side-mounted speakers, which are clear in the whole frequency range.


Software

ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 comes with pre-installed Windows Home (64-bit) edition, and as said above – Windows Ink support, for use with active styluses. In case you need to reinstall your computer, you can find the necessary drivers on the official website of the manufacturer: https://www.asus.com/2-in-1-PCs/ASUS-VivoBook-Flip-14-TP401CA/HelpDesk_Download/

Battery

As usual, the battery tests were run with Windows power saving setting and Wi-Fi turned on, as well as screen brightness adjusted to 120 cd/m2.

The 39 Wh battery is enough for 9 hours of web surfing time which is impressive. The numbers go down when we have some graphics processing involved – Video playback time is almost 6 hours, which is neither bad nor impressive, given the mobile chipset. As said above, this is definitely not a gaming laptop but if you want to have some fun, you’ll get a little bit over 3 hours of gaming experience on the VivoBook Flip 14 TP401 which is a pretty long game session only on battery reserves.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.

Dell Inspiron 13 7359 43Wh, Li-Ion, 3-cell

We use F1 2017’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.

Dell Inspiron 13 7359 43Wh, Li-Ion, 3-cell

CPU – Intel Core m3-7Y30

The Intel Core m3-7Y30 chip is a two core/four thread SoC implementation, and the most budget oriented from all of the ultra low powered Core m line up. It ticks at 1.00 GHz base clock speeds and can go up to 2.60 GHz on demand with the Turbo Boost technology. It can be found in all kinds of portable devices like light laptops, 2-in-1’s and some tablets. Its main advantage is the very low power demand of 7 W for the entire package, which includes the GPU.

Speaking of GPU, the Core m3-7Y30 is equipped with an HD Graphics 615 video controller, which has a base frequency of 300 MHz and a maximum one of 900 MHz. It also supports 4K video output. The chip also supports up to 16 GB of LPDDR3/DDR3L memory with maximum clock speeds of 1866 MHz and 1600 MHz respectively.

You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/


GPU – Intel HD Graphics 615

Intel’s HD Graphics 615 is a low-end integrated graphics unit found in Y-series Kaby Lake processors. It incorporates 24 EUs (Execution Units) like all GT2 units and can be clocked at up to 1050 MHz while the base frequency is 300 MHz. With these specs, the chip is integrated into KBL-Y processors rated at 4.5W TDP, including the memory controller.

Since the iGPU is using the same architecture as before, the most noticeable feature would be the full hardware acceleration of the H.265/HEVC Main10 and Google’s VP9 codecs. With this, Intel aims to improve the overall energy efficiency and performance of the iGPU.

You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/

ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 (TP401) GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 (TP401) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 (TP401) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.

Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)


Storage performance

Next, we’ll show you the performance of the storage device found in ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 TP401. Here we have a non-removable eMMC 128 GB drive. The Write speeds we saw here were nothing impressive with a maximum of 78 MB/s. However, the Read speeds of the mobile device made up for the poor writing result – around 300 MB/s, which is close to some of the cheap SATA SSD devices.


Gaming tests

We should note that ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 TP401 is strictly not a gaming computer but if you are, let’s say, a CS:GO enthusiast, you can play at very low settings and resolution, without noticing considerable lag, until someone throws a smoke grenade at you…

cs-go-benchmarks

CS:GO HD 768p, Low (Check settings) HD 768p, Medium (Check settings) HD 768p, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS 38 fps 22 fps – fps
Min FPS 6 fps 3 fps – fps

DOTA 2 HD 768p, Low HD 768p, Medium HD 768p, High
Average FPS 33 fps – fps – fps

Temperatures

The temperature tests go this way. We use Prime95 and FurMark to torture the CPU and the GPU respectively. This won’t give a realistic representation of the real-world load but with our methodology we try to give you the most optimal results.

The first values from the test are from the 30th second of running the Prime95 stress test, which simulates a heavy task run on your computer (usually lighter tasks take from a fraction of a second up to a couple of seconds). Next, we take the ones from the 2nd-minute mark which imitates a very heavy task run on the CPU. The last values we give you are the ones from the end of the test which is 15 minutes, simulating the load of the CPU when it renders a video, for example.

30 min. GPU torture test

The VivoBook Flip 14 TP401 graphics card was running idle at 39°C. Here is the moment to say that the base frequency of the Intel Core m3-7Y30 is 1.00 GHz, and it tops out at 2.6 GHz. Also, it’s worth noting that this device has a passive cooling (meaning it lacks a fan that drives the heat out of it). For the first 30 seconds of our test, we got some pretty impressive results from a fanless solution. An average of 2008 MHz for both cores, and what actually caught our eye is that it maintained 2.4 GHz for the first 13-14 seconds, which guarantees that during your daily work you won’t notice any thermal throttling. However, the temps did go up quite high – up to 84°C when the throttling came upon us, resulting in a temperature drop to the high 70’s, giving an average for this 30-second episode of 73.4°C.

Cores frequency (0 – 0:30 sec.)
CPU Temperature (0 – 0:30 sec.)

Going further into the test, we see that the frequency starts to fluctuate between 1.7-1.8 GHz, giving an average for the 2-minute checkpoint of 1792 MHz. The temperatures also rose a little to 72.5°C but that gives us a lower average of 71.5°C because of the peak at the beginning.

Cores frequency (0 – 2:00 min.)
CPU Temperature (0 – 2:00 min.)

The next and final results of our temperature test are at the end – the 15th-minute mark. Here we observed that the frequency dropped a little more to around 1.6 GHz, thus giving us an average for the whole test of 1683 MHz for both cores. Additionally, the temperature retained its values around the 74-77°C mark, resulting in an average of 75°C for the test. Once more we have to say that those results are great, given the passive cooling which means that the chassis of the VivoBook Flip 14 TP401 spreads the heat more than well for its purposes.

Cores frequency (0 – 15:00 min.)
CPU Temperature (0 – 15:00 min.)

On the image below you can see the exterior temperatures of the VivoBook Flip 14 TP401 at the end of the torture test. The middle top part of the device (right above the keyboard) is the hottest place of the computer with 43.2°C which sounds a lot, however, keep in mind that the purpose of the chassis with a fanless design is to dissipate the heat through the body. The keyboard got a little warm but nothing scary, and the palm rest didn’t heat up at all.

33.6°C
43.2°C
36.6°C
27.8°C
34.0°C
32.1°C
24.1°C
25.5°C
25.3°C

Verdict

The couple of days we spent with the ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 TP401 left us with mixed emotions. To capture the 2-in-1 market, ASUS definitely needs to make no mistakes. They have huge competition in the face of HP’s Envy 15 x360 series, Acer’s Spin devices, and even the Inspiron 5379, provided by Dell, as well as the Flex 5 series by Lenovo. Even at the low budget end of the sphere, the competition is real, and every mistake will be penalized. All in all, we liked the VivoBook Flip 14 TP401 – it has a great battery life, especially if you’re going to use it for web browsing and looking for girlfriends on the Internet. Another thing we actually like is the one that defines the device as 2-in-1 – its versatility – nice touch sensor, good hinge design, and stylus which comes with it really serves the purpose. Also, the tiny Core m3-7Y30 won’t let you down at any time.

Although having a lot of merits, there are some downsides worth noting as they could even be a dealbreaker for some. First and foremost – the screen. Even if we close our eyes for the relatively low resolution resulting in a pixel density of just 112 ppi, we can’t skip the poor viewing angles, color accuracy (fixed by our profiles), and less than 50% of sRGB coverage. A screen like that just won’t do the job for a creator who buys this computer for the artistic opportunities it gives you. We don’t really want to hate it, nor can we lie to you. Other than that, there are a few things that are not of such importance. As said earlier, the keyboard is a bit mushy and it doesn’t have a backlight but you can get used to that, and to be honest, if you are going to use the device in tablet mode most of the time you won’t even notice the lack of the latter. Also, there are no USB Type-A ports which are still the most common type of interface but a little cheap dongle can fix that.

And to end this review on a good note – we really loved the design and the cold feel that aluminum body gives, and not only that but also the very good thermal effectiveness that the chassis provides. Props to ASUS for that.

Now the ball is in your hands. Tell us in the comments how you feel about this device. Have you bought it? Share some sketches you have made using the VivoBook Flip 14 TP401.

Pros

  • Cool aluminum design
  • Good stylus usability
  • Stereo speakers of excellent quality
  • Decent mobile CPU
  • 9 hours of Web surfing battery life
  • Very good thermals for a passively cooled laptop


Cons

  • Mediocre screen, not appropriate for a 360° concept
  • Lack of a keyboard backlight
  • Lack of the still most common USB Type-A port
  • Mushy keyboard

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storm rider
storm rider
4 years ago

Thanks for the review. Can I upgrade the ssd and ram or is it soldered on.

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