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Face Off: Asus Zenbook UX360UA vs. HP Spectre x360 13 vs. Vaio Z Flip

Flagship convertibles. These 13-inch 2-in-1s are thin and light enough to potentially replace both your existing laptop and tablet. The new Kaby Lake Spectre x360 13 is perhaps the strongest contender in the category yet.

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The first generation Lenovo Yoga convertibles weren't exactly the most ergonomic to use, but notebooks have become much thinner since then and are now more suitable for multi-mode designs. We compare the recently released Zenbook UX360UA with the older but still unique Vaio Z Flip and the newly redesigned Spectre x360 13 with ULV Kaby Lake options. These 2-in-1s retail for at least $1000 USD each and are some of the most versatile subnotebooks available for both work and multimedia. Only one, however, is a more solid recommendation than the others.

We encourage users to check out our dedicated review pages below for more data and detailed analyses of each of the three models. This comparison is by no means a replacement, but a condensed aid for those on the fence.

Asus Zenbook UX360UA
Asus Zenbook UX360UA
HP Spectre x360 13
HP Spectre x360 13
Vaio Z Flip
Vaio Z Flip

Case

These flagship convertibles certainly look the part with their aluminum surfaces, but there are noticeable differences between them in terms of quality. The base of the Asus is rigid and resistant to twisting while its hinges are very weak on certain angles even when compared to budget notebooks. The Vaio is the opposite due to its uncommon "flip" mechanic, so the thick display actually feels stronger than the base with less creaking and warping.

The new Spectre deserves praise as it is sturdy on all fronts while managing to be thinner and smaller than the Asus and Vaio. There are no prominent weak areas in its narrow bezel design with stronger hinges and a firmer base than on the Asus and Vaio, respectively. HP arguably offers the more well-rounded chassis that feels more comfortable when handling in both its tablet and notebook modes.

Our size comparison chart below also includes the older Skylake Spectre x360 13-4104ng in addition to the redesigned Kaby Lake x360 13-w023dx to illustrate the size and weight differences between the two.

Ports in Comparison

Asus Zenbook UX360UA
Asus Zenbook UX360UA
HP Spectre x360 13
HP Spectre x360 13
Vaio Z Flip
Vaio Z Flip

Connectivity

The Spectre x360 13 stands out the most as it is the only one with Thunderbolt 3 ports and no HDMI or even an SD reader. The Thunderbolt port is very versatile, but owners will have to rely on optional adapters since the HP carries almost nothing else. The Vaio has more USB Type-A ports than the HP and it ships with an active stylus as well, but the lack of any USB Type-C ports will eventually be an inconvenience as smartphones are beginning to drop Micro-USB in favor of the reversible alternative. Asus' Zenbook is the middle-ground with HDMI, SD card reader, and a standard USB Type-C Gen. 1 port.

Users who frequently use these convertibles in tablet mode will appreciate that the Asus and HP each have volume rockers on the edge for easier volume control.

Ports and Connections

Zenbook UX360UA Spectre x360 13 Vaio Z Flip
USB 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C Gen. 1 1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 3.1 Type-C + Thunderbolt 3 2x USB 3.0
Video-out 1x HDMI 2x USB 3.1 Type-C + Thunderbolt 3 1x HDMI
Audio 3.5 mm combo audio jack 3.5 mm combo audio jack 3.5 mm combo audio jack
Other SD reader None SD reader, Active stylus
Storage Bays 1x M.2 2280 1x M.2 2280 1x M.2 2280

Input Devices

The typing experience varies only slightly between the notebooks. We find the keyboard on the Asus to be roomy for such a small screen size, but its spongy feedback and loud clatter will take getting used to. The HP and Vaio keyboards are comfortable in terms of size as well with quieter keys than on the Asus, though feedback is still on the soft side when compared to the AccuType keyboards on newer Lenovo systems.

The integrated clickpad on the Asus showed issues during our time with the test model. Surfaces around the edges would not always respond reliably to simple cursor movements and the pressure point on the integrated mouse clicks can feel soft. Meanwhile, the clickpads on the HP and Vaio are comparatively easier to use with no issues regarding responsiveness or glide. The integrated mouse keys on both are shallow with firm auditory clicks when pressed while the extra-wide surface area of the HP clickpad makes it more comfortable to use than on the other two.

Though minor, it's worth noting that the keyboard backlight on the HP glows more unevenly and provides only one level of lighting compared to multiple settings on the Asus and Vaio.

Asus Zenbook UX360UA
Asus Zenbook UX360UA
HP Spectre x360 13
HP Spectre x360 13
Vaio Z Flip
Vaio Z Flip

Display

Brightness and contrast are even more important on convertibles compared to your standard notebook. The glossy panels here are fortunately of high quality with wide gamuts and edge-to-edge glass protection. The Vaio display is slightly better than on the Asus and HP due to its brighter backlight, higher resolution, and marginally deeper colors. While the 1440p resolution results in sharper texts and images, some applications will inevitably run into scaling issues when compared to 1080p panels.

The latest Kaby Lake Spectre x360 13 is currently shipping without 1440p resolution options compared to the outgoing Skylake Spectre x360 13-4104ng. We've included the 1080p Skylake SKU in our comparison table below to show that there are no significant color, contrast, or brightness differences between the two.

It's worth noting that pulse-width modulation was only detected on our Zenbook UX360UA and not on the HP or Vaio. Users sensitive to onscreen flickering may want to avoid using the Asus notebook on lower brightness levels to reduce the chances of eyestrain.

Asus Zenbook UX360UA
Asus Zenbook UX360UA
HP Spectre x360 13
HP Spectre x360 13
Vaio Z Flip
Vaio Z Flip
Displays at a Glance

Zenbook UX360UA Spectre x360 13-w023dx Vaio Z Flip Spectre x360 13-4104ng
Size 13.3-inch IPS 13.3-inch IPS 13.3-inch IPS 13.3-inch IPS
Native Resolution 1920 x 1080 1920 x 1080 2560 x 1440 2560 x 1440
Pixel Density 166 PPI 166 PPI 221 PPI 221 PPI
Panel ID AU Optronics AOU272D / B133HAN02.7 Chi Mei CMN1367 VVX13T043N00 / MEI96AA2 LG Philips LGD0000

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Asus Zenbook UX360UA-C4159THP Spectre x360 13-w023dxSony Vaio Z FlipHP Spectre x360 13-4104ng
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
29 (11, 18)
33.2 (16, 17.2)
38.4 (14.8, 23.6)
24 (11, 36)
Response Time Black / White *
19 (7, 12)
28 (5.6, 22.4)
26.4 (6.8, 19.6)
19 (10, 28)
PWM Frequency
50 (40)
Screen
Brightness middle
344
334.6
355.2
324
Brightness
326
319
354
324
Brightness Distribution
86
90
89
90
Black Level *
0.27
0.336
0.285
0.34
Contrast
1274
996
1246
953
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.53
6.21
9.56
4.36
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
10.01
12
12.81
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
6.67
7.71
4.08
4.62
Gamma
2.43 91%
2.36 93%
2.33 94%
2.18 101%
CCT
7012 93%
6458 101%
6560 99%
6857 95%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
60
58.6
64.3
60
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
93
90
97.1
93
Total Average (Program / Settings)

* ... smaller is better

Asus Zenbook UX360UA color profile
Asus Zenbook UX360UA color profile
HP Spectre x360 13
HP Spectre x360 13
Vaio Z Flip
Vaio Z Flip
Asus Zenbook UX360UA
Asus Zenbook UX360UA
HP Spectre x360 13
HP Spectre x360 13
Vaio Z Flip
Vaio Z Flip

Performance

CPU Performance

Asus, HP, and Vaio offer multiple CPU options for their respective notebooks. Our comparisons below reflect only the configurations we have on hand.

CineBench benchmarks show minimal CPU performance differences between the older Skylake i7-6500U and the newer Kaby Lake i7-7500U in the Asus and HP, respectively. Meanwhile, the uncommon i7-6567U in the Vaio is about 15 percent faster in both single- and multi-threaded workloads. A main reason for its stronger performance is the higher TDP ceiling of almost twice that of the i7-6500U and i7-7500U for higher core clocks and Turbo Boost potential. On the flip side, this has implications on core temperatures, fan noise, and battery life as well.

As for serviceability, all three systems have limited expansion options outside of their M.2 SSDs and are not meant to be dismantled by the end-user. Processor and RAM modules are soldered as expected on these 2-in-1 notebooks.

See our dedicated CPU pages on the Core i7-6500U, i7-7500U, and i7-6567U for more benchmarks and comparisons.

Hardware at a Glance

Zenbook UX360UA Spectre x360 13 Vaio Z Flip
CPU 2.5 GHz Core i7-6500U 2.7 GHz Core i7-7500U 3.3 GHz Core i7-6567U
TDP 15 W 15 W 28 W
RAM 8 GB DDR3, Dual-Channel, soldered 16 GB DDR3, Dual-Channel, soldered 8 GB LPDDR3, Dual-Channel, soldered
GPU HD Graphics 520 HD Graphics 620 Iris Graphics 550
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX360UA-C4159T
123 Points ∼56%
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
126 Points ∼58%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
142 Points ∼65%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX360UA-C4159T
317 Points ∼7%
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
314 Points ∼7%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
364 Points ∼8%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
1.66 Points ∼68%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
1.63 Points ∼67%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
3.46 Points ∼13%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
4.02 Points ∼15%
wPrime 2.0x
1024m (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
485.231 s * ∼6%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
419.422 s * ∼5%
32m (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
15.065 s * ∼3%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
13.333 s * ∼3%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - --- (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
572.169 Seconds * ∼3%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
584.876 Seconds * ∼3%
3DMark
Fire Strike Extreme Physics (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
4811 Points ∼18%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
5583 Points ∼21%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Physics (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
4975 Points ∼18%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
5773 Points ∼21%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Physics (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX360UA-C4159T
3035 Points ∼8%
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
3366 Points ∼9%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
3985 Points ∼10%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
47276 Points ∼55%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
46247 Points ∼54%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Physics (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
38294 Points ∼46%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
47567 Points ∼57%
PCMark 7
System Storage (sort by value)
Sony Vaio Z Flip
4020 Points ∼56%
Computation (sort by value)
Sony Vaio Z Flip
17737 Points ∼63%
Creativity (sort by value)
Sony Vaio Z Flip
8247 Points ∼58%
Entertainment (sort by value)
Sony Vaio Z Flip
4412 Points ∼41%
Productivity (sort by value)
Sony Vaio Z Flip
4616 Points ∼42%
Lightweight (sort by value)
Sony Vaio Z Flip
4461 Points ∼61%
Score (sort by value)
Sony Vaio Z Flip
5449 Points ∼63%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX360UA-C4159T
4315 Points ∼66%
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
4910 Points ∼75%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
4432 Points ∼68%
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
4699 Points ∼49%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
4321 Points ∼45%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX360UA-C4159T
3435 Points ∼56%
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
3795 Points ∼62%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
3424 Points ∼56%
X264 HD Benchmark 4.0
Pass 2 (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
20.57 fps ∼14%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
24.1 fps ∼17%
Pass 1 (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
110.1 fps ∼41%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
128.8 fps ∼48%

* ... smaller is better

Asus Zenbook UX360UA
Asus Zenbook UX360UA
HP Spectre x360 13
HP Spectre x360 13
Vaio Z Flip (Source: Vaio)
Vaio Z Flip (Source: Vaio)

GPU Performance

We've shown in our review of the Spectre x360 13 that its Kaby Lake CPU is slightly slower than our reference MSI CX72 with the same i7-7500U processor and this extends to its graphics performance as well. Despite having the new HD Graphics 620 GPU, the older HD Graphics 520 in the Zenbook UX360UA is nearly as fast with a difference of just a few percentage points according to 3DMark and Bioshock Infinite benchmarks.

The Iris Graphics 550 in the Vaio is notably faster than both the Asus and HP by at least 30 percent according to 3DMark Ice Storm. Real-world performance in games may be even better, though raw performance is still not good enough for 1080p gaming on most modern titles.

See our dedicated GPU pages on the HD Graphics 520, HD Graphics 620, and Iris Graphics 550 for more technical information and benchmark comparisons.

3DMark
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX360UA-C4159T
7917 Points ∼4%
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
7969 Points ∼4%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
12986 Points ∼7%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX360UA-C4159T
78501 Points ∼10%
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
71887 Points ∼10%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
102468 Points ∼14%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX360UA-C4159T
1489 Points ∼3%
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
1560 Points ∼3%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
2646 Points ∼5%
Cinebench R15 - OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
43.81 fps ∼18%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
66.74 fps ∼27%
BioShock Infinite
1366x768 High Preset (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX360UA-C4159T
24.5 fps ∼7%
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
26.1 fps ∼8%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
43.4 fps ∼13%
1366x768 Medium Preset (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX360UA-C4159T
29.2 fps ∼8%
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
30.6 fps ∼8%
Sony Vaio Z Flip
51.4 fps ∼14%

Stress Test

We run both Prime95 and FurMark to simulate maximum stress and to test system stability. These unrealistic conditions do not represent daily workloads and are instead meant to put both the CPU and GPU at 100 percent capacity.

Throttling occurs more heavily on the Kaby Lake HP system than on the Skylake CPUs on the Asus and Vaio. The Vaio stabilizes at the higher CPU clock rate of 1.6 GHz while the Asus stabilizes at a higher GPU clock rate of 850 MHz. Meanwhile, core temperatures are significantly warmer on the on Vaio by 20 C or more when under heavy stress compared to its two competitors.

Asus Zenbook UX360UA
Asus Zenbook UX360UA
HP Spectre x360 13
HP Spectre x360 13
Vaio Z Flip
Vaio Z Flip
CPU and GPU Clock Rates Under Stress

Zenbook UX360UA Spectre x360 13 Vaio Z Flip
Processor Core i7-6500U Core i7-7500U Core i7-6567U
Rated GPU Core Clock (MHz) 300 - 1050 300 - 1050 1097
Stable GPU Core Clock on FurMark (MHz) 850 598 798
Rated CPU Core Clock (GHz) 2.5 2.7 3.3
Stable CPU Core Clock on Prime95 (GHz) 1.4 1.0 1.6
Average CPU temperature 60 C 67 C 87 C
Asus Zenbook UX360UA
Asus Zenbook UX360UA
HP Spectre x360 13
HP Spectre x360 13
Vaio Z Flip
Vaio Z Flip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emissions & Energy

System Noise & Temperature

Fan noise is silent or very close to it when idling on all three systems. The Asus and HP behave similarly when under heavier loads with the HP running just slightly louder and closer to the 40 dB(A) mark. The much more powerful Vaio is not only the loudest of the three when under stress, but it's also one of the loudest convertible Ultrabooks available. This is somewhat disappointing as the Z Flip is thicker than both the Asus and HP with warmer processor temperatures as shown in our stress test section above.

Surface temperatures are generally flat on the three systems when idling with the Vaio notebook being slightly warmer towards the rear. When under heavy load, the Asus notebook is the coolest by far at just over 38 C on its warmest spot compared to 48 C and 47 C on the HP and Vaio, respectively. Hot spots are concentrated above the first row of keys on the keyboards of the Asus and HP where fingers and palms are less likely to touch. The hot spot on the Vaio, however, is closer to the center of the keyboard for a warmer typing experience as shown by our temperature maps below.

Asus Zenbook UX360UA
Asus Zenbook UX360UA
HP Spectre x360 13
HP Spectre x360 13
Vaio Z Flip
Vaio Z Flip
Asus Zenbook UX360UA-C4159THP Spectre x360 13-w023dxSony Vaio Z Flip
Noise
off / environment *
30.5
29.1
29.1
Idle Minimum *
30.5
29.1
29.1
Idle Average *
32.1
29.1
29.1
Idle Maximum *
32.3
31.2
29.1
Load Average *
36.1
37.3
46.6
Load Maximum *
36.1
39.6
53.5

* ... smaller is better

Power Consumption

The three systems draw about the same wattage when idling on desktop. Differences begin to show when the notebooks are put under processing stress with the HP becoming slightly more demanding than the Asus under similar loads and the Vaio outpacing both by as much as 10 Watts or more.

Asus Zenbook UX360UA-C4159THP Spectre x360 13-w023dxSony Vaio Z Flip
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *
6.9
5.5
3.7
Idle Average *
7.9
6.7
6.9
Idle Maximum *
8.3
7.1
8
Load Average *
30.1
33.1
41.3
Load Maximum *
29.6
35.2
42.6

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

The Vaio convertible may have the largest battery capacity, but runtimes are still about two hours shorter than both the HP and Asus when under similar WLAN loads. Users can expect about 9 hours of real-world use out of the HP and Asus compared to about 7.5 hours on the Vaio. Both the higher resolution display and more powerful CPU can be to blame for the shorter runtimes and higher power consumption of the Z Flip.

Asus Zenbook UX360UA-C4159T
65 Wh
HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx
73 Wh
Sony Vaio Z Flip
94 Wh
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
1165
1233
949
WiFi v1.3
581
558
451
Load
169
121
159

Verdict

It may not be the quietest or fastest of the bunch, but its quality, superior ergonomics, and small size shouldn't be understated.
It may not be the quietest or fastest of the bunch, but its quality, superior ergonomics, and small size shouldn't be understated.

Is one convertible objectively better than the other? Performance-wise, the Vaio Z Flip carries the faster and more demanding processor and Iris GPU. The HP disappoints here because its Kaby Lake CPU is not significantly faster than the Skylake Zenbook UX360UA and is even slower than our reference i7-7500U due to its weaker Turbo Boost. The more powerful Vaio comes with notable costs, however, including shorter runtimes, louder fan noise, warmer temperatures, and a thicker chassis than both the Asus and HP.

The new Spectre x360 13 still comes out ahead for everyday use and travel with more docking options from having multiple Thunderbolt 3 ports. Its smaller dimensions make tablet mode feel more natural without sacrificing build quality or keyboard size, which are major challenges for any convertible. The Asus and Vaio don't offer significant enough advantages and often come out behind when it comes to chassis quality or keyboard comfort. Nonetheless, the lack of any HDMI ports or an integrated SD reader on the HP Spectre can be a deal breaker to some.

Asus Zenbook UX360UAHP Spectre x360 13Vaio Z Flip

+ Slightly lighter in weight

+ USB Type-C Gen. 1, HDMI, and SD reader

+ Cooler running temperatures

+ Quieter fan noise

+ More power efficient

+ Longer battery life

+ Smaller and thinner

+ More well-rounded in terms of chassis quality

+ Dual Thunderbolt 3 ports

+ Wider clickpad

+ Stronger lid

+ Active stylus included

+ Touchscreen is slightly brighter with wider color gamut

+ Faster CPU and much faster integrated GPU

- Weaker hinges

- No Thunderbolt 3

- Keys clatter more loudly; softer key feedback

- PWM on dimmer brightness levels

- No HDMI or SD reader

- More uneven keyboard backlight

- No QHD display options

- Almost no performance benefits when compared to the i7-6500U

- Heavier CPU and GPU throttling when under extreme loads

- Base more susceptible to creaking

- No Thunderbolt 3 or USB Type-C

- Less accurate colors without calibration

- Warmer running temperatures

- Hot spot is closer to the center of the keyboard

- Higher power consumption

- Louder fan noise when under load

- Shorter battery life

Asus Zenbook UX360UA

Pricecompare

HP Spectre x360 13

Pricecompare

Vaio Z Flip

Pricecompare

See more quick comparisons in our Face Off series:

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Face Off: Asus Zenbook UX360UA vs. HP Spectre x360 13 vs. Vaio Z Flip
Allen Ngo, 2016-10-31 (Update: 2018-05-15)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.