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Digital Trends reviews the Asus Zenbook 14 OLED, which offers affordable OLED technology


Asus Zenbook 14 OLED front view showing display and keyboard deck.

Asus Zenbook 14 OLED review: outstanding screen, outrageous value

MSRP $700.00

“The Asus Zenbook 14 OLED isn't just a killer laptop for the money -- it's a killer laptop.”

Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Competent productivity performance
  • Great battery life
  • Comfortable keyboard and NumberPad 2.0 touchpad
  • Solid build and attractive aesthetic
  • Outstanding OLED display

Cons

  • Creative performance is lacking

As a reader, I sometimes get pretty far into a laptop review before I see the price. I’m not often surprised, though, because I’ve written enough reviews to have a sense of a laptop’s likely price range. But the newest Asus Zenbook 14 OLED threw me for a loop with its starting price of $700 for a device with a high-res OLED display on board.

Contents

    That’s a phenomenal price when you get one of the best display technologies going. Yes, the entry-level configuration is relatively low-end, but for just $170 more, you can get higher-end components. That’s still an OLED-equipped machine with a solid build, good looks, and decent productivity performance for well under $1,000. Impressive.

    Specs and configurations

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      Asus Zenbook 14 OLED
    Dimensions 12.34 inches x 8.68 inches x 0.67 inches
    Weight 3.06 pounds
    Processor AMD Ryzen 5 7530U
    AMD Ryzen 7 7730U
    Graphics AMD Radeon graphics
    RAM 8GB
    16GB
    Display 14.0-inch 16:10 2.8K (2,880 x 1,800) OLED, 90Hz
    Storage 256GB SSD
    512GB SSD
    Touch Yes
    Ports 2 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
    1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
    1 x HDMI 2.0
    1 x 3.5mm audio jack
    1 x microSD card reader
    Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
    Webcam 1080p
    Operating system Windows 11
    Battery 75 watt-hours
    Price $700+

    Asus sells two versions of the ZenBook 14 OLED. There’s my review unit, which costs $700 for an AMD Ryzen 5 7530U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 14.0-inch 2.8K OLED panel running at 90Hz. Or for $870, you get an AMD Ryzen 7 7730U, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and the same gorgeous display. I recommend that you go for the latter model, which will provide faster performance and twice the RAM and storage for not a lot more money. Both configurations are bargains, though.

    A better-than-budget design

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    Asus ZenBook 14 OLED front angled view showing display and keyboard deck.
    Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

    Minimalist designs have come to dominate laptops over the last several years. There’s just not a lot of bling on modern machines, and to my eyes, that’s a good thing. There’s no reason to embellish a laptop with a bunch of unnecessary accents. The Zenbook 14 OLED follows that philosophy with just a few accents to stand out. Its lines are sleek, its logos are subtle, and the only thing that truly sets the aesthetic apart is a rounded hinge that looks great from the side. Asus has pretty much abandoned the once-iconic concentric circles on the lid, and the Zenbook 14 OLED has a solid black chassis that looks great.

    It’s also built fairly well, with an all-aluminum alloy chassis that resists flexing on the bottom and the keyboard deck. The display is a little bendable if you exert enough force, which makes it slightly less rigid than, say, the Dell XPS 13 Plus. But it’s also much less expensive, and indeed, it’s a quality build for the price.

    The ZenBook 14 OLED’s display bezels aren’t the smallest around, but it still manages to be nicely sized. It’s just 0.67 inches thick and weighs a reasonable 3.06 pounds. It’s not the thinnest or lightest 14-inch laptop, but it remains quite portable.

    Asus Zenbook 14 OLED top down view showing keyboard and touchpad.
    Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

    You’ll love the keyboard, which has large keycaps and great key spacing. The switches are light and snappy, with maybe just a tiny bit of feedback separating them from the best Windows keyboards on Dell’s XPS line and HP’s Spectre machines. It also can’t match the absolute best, Apple’s Magic Keyboard on its latest MacBooks, but it’s not going to slow you down. The touchpad is large and has confident button clicks that are just a little loud. Asus incorporated its NumberPad 2.0 technology into the touchpad, which reveals an LED numeric keypad with the touch of a button. If you enter a lot of numbers, then you’ll appreciate it, and if you don’t, then it doesn’t get in the way. But it’s another nice feature to have at such an attractive price.

    There are a lot of ports, with a mix of USB-C and more legacy connections like USB-A and HDMI. The microSD card reader is welcome, although a full-size reader is always preferable. And its wireless connectivity is up to date. Its one weakness is the lack of Thunderbolt 4, but that’s a limitation of the AMD chipset.

    The webcam is 1080p and provides a quality image. The Zenbook 14 OLED doesn’t have an infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello via facial recognition, but the fingerprint reader built into the power button works well.

    Low-power CPU limited to productivity work

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    Asus Zenbook 14 OLED rear view showing lid and logo.
    Mark Coppock/Digital Trends / .

    My review unit featured one of AMD’s low-power CPUs, the 6-core/12-thread Ryzen 5 7530U running at 15 watts and up to 4.5GHz. It’s the first laptop we’ve tested with this processor, and it compares well against the Intel Core i7-1355U, a 15-watt chip with 10 cores (two Performance at 5GHz and eight Efficient at 3.7GHz) and 12 threads. As usual, Intel’s single-core performance was better, while AMD’s multi-core prowess took the lead. The Zenbook also performed well against the Apple MacBook Air M2 in CPU-intensive benchmarks, although the MacBook was faster in creative benchmarks where the GPU is involved.

    The Zenbook 14 OLED isn’t the speediest laptop around, but it will handle demanding productivity tasks. Its Radeon graphics scored particularly poorly in the 3DMark Time Spy test at just 1,221 (1,226 in performance mode), so it’s certainly not a gaming machine.

    Geekbench 5
    (single / multi)
    Handbrake
    (seconds)
    Cinebench R23
    (single / multi)
    PCMark 10
    Complete
    Asus Zenbook 14 OLED
    (Ryzen 5 7530U)
    Bal: 1,457 / 7,527
    Perf: 1,458 / 8,207
    Bal: 123
    Perf: 121
    Bal: 1,457 / 7,527
    Perf: 1,458 / 8,207
    5,817
    HP Dragonfly Pro
    (Ryzen 7 7736U)
    Bal: 1,530 / 11,158
    Perf: N/A
    Bal: 84
    Perf: N/A
    Bal: 1,530 / 11,158
    Perf: N/A
    6,059
    Lenovo Yoga Book 9i
    (Core i7-1355U)
    Bal: 1,797 / 6,926
    Perf: 1,804 / 7,815
    Bal: 181
    Perf: 118
    Bal: 1,681 / 6,303
    Perf: 1,758 / 7,576
    5,514
    Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED 2023
    (Core i7-1355U)
    Bal: 1,829 / 6,893
    Perf: 1,836 / 6,908
    Bal: 157
    Perf: 135
    Bal: 1,629 / 6,005
    Perf: 1,827 / 6,962
    5,423
    Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8
    (Core i7-1360P)
    Bal: 1,843 / 8,814
    Perf: 1,835 / 10,008
    Bal: 122
    Perf: 101
    Bal: 1,846 / 8,779
    Perf: 1,906 / 9,849
    6,102
    Apple MacBook Air M2
    (M2)
    Bal: 1,925 / 8,973
    Perf: N/A
    Bal: 151
    Perf: N/A
    Bal: 1,600 / 7,938
    Perf: N/A
    N/A

    Choosing a low-power CPU wouldn’t be a very smart choice if it didn’t offer great battery life. Fortunately, the Zenbook 14 OLED does just that. The large 75 watt-hour battery doesn’t hurt, I’m sure.

    Asus Zenbook 14 OLED side view showing ports and display.
    Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

    In our battery tests, the Zenbook did quite well against its low-power Intel alternatives. It couldn’t keep up with the class-leading longevity of the Apple Macbook Air M2, but it came closer than most. The much more expensive HP Dragonfly Pro with a low-power AMD Ryzen 7 CPU and IPS display also lasted longer in two of our tests.

    The Zenbook 14 OLED is likely to last a full day of work as long as you don’t push things too hard.

    Web browsing Video PCMark 10 Applications
    Asus Zenbook 14 OLED
    (Ryzen 5 7530U)
    12 hours, 13 minutes 17 hours, 19 minutes 14 hours, 23 minutes
    Lenovo Yoga Book 9i
    (Core i7-1355U)
    8 hours, 53 minutes 9 hours, 53 minutes 11 hours, 20 minutes
    Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED 2023
    (Core i7-1355U)
    9 hours, 47 minutes 15 hours, 14 minutes 12 hours, 50 minutes
    Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8
    (Core i7-1360P)
    7 hours, 41 minutes 13 hours, 25 minutes 9 hours, 40 minutes
    HP Dragonfly Pro
    (Ryzen 7 7736U)
    14 hours, 40 minutes 15 hours, 57 minutes 16 hours, 31 minutes
    Apple MacBook Air M2
    (Apple M2)
    17 hours, 59 minutes 21 hours, 9 minutes N/A

    An excellent, if not class-leading, OLED display

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    Asus Zenbook 14 OLED front view showing display.
    Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

    The Zenbook 14 OLED’s display looks excellent out of the box, with bright colors that aren’t oversaturated and the usual OLED inky blacks. That’s true of all OLED displays we’ve tested.

    According to my colorimeter, the panel is very good, but it’s not the best OLED display we’ve tested. It’s bright enough at 369 nits, but the OLED display on the Acer Swift Go 14, for example, hit 523 nits. Colors were wide at 100% of sRGB, 96% of AdobeRGB, and 100% of DCI-P3, but accuracy was just good at a DeltaE of 1.44. Many OLED displays are under 1.0 (which is where the human eye can’t tell the difference). Finally, its contrast came in at 25,660:1, which is around average for an OLED display and thus vastly superior to IPS displays.

    The isn’t just a great display for the money, it’s a great display, period. It will please productivity users, creators, and media consumers alike, the latter thanks to its VESA DisplayHDR 500-True Black high dynamic range (HDR) support. HDR content looks great, although not as great as the extremely bright mini-LED displays on Apple’s MacBook Pro machines.

    There’s not much better for less than $1,000

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    If you’re looking to spend less than $1,000 on a laptop and aren’t looking for a bargain-basement machine, then I’m not sure you’ll find a better laptop than the Zenbook 14 OLED. It’s fast enough for most users, has excellent battery life, is well-built with a great keyboard and touchpad, and its OLED display is excellent.

    In fact, you can spend hundreds more on a laptop and not get a better machine. The Zenbook 14 OLD is a true bargain, and it should be on everyone’s shortlist unless you need a lot more power.

    Editors' Recommendations

    Sources


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