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Asus Zenbook 14 OLED review: Premium laptop with no compromises

The Asus Zenbook 14 OLED is more than capable to handle your daily workload thanks to its strong battery life, powerful specifications and a standout display

The Asus Zenbook 14 OLED starts at  <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>99,990 and goes up to  <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>1,09,990
The Asus Zenbook 14 OLED starts at 99,990 and goes up to 1,09,990 (Asus)

The days and weeks after CES (formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show) and Mobile World Congress (MWC) are filled with laptop launches worldwide. Thin and light laptops – running Windows, delivering ample battery life, and offering good RAM and storage options – are the flavor of the season for the early months of the year.

Taiwanese company Asus has introduced a mighty clamshell laptop hoping to steal all the eyeballs – the Asus Zenbook 14 OLED. Powered by the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H with 16 cores (which includes dedicated dual NPU cores for AI workloads), the laptop comes with 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. The vibrant OLED display is the highlight here: a 14-inch (2880x1800 resolution and 16:10 aspect ratio) touchscreen OLED display with 120Hz dynamic refresh rate and 500 nits of peak brightness.

The Zenbook 14 OLED has a mighty impressive spec sheet. But can it live up to the tall claims the company makes? Let’s find out.

Gorgeous OLED display

Let’s start where the laptop peaks: the OLED display. It’s colour-accurate, delivers great black levels, and gets plenty bright for outdoor usage. It is a 3.2K OLED panel, and that may be overkill. I found it to be extremely sharp and vivid. I was watching the trailer for Dune: Part Two and Blade Runner 2049 on the laptop. The colours were vibrant and lifelike and some of the night scenes were clear and crisp. I didn’t notice any pixelation. There’s also an option for a 14-inch 1080p OLED display but I wouldn’t recommend that.

The ultra-glossy nature of the display didn’t sit well with me. Some of the reflections, especially when consuming media, get a little annoying. This was particularly evident during dark scenes. I would still rate the display as one of the best in the business. Asus has made it a point to put an OLED display on as many of its laptops as it can and that’s impressive.

Average port selection

The Zenbook 14 OLED features a decent array of ports. There’s a single USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, a 3.5mm audio combo jack, a full-size HDMI 2.1, and two Thunderbolt 4 ports (which support display and power delivery).

Keyboard and trackpad

The keyboard on the Zenbook 14 OLED was decent, but nothing spectacular. It’s a full-sized chiclet keyboard with backlit keys and 1.4mm of travel. What I liked most were the full-sized ‘Shift’ keys on both sides. A lot of keyboards these days omit these. The key travel was good but the feedback from wasn’t sufficient. The keys felt kind of mushy. Taking the typing test, I routinely got above 100 words per minute.

The touchpad, on the other hand, was spacious and offered good feedback. There were no accidental palm touches. Asus could have moved to a haptic touchpad, but perhaps that’s a feature for future models.

The OLED display is colour-accurate, delivers great black levels, and gets plenty bright for outdoor usage.
The OLED display is colour-accurate, delivers great black levels, and gets plenty bright for outdoor usage. (Asus)

Performance and battery life

Thanks to Intel’s new Core Ultra processors, the Zenbook 14 OLED feels faster than ever. But that isn’t saying much as its predecessor was also mighty fast. Still, Intel's Core Ultra 7 155H CPU does offer performance gains and it's noticeable mostly while gaming, thanks to the new Intel Arc integrated GPU. Yes, you can’t play games like Far Cry 3 on this laptop, but casual games like Limbo will see a massive boost.

In daily usage, I did notice a slight speed bump, especially when using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. There was no lag or stutter. The laptop did get warm, and the fans did kick in, but it was neither too warm nor too loud to be a dealbreaker.

The Harmon Kardon speakers on the Zenbook 14 OLED were nothing to write home about. The quad speakers on the HP Spectre x360 14 that I just reviewed were much louder and crisper

The area I was most impressed with was battery life. The Zenbook 14 OLED comes with a 75Wh battery. While Asus claims a bold 15 hours of battery life on this laptop, it isn’t as crazy as some other manufacturers out there. With a medium-to-heavy usage pattern, I managed to get over 11 hours of battery life on a full charge. Yes, it was nowhere near to the 15 hours of battery life claimed, but above 11 hours is much better than most laptops from 2023. The laptop can be charged in just 70 minutes.

The 1080p webcam is good, but a notch below what was on the HP Spectre x360. It has good colour reproduction and retains plenty of details. The IR webcam allows for logging in with Windows Hello, which is helpful since there is no fingerprint reader.

Verdict

The Asus Zenbook 14 OLED unleashes a new breed of laptops. It’s got Intel’s Core Ultra chipset (along with new Intel Arc integrated graphics), a chic design, a great OLED display, and finely balanced performance. It’s premium through and through. There’s no compromise on performance or battery life here. It’s a power-packed device with very few downsides.

But the reflections from the OLED display can get annoying, and the keyboard-touchpad combo could have been better. Still, with a Core Ultra 7, 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, the Zenbook 14 OLED is a powerhouse.

The Zenbook 14 OLED starts at 99,990 and goes up to 1,09,990. It is a solid option to handle your daily workload, as long as you don’t try to push it to its limits more often than not.

Sahil Bhalla is a Delhi-based journalist. He posts @IMSahilBhalla.

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