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Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED review: Light and capable

Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED review: Light and capable

Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED

The Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED is one of the best ultra-portable laptops you can buy now. It's thin and light, with an excellent OLED touchscreen. Performance and battery life are superb, thanks to a capable AMD processor. Perhaps the only downside is that you may need to carry a dongle or two, seeing as this notebook has only three USB-C ports.

Quick specs

  • 13.3-inch 2,880 x 1,800-pixel OLED touchscreen
  • AMD Ryzen 7 6800U processor with 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD
  • 3x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, headphone jack
  • 1.1kg

Weighing around 1.1kg, this Zenbook is very handy. And despite being under 15mm thick, the laptop's magnesium-aluminium alloy chassis feels solid. There's no flex while typing, and the lid, which can be opened to 180 degrees, doesn't twist or wobble much under pressure. Asus says that the Zenbook has been tested to meet the MIL-STD 810H military standard for reliability and durability. I also like that the ventilation grilles are on the left side instead of the rear. This means that warm exhaust doesn't come out through the back and up, warming the keyboard and the display.

Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

Despite the slim chassis, the keyboard actually offers a good amount of key travel. It doesn't feel cramped, and there are useful shortcut keys for functions like taking a screenshot, and disabling the webcam (there's no physical camera shutter). This 720p webcam isn't the best. You'll need good lighting, else images end up looking very noisy. Conveniently built into the power button is the fingerprint sensor. The Zenbook comes with Asus NumberPad 2.0, which lets you — with a tap — enable a numeric keypad overlay on the relatively wide touchpad. The laptop's three USB-C ports support charging, and 4K display output. And yes, there's a headphone jack. But the lack of HDMI or USB-A ports mean you may have to carry a dongle around. A microSD card slot would have been handy, too.

Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

The 13.3-inch OLED touchscreen looks crisp and vibrant. Its 16:10 aspect ratio is ideal for productivity, though the Zenbook also excels at streaming Netflix videos. This is thanks to its Dolby Vision-compatible display, which can produce up to 550 nits of brightness. Its Dolby Atmos speakers do a decent job of creating a more immersive sound, but can sound hollow at higher volumes. What I did like is that the Zenbook runs cool and quiet for everyday computing tasks. However, the bottom of the laptop heats up significantly in more demanding tasks like gaming. Yes, this AMD-powered laptop can run casual games like Hades at over 150fps at its native 2,880 x 1,800-pixel resolution. In PCMark 10, the Zenbook's Ryzen 7 6800U processor scored 6,255 compared to the Asus Zenbook 14 OLED (5,519), which has the latest Core i7-1260P chip.

With an uptime of 10hr 24min in our video playback test at maximum brightness the Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED will easily last you a normal work day. At S$2,098 on the Asus Store, the Zenbook is also reasonably priced compared to premium ultrabooks or business laptops. HP's new and similarly lightweight Elite Dragonfly G3, for example, starts from S$3,029, albeit with more business-friendly features. Alternatively, if you prefer not to carry a dongle, the Asus Zenbook 14 OLED (S$1,899) is a fairly close substitute. You'll miss out on the touchscreen, while the performance and the battery life are not quite as good.

See Also
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Note: Review unit provided by Asus.

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