Asus ZenBook 14X OLED Assessment: A Showstopping Show

Asus ZenBook 14X OLED

RRP $ 1,400.00

"The Asus ZenBook 14X OLED is a fantastic laptop with a spectacular display."

advantages

  • Spectacular OLED display

  • Solid build quality

  • Excellent keyboard

  • ScreenPad 2 adds some features

  • Competent productivity performance

disadvantage

  • Battery life is mediocre

  • A bit expensive

Asus relies on all-in for OLED laptops. The Asus ZenBook 13 OLED, which we named the best laptop under $ 1,000, unveiled the cheapest laptop with an OLED display that you could buy. There are two OLED displays in the ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED. And it even introduced the first detachable Windows tablet with an OLED display in the Vivobook 13 Slate OLED.

The company is even including OLED in the name of a laptop, underscoring what it thinks is essential. Such is the case with the ZenBook 14X OLED, a laptop that will launch in early 2022 with – you guessed it – a high-resolution OLED panel.

I tested the high-end version of the ZenBook 14X OLED for $ 1,400 with a Core i7-1165G7, 14-inch 16:10 OLED display, and Nvidia MX450 graphics. It's a superior addition to the ever-growing stall of premium 14-inch laptops, and its OLED display is undoubtedly a nice one. The smaller ZenBook 13 OLED still offers better value, but the higher resolution and improved performance of the 14-inch model make it a standout option beyond the screen too.

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Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The ZenBook 14X OLED has aesthetics that aren't as minimalistic as some other laptops I recently reviewed. First there is the usual Asus concentric circular vortex on the lid, which revolves around the silver Asus symbol that is typical of the ZenBook line.

Second, the angles on the ZenBook 14X OLED are more aggressive, especially along the bottom edge of the lid and the side and back edges of the case. Various other edges are chamfered for additional flair. The laptop comes in two colors, Lilac Mist (lavender) and Pine Gray (anthracite), and mine was the latter.

It's a sleek laptop that's more attractive than the Samsung Galaxy Book and Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro, for example, which both have the minimalist aesthetic I just mentioned. The ZenBook 14X OLED leans more towards the exotic design of the HP Specter x360 14 than the simpler sophistication of the Dell XPS 13, and it works well.

Asus is known for making solid laptops, and the ZenBook 14X OLED is no different. It is made of machined aluminum and shows no bends or bends in the lid, keyboard deck, or case base. It's built so solidly that the military certification tests Asus conducted seem redundant – the ZenBook 14X OLED is easily as rugged as the best out there, including the XPS 13 and Specter x360 14.

The ZenBook 14X OLED has small bezels around the display to create a portable laptop.

It's far stiffer than the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro, which showed some flexion in the lid and a flexion in the keyboard deck. The hinge of the ZenBook 14X OLED allows the lid to be opened with one hand and still holds the display in place with a tiny shake while working. It also supports the lower chassis at an angle, which allows for more comfortable typing and increased airflow. The ZenBook 14X OLED is a solid laptop that feels good in the hand.

Speaking of which, the ZenBook 14X OLED uses small bezels around its 16:10 14-inch display to create a comfortably sized laptop. It's almost exactly the same width and height as the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro and the same thickness of 0.67 inches. The ZenBook is only slightly heavier than the IdeaPad at 3.09 pounds versus 3.04 pounds.

Given the Lenovo's equally small bezels, this seems like about the size you're going to get if you build a laptop with a 16:10 14-inch display. You can get thinner laptops, like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9, which is 0.59 inches thick, but the ZenBook 14X OLED is thin and light enough to make it a 14-inch laptop that is easy to carry around leaves.


Connectivity is solid. You get a single USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 port on the left next to a row of air vents and then a full size HDMI 2.0 port, two USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 ports (one of which is for power), one 3.5 mm audio jack and a microSD card reader on the right. It's a good mix of legacy and future-proof connections. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 perform wireless tasks.

power

My test device is equipped with the 11th generation quad-core Intel Core i7-1165G7, a productive workhorse CPU popular with thin and light laptops. There was also 16 GB of RAM, a fast PCIe 1 TB solid-state drive (SSD) and Nvidia's GeForce MX450. As with all such laptops today, the ZenBook 14X OLED was a quick performer while I was testing the laptop and writing that review.

Our benchmark suite confirmed my subjective impressions. The ZenBook 14X OLED was the third fastest in Geekbench 5 with an excellent score for the processor, behind only the slightly faster Core i7-11370H in the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro and the AMD Ryzen 7 5700U in the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in 1. Also In our Handbrake test, which encodes a 420 MB video as H.265, the ZenBook does well, beats the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro and loses the Inspiron 14 2-in-1 against the fast Ryzen CPU.

It's not that you can't edit videos or large pictures on the ZenBook, but you may have to wait for demanding tasks to complete.

Put the ZenBook 14X OLED in its "Performance" mode and you can get a little more speed and finish the test in 156 seconds. The same was true for Cinebench R23, where the ZenBook 14X OLED took second place behind the Dell, while it received a small boost with a score of 6,252 in performance mode. The ZenBook only lost to the Inspiron 14 2-in-1 in PCMark 10 Complete in standard mode, but it was faster in performance mode. However, the values ​​for essentials, productivity and content creation were average.

Overall, the ZenBook 14X OLED is a fast laptop for demanding productivity workflows, but it doesn't quite reach the workstation level of a creator. It's not that you can't edit videos or large pictures on the ZenBook, it's just that you have to wait a while for demanding tasks to be completed. But for everyone else, the ZenBook 14X OLED will be a satisfactory experience.

Geekbench (single / multiple) Handbrake
(Seconds)
Cinebench R23 (single / multiple) PCMark 10 3DMark time spy
Asus ZenBook 14X OLED (Core i7-1165G7) 1536/5780 173 1479/5717 5366 1756
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro (Core i7-11370H) 1578/5957 202 1514/5544 5149 1888
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 (Ryzen7 5700U) 1184/6281 120 1287/8013 5411 1247
Samsung Galaxy Book (Core i5-1135G7) 1401/5221 180 1361/5391 4735 1584
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 (Core i7-1165G7) 1327/5201 N / A 1469/4945 5147 1776

Although my test device is equipped with the discrete GeForce MX450 GPU, it was no faster than the Intel Iris Xe in our comparison group. His 3DMark Time Spy Score was in the same range and only managed 18 frames per second (fps) in Fortnite at 1200p and epic graphics. That's not far from what faster Iris Xe laptops can achieve.

I was surprised with these results, but ran them several times to make sure there were no glitches that I could identify. I also tried the performance mode and that made no difference in the laptop's graphics performance. The discrete GPU didn't turn this thin and light device into a gaming laptop, so buyers should lower their expectations when they see they have a discrete GPU.

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Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The ZenBook 14X OLED has a 14-inch OLED display and is available in a number of configurations, all of which are in the productivity-friendly 16:10 aspect ratio. You can choose between a 4K + (3840 x 2400) panel, a WQXGA + (2880 x 1800) touchscreen display and a non-touch WQXGA + screen. My test device featured the latter, and it was spectacular from the moment I turned it on. Blacks were ink colors and colors were dynamic without being oversaturated. While working on the review, I liked the use of the display, especially the sharp black text that jumped off the page.

This display will please everyone from productivity users to creatives to media consumers.

According to my colorimeter, this is an objectively as good a display as it is subjectively. It was bright at 389 nits, above our 300 nit threshold for displays that can handle anything but bright sunlight. It had wide colors at 97% of AdobeRGB and 100% of sRGB, and those colors were accurate with a DeltaE of 1.2 (less than 1.0 is considered excellent). As always, the contrast was unearthly and was 27,010: 1. Compare that to the Dell XPS 13's 4K IPS display, which achieved 420 cd / m², 79% AdobeRGB and 100% sRGB with a color accuracy of 1.21 and a contrast of 1,360: 1. Few IPS panels can work as well as the display on the ZenBook 14X OLED, and you won't find one that delivers the same true black tones.

This display will please everyone from productivity users to creatives to media consumers. With DisplayHDR 500 support, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video high dynamic range (HDR) content looked great on the display. OLED displays continue to impress, and while other technologies are catching up, such as the mini-LED displays on Apple's MacBooks, you can't go wrong with your choice of technology.

For those concerned about OLED burn-in, Asus offers a few utilities and technologies to instill confidence. First, it comes with a 7,000 hour warranty at 200 nits, and the display detects aging pixels and improves the current flowing through them for better performance.

Second, two utilities are provided to avoid burn-in. There is a screen saver that can be set to start automatically after 30 minutes of inactivity, and a pixel shift function that shifts a static image just enough on the screen to avoid a constant glow of individual pixels. These can be turned on as well as off, although leaving them on is probably a good idea.

The sound is delivered to the front by two downward-facing speakers on the underside of the case. I found that it delivers clear mids and highs and a surprising amount of bass. The only problem: the speakers are not very loud, even if they are turned up all the way. There's no distortion, which is fine, but you'll need a pair of headphones to really enjoy movies and music.

Keyboard and touchpad

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Asus has been channeling HP when it comes to keyboards lately, using a layout and keycaps eerily similar to HP's Specter range. The right side of the keyboard has the same key spacing and row of movement keys. That's not bad because the Specter keyboards are excellent. At the same time, the Asus switches have a lot of spring travel and comfortable floor movement, but they are not as snappy and do not feel quite as precise. They're a step behind the best, which include Dell's XPS keyboards, but the ZenBook 14X OLED's keyboard does a really good job nonetheless.

The touchpad is a wide format that does not use the available space on the palm rest. Some laptops, like the Dell XPS 13 and the HP Specter x360 14, make very good use of the extra space offered by today's higher displays, but that's not the case with the ZenBook 14X OLED. It's not a small touchpad, but it could be bigger. Fortunately, it has a comfortable surface that allows for precise swipes, and it's a Microsoft Precision touchpad, so multitouch gestures work well. The buttons are clicky and responsive without being loud.

Of course, you can't judge the touchpad by just how easily it allows you to manipulate your cursor. It also includes Asus' ScreenPad 2, which features an LED display embedded in the touchpad that enables a host of additional functions.

ScreenXpert 2 is a multiscreen organizer that manages the interaction between the ScreenPad and the primary and any additional displays. Users can launch applications from the ScreenPad and use the touchpad as a secondary display. You can turn off the ScreenPad at will and the touchpad will function normally. Overall, I found the ScreenPad to be a useful addition, but not one that I couldn't do without.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Touch displays are available for the ZenBook 14X OLED, but unfortunately mine wasn't included. I missed it, as always.

Passwordless login under Windows 10 Hello is provided by a fingerprint reader integrated into a power button on the keyboard. It worked well, I was able to turn on and log in quickly and reliably in one fell swoop.

Battery life

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The ZenBook 14X OLED offers 63 watt-hours of battery life, a reasonable amount for a 14-inch laptop. However, the OLED display is high resolution and power hungry, and the CPU isn't a low-power version, so I expected average battery life at best.

What I got was a little less. In our web browsing test, which ran through a number of popular websites, the ZenBook 14X OLED lasted 7.5 hours, less than average and well below the 10 hours we like to see on thin and light laptops. The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro lasted 10 minutes longer with its more powerful CPU and high-resolution display, while the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 was significantly stronger in this test with almost 13 hours.

In our video test replaying a local 1080p movie trailer, the ZenBook 14X OLED achieved 10.75 hours, again less than average and a little less than we'd like to see. The IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro lasted two more hours, while the Inspiron 14 2-in-1 lasted a significantly longer 16 hours.

I ran the PCMark 10 Applications battery test, which is the best indicator of productivity longevity, and the ZenBook 14X OLED got eight hours, which is again a little below average. Many thin and light laptops can last up to 10 hours. The IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro lasted nine hours and the Inspiron 14 2-in-1 wouldn't finish the test. In the PCMark 10 gaming battery test, which shows how hard a laptop works without a plug, the ZenBook 14X OLED only lasted 81 minutes, the lowest rate we've ever seen, but close to the 90 minutes the IdeaPad achieved.

Overall, the ZenBook 14X OLED is unlikely to make it through a full eight-hour work day without a little charge. You should have the 100 watt USB-C charger close at hand.

Our opinion

Reduced to the essentials, the ZenBook 14X OLED is a well-made 14-inch laptop with robust performance and a spectacular OLED display. It's easy to recommend on that alone, but it has some nice touches like the ScreenPad 2 touchpad that comes in handy when you want to take some time learning its various uses.

It's not perfect. The battery life is mediocre, may not exceed our all-day threshold, and is a bit expensive. But overall, it's a solid addition to the growing herd of 14-inch laptops, and well worth a place on your list.

Are there alternatives?

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is probably the best 14-inch clamshell alternative simply because it's also very well built, performs well, and has better battery life. You don't get an OLED display, but that's not so common with 14-inch devices and you spend a little more money depending on the configuration.

If a convertible 2-in-1 is of interest, consider the HP Specter x360 14. It also has an excellent OLED display, a great and well-made case and of course the flexibility of a 360-degree convertible. It's roughly the same price, but you don't get built-in graphics.

Finally, you can always consider the Dell XPS 13 if you're ready to go for a slightly smaller OLED display. The XPS 13 is more expensive, but it's worth it as it's the best laptop you can buy.

How long it will take?

The ZenBook 14X OLED is solid as a rock and feels like it has lasted for eons. The components are up-to-date and should run Windows 11 with no problem should you decide to upgrade (and you probably will, sooner or later). As always, the one-year industry-standard warranty is disappointing, but Asus does offer one-year accident protection.

Should you buy it?

Yes sir. The ZenBook 14X OLED is a great 14-inch laptop that can hold its own against its competition.

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