At this level, if you happen to’ve used one Asus Zenbook, you’ve used all of them. They’re the closest factor Asus has to a MacBook Air competitor, with chassis which are barely flimsier, touchpads with fancier options, and value tags which are a bit much less intimidating. In recent times, they’ve additionally grow to be one of many least expensive methods to get an OLED display on a laptop computer.
However this specific Zenbook, the $1,299 Zenbook S 13 OLED, can be thrilling as a result of it’s one of many first gadgets I’ve gotten to check with AMD’s long-awaited Ryzen 6000 collection inside. And whereas the Zenbook’s chassis is in any other case unremarkable, the chip inside delivers each CPU efficiency and built-in graphics which are, as soon as once more, among the greatest you may get in an ultra-thin laptop computer. That energy, mixed with the ultra-portability that the Zenbook line is known for, makes the Zenbook S 13 OLED a really viable MacBook Air different for individuals who are open to Home windows.
The Zenbook S 13 doesn’t look particularly totally different from the legions of different Zenbooks on the market, however that’s hardly a nasty factor. At 2.43 kilos and 0.59 inches thick, it’s a type of gadgets you possibly can squeeze into even essentially the most packed of backpacks (and one you received’t even really feel whereas it’s in there). Whereas the lid and deck do have a little bit of a plasticky really feel, there’s little or no flex within the lid or keyboard deck. Each had been additionally pretty immune to gathering fingerprints, which is a matter I’ve had with Zenbooks previously.
Slapping an OLED panel on an ultraportable line notoriously has the hazard of making that line exorbitantly costly and destroying its battery life. That makes this system a breath of recent air. This OLED contact show, whereas not fairly as vibrant as you would possibly see from the most costly OLEDs in the marketplace, remains to be fairly good, reaching a wonderfully usable 360 nits in my testing with nearly no glare all through. (And it’s 16:10, affording extra vertical area.)
And I nonetheless averaged seven hours and 45 minutes of workplace work on this system with the display at medium brightness and Battery Saver on (and that was very constantly the time I noticed throughout a number of trials). Whereas I can get a couple of hours extra out of the newest MacBook Air, it’s nonetheless good in comparison with the varied twelfth Gen Intel machines I’ve examined this yr (in addition to every kind of Intel-powered Zenbooks).
Zenbooks are additionally a few of my favourite multimedia machines, and this one works effectively for that use case. Audio was pretty good, with audible bass and percussion and no distortion at most quantity. It sounded pretty just like the MacBook Air in side-by-side testing, with vocals perhaps barely clearer on the Air. There’s a noticeable encompass impact — it did really feel like my music was surrounding me — and every little thing’s adjustable within the Dolby Entry app. I really thought the Sport and Film profiles (which prioritize positional accuracy) led to better-sounding and better-surrounding music than the music profile (which felt a bit muted as compared).
The microphones, which help AI noise cancellation, additionally didn’t give me any hassle, and other people might hear me effective over my condominium’s very loud air conditioner.
The one vital draw back of us ought to concentrate on is port choice. The Zenbook is near MacBook ranges of connectivity now — all you get are three USB-C ports and a headphone jack. I do like that there’s at the least one USB-C port on both sides (and they’re USB-4-ready). Asus features a USB-C to USB-A adapter within the Zenbook’s field, however needing to make use of dongles left and proper remains to be a trouble. (There’s at the least a headphone jack, which some earlier OLED Zenbooks have made the unlucky determination to omit.)
The unit I’m testing (which is the one Zenbook 13 S configuration I’ve been capable of finding up for preorder) is at the moment listed for $1,299. It contains the eight-core Ryzen 7 6800U, 1TB of storage, 16GB of RAM, and the 2880 x 1800 OLED show. That’s a really engaging value for these specs, particularly contemplating the display.
The system carried out simply effective all through my workday. I used an entire bunch of Chrome tabs on prime of every kind of downloads, apps, and a Zoom name on Battery Saver with no slowdown. I did sometimes really feel some heat on the underside of the system however by no means felt any on the palm rests or keyboard deck. (And I didn’t hear the followers until I had the Efficiency profile on, and even then, they weren’t obnoxious.) Throughout intense testing, the CPU didn’t cross 96 levels Celsius (but it surely did spend loads of time hovering between 85 and 95 levels Celsius, which is definitely sizzling).
The Zenbook accomplished an export of a five-minute, 33-second 4K video in simply over quarter-hour. That doesn’t evaluate favorably to scores we’ve seen from earlier machines which have accomplished this check, as the most recent model of Premiere Professional has given slower scores throughout the board than earlier iterations. Nonetheless, it’s price noting for any aspiring video of us that these sorts of workloads usually aren’t AMD’s energy. The system loses to the M2 MacBook Air (in addition to the M1 system) on PugetBench for Premiere Professional, which assessments reside playback and export time at 4K and 8K, in addition to varied twelfth Gen Intel programs.
Outdoors of these use circumstances, although, AMD’s built-in graphics are very spectacular. I’ve been saying this for years, however there’s not a lot of a case to be made for getting laptops with entry-level Nvidia MX GPUs when built-in graphics are doing this effectively.
The system averaged 238fps on League of Legends and 114fps on Rocket League’s most settings (all at 1080p decision). Overwatch was even playable at Epic settings, averaging 52fps on that preset and 83fps on Extremely. Even Shadow of the Tomb Raider was greater than playable on the lowest settings, averaging 53fps. (Although it was not playable on the highest settings, averaging 25fps.)
These outcomes are among the greatest we’ve seen from built-in graphics in a 13-inch system. They edge out the M2 MacBook Air (to not point out the M1 mannequin), they usually beat the Intel twelfth Gen Dell XPS 13 Plus as effectively. Given how rather more inexpensive this system is than each of these laptops, that’s fairly spectacular (and, frankly, encouraging) to see.
That’s my greatest takeaway from the Zenbook S 13 OLED: AMD nonetheless makes among the greatest built-in graphics you may get in a laptop computer of this measurement.
The eight-core Ryzen 7 chip stays a critical challenger to each Apple and Intel’s greatest cellular chips that you could find within the 13-inch area. Whereas it doesn’t present the lengthy battery life that the M2 does, nor does it have Intel’s dominance in artistic workloads, it’s nonetheless an all-around highly effective chip that delivers a very wonderful gaming expertise with out an excessive amount of exterior warmth. Perhaps sometime Intel will claw its means again to the highest of the chip market — however not this yr.
Pair this with the suitable battery life the Zenbook gave us and the OLED touchscreen, and I’d say it’s a wonderful possibility for anybody who finds premium ultraportables just like the MacBook Air to be over finances (or simply prefers Home windows to macOS).