As I sat down at the cafe, ordered my cup of coffee, and picked up the Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED I had for review, I couldn’t help but feel happy but also very disappointed.
I’m a happy camper because I know that the Zenbook S 13 OLED can get me through a full day of work even if I’m sitting in a cafe where all the plug points are already taken. My mixed work usage consisted of editing documents, some light photo editing, watching YouTube videos and even racing in a few laps of DIRT 5. With this usage pattern, I comfortably got over 6 hours from the 67 watt-hour battery that Asus crammed into the ultrabook which is very thin and light. Without any games, it will last longer on a single charge.
But, as I said above, I was also disappointed. This is because the Zenbook S 13 OLED lacks ports. I brought along my MX Master 3 from Logitech (one of the best wireless mice out there) but forgot to bring the dongle. I’m sitting in a cafe, having to use a touchpad, instead of the comfortable mouse I have with me.
Laptops are able to get thinner and lighter thanks to increased efficiency from the latest chips on the block. The Zenbook S 13 OLED from Asus is an attractive thin and light ultrabook, well built and one of the first to incorporate AMD’s Ryzen 7 6800U.
The new Ryzen chips allow laptops to be very thin and are also the main reason why battery life is so good. To produce a laptop this thin and light, Asus had to make some sacrifices along the way. Chief among them is port selection. Yes, the Zenbook S 13 OLED is light on ports.
There may be three USB Type-C ports (two on the right, and one on the left) and also a 3.5mm headphone jack (on the right) but no USB-A ports. That’s a shame. Those who need to plug in an external mouse, need an SD card reader or connect a laptop to an HDMI cable should always remember to bring some dongles with them. To mitigate this, Asus has included a USB-C to USB-A adapter in the box. However, my muscle memory is not yet ready to remember to carry the dongle all the time.
Asus may have chosen that heat dissipation is more important to such a laptop than the USB-A port. Some users may disagree, but it’s something they’ll have to deal with if they go out and buy the Zenbook S 13 OLED.
With a high-resolution OLED display and excellent battery life, the S 13 OLED is one of the best ultrabooks on the market right now. Let me get into more details and tell you why.
This is what you get with the Zenbook S 13 OLED ultrabook
– CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
– Graphics: AMD Radeon 680M (integrated)
– Storage: 1TB SSD
– Memory: 16GB LPDDR5 RAM
– Display: 13.3-inch OLED (2880×1800 resolution) with 16:10 aspect ratio
– Camera: 720p
– Battery: 67 WHr
– Power adapter: 65W
– Weight: 1.1 kg
– Price: Starting price ₹99,990. Price of the variant I have for review: ₹1,19,990.
Flash of lightning
The brand new and minimal Asus monogram logo is love at first sight from the moment you unbox the Zenbook S 13 OLED. The Zenbook S 13 OLED is one of the first laptops from Asus to sport the new stylish Asus logo. Maybe I like it better because it looks heavily inspired by Star Trek icons. It’s a breath of fresh air. There’s nothing else on the lid except for a small “Asus Zenbook” wordmark at the bottom.
The Zenbook S 13 OLED is a small laptop with a big heart. Laptops may look like pure aluminum but instead, they are magnesium aluminum alloys. It may have a plastic feel but the build quality is, for the most part, quite solid. It’s minimalistic design suits many users. The only annoying/negative mark I would give the Asus is the fact that there are a lot of stickers on the palm. No one needs dozens of stickers. You bought a laptop not a book about laptops.
What caught my eye right away was the ‘zen covered 180* hinge’. It is a beautiful hinge. The hinge is attached to a round bar on the back side of the tool. It’s not a mechanical part but it sure looks and feels like one. It has been designed with a premium cover and spans the entire length of the laptop. The best part is that this allows the display to be fully tilted to 180*. Furthermore, with the ErgoLift, the keyboard is slightly raised, which helps to allow for a better typing experience as well as better airflow.
An immediately noticeable drawback is that the power button (which works as a fingerprint reader) has been replaced by the delete key compared to previous laptops from Asus. The company claims that this is due to strong customer feedback, but I’m not buying it. The delete key is now further to reach and it’s something most users will use more often than the power button.
Last but not least, the OLED display is a delight. It’s a 2.8K touchscreen display (2880×1800 resolution), along with a 16:10 aspect ratio and thin bezels. It has one of the best displays in the segment. Watching a movie from Anurag Kashyap or playing DIRT 5 is a truly wonderful experience. The display comes with good dynamic range. With a peak brightness of 500 nits, the laptop can be used outdoors, without any problems. I wanted a 90Hz or 120Hz panel, but the Samsung-made OLED pane is limited to 60Hz on the Zenbook S 13 OLED. It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s definitely noticeable, especially after you’re exposed to higher refresh rates.
Lightning fast performance
No, the Zenbook S 13 OLED is not a gaming laptop. Thanks to the improved integrated graphics from Asus, the Zenbook S 13 OLED can handle casual games with confidence. The Zenbook S13 OLED is more for creative professionals than anyone else and it delivers excellent performance.
The two games I tried were Fortnite and DIRT 5. With Fortnite, I had to turn the graphics down to high and with that I was able to get about 33 frames per second (fps).
Push a little and it will be baked. After several hours of intensive typing in Google Docs, playing music on Spotify and opening my stock market app, the keys feel warmer than usual. However, it is never too uncomfortable to use.
With Zenbook S 13 OLED you can tune performance with Whsiper, Balanced and Performance modes. Unless you are someone who likes to listen to noise, the performance mode will help you. Using performance mode, and pushing the laptop with some photo editing and casual gaming, and I can barely hear the fans in the cafe where I’m writing this review.
For everyday activities, the Zenbook S 13 OLED really flies. There is almost no stuttering or lag when opening and closing applications and even opening 100 Google Chrome tabs at once will not slow down the laptop.
There are two speakers located under the front of the chassis. They are driven by smart amplifiers. At 75% volume, I got clear mids and highs. There’s no extra bass here but these speakers are good enough to stream YouTube, Amazon Prime or whatever video you want without having to connect to external speakers.
The touchpad, like most Asus laptops, has Asus NumberPad 2.0. This means the touchpad can turn into an LED numeric keypad, especially useful for those who deal with numbers every day.
One big improvement is regarding the web camera. It is now a FULL HD model and incorporates 3D noise reduction technology. In the few video calls I took from the laptop, it provided excellent image and sound quality.
Is the Zenbook S 13 OLED worth your hard-earned money?
The answer is a loud and resounding yes. I haven’t tested the new Dell XPS 13 (with invisible trackpad) nor the new XPS 13 nor the redesigned XPS 13 2-in-1, all of which I’m excited to do so. HP has also just launched the all-new HP Specter 13.5 x360 and Specter 16 x360 laptops in India. On the MacBook side, Apple recently introduced the M2 MacBook Air.
This just goes to show that the competition is fierce. However, Asus held its own with the fantastic Zenbook S 13 OLED, my favorite product from the company in the last six months.
The Zenbook S 13 OLED is Asus’ best ultrabook in months, and is a definite contender for the best ultrabook of 2022 (yes, I know the year isn’t over yet). There is hardly anything to complain about. You get great battery life (all thanks to AMD), an excellent keyboard and touchpad, and one of the best OLED panels in the business.
Asus has addressed most of the user complaints from the previous edition. The 2022 model is stronger than ever and has the all-important ErgoLift for a more comfortable experience.
No laptop is perfect, and as I mentioned above, there are some drawbacks to such a thin and light laptop. Mainly, the lack of ports. There’s also a lack of non-OLED options. There is also the fact that due to the thermal design, the Zenbook S 13 OLED cannot deliver the full potential of the Ryzen 7 6800U hardware.
Still, with excellent everyday performance, some light gaming, long battery life and a beautiful display, the Zenbook S 13 OLED is an ultrabook that should be at the top of your shopping list. At Rs 1,19,990, the soup version is the variant to get!