The ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED has just been refreshed for 2024 and includes Intel’s new AI-enhanced Core Ultra processors for enhanced performance. Weighing in at only 2.65 pounds with a bright, color-rich 2K OLED display, and Intel’s latest Core Ultra 7 155H processor (16C/22T), it’s a fantastic little machine that’s competitively priced at $1,299.
If you’re looking for an exceptionally thin and light notebook with all day battery life that can even handle content creation, it’s a great choice.
Current Price: $1,299 (Best Buy)
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ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED (2024) - Designed for Portable Performance
The ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED is one of the most portable laptops I’ve ever tested, balancing performance with its portable pursuits exceptionally well. Its 14-inch display allows the entire laptop to be more compact while still being usable, avoiding the too-compact feel that 13-inch laptops sometimes elicit. With a weight of only 2.65 pounds, it’s so lightweight that you can forget you’re carrying it throughout the day.
The experience of using it has really been balanced around its portability, which comes into play in multiple areas. For the work experience on that display, to the ease of use with the keyboard and trackpad, to cooling and performance under pressure. Its new Meteor Lake processor, especially after the recent BIOS updates, performs very well. The thin design does limit it compared to some of the competition but the pricing makes what it has to offer feel especially compelling.
ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED (2024) - Specs and the AI-Enhanced Intel Core Ultra 7 155H
The Zenbook 14 OLED’s 2024 update comes in a few different configurations. Our unit was sent with the Core Ultra 7 155H, 32GB of LPDDR5 memory, and a 1TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD. Like many ultraportable laptops, it is not upgradeable, so if you pick one up for yourself, you should think about what you are likely to need in the future instead of solely your exact needs in the moment.
The Core Ultra 7 155H is a 16-core, 22-thread CPU with a base clock of 1.4GHz with the capability to boost up to 4.8GHz. The core stack is broken up into six Performance cores, eight Efficient cores, and two Low-Power Efficient cores. It also includes an Intel Arc A350M integrated graphics processor for improved performance in games and creative apps.
This new Core Ultra line is exciting in a number of ways with artificial intelligence and power efficiency first among them. Each Core Ultra chip includes a new kind of core known as a Low Power Efficient (LPE) core. With the help of the Intel Thread Director, these new cores are able to handle the least demanding tasks your system might be doing, allowing your Efficient (E) and Performance (P) cores to remain untouched.
The core design here is centered on smart core allocation. As we multitask through the day, you want the right core on the right task. If you’re listening to music while editing a video, the LP cores can cover the music, a very lightweight task, while leaving your P- and E- cores to handle rendering. Likewise, if you’re playing a game, you want your highest speed, highest performance cores devoted to the game while the E- and LPE cores handle the web browser and OBS open in the background.
It’s about choosing the right tool for the job, and by doing so, you also save substantial power. In fact, power efficiency is one of the leading thrusts behind the Core Ultra series with Intel claiming 10+ hours of battery life (and more with the notebook we’re looking at today). All this while also delivering better temperatures and higher performance overall.
The neural processing unit allows the Core Ultra series to offer better performance with AI-based tasks and to provide neat features like AI face tracking and background blur in virtual meetings. These NPUs are likely to become even more beneficial in time as AI continues to grow and become integrated into different apps.
ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED (2024) - Design and Features
Returning to this Zenbook 14, it features a gorgeous OLED display. It runs at a 2880 x 1800 resolution (2.8K) and can reach up to 600-nits of peak brightness. It’s fantastic for HDR and is officially VESA True Black 600 certified. It offers excellent color coverage with 100% of the DCI-P3 color space and is quite accurate out of the box, making it a good fit for content creation. It also runs at a smooth 120Hz, which is a nice bonus.
Given its smaller size, the entire laptop is more compact, but ASUS has done a good job of making the most of its space. The keyboard is reasonably sized and easy to use. There’s no number pad or dedicated navigation buttons on the right which leaves room for the core key set to adopt a standard laptop size. There’s an integrated function row along the top,as well as Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down matched as secondary functions to the arrows. The keyboard is tactile and quiet, making it easy to use for extended writing sessions.
The trackpad is large and easy to use. It measures 5.1 x 3 inches, which means your thumbs will almost always be hovering over it. There are integrated buttons which work well. The glass surface is very responsive but isn’t exceptionally susceptible to accidental touches because of it. Functionally, the laptop deck is a winner.
The overall construction feels robust. The entire chassis is made of metal and feels sturdy and well-made. The screen is able to lay completely flat but there’s no creaking in the hinge and it holds the display in place well with a minimum amount of wobble. The lid also has a stylish pattern of angled lines that’s quite nice.
Before moving on from the lid and into IO, it’s worth talking about the camera. ASUS has outfitted it with a 1080p30 camera that’s quite good. I was impressed with its clarity and detail. Low light performance is expectedly minimal and it’s not HDR but it’s a cut above most of the laptop cameras I’ve tested over the years. It’s IR-enabled, too, so can work for Windows Hello biometric login, and can use some of Windows’ new AI-enhanced features, like intelligent background blur, eye-tracking, and automatic framing. The blur needs work but the framing and tracking work well.
Wired connectivity isn’t spectacular but offers a bit more than your average ultrabook. Along the left side of the laptop is a single USB 3.2 Type-A port, as well its singular side exhaust vent. The right side houses two Thunderbolt 4 ports that each support power delivery and display output, a full-size HDMI 2.1, and an audio combo jack. One of the USB ports works with the supplied GaN charger but is also compatible with other 65W sources.
For such a small notebook, it houses a surprisingly large battery. The Zenbook 14 packs a large 75wHr battery that brings total battery life to a maximum of around 15 hours. For real world use, this is less, but it’s still able to last more than a full workday, even when actively working on productivity tasks.
Finally, the speakers deserve special mention because they’re very good for how thin of a frame they’re fit into. They will still distort a bit when pushed to their maximum volume but they’re remarkably loud and full-bodied. You could easily use these for watching videos or playing games. Don’t expect massive bass but they don’t sound thin. Really well done overall.
A Killer Accessory Recommendation: DOCKCASE Explorer Edition USB-C Hub (10-in-1)
The Zenbook 14 has more connectivity than most of its type, but if you’re anything like me, two USB Type-C ports and a single USB-A aren’t enough. After seeing multiple successful Kickstarter campaigns, I took this as an opportunity to try one of DOCKCASE’s USB hubs and am so glad I did. Specifically, I tried the Explorer Edition USB-C Hub 10-in-1 version with an LCD display and transparent side panel.
USB hubs can feel like a dime a dozen, especially on Amazon where a thousand unknown brands all seem to be selling slightly different versions of the exact same model, but the DOCKCASE is something different entirely. In fact, it has a lot more in common with a docking station than a hub thanks to its HDMI and DisplayPort connections, as well as its SD card reader and ethernet jack. And then its screen adds a whole other layer of interest and control that I haven’t found on anything else around this price.
But let’s stay with I/O for now, since that’s the crux of this device. It offers one USB Type-A 10Gbps port, one USB Type-C 10Gbps port, two USB Type-A 2.0 ports that are perfect for peripherals and connect at 480 Mbps, an HDMI port capable of 8K30Hz, a DisplayPort that extends to 4K120Hz, a gigabit Ethernet port, and a UHS-II microSD card slot reader. It also has a 100-watt Type-C PD port to keep your laptop charged while in use.
The hub is also available in a 6-in-1 version for $40 less ($89.99). It features three 5Gbps USB Type-A ports, gigabit ethernet, an HDMI port that supports up to 4K60Hz for an external display, and a Type-C port that also supports 100-watts of PD pass-through.
Where things really get interesting is its screen, which turns out to be more than just an information display. By default, the screen displays the connection status of each of its ports, as well as a read-out of current power draw, and other diagnostic information. Using a small button on the side of the device, you can hold it to access configuration menus for its different ports. For example, you can select the DHCP mode for its HDMI, the power output for its PD port, and the PD version.
This small addition is a meaningful upgrade if you want more insight into the devices you’re connecting. For example, I was curious how much power my laptop was actually drawing and whether the 10Gbps ports were actually delivering that. This is often black box territory with the no-name brands on Amazon and you have to just hope they’re delivering what they promise. Here, you get real time feedback.
And though it’s aesthetic, I also really like the design of the hub. It’s available in silver or black (I kind of wish I had gone with silver instead of black for the extra shine) and both have a transparent side panel revealing the circuit board within. There are no light-up LEDs or anything, but it looks really neat. It’s unique in a market filled with me-too black and white boxes.
At $129.99, the DOCKCASE Explorer Edition 10-in-1 USB Hub is definitely on the pricier side, but I think it’s fair for what you’re getting here. Despite the name, this is much more than a simple USB hub and offers more information and control than pretty much anything else at this price point. If you need something smaller, the 6-in-1 USB Hub is a good alternative that pares down the ports but delivers similar core features.
ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED (2024) - Performance
Ahead of this review, I’ve been using the Zenbook 14 OLED as my daily driver for about two weeks. I’ve done a bit of everything, from indie gaming to working in docs and spreadsheets, to editing photos and videos in Adobe’s Creative Suite. It’s a remarkably good daily driver, and even offers some gaming capability.
The thin and lightweight design really can’t be overstated. Even compared to a typical 4-5 pound laptop, the Zenbook’s ultra-portable design makes it a blessing to carry through the day. Before this, I had gone from a five pound laptop to a seven pound laptop. Dropping to only 2.65 pounds almost feels like you’re not carrying it at all. You can genuinely forget it’s even there.
The Core Ultra 7 is a fantastic processor for mixed use applications. I do most of my work in Google Docs and the Microsoft Office suite during the day, as well as a lot of browsing and photo editing. Across the board, it remained snappy and responsive. I didn’t experience any slowdowns or undue lag at any point, and the smoothness of scrolling long sites or sheets with the 120Hz screen is excellent.
The 32GB RAM allotment, while sadly non-upgradeable, is enough that even more demanding apps like Adobe Premiere Pro are still able to run well. I edited together several 3-4 minute 1080p videos, including transition effects and some color grading, without the system lagging. I’m also the worst kind of Photoshop user that doesn’t close my projects after finishing them, so I often wind up with 15+ tabs open as I edit sequential photos. I was able to open up 18 tabbed projects before I started to experience slowdowns. That’s impressive.
And the screen. ASUS does OLED displays well and this is one of the best I’ve seen on any laptop. The mix of high brightness, deep contrast, and wonderfully vivid colors make it an absolute treat to use. Everything is crisp thanks to its high pixel density, so you’re never left squinting at its more compact screen. It’s easily the highlight of the experience and enhances the enjoyment of actually using it.
Since the laptop features Intel Arc graphics, I wanted to give that a try too. This isn’t a gaming laptop, mind you, but is definitely capable of light gaming. Older games, esports, and indies are your go-to titles here if you don’t want to drop settings to their lowest. World of Warcraft and LOTRO, for example, can hit 60 FPS DOTA 2, League of Legends are both high performance options too.
With that in mind, it’s definitely possible to play games from the last couple of years if you’re willing to play at 1200p and between 30 and 60 FPS. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, for example, averaged around 50 FPS for me, while Cyberpunk 2077 and Red Dead Redemption were closer to 35 FPS.
Battery life is very good. Between its large capacity and the efficiency improvements of its Intel Core Ultra CPU, making it through a workday was no problem. Working in documents and limited web browsing, I was able to reach about 10 hours of uptime at 50% brightness and around seven hours at 100% brightness (you really don’t need max brightness unless you’re outdoors). For demanding creative apps, that time was closer to six hours at half brightness. Running a game with all of the power settings toggled to best performance was only around two hours.
The maximum uptime comes from looping video, where I topped out at 14.5 hours, but I don’t consider that realistic. True mixed use, like my work day, is a much better scenario for how this laptop is intended to be used. And at 10 hours, that’s very good. If you do happen to run low, you can recharge to a completely full battery in only two hours.
When it comes to formal benchmarks, the Intel Core Ultra 7 fares fairly close to last year’s non-Ultra version. That is to say, it’s not benchmark leading. It’s not bad but you shouldn’t look to this particular release to replace the latest MacBook for things like content creation. As you can see in the benchmarks above, it’s pretty middle of the road. Likewise, though it performs well with editing video, render times were substantially longer in Premiere Pro than they are on my desktop with a dedicated high-performance GPU.
Yet, despite the average benchmark showing, I have to admit to being quite impressed with the ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED. It does trade some performance for portability, but that works here. This is a laptop designed to be easily carried through the day and to take on productivity and light creation work. It does both of those things exceptionally well. It’s ultra-light, whisper quiet, and has one of the best OLED displays you’ll find on a laptop. At $1,299, it also manages to feel almost cheap for what you’re getting here.
In short, this laptop, and the Core Ultra processor inside of it, are winners. I really couldn’t ask for much more at this price, which earns it a strong recommendation.
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