Asus Zenbook 14 OLED review: An affordable laptop with great battery life

The holiday shopping season is always a great time to buy a new Windows laptop, but shoppers looking to spend in 2023 seem especially spoiled for choice. The Asus Zenbook 14 OLED UM3402 tries to stand out with its AMD processor and OLED display.

Although its CPU and GPU performance lags behind some alternatives, it’s largely a success. Read on to learn more.Looking for more options? Check out PCWorld’s roundup of today’s best laptops. ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED: Specs and featuresThe ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED UM3402 is powered by the AMD Ryzen 7 7730U processor. It has 8 cores and 16 threads, which sounds like a lot, but buyers beware: this is a rebadge of the older Zen 3

architecture, not the Zen 3+ or Zen 4 architecture found in more expensive AMD-powered machines. Asus sent me a full-fat version of the Zenbook 14 OLED UM3402 with a Ryzen 7 7730U, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD for $869.99. The entry-level model with an AMD Ryzen 5 7530U, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD costs $699.99. I expected the performance of this model to lag significantly behind the model I tested, but the cheaper configuration retains the OLED touchscreen.ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED: Design and build qualityAsus’ Zenbook laptops once stood out for their gorgeous “concentric circle” designs, but they’ve gone back to basics in recent years. This is a bit disappointing.

The Asus Zenbook 14 OLED UM3402 looks good, but it’s not great either. It’s just another black laptop that has a subtle metallic sheen when the light hits it just right.The Asus’s dimensions are nearly identical to alternatives like the Lenovo ThinkBook Gen 6, Acer Swift 14, Dell Inspiron 14, and HP Pavilion Plus 14. All of these laptops use thin display bezels on three sides for a similar look to older 13-inch laptops The same goes for weight, although the Zenbook 14’s 3.06 pounds does put it on the lighter end of the spectrum for laptops under $1,000. It’s easy to throw into a backpack or crossbody bag, and once packed away, you’re unlikely to notice it’s there.ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED

: keyboard, trackpadMy hands immediately found a comfortable flow across the Zenbook 14 OLED UM3402’s keyboard. While some keys, such as Tab and Backspace, may be larger, the alphanumeric keys are easy to find and well spaced between them. There’s also plenty of space on the palm rest, which makes the keyboard comfortable to use for hours on end.Key travel isn’t that impressive. There’s healthy key travel and good key activation feel, but bottoming out feels vague. It works, but it’s not sharp, which is one aspect of the laptop that doesn’t feel as premium as it should.Asus’s touchpad is typical of budget Windows laptops. It measures almost exactly five inches wide and about three inches deep.

Although the depth feels a little limited when scrolling, the space is enough to use most multi-touch gestures comfortably.ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED: display, audioASUS was quick to adopt OLED panels when they became more widely available in 2021, and the Zenbook 14 OLED UM3402 is no exception. It has a 14-inch OLED touch screen with a resolution of 2880×1800 and supports HDR. It’s a great display that’s well above the Zenbook 14’s modest price tag. OLED’s effectively infinite contrast ratio delivers deep, convincing shadows that draw your attention to the display. Combined with best-in-class color performance and a wide, vibrant color gamut.Clarity is another benefit.ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED: Performance

The Asus Zenbook 14 OLED UM3402 I tested is equipped with AMD’s Ryzen 7 7730U processor, an eight-core, 16-thread processor with a maximum Turbo Boost speed of 4.5 GHz. It comes with 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and integrates AMD Radeon graphics and eight compute units.These specs set the stage for a showdown between AMD and Intel. The Asus Zenbook 14X OLED I reviewed a few months ago shares many specs with the Zenbook 14 UM3402 but comes with an Intel Core i5-13500H. The two are also priced similarly (the 14X OLED has an MSRP of $799,

while the 14 UM3402 has an MSRP of $869.99). PCMark 10, an overall system benchmark, scored a whopping 5,812 points. That easily beats the Intel Core i5-13500H-powered Zenbook 14X OLED, which scored just 5,089. However, there is an important caveat. The 14X OLED only has 8GB of RAM, which does seem to affect its score in this benchmark.

The Zenbook 14 does a great job here, but it’s unclear whether AMD’s Ryzen 7 7730U deserves the credit.Cinebench R20, a highly multi-threaded CPU benchmark, again rated the Zenbook 14 OLED midrange package at 4,289 points. This time around, however, the Intel-powered alternative came out ahead with a score of 4,724 points. I find this a bit surprising , since Intel’s Core i5-13500H only has 12 physical cores, four less than its AMD rival. It’s a similar story in Handbrake, where the Ryzen 7 7730U’s performance is relatively lackluster.

Transcoding a 1080p movie from .mp4 to .mkv using the H .264 codec took over 31 minutes, which is nearly two minutes longer than the Intel-backed alternative.

AMD-powered Zenbooks are also significantly worse than other small laptops, but to be fair, the Lenovo Slim Pro 9, Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro 360 , and HP Dragonfly Pro are more expensive.CPU benchmarks show Ryzen 7 7730U is a powerful processor, butASUS Zenbook 14 OLED: Battery lifeThe Asus Zenbook 14 OLED UM3402 combines a power-hungry Ryzen 7 7730U processor with a surprisingly large 75Wh battery. This sounds like a secret to longer  Asus Zenbook battery life—and it is.Asus Zenbook battery life results I saw an excellent 15 hours and 20 minutes of battery life on PC World’s standard battery test, which loops a 4K file of the short film Tears of Steel. That’s nearly five hours longer than the Asus Zenbook 14X OLED with an Intel Core i5-13500H processor!

This was a light load test, and I would normally expect actual  Asus Laptop Battery life to be a little shorter (10 to 12 hours for general Microsoft Office productivity and web browsing is comparable). Still, as the picture shows, the Zenbook 14 is clearly more durable than many of its competitors.The Zenbook 14 OLED’s portability is further enhanced by its tiny 65-watt USB-C power charger, which measures just 2.25 inches wide and 1 inch thick. It’s easy to throw in your bag, and if you forget, the laptop can be charged via a variety of USB-C power adapters.ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED: Should you buy it?

The Asus Zenbook 14 UM3402 is a solid entry into the sub-$1,000 laptop segment. It feels more durable than many of its competitors, has a gorgeous 14-inch OLED touchscreen, and has over 15 hours of   Asus Zenbook 14 battery life. These perks are hampered by mediocre CPU and GPU performance, a bland design, and a mediocre touchpad. Whether it’s right for you depends on your priorities. Those looking for

 Asus Laptop Battery  life and a beautiful display should definitely grab it, while performance-focused shoppers should ignore it.

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