Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED review (2022)
- Stunning OLED screen
- Excellent battery life
- Slim body and responsive keyboard
- Decent AMD processor
- No full size USB ports
- No Thunderbolt Support
- No sign in to Windows Hello
The Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED impresses with several key aspects: a great display, a fast AMD processor, a great keyboard, case and battery. It’s cheaper than many competitors too. You’ll only want to look elsewhere if you need more processing power or an IPS display.
It’s easy enough to find a small laptop, but the Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED tries to push the envelope with its sensational OLED display and lightweight design.
Aside from the dazzling screen and slim body, there’s a lot to like here. ZenBook features the latest AMD Ryzen processor and long battery life. And with a starting price of $1,299 in the US and £1,299 in the UK, the price isn’t outrageous either.
Sounds great, but the ZenBook S will have some work to do if it wants to stay ahead of the competition: there’s the dominant Apple MacBook Air and its upgraded M2 processor, and the Dell XPS 13 and XPS 13 Plus are impressive.
Design and build
- Slim, lightweight and durable design
- Lots of USB-C, but not much else
- No face recognition, but there is a fingerprint scanner
Physically, the ZenBook S 13 OLED is impressive. On the scale, this laptop weighs just 1.09kg, so it underperforms all of its competitors, even if the MacBook Air and standard XPS 13 are slightly thinner.
The Asus laptop also features good build quality and a nicely solid magnesium-aluminum alloy chassis. Add to that the MIL-STD 810H certification, and you have a laptop that can easily handle your daily commute. It also looks good with a brushed metal body and bright chrome hinge.
Mike Jennings / Foundry
I reviewed the Aqua Celadon, which has a slight green tint and also comes in shades of blue, white, and beige. In this regard, its four color options are ahead of both competitors.
There are two powered USB-C ports on the right edge of the ZenBook, and another on the left. One of these powers the laptop, and Asus includes a full-size USB adapter. AMD internals means no Thunderbolt 4 support, which you’ll find on Apple and Dell laptops.
The ZenBook has a 1080p webcam without Windows Hello login, but you get biometrics from the fingerprint reader in the power button.
Keyboard and trackpad
- Traditional layout
- Remote power key
- Large trackpad
Cleverly, Asus has made the power button shorter and more stable than the rest of the keys, so it’s harder to accidentally hit while typing. Otherwise, the layout is normal, and the keyboard has a three-stage white backlight.
Mike Jennings / Foundry
Asus hasn’t made big changes to this generation’s ZenBook keyboard, but that’s not too bad – the buttons still have solid travel and action to ensure fast, consistent typing. This keyboard easily competes with any rival.
The trackpad is solid too: large, smooth, and with responsive, shallow movement. It can be used for most tasks, although you’ll need a USB-A adapter and a suitable mouse for accurate work.
Screen and speakers
- High quality OLED display with 16:10 aspect ratio.
- Ideal resolution for creative tasks
- Excellent color rendering in all colors
- Stylus included
The display has stellar performance. It’s a 13.3-inch OLED display with a 16:10 aspect ratio and 2880 x 1800 resolution. That’s more pixels than the MacBook Air and higher resolution than the XPS 13 if you don’t pay for its pricey 4K option. The ZenBook panel is a touch screen and comes with a stylus, a handy tool for creative work.
It’s no surprise that Asus delivers sensational contrast: OLED technology means dark areas have incredible depth, and colors are displayed with impressive vibrancy on the panel.
These colors also have something to like. The screen displays 100% sRGB gamut at a whopping 161.7% volume, as well as 92.8% Adobe RGB gamut and 97.9% DCI-P3 space above 100% volume. Wow.
Mike Jennings / Foundry
Those are huge numbers, meaning this screen reproduces just about every hue needed for creative tasks, including those that require Adobe RGB and HDR space. And while Delta E in version 3.12 might be a bit better – and you’ll need it to be more accurate if you’re really serious about getting creative – it’s still enough to ensure accuracy in most workloads.
The only noticeable issue is with brightness. While this display can hit 550 nits in HDR mode, it goes up to 357 nits in SDR mode – good for indoor use, but not bright enough for constant outdoor use.
However, this is the only complaint about the excellent screen. The OLED panel delivers a wide and accurate color gamut, incredible brightness and high resolution. Only the Dell XPS 13 Plus and its optional OLED display can compete.
While this display is undeniably bolder than Apple’s IPS panels and the standard XPS 13, you can still stick with them – they deliver more subdued, true-to-life colors. For many working situations, this remains an advantage, so it all depends on your personal use and taste.
The speakers, meanwhile, provide decent volume and reasonable mid-range clarity, but lack bass so badly that they’re only suitable for background use.
Characteristics and performance
- AMD Ryzen 7 6800U processor with integrated graphics
- 16 GB LPDDR5 memory
- 512GB SSD
The new AMD Ryzen 7 6800U processor takes center stage in the ZenBook S 13 OLED. It uses an updated version of the Zen 3 architecture that has been around since 2021, and this low-power processor has eight multi-threaded cores and a stable top speed of 4.7GHz.
Along with the compute cores, you’ll find AMD Radeon integrated graphics, 16GB of dual-channel LPDDR5 memory, and a fast 512GB SSD. It’s great and inside users can get to the SSD, but the memory upgrade is not possible because the RAM is soldered to the motherboard. Connectivity is provided by dual-band Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, but there’s no Ethernet for wired internet, as is the case with most modern laptops.
The updated AMD processor helps Asus stand out from the competition. In the Geekbench multi-core test, the ZenBook achieved a score of 7714 points. That’s a solid result, twice as good as the Intel Core i7-1250U you’ll find in the Dell XPS 13, but it’s still about 1,000 points behind the Apple M2 processor in the latest MacBook Air.
Mike Jennings / Foundry
There’s another consideration in Dell’s lineup: the XPS 13 Plus. If you set up this setup with a Core i7-1260P processor, this chip will outperform the AMD Ryzen 7 6800U inside the ZenBook.
From a real-world perspective, there’s enough grumbling here to handle multitasking, any office application, and basic content creation. It’s definitely a higher performance laptop than the Dell XPS 13, even if it’s a bit slower than the XPS 13 Plus and MacBook Air.
There is some evidence that the Ryzen chip isn’t running at peak power, which isn’t surprising for a thin laptop. The processor rarely topped 2.7GHz in rigorous work tests, and the metal above the keyboard and on the underside got very hot after long work tests.
This isn’t a major drawback, especially if you need a laptop for short bursts of activity. I’d also recommend the Balanced mode, which does a great job of keeping temperatures down with a slight drop in performance levels, so you’re left with plenty of room for multitasking and photo editing.
ZenBook fights back in battery life tests. In our usual video playback test, it lasted a whopping 17 hours and 55 minutes, a couple of hours longer than Dell and Apple laptops. If you want to use everyday work apps, you’ll still get ten hours off this install. It’s a great choice if you need a laptop for all-day work, and if you’re careful about your apps and screen brightness, it’ll handle the evening too.
Price and availability
The Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED – a model called UM5302T – has yet to be released in the US or UK at the time of writing. But when it lands, expect it to be priced at $1,299 and £1,299. Currently only B&H has a listing page.
This enticing figure ties in well with the competition. The Apple MacBook Air M2 is $1,119 and £1,249 with a 256GB SSD, or $1,499 and £1,549 if you opt for its 512GB SSD and the more powerful M2 chip.
Note that the model reviewed here is the top model, but there is also a lower model with a Ryzen 5 chip, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. Asus hasn’t given us a price for this yet.
Mike Jennings / Foundry
A similar story from Dell. The new XPS 13 is priced at $1,449, or £1,279 if you pick the Asus-matching spec. The XPS 13 Plus starts at $1349 or £1349 and prices will skyrocket if you equip it with an OLED option.
Check out our table of the best laptops to see all the best options.
The Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED lives up to its name with stunning OLED display quality and clarity. In addition, this laptop is thin, light and has a great keyboard. Its battery life is impressive and it has the power for multitasking and mass creative work. Its price is even lower than most competitors.
That’s not to say that the Apple MacBook Air M2, Dell XPS 13, and other competitors aren’t without their charms. The Apple machine is faster. The Dell XPS 13 is thinner than Asus and has Thunderbolt, while the XPS 13 Plus is available with faster processors and OLED panels.
However, there is no doubt that the ZenBook is a great competitor – it can easily stand next to other laptops. Its large screen, durable internals, and long battery life make it an excellent ultra-portable.
- Tested model: UM5302T
- OS: Windows 11 Home
- Display: 13.3″ OLED, 2880×1800, 60Hz
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
- Memory: 16 GB on board
- Graphics: Integrated AMD Radeon
- Storage: 512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
- Webcam: 1080p
- Connectivity: 3 x USB Type-C, combo audio jack.
- Network: WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
- Battery capacity: 67 Wh
- Dimensions: 11.65 x 8.26 x 0.58 inches
- Measured weight: 1.09 kg