- Zenbook 14 in the 2024 edition brings a new generation of Intel processor
- There are more novelties, even if they may not seem so obvious at first glance
- For a configuration with a Core i7, 16 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage, you will pay CZK 32,490 including VAT
Asus Zenbook 14 OLED s product number UX3405MA-OLED231W is a representative of popular laptops intended not only for work. Inside the thin aluminum body you will find a new series of Intel Core i7 processors, headed by an Arc graphics card. Of course, there is an OLED panel, now with a 120Hz refresh rate, and great things can also be expected from the battery life. But will it stand up to real testing? We will not only answer that in today’s review.
Design and construction
The design of the latest Zenbook 14 OLED refers to the Japanese art technique known as kintsugi. This design first appeared on Asus laptops two years ago, and since then mostly only the color design has changed. This year’s model is available in silver and dark blue color variants.
There is an aluminum body, but it has not yet received a special plasma ceramic treatment. Among other things, it helped to reduce smudges and fingerprints in the Zenbook S 13 OLED, for example. Unfortunately, the 2024 model is the exact opposite. Unsightly smudges and prints appear very quickly on the body and what’s worse, they don’t come off easily at all. Ideally, a wet wipe is needed. The silver variant will have an advantage in this regard, because the streaks are not so visible.
Between generations, we have seen a slight reduction in dimensions (31.24 x 22.01 x 1.49 cm). The weight of 1.28 kilograms is also perfect for a 14-inch laptop. On the other hand, it has its negatives – opening the lid with one hand is not quite ideal, and sometimes I found myself moving the entire base. Some might also miss the traditional hinge mechanism, which raised the lower part of the device slightly when the lid was opened.
In general, the design of the notebook is very good. Nothing bends anywhere, everything fits very well and the ability to open the lid up to an angle of 180 degrees is pleasing.
Keyboard and touchpad
The keyboard is one of the best in Asus laptops, and the latest model only confirms it. The standard layout and keys are used. The only new feature is a dedicated emoji and GIF key, which is normally hidden under the shortcut “WIN + .” in Windows. Compared to previous models, you won’t find a fingerprint reader here. Biometric security is now ensured by an infrared camera, which works excellently.
The keyboard is equipped with Czech labels, the keys themselves have a lift of 1.4 mm, similar to many other Asus laptops. The white backlight is available in three different levels. The touchpad is quite large and pleasant to the touch. I didn’t have the slightest problem with its operation, whether it was sensitivity or individual clicks. There is also an option to activate the virtual numeric keypad in the upper right corner. It’ll do just fine for occasional use, but if you work with numbers a lot, you’ll probably want to look into a separate numeric keypad.
OLED with a great refresh rate
The use of an OLED panel by Asus is not too surprising, but the increase in refresh rate to 120 Hz is. Of course, this isn’t as important for a work device, but it’s always nice to have a choice. Either you use a smoother image, or you keep the basic 60Hz refresh rate and better battery life.
In the rest of the parameters, it is a relatively traditional glossy OLED with a resolution of 2,880 × 1,800 pixels and thus an aspect ratio of 16:10, and unfortunately still only with a maximum brightness of 400 nits. When playing HDR, the brightness can reach up to 500 nits. Now at the beginning of the year I didn’t experience a problem with legibility outside, but in the summer months it will be worse. The screen itself covers one hundred percent of the sRGB and DCI-P3 color space.
At the same time, the tested model has touch control with stylus support. This variant is also specific in its different display protection. Corning Gorilla Glass, which you may know mainly from mobile phones, is used. This is also one of the reasons why the touch version of the Zenbook is a bit heavier.
IR camera and speakers
In addition to the traditional Full HD webcam, you can notice several other sensors. As already mentioned, biometric unlocking is now ensured by an IR camera instead of a fingerprint reader. Unlocking the laptop via Windows Hello works perfectly even in total darkness. The pluses include an integrated cover that covers not only the webcam but also the IR sensor. The quality of the camera is very good and will serve well for classic home use.
Sound is provided by stereo speakers that point to the sides. They are loud enough and you can hear an obvious improvement compared to previous generations. The bass is quite pronounced and in general the sound is no longer so flat.
Latest Intel with Arc graphics
The basic variant with the new Intel Core Ultra 7 155H processor was tested. It is an economical sixteen-core processor from the Meteor Lake series. The moniker Ultra means that it is equipped with an integrated graphics card of the Arc series. You can also find a cheaper variant on the market that uses older Iris graphics. Even if the novelty brings a fairly significant improvement in graphics performance, it is still not a dedicated GPU, but an integrated one, so do not expect, for example, some great gaming of the new ones. Last but not least, the chipset is equipped with two co-processors that help with AI and machine learning.
16 GB of DDR5 memory and a 1 TB SSD are available in the base, which you can replace as the only component. For RAM, you have to be satisfied with the configuration you buy. In the CrystalDiskMark benchmark, I measured 4,996 MB/s read speed and 3,450 MB/s write speed. These are very good values, although we know from last year that Asus was able to put faster drives in similarly priced devices.
|Geekbench 6 – Single Core
|Geekbench 6 – Multi Core
|Cinebench R23 – Single Core
|Cinebench R23 – Multi Core
|Cinebench 2024 – Single Core
|Cinebench 2024 – Multi Core
|Cinebench 2024 – GPU
|3DMark Time Spy
|CPU-Z – Single Core
|CPU-Z – Multi Thread
The performance of the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H processor is very good, considering that it is an economical variant that has “only” 6 powerful cores and the rest are economical ones. In comparison with the previous generation, the biggest increase can be seen in Multi Core applications. An excellent increase in performance can also be observed with the integrated Arc graphics. The above benchmark results are from the standard mode, which has been the best solution for Asus laptops for a long time. The quiet mode significantly reduces the performance for a little less noise, and on the contrary, in the powerful mode, the chains are broken and the fans are very noisy and annoying. However, the resulting increase in performance is not exactly large.
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED review: thin, 1 kg weight and great equipment
Connectivity and system
Unfortunately, the connector equipment is almost identical to previous Zenbooks. I write this mainly because of the two USB-C connectors on the right side. They support the Thunderbolt 4 protocol, so in addition to the possibility of image transfer, they are used for charging. And that’s why I’d like one of those connectors on the left side. Instead, there is a classic USB-A port.
In addition to USB-C, the right side offers an HDMI 2.1 connector, a 3.5 mm combined audio jack and information LEDs. Wireless technologies include Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3. In both cases, I used both functions without any problems.
The laptop is already pre-installed with the Windows 11 Home operating system, to which the company adds several of its applications, such as MyAsus for setting up and managing the device or GlideX for the possibility of creating a secondary screen from a tablet or phone. In general, a minimum of bloatware pleases. Basically, it’s just a McAfee antivirus, which, fortunately, can be uninstalled in a few clicks.
Endurance and charging
One of the biggest pluses and reasons for buying, for example, against the previous generation, is definitely the battery life. Not only has the battery capacity increased to 75 Wh, but the new processor is really economical. I got 7 to 8 hours on a single charge during classic office work, writing in Word, surfing the Internet, playing music on Spotify and the occasional YouTube video. And that at the maximum possible brightness and an active 120Hz refresh rate. With previous models, I got similar values with half the refresh rate and significantly lower brightness.
|Measured charging speed with a 65W adapter
Charging then takes place using a 65W adapter, which ends with a USB-C connector. A full charge takes two hours, however, the first 80 percent is charged in about an hour. After that, the charging speed will slow down significantly.
The Asus Zenbook 14 OLED hasn’t changed much between generations. At first glance it looks identical, the parameters are very similar, anyway, Asus is still taking small steps forward to create an almost perfect device. In the tested configuration, you will pay CZK 32,490 for it. The more powerful version with Intel Core Ultra 9 185H is 2,500 CZK more expensive.
During testing, I didn’t come across any issues that would make the laptop unrecommendable. The biggest negative points towards the lower brightness of the display, which could be a problem with legibility in the sun, especially in the summer months. I would also like a USB-C connector on both sides of the base for easier charging. Last but not least, it is not very pleasant that it is a magnet for fingerprints and smudges, and the lid rarely stays clean.
On the contrary, the excellent battery life will positively surprise you. The OLED display with a frequency of 120 Hz looks perfect, and it also pleases with touch support. In addition, the basic model now has an IR camera for face scanning, and the stereo speakers have also been modified. For some, it may be minor news, in any case, Asus took a more conservative route to be safe. After all, even the previous Zenbooks 14 were very successful, so there is no need for any radical changes.
Asus Zenbook 14 OLED
Design and construction
- great battery life
- excellent 120Hz OLED display
- sample processing
- IR camera
- Thunderbolt 4
- lower maximum brightness
- USB-C only on the right side
- smudge and fingerprint magnet
- pre-installed McAfee antivirus
- non-expandable RAM