Break free – an ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED review
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Break free – an ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED review

Break free – an ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED review

ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED blends style and substance in an ultralight workhorse


There’s an ASUS laptop for everyone. The ZenBook 13 OLED is for road warriors.

For these nomads, style and function are never mutually exclusive – instead, they should ideally blend seamlessly to create the ultimate high-powered travel companion.

These qualities are evident the moment you unwrap the ZenBook 13 OLED, a sleek, ultralight laptop wrapped inside the now-familiar ZenBook concentric-circle surface.

More specifically, the chassis and lids of the ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED are made of lightweight, diamond-cut aluminium alloy. The 13.3-inch device weighs only 1.14Kg with a side profile of only 13.9 mm.

Do not judge this (note)book by its cover. Behind the petite chassis, the ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED packs a real punch thanks to the 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor backed by a 16GB memory and 1TB PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD.

Like it says right on the name, the display attached to the ASUS ZenBook 13 is an OLED HDR NanoEdge display that supports 1920 x 1080 resolution. It is also 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut and PANTONE Validated. In layman terms, the display is very accurate in representing colours while the DCI-P3 provides closer to life cinematic experience when watching movies. As a result, ASUS OLED colour volume is up to 1.6X greater than a traditional LCD.

ASUS has also engineered its display to displace as much harmful blue light as possible, at 70% less blue light than normal LCD. The display has earned the TÜV Rheinland Eye Care certification, the global authority in such matters.

Connectivity options abound. ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED features two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, a standard HDMI 2.0 port, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port and a microSD card reader. Each Thunderbolt 4 port can support up to 40 Gbps data bandwidth and 4K or 8K display output as well as the new USB 4.0 standard. This makes it possible for the laptop to output to a 60Hz 4K display, connect to external storage devices or expand connections. ASUS did away with the traditional 3.5 mm audio jack to keep the device slender but has included a USB-C to 3.5 mm dongle if you want to connect your usual earphones.

Wireless connectivity is through the latest WiFi 6 standard, which ASUS boosts with its proprietary WiFi SmartConnect. The technology enables the laptop to automatically connect to the router with the best signal wherever you are. It also memorises the mobile hotspots you connect to and prioritises connections to them when they are detected.

ASUS ZenBook 13 is an OLED HDR NanoEdge display is 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut and PANTONE Validated.

We would normally gloss over the keyboard when reviewing laptops, no pun intended. Not so with the ZenBook 13 where little effort seems to have been spared in making the keyboard fit the general theme of the device. The laptop offers an edge-to-edge keyboard, with independent function keys.

Below, the touchpad incorporates an LED-illuminated numeric keypad that makes up for the lack of physical numeric keypads in compact laptops. A touch sensor at the top-right of the touchpad turns the NumberPad on and off.

Typing for long periods is strenuous, as our sore wrists can attest. The ZenBook 13 OLED has an ErgoLift hinge that automatically lifts the rear of the laptop slightly when it’s opened, tilting the keyboard for a more comfortable typing angle. This action also raises the chassis which improves cooling and results in better audio output.

Battery life remains the bane of our digital existence. Low-battery anxiety has been known to cause excessive sweating, panic attacks among other undesirable side effects. Alleviate this tension with the 13-hour battery life of the ZenBook 13 OLED. ASUS also adds a fast-charge function that powers up the battery from 2% to 60% in under 49 minutes.

The USB-C Easy Charge support means that ZenBook 13 OLED can be used with a wide range of standard USB-C chargers (5V-20V). Users can get ultrafast charging with any PD (Power Delivery) certified charger, including the 65-watt fast-charge adapter supplied with ZenBook 13 OLED, or use airline chargers, portable chargers or power banks if these are the only options available.

You can use your face as a password to unlock the ZenBook 13 OLED with Windows Hello.

Video conferencing
Voice quality is important for efficiency and clear communication, in the era of video conferencing for remote workers. The ZenBook 13 OLED features the ASUS AI Noise Cancelling Audio, which lets users select from one of four modes: Normal, Balance, Single presenter or Multi-presenter. All ambient noise except human voices is filtered out in Single Presenter mode, while the system normalises individual voices from different positions or distances in the Multi-Presenter mode so that all voices are conveyed at a similar volume. The ClearVoice Speaker function on the other hand filters out all ambient noise except human voices so that users can hear and record more clearly even if background noise is present.

The audio system of the new ZenBook 13 OLED has been tuned by experts from the ASUS Golden Ear team and certified by audio specialists Harman Kardon to ensure the optimal output for all kinds of content.

Just like your smartphone, you can use your face as a password to unlock the ZenBook 13 OLED support. The front infrared (IR) camera recognises your face in seconds and lets you log in instantly and securely, powered by Windows Hello.

Talking of smartphones, a Screen Extender function turns any Android mobile device into an extension of a linked PC screen. Drag images play videos or open documents on either the mobile device or PC screen.

Your laptop will inevitably hit the ground at some point. The initial reaction is to scream in horror, followed by the realisation that the ZenBook 13 OLED has been tested to meet the demanding MIL-STD-810G U.S. military standard for reliability and durability. The tests include power-on drop tests, in addition to ensuring survival in harsh environments.

The ASUS ZenBook 13 is available in Pine Grey finish and retails for 4,799 AED. For that price, you get one of the lightest, sleekest devices we have seen. A series of thoughtful extra touches such as the NumberPad, ErgoLift hinge and the camera unlock only adds to the appeal.

Embrace your freedom.


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