Home News Business Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED rekindles the pursuit for an ultra slim, powerful laptop

Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED rekindles the pursuit for an ultra slim, powerful laptop

Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED rekindles the pursuit for an ultra slim, powerful laptop


Here are some numbers to ponder over. The Apple MacBook Air, over time recognised as the benchmark for ultra-slim (and no performance compromise) laptops, measures 11.3mm in thickness. That’s in totality with the lid closed as you slide it into the bag. In the Windows laptop ecosystem, HP’s latest generation Dragonfly G4 is widely considered among the slimmest, measuring 16.4mm. Peak slimming down, of portable computing devices? You’d say ‘yes’. I see you and raise you this – 10.9mm. Almost large tablet territory? This is the 2024 ASUS Zenbook S 13 OLED, a laptop.

The Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED laptop. (Vishal Mathur/ HT Photo)
The Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED laptop. (Vishal Mathur/ HT Photo)

It is clear what Asus is going for here. To set a new slimness benchmark for all laptops, Windows and Mac. In a way, renew the pursuit for slimmer computing devices, something that was an obsession but somewhat faded over the last handful of years. Competition will have to respond. Top that off with the weight reduction too – the 2024 ASUS Zenbook S 13 OLED tips the scales around 1kg, which again is less than the latest MacBook Air 13 (around 1.24kg) and at par with the Dragonfly (also around 1kg). It is an aluminium alloy that’s in use for the chassis, alongside a first of its kind to be used on laptops, plasma ceramic aluminium.

Hindustan Times – your fastest source for breaking news! Read now.

Also read:Asus morphs this year’s ROG Zephyrus G16 into a more likeable gaming rig

The 2024 ASUS Zenbook S 13 OLED prices start at 1,29,990. That’s HP EliteBook (around 1,20,000) and HP Spectre X360 OLED territory (this costs 1,49,999 onwards; a generation older Intel chips) and the Dell XPS 13 ( 1,24,490; these are with the two generations earlier Intel chips). Clearly, Asus not just has the early mover advantage with the Intel Core Ultra chip upgrades, but also a significant price to value equation compared with what the competition offers.

The lid, on the Ponder Blue version we are talking about here, has a very nice matte look with the metallic finish adding a dash of twinkling. There’s a really attractive pattern of straight lines, and the redone Zenbook monogram has a more subtle embed. Quite in line, with the subtlety you’d expect from a premium laptop. Open the lid, and you’ll notice a nice attention to detail – the lid’s design transforms it into a part hinge that lifts up the keyboard deck ever so slightly. As someone who prefers to raise the laptop from the rear when typing, this simply works.

Also read (Premium):Tech Tonic | WWW disruptions can be more worrying than Instagram outages

For a slim design, Asus isn’t forcing you to choose a compromise with low power (and therefore lesser performance) processors. The latest generation Intel Core Ultra 7 155U is part of Intel’s “AI PC” chip range, with its dedicated neural processing unit (NPU) for generative AI tasks on the device. Some of it is relevant now for certain improvements Asus has integrated (webcam effects, AI noise cancellation for video calls and the webcam’s motion tracking) and will become even more useful as more and more AI tasks (from assistants too, such as Microsoft Copilot) transition from on-cloud processing to on-device processing. There’s 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD, topping off the core specs.

From my experience with stretching the performance as a typical work-focused laptop, the 2024 ASUS Zenbook S 13 OLED doesn’t stutter or complain at all. In fact, it stays quite cool on the underside, relevant if you must keep this on the lap and work (while travelling, for instance). Material changes on and around the keyboard have clearly proved better at insulation too. As has the redesigned fan (it is slightly smaller in dimension than before, but slightly different design), which is less perceptible when it’s in active cooling mode. If there is one complaint in this regard, it is that the heat on the underside is concentrated in an area between the center and the lid, epicentre from either side spine.

Also read:In an era of AI PCs, HP Spectre 16 x360 is a showcase for Intel’s new chips

Even though Asus claims about 14 hours of use on a single charge in some conditions, our experience was a bit more varied. And in some ways, slightly inconsistent. As a work laptop, with largely the same workflow and apps in use, the 2024 ASUS Zenbook S 13 OLED delivered as much as 15 hours before the battery fully drained. On other days, it needed charging after around 9 hours or so. That’s a bit perplexing, with the same apps (and largely the same application load). No BIOS update was released by Asus in the duration we tested the laptop but expect this behaviour to be fixed soon. The upper limit of the battery stamina is a positive.

Speaking of which, the incredibly compact USB-C charger is absolutely nothing like those big bricks that we have become used to, with laptops. It can also put most 65-watt GaN chargers to shame, with its size and dimensions, and would very easily fit in the slimmest of laptop sleeves.

Asus’ big pitch with its 2024 laptops, is the OLED display. Which they call, the Lumina OLED. It is fair to say, that’s a big advantage over most competition, that still makes do with IPS screens. OLED displays, as the Zenbook S 13 OLED is proof of, deliver brighter and more accurate colours. Along with being in a better position to handle inconvenient ambient lighting (read, too bright). Transitioning from a laptop with an IPS screen to an AMOLED makes the differences clear almost immediately (including crisper text), and nigh impossible to make the shift back. You’ll get used to this vivid screen, soon enough.

Also read:Separating fact from fiction: How do you tell an AI-generated image apart from a real photo?

The biggest drawback of OLED screens, which cannot be ignored, is the burn-in tendency – here, the outlines or silhouette of something you’d viewed previously for a considerable duration of time, get baked into the screen in permanency. At that stage, an OLED screen is effectively damaged. Asus says they have a mechanism in place to prevent that, which refreshes individual pixels by turning them off and on again as well as periodically refreshing sections of the screen, to the same effect. You can add to that prevention by setting the display to turn off (on battery and with power connected) after a few minutes of not being in use (lower the duration, the better).

Also, the design of the bezel frame around the screen lends some space for dust particles to obstinately stick to – it is not an edge to edge glass, and once this begins to annoy you, be very gentle with a cloth to dislodge these particles.

This is the year when Windows computing devices, a space I speak of which as a larger collective, will take significant strides forward. Intel’s new Core Ultra chips are crucial to this, and the inclusion of an NPU helps push the case for AI on device. It’ll be more secure too. Asus is also not shy of taking a few risks, something we saw recently with the ROG Zephyrus G16 laptop that gives the gaming laptop wider powers of relevance. Now with the OLED display and a boldly slim(mer) chassis, the 2024 ASUS Zenbook S 13 OLED will force HP, Lenovo and others to respond with similar updates. That will be, good for consumers, who want maximum bang for the top money they’ll part with.


Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here