get married personal computer Asus ZenBook 14 OLED (UM3402) review 2023: A value for money notebook...
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ASUS continues to offer premium and semi-premium notebooks in the Indian market with its refreshed ZenBook and VivoBook series. One of the best things about ASUS' current crop of consumer notebooks is that they come with brilliant OLED display options at very affordable prices.
Take the latest one for exampleZenBook 14 OLED (UM3402). It has a 2.8K OLED panel, which means a sharper image with vivid colors and contrast, as well as a 90Hz refresh rate for a smooth and dynamic experience. The laptop is equipped with the latest Ryzen 7000 series mobile processor from AMD, which offers excellent efficiency in terms of performance and battery life, and of course, a ZenBook IT notebook is stylish and offers a thin and light design. But there is more than meets the eye. Read on to learn more.
ASUS recycled the entire chassis of last year's ZenBook 14 OLED. That's not a bad thing because it looks good and why fix something that isn't broken? It has a magnesium-aluminum alloy construction with a thickness of just under 17 mm and a weight of only 1.39 kg. It even meets the MIL-STD-810H durability standard, which means it's rock solid. Personally, it didn't feel like a solid metal laptop, as is the case with Apple's MacBooks or the Dell XPS series. Rather, it looks a bit like high-quality plastic. But honestly, I'm just criticizing here, like pretty much all magnesium-based notebooks.
The notebook comes in a graphite color that the company calls "Jade Black," apparently "inspired by the natural beauty of rock formations." It has a minimalist look with the ASUS logo on one side of the lid and ZenBook branding on the bottom. The company also mentions that the laptop has an anti-fingerprint coating, but this doesn't do a good job, especially on the lid, and you get oil stains on your fingers. There is visible flex on the lid and very little on the keyboard deck, but overall it manages to help a little.
The cylindrical hinge mechanism feels sturdy and allows the lid to open up to 180 degrees. Like most ASUS notebooks, you also get the Ergo Lift design that lifts the bottom of the notebook to tilt upwards when you open the lid, allowing for better airflow and providing a better keyboard typing experience.
The notebook also comes with a good selection of ports, despite being quite thin. You get a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port on the left side, and on the other side there's an HDMI 2.1 port, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports that support display and power supply, a 3.5 " combo audio jack. etc. and a microSD card reader. There is also a lot of ventilation on the left side and bottom.
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As well as the chassis, ASUS uses an OLED panel that is very similar to last year's model. It measures 14 inches diagonally with a resolution of 2880 x 1800 pixels, a pixel density of 243 ppi, a refresh rate of 90 Hz and an aspect ratio of 16:10 that gives more space at the bottom. It's a glossy screen like most OLEDs, so it's prone to glare, and there's no touchscreen option if that's important to you. It is also Pantone validated for accurate colors and covers 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. There is some improvement in terms of brightness as it comes with DisplayHDR True Black 600 with up to 600 nits of brightness (HDR), a slight increase over last year's model. ASUS also claims its SGS and TÜV Rheinland certifications to protect your eyes from harmful blue light emissions.
The screen offers enough brightness for everyday use, and in my tests I barely turned the brightness up to 100%. You also get deep blacks, a very good amount of saturation and a solid contrast ratio. Using the MyASUS app, it's possible to adjust the colors to your liking, along with options to set the temperature and color scale and extend the life of the panel thanks to various settings under the OLED care tab. Viewing angles are excellent and viewing content is a joy on this notebook. Also, the 90Hz refresh rate and low response times are a great addition as they make the overall user experience quite responsive. Apart from scrolling and switching between apps, the smooth response is visible when playing casual games.
ASUS has also taken steps to protect the OLED screen to avoid burn-in issues. There are several settings in the MyASUS app, such as pixel refresh, pixel shift, hide the Windows taskbar, and disable Windows transparency effects that can help extend the life of the panel. Overall, I think ASUS has done a good job with the display. Sure, it's not as high-end as you'd see in premium notebooks, and like most OLEDs, it's quite reflective, but it's definitely worth the price.
keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard comes with standard chiclet-style keys with 1.4mm key travel. The keys are well spaced, although ASUS didn't go the end-to-end route, which could have helped by pushing a few more keys. I could type comfortably on the keyboard and had almost no problems with the controls and got used to the layout. Of course, you get adjustable backlighting, and I appreciate that the delete key is in the top right corner instead of the power button. The power button also houses the fingerprint reader, which worked fine most of the time when logging in via Windows Hello.
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Below the keyboard is a large glass trackpad. Besides being smooth and responsive, it also supports NumberPad 2.0. Basically, it integrates an LED-backlit numeric keypad that can be activated by pressing and holding the top right corner of the trackpad. While I don't find this feature useful, it might be useful for someone who constantly needs to use a calculator or enter a lot of numbers into spreadsheets or accounting software.
Performance and software
The 2023 version of the Zenbook 14 OLED UM3402 has been updated with the latest AMD Ryzen 7000 series processors, based on 7nm architecture and with integrated RDNA3 Radeon graphics. ASUS offers the laptop with either the Ryzen 5 7530U or the Ryzen 7 7730U, both aimed at thin and light notebooks. The test unit I received came with the latter with 8 cores, 16 threads and clock speeds that can go up to 4.5GHz. In addition, you get 16 GB of LPDDR4X memory, a 1TB PCIe Gen 3 SSD.
Now the Ryzen 7 7730U may sound like an impressive mobile processor for thin and light laptops on paper. But if you compare it to last year's Ryzen 7 5825U, it's more or less the same chipset. Essentially, AMD just revamped the older processor, so keep that in mind if you're planning to buy the laptop. That said, it manages to deliver respectable performance. With a TDP of 15W, the Ryzen 7 7730U was able to deliver up to 45W under peak loads for a short period of time, which is quite impressive. You can get the maximum CPU potential by switching to the performance mode fan profile through the MyASUS app, which also offers standard or balanced mode and silent mode for quiet fan speeds with low power consumption and low performance. Beyond everyday computing needs, the notebook is capable of media creation, including basic photo and video editing purposes, but keep in mind that it can't keep up with high-end notebooks with dedicated graphics.
Speaking of which, the Ryzen 7 7730U comes with an integrated Radeon RX Vega 8 GPU. It's not really for gaming, but I set out anyway to test if the laptop had the potential for some casual gaming. At 1200p resolution, CS:GO was able to run over 60 fps on medium settings, while Apex Legends was only able to run between 30-40 fps on low settings. Basically, you can play some older titles on this laptop, but only on low or medium graphics settings to reach a consistent 60 fps.
Thermally, the CPU is cooled using a single fan with two heatpipes. During normal use, the laptop remains cool, with CPU temperatures staying well within 50°C and rising to a maximum of 92.8°C when the CPU is used at 100 percent. Under sustained load, such as long rendering processes, the CPU temperature remained in the low 80s. During my testing period, I noticed that the fan remained silent most of the time and I only heard it increase during high CPU or gpu usage tasks. Speaking of which, here's a look at the benchmark test results:
The addition of Wi-Fi 6E gave me impressive wireless speeds, and Bluetooth 5.3 allowed me to quickly pair devices like headphones and wireless peripherals with almost no lag or connection dropouts.
The ZenBook 14 OLED comes with Windows 11 Home out of the box with minimal bloatware. I noticed that the annoying McAfee antivirus software was generating random messages which I ended up removing. The MyASUS system management and service application allows you to customize various settings and also comes with some useful tools. In addition to switching between performance profiles, the app offers AI-based noise reduction when running meetings, customizes colors and screen profiles, enables battery saver mode, and more.
Finally, the 1080p webcam is fine, but it's not a huge improvement over the 720p webcams seen on most laptops. The sound system would have been tuned by Harman Kardon with support for Dolby Atmos. The down-firing stereo speakers are bright, but they sound tiny and don't deliver powerful sound. I was quite disappointed because ASUS had an excellent chance to deliver a complete multimedia package, but in reality the experience is below average.
I haven't tested a laptop with long battery life in a while, and the ZenBook 14 OLED was definitely a breath of fresh air. I got almost 10 hours of battery life, which means it can last all day before you need to plug in the charger. The laptop also scored a respectable 9 hours and 10 minutes on the Modern Office battery test in PCMark 10. This is all thanks to the combination of the 75WHr battery, the efficient Ryzen 7000 series processor and of course the OLED panel that comes in comparison. because LCD uses less power.
In addition, the laptop supports fast charging, so you can quickly charge it up to 60% in just 49 minutes using the 65W charging adapter. It can be fully charged in about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
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It's one thing for a laptop to pack in the panache, it's another thing for it to do so while keeping the price down. At $750, the Asus Zenbook 14 OLED is a solid value offering. Given that it's already dipped as low as $500, we're likely to see more occasional price cuts that make it an incredible bargain again.What is special about Asus Zenbook? ›
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Zenbook 14 OLED battery life
In the PCMark 10 Modern Office test, which simulates various office tasks and at a brightness of 200 nits, the Zenbook 14 OLED lasted almost 11 hours. This is an excellent result for a modern compact laptop.