The 2023 Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED is a small powerhouse with a beautiful screen

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By Webdesk


Asus stretches the limits of what’s possible with thin and light portable PCs, and the 2023 Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED raises the bar for what’s possible in an ultraportable PC. The computer weighs only 2.2 lbs and is only 0.39 inches thick – small enough to be a negligible addition to a backpack or travel bag, while offering plenty of power to meet the workload requirements of the vast majority of users. people.

Base

This year’s Zenbook S 13 OLED is similar to the one Asus released in 2022, but has enough significant differences that they’re really quite different machines. Perhaps the biggest difference is the processor, as the 2023 version uses a 13th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and last year’s version has an AMD Ryzen 7 6800 CPU. The other major difference is in the case, which has a slimmer bottom half, which required a keyboard switch. The 2023 version’s display also doesn’t support pen or touch input, while the Ryzen-powered 2022 Zenbook S does.

It’s a bit more expensive than the Ryzen version, starting at $1,399 instead of $1,299, but the $100 difference isn’t exactly significant and you’re still getting a lot of computer for the price.

Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED ports on the left

Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

The move to Intel means you also get two Thunderbolt 4 ports, versus the USB 3.0 C ports of the latest version. There’s also a USB A port, a full-size HDMI connector and a 3.5mm audio jack. The trackpad is bigger – I’d call it downright expansive now – but it ditches the nifty trick of previous Zenbooks of making the trackpad double as a numpad via capacitive button press.

Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED

Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

Asus estimates battery life for the 2023 Zenbook S 13 OLED at up to 14 hours, but of course that depends on what you do with it (more on how it actually performs in the performance section below). The 2.8K HDR OLED display has a maximum brightness of 550 nits and offers 100% DCI-P3 color gamut coverage. In the box you get a 65W USB charger and a case-style case for extra protection.

Design and build

Asus has done a great job with the aesthetics of the Zenbook series over the past few years, and the 2023 Zenbook S 13 OLED is no exception. It has a striking, contrast-colored top case with a finish reminiscent of a matte-patterned stone, and the palm rest and keyboard surround are made from a recycled magnesium-aluminium alloy that feels great to the touch. This is already the only PC notebook I’ve gotten compliments on from observers, which on a purely superficial level says a lot about the design choices made here.

Despite being so thin and light, the Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED also feels remarkably durable and solid. Asus says it meets US MIL-STD-810H military standards for durability, and while I’ve never seen it pass anywhere near that kind of rigorous testing, I can attest that it stood up to both indoor and outdoor home use remarkably well. and to travel without making any extra effort to protect or care for it during transit.

Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED

Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

The port equipment here is pretty ideal, with a range of options for new and old accessories. If there’s anything to complain about here, it’d be the lack of an SD or microSD slot, but that’s understandable given the major focus Asus has put on making this the thinnest and lightest laptop possible. Speaking of which, it’s really remarkable to pick up this thing and see how light it is: it actually makes last year’s model feel a bit bulky, despite only being about 0.13 lbs heavier.

Features and Performance

The 13th Gen Intel chip powering the 2023 Zenbook S 13 packs a lot of punch, and it comes with 16GB of internal storage and a speedy 1TB SSD, so it never feels small. the trade-off for the power comes in the form of heat, which Asus usually dissipates effectively with its built-in fan system. However, “usually” is the key word. The notebook can get quite hot, especially at the back at the top center of the bottom panel, and it can be so hot that you may experience some discomfort when using it like a real laptop while wearing shorts. The heat only seems to be short lived as it builds up even when using a more performance oriented power profile and using an application like Photoshop and multiple browser tabs.

Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED

Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

Where some users may have more of a problem is fan noise: the 2023 Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED can unfortunately make quite a bit of it, and it’s not so much that it’s loud as that it’s quite high-pitched. In a quiet room, this can result in quite audible whining, which may not be ideal for the user or anyone sitting nearby. The good news is that if you already have a decent level of ambient noise, say in a cafe or outside, the noise essentially disappears completely.

These issues will obviously become a bigger problem for anyone looking to use this computer for gaming, graphics work, or anything else that’s going to put a strain on the processor or integrated GPU: I took it on a few work trips and used it for five and six hours of flying for my standard workload, which is mostly browser tabs and Photoshop, and I had no problem with the noise in those settings.

The Zenbook had impressive battery life – under real world usage conditions I clearly didn’t get 13 hours, but averaged around 10 hours, which is more than enough for a work and play laptop.

Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED ports and right hinge

Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

It boils down

To me, the 2023 Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED is just about the perfect all-round PC – it’s easily the best for travel, given its slim form factor and reasonably long battery, along with that amazing, gorgeous screen. switch between emails and spreadsheets and stream Netflix or Disney+ shows in vibrant, beautiful, vibrant colors with full Dolby Vision support.

As an owner of the Ryzen-powered 2022 model, I miss a few things about that version, including less perceptible fan noise, touch and pen input, and keys with a deeper keystroke depth. But this version adds a lot, including the ability to connect to Thunderbolt 4 accessories, including external GPUs, and it takes the cake when it comes to sheer portability.



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