Asus announced a pair of Zenbook laptops today, and one, in particular, has my attention. Revealed alongside the Zenbook Pro 15 Flip OLED, the Zenbook S 13 OLED (UM5302) is an ultra-sleek clamshell laptop with AMD CPUs and an OLED display. That’s all well and good, but what really holds my gaze is the Zenbook S 13’s svelte design and those lovely colours.
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED: Elegant chassis, OLED display
Just look at this thing (see pic above). It has a simple, understated design, but unlike so many other drab laptops, pops of colour keep the S 13 OLED from disappearing in a crowd of silver and grey. Those attractive but awkwardly named colours are “Ponder Blue,” “Aqua Celadon,” “Refined White,” and “Vestige Beige.” By the way, if you’re an Apple user, this could be something of a sneak peek at the next MacBook Air, which is rumoured to come in the same colours as the iMac.
I also want to shout out Asus’s new “Monogram” Zenbook logo, which is begging to be compared to the Starfleet Command insignia. The Zenbook line didn’t really have a logo; its lids were adorned with generic “Asus” branding in past models, so this is a definite upgrade. Better yet, the magnesium-aluminium alloy unibody chassis is every bit as sleek as it looks in the pictures, measuring 0.58 inches and weighing 2.2 pounds (1 kg for the touchscreen version). That’s super portable, even compared to the MacBook Air (0.62 inches, 1 kg) and Dell XPS 13 (0.58 inches, 1 kg).
Another nice feature is the ErgoLift hinge, which allows the display to rotate 180 degrees so you can get the optimal viewing angle when you’re lounging awkwardly on the couch or using those tragically tiny aeroplane trays. Even more unique is the optional NumberPad 2.0, Asus’s LED-illuminated numeric keypad that, when enabled, is overlayed on top of the touchpad. Neither of these are new to Zenbook, but they still help it stand out.
As feared, port selection is slim: three USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports and a headphone jack. Thunderbolt 4 is off the table, with this being an AMD-powered machine (though we could see TB4 on AMD systems soon).
Complementing the gorgeous design is a 13.3-inch, 2.8K (2800 x 1800-pixel) 16:10 OLED HDR touchscreen with a “NanoEdge” design, meaning the bezels were trimmed around all four edges. This being OLED, you can expect saturated colours, perfect black levels, and near-infinite contrast ratios. Asus is also promising 550 nits of peak brightness, and its Pantone Validated badge should mean accurate colours out of the box. If there’s one downside, it’s the 60Hz refresh rate.
Asus has tapped AMD for the internals on this one, with the Zenbook S 13 OLED running on up to a Ryzen 7 6800U CPU paired with up to 16GB of DDR5 RAM and 1TB of NVMe M.2 SSD storage. This Zenbook isn’t meant for gaming, so Asus didn’t try stuffing a discrete GPU inside; instead, it relies on integrated Radeon 680M or 660M graphics.
I wouldn’t read too much into this, but Asus is promising up to 19 hours of battery life out of the Zenbook S 13 OLED’s 67Wh battery. I’ll believe it when I see it. Asus didn’t say how it tested the system, but I can guarantee we won’t get near those runtimes when we put it through our own regime.
Zenbook Pro 15 Flip: More power, more OLED
If you need more power, Asus also revealed today the Zenbook Pro 15 Flip OLED. It’s a mouthful to say, I know, but the gist is that this is Asus’s premium ultra-thin convertible laptop (excluding multi-display systems and foldables).
Much like the Zenbook S 13, the Pro 15 Flip can be equipped with a 2.8K (2880 x 1620) OLED display, except this one is 15.6 inches large and bumps the refresh rate up to 120Hz. At 0.74 inches thick and 2 kg, this laptop isn’t as sleek as the S 13 OLED, but it packs a bigger punch thanks to its Intel 12th Gen Core i7-12700H CPU, 16GB of DDR5 RAM, and 1TB SSD.
Here’s the kicker, though: Asus is taking the plunge and equipping the Zenbook Pro 15 with an intel Arc A370M graphics card. You can read more about Intel’s Arc Graphics in my previous writeup, but the bottom line is that this is an entry-level component designed to give portable systems the performance needed to play most modern games at 1080p. It isn’t meant to compete against AMD or Nvidia solutions.
The Zenbook Pro 15 Flip OLED has a single-zone RGB keyboard, supports Asus’s new Pen 2.0, and comes with an IR camera for easy login. There are no battery life ratings for this one, so we’ll just have to find out ourselves when we test the large 96Wh cell. As for ports, you get two Thunderbolt 4 inputs, a USB Type-A port, an HDMI 2.0 connection, and a headphone jack.
Asus hasn’t announced pricing or availability for either model. We’re expecting them to start at around or above $US1,000 ($1,388). We’ll update this article once we learn more. Until then, all we can do is hope those Zenbook S 13 OLED colours are available in your region.