Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED Review | A reliable Windows-based alternative to the MacBook Air 

The Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED has been a reliable performer in the small laptops category, and the company’s 2024 iteration of the device looks to retain its position while expanding its appeal.

April 19, 2024 11:56 am | Updated 11:58 am IST

The Asus Zenbook S 13 (2024) retains most of the design elements of its past version.

The Asus Zenbook S 13 (2024) retains most of the design elements of its past version. | Photo Credit: Nabeel Ahmed

The smaller footprint laptop market has a line up of worthy contenders vying for consumer attention. The market is host to some intense competition between brands trying to outdo each other with better features and improved performance, all packed in an easy to live with footprint. While some devices in this segment are looking at newer, more drastic moves like the inclusion of two screens, touch screens and stylus compatibility, Windows devices often include these features while sacrificing on others. However, for many, the idea of a small, powerful, and reliable Windows laptop that gets the basics right still holds true.

Asus has been a consistent performer in this category with its Zenbook S 13. The company’s 2024 iteration of the device, then, looks to retain this position, while expanding its appeal. We spent a good fortnight testing the Zenbook S 13 2024 edition and here is what we found.

Unboxing

In the box of the Zenbook S 13 OLED you get the charging cable, a stylish laptop sleeve, the device itself and some paperwork. Asus has seemingly taken special care to do away with unwanted plastic from its packaging, which makes unboxing the device easy and convenient.

Design

The Zenbook S 13 2024 retains most of the design elements of its past version. The laptop itself is slender, sleek, and lightweight. It weighs in at approximately one kg (acording to Asus), and we found it to be easy to carry around while stuffed in a backpack, and even with just the provided sleeve. However, the lack of weight does not equate to a lack in sturdiness. The device feels well proportioned, and uses good quality materials. It also feels well put together, with no signs of compromise in the build quality.

The uniquely designed lid, which folds under the bottom half of the laptop, angles the keyboard towards the user, making long typing sessions on the device a breeze. The lid opens up to a full 180 degrees, offering the option of typing while standing, and also coming in handy during presentations.

The Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED comes in a sleek desig with ports on either side of the laptop. These include a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, an audio port, two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, and one standard HDMI 2.1 (TMDS) port. 

The Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED comes in a sleek desig with ports on either side of the laptop. These include a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, an audio port, two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, and one standard HDMI 2.1 (TMDS) port.  | Photo Credit: Nabeel Ahmed

Visually, the Zenbook is easily distinguishable from other similarly sized devices, with lines slashing across the lid. The patterns and colour options for the lid also ensure it retains its fresh look and makes smudges and fingerprints a thing of the past.

The device gets a decent collection of ports for connecivitiy, including a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A and audio port on the right panel. The left panel houses two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports and one standard HDMI 2.1 (TMDS) port.

Additionally, the device also gets a large trackpad, which is responsive and tactile, and leaves space on the panel for resting your palms. While the keyboard has good feedback, it could do with a little more tactile feedback, especially when compared to similarly sized devices from other brands.

Display

With a 13.3 inch, 16:10, 2.8K display panel, the S 13 has an 85% screen-to-body ratio. The bezels around the display are decent and do not hinder the viewing experience.

The display has a peak brightness of 600-nits, making it a good companion for on-the-move users who prefer to spend time in the outdoors. Colour calibration is also good with 100% DCI-P3 and HDR 600 Dolby Vision.

We tested the device for content consumption, day-to-day office work, and light reading. The display shone during all tasks. For content consumption, the panel is bright, with good colour representation. Even at low brightness levels the panel does not compromise picture clarity.

Performance

The Zenbook S 13 comes powered with the Intel Core Ultra 7 processor, backed by LPDDR5X RAM and SSD for storage. The unit we received for testing came with 16 GB RAM and 1 TB storage space. During testing the device’s performance came across as one of its biggest strengths. The device manages to keep up with multiple browsers, apps, and videos running simultaneously without breaking a sweat.

While the device is not the best when it comes to gaming, it should do just fine for the casual gamer looking to pass time with turn-based games or puzzles.

The device does tend to get a little noisy due to the fans trying to moderate the processor’s temperature. However, Asus’ Whisper Mode comes in handy here.

The 2024 iteration of the Zenbook S 13 OLED’s  performance came across as one of its biggest strengths.

The 2024 iteration of the Zenbook S 13 OLED’s  performance came across as one of its biggest strengths. | Photo Credit: Nabeel Ahmed

The device manages to keep its running temperature within manageable range. At no time during our testing did the device run hot enough for it be to shifted to a desk from our lap.

Dragging and dropping content is smooth, and there is hardly any lag when it comes to switching windows even when using heavier apps from Adobe.

The device also has a decent set of speakers. While they aren’t the best in the business, they do a decent job during video calls, and provide a good alternative to headphones during content consumption. The camera performance is also good, and works well with Windows Face ID feature.

The Zenbook S 13 is also one for the new breed of laptops to come with a dedicated AI button that sits on the lowest end of the keyboard, between the Alt and direction keys. The AI button simply pulls up Microsoft’s Co-pilot where users can chat with the AI-powered chatbot.

Battery

Another strong suit of the Asus Zenbook is its battery life. It is one of the longest running small Windows devices we have tested so far. The 63W lithium ion battery has great standby performance, lasting well over 4-5 days of disuse. The battery performance is also strong enough to last a full day of heavy use.

One of the main strenghts of the Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED is the device’s battery life that one of the longest running small Windows devices we have tested so far.

One of the main strenghts of the Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED is the device’s battery life that one of the longest running small Windows devices we have tested so far. | Photo Credit: Nabeel Ahmed

Fast charging speeds further improve use, with the device managing to charge 50% in 45 minutes while in constant use.

Verdict

Asus’ Zenbook S 13 is a consistent performer in a competitive space. The 2024 version of the device doubles down on its earlier performance, making it a great option for users looking for a smaller laptop. The S 13 OLED with its good display, backed by good performance and amazing battery life then is a worthy contender and easily one of the best Windows-based alternatives to Apple’s MacBook Air series. The Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED starts at ₹ 1,29,990.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.