- A fantastic OLED display
- Loads of processing power
- Decent port selection & keyboard
- Robust, eye-catching & friendly design
- Middling battery life
- Underwhelming graphics ability
The Asus Zenbook 14X OLED has plenty going for it – not least its superb screen and powerful Intel Core i7 processor. Combine that with the solid port selection, innovative lid and comfortable keyboard and you’ve got a notebook that’s well suited to long days of work. It’s just a shame that the battery can’t keep up.
Price When Reviewed
Spend enough time testing and writing about laptops and you don’t often see genuine innovation, but Asus has delivered some on the latest Zenbook 14X OLED (UX3404).
It’s not about the stunning screen tech or the surprisingly powerful Intel internals, either – instead, the surprising design on this laptop is found on the lid.
You don’t have to pay through the nose to get it, either. With a Core i7 in tow, you’ll pay $1,199 for this laptop in the US and £1,199 in the UK.
That pricing barely differs from the Dell XPS 13 and it undercuts the Dell XPS 13 Plus and the Apple MacBook Pro 14, so Asus could be onto a good thing here.
Design & Build
- An innovative, good-looking and sturdy chassis
- Decent port selection
- A little weightier and thicker than many competitors
Opt for the Sandstone Beige version of the Zenbook 14X and you’ll get the kind of coating that we’ve never seen on a laptop lid before.
That model uses a Plasma Ceramization process. The metal lid feels like ceramic – tactile and textured – and the coating helps it avoid scuffs and stops it from showing fingerprints, too.
Mike Jennings / Foundry
It looks great, especially in this model’s sandy shade, and it’s decorated with sleek lines. The coating also uses no halogens and generates lower emissions than other techniques. And thanks to MIL-STD-810H certification, build quality is impressive.
There’s reasonable connectivity, too. The Asus has two Thunderbolt 4 ports and a full-size USB port. It’s got an HDMI 2.1 output and audio jack. Internally there’s dual-band Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 and a 1080p webcam with Windows Hello, and there’s a fingerprint reader in the power button.
No Dell or Apple rival has full-size USB ports and the Dells don’t have HDMI. That said, there’s no card reader and the MacBook Pro 14 has an SD slot.
The Zenbook 14X OLED doesn’t get much wrong here, but it’s a little thicker and heavier than its competitors. At 16.9mm and 1.56kg it won’t weigh your bag down, but only the MacBook Pro 14 is larger.
Keyboard & Trackpad
- Quiet and comfortable keyboard
- No numberpad workaround is awkward
- Large, smooth and accurate trackpad
It might be a tad weightier than rivals, but there’s quality throughout and that extends to the keyboard.
With 1.4mm of travel, you’ve got more movement than most laptops in this class, and that travel is paired with a soft, quiet and comfortable feel. It’s easily good enough for long days of typing.
Mike Jennings / Foundry
There’s no numberpad, but that’s normal for this size of laptop. Pressing a button lays a software numberpad over the trackpad, as with many other Asus models, but it’s an awkward stopgap. The trackpad is better in its more normal guise, where it’s smooth and accurate.
Screen & Speakers
- High-resolution OLED display
- 120Hz refresh rate
- Tinny speakers
There’s lots to like about the display. OLED panel tech means perfect black levels and the sensational contrast that you won’t get from any IPS or Mini LED panel.
The 2880 x 1800 resolution delivers crisp imagery and loads of on-screen space for multiple windows, and the 16:10 aspect ratio adds height. More unusually, the 120Hz refresh rate delivers butter-smooth movement in every app and it makes everything look slicker than conventional 60Hz displays.
There’s no shortage of quality on offer, either. The delta E of 0.97 is tremendous, and the 14X’s screen rendered 100% of the sRGB gamut, 97.3% of the DCI-P3 space and 93% of the Adobe RGB range.
There’s enough colour breadth here to make everything look bold and vibrant, and the Zenbook’s screen can handle almost any creative task – only the keenest designers will want more Adobe RGB ability. And that OLED hardware means contrast is brilliant black levels are suitably ink.
Mike Jennings / Foundry
Movies, TV shows, photographs and websites all look incredible, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a rival screen that compares. The MacBook models use Mini LED that is almost as good as the 14X on the vibrancy front, but those screens only top out at the DCI-P3 gamut. The Dell XPS 13 uses IPS hardware.
The only rival to compete is the XPS 13 Plus, but you’ll have to pay at least $1,549/£1,699 to get that notebook with its 4K OLED display.
There’s only one issue – a lack of HDR ability. The brightest levels of this display peak at 600 nits, but that level isn’t high enough for any meaningful HDR impact.
If it interests you, there’s also a convertible Zenbook 14 Flip OLED model.
Don’t expect much from the speakers, either. They’re fine for background music, but a lack of bass and a slightly tinny top-end put paid to any high-end audio aspirations.
Specs & Performance
- Intel Core i7 or i9
- 16GB DDR5 memory
- 1TB SSD
Asus crams the full-power Intel Core i7-13700H inside this laptop alongside 16GB of dual-channel memory and a 1TB SSD with reasonable read and write speeds of 4268MB/s and 3345MB/s.
This version of the notebook uses Intel Iris Xe graphics, although in some countries you may find the 14X with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 that adds basic esports and creative ability.
There’s no competition between the i7-13700H and the low-power chips used inside Dell’s notebooks. In the Geekbench multi-core test the Asus rattled through at 12,024, while the i7-1260P inside the XPS 13 Plus could only manage 8,781 – and the normal XPS 13 is no faster.
In PCMark 10, the Asus returned a score of 5,785, which was several hundred points beyond the Dells. The i7-13700H is faster than the Apple M2 chip inside the MacBook Pro 13, too.
Mike Jennings / Foundry
Those scores bode well for everyday workloads. You’ll never have issues with loads of browser tab, and the Asus is powerful enough for light photo-editing and any Office tool. It’s a great all-rounder.
The exterior stays cool even though there’s plenty of CPU power inside the 14X, and the fan noise is pretty quiet and inoffensive even when you use tough apps – this is an easy laptop to live with.
That’s solid, but the M2 chip inside the MacBook Pro 14 hits about 14,000 points in Geekbench and it’s faster in single-threaded workloads, so it’s a viable alternative if you want a big speed boost.
There are a couple of areas where the 14X disappoints. In 3DMark Night Raid the Asus could only score 14,151, which is low even for an Intel integrated core. Don’t expect much gaming help here.
The weakest part of this portable is the battery, though. The 70Wh power pack lasted for 11 hours and 40 minutes in a video test but only seven hours in an everyday work test. It’s not a ruinous result, but a full day of work will be a struggle and Apple’s machines are far better for longevity. At least the battery charged to a decent 40% after 30 minutes of connectivity.
Price & Availability
At the time of writing the Zenbook 14X OLED (UX3404) hasn’t arrived at retail, but we do have RRPs and we know that the Core i7 model (UX3404VA) will cost $1,199 in the US and £1,199 in the UK.
That’s reasonable pricing. The Dell XPS 13 is sometimes cheaper – an equivalent specification costs $1,099/£1,199. But while that laptop is lighter than the 14X, it’s far slower and doesn’t have an OLED screen.
Mike Jennings / Foundry
The Dell XPS 13 Plus costs $1,249/£1,499 with a Core i7 CPU, but that chip is slower than the CPU inside the Asus – and that price rises if you add the OLED display.
Unsurprisingly, both MacBook models are pricier. The MacBook Pro 13 can’t compete on speed but still costs $1,299/£1,349. The 14in version is faster, but you’ll have to pay at least $1,999 or £2,149 for the privilege.
You’ll get more power if you buy the Core i9 version of this rig, but the performance difference is not huge and the price rises to around $1,499/£1,499. So this model is less tempting.
Check out our chart of the best laptops and best 2-in-1 laptops if you’d like to see more options.
That affordable pricing is one of the Asus Zenbook 14X OLED’s impressive attributes. It doesn’t just undercut rivals at the checkout: it outpaces them thanks to the Core i7 processor and has a better display than most, too.
The sleek looks from the beige model combine with a comfortable keyboard and decent connectivity to create a laptop with the power and ability to handle most everyday tasks.
Battery life is the 14X’s biggest weakness, and we’d advise a MacBook if you need all-day longevity – and the 14in model if you need even more speed.
For most situations, though, the Asus Zenbook 14X OLED ticks the right boxes. It’s a classy, impressive and affordable all-rounder.
- Model tested
- OS: Windows 11 Home
- Display: 14.5in 2880 x 1800 120Hz OLED
- CPU: Intel Core i7-13700H
- Memory: 16GB onboard
- Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
- Storage: 1TB PCIe NVMe M.s SSD
- Webcam: 1mp Windows Hello
- Connectivity: 2 x Thunderbolt 4/USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C/DisplayPort/Power delivery, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 1 x HDMI 2.1, 1 x audio
- Networking: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
- Battery capacity: 70Wh
- Dimensions: 225 x 321 x 16.9mm
- Weight: 1.56kg
- Warranty: 1yr RTB