As is often the case with new technologies, laptops with OLED displays haven't come cheap so far. Since first being introduced in 2016, they’ve typically been reserved for premium devices or expensive gaming hardware.
The top OLED laptops at the time of writing include the 2020 Dell XPS 15, HP Spectre x360 13 and Asus ZenBook Flip S – but all three cost well over £1,000/US$1,000. Samsung’s latest Galaxy Book Pro is one of the more affordable options, but will still set you back £1,099/US$999.99.
However, there are signs that things are changing. Asus recently launched a new version of its popular ZenBook 13 laptop, complete with an OLED display. This does mean an RRP increase over its LCD predecessor, but it still starts at an appealing US$800. It's hard to believe you can get a great OLED laptop at this price, but even the entry-level model has encouraging specs.
Asus offers a choice between the Ryzen 5 5600U and Core i5-1135G7 processors – it's rare to see both Intel and AMD’s latest chips on the most affordable model. It’s paired with 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, so performance should be solid.
That 13in OLED display has a 1080p resolution and covers the full DCI-P3 colour gamut, while slim bezels give it an 88% screen-to-body ratio. Other key features include a decent port selection (2 USB-C, 1 USB-A, HDMI and microSD card reader), backlit keyboard and 67Wh battery with 65W fast charging.
Judging from the spec sheet, there looks to be very few compromises here. Even the OLED ZenBook Flip 13 convertible won’t break the bank, starting at US$950. Both devices are available now from the Asus US website, but the UK site only has an option to 'learn more'.
So, why are OLED laptops becoming more affordable now? The recent introduction of Mini LED displays might have something to do with it. They're primarily available on TVs for now, but high-end devices like the MSI Creator 17 already support the technology. With Mini LED screens likely to become the new differentiating factor for expensive laptops, this may be what's pushing down the price of OLED.
Do I really need an OLED laptop?
A laptop with an OLED display isn’t a necessity for most people, especially if you’re shopping at a more affordable price point. However, if you can afford it, OLED laptops typically deliver a far more immersive viewing experience than LCD.
Each individual pixel in an OLED display generates its own light, while LCD screens rely on filtered background light. This means OLED panels offer better colour accuracy, as well as improved contrast ratio and higher maximum brightness. In general, this leads to a display that’s more pleasing to the eye.
However, power consumption varies quite widely. Being able to control each pixel individually means OLEDs can easily save power when displaying darker images, but brighter images will likely deplete your battery life more quickly than LCD displays.
That’s far from the only thing that will affect how long your device lasts, though. Battery capacity, thermal management and the power efficiency of internal components will all have an impact.
Despite OLED screens typically having a shorter lifespan, buying a laptop with the technology now means you’ll be well future-proofed. However, you might want to hold off, with plenty more OLED laptops at US$800 and under look likely to arrive soon. Samsung has confirmed that it is mass-producing OLED laptop displays at 90Hz, and it's highly likely other companies will also use them in their devices.
Check out more alternatives in our best laptop chart, which includes a few OLED PCs.