A sub-$1,000 Vivobook OLED highlights Asus’ new approach

Asus Vivobook OLED laptop 2023

24: that’s the number of laptop models with OLED displays Asus has launched in Australia as part of its 2023 consumer range. This includes the premium ProArt Studiobook 16 OLED creative workhorse, the ultra-slim Zenbook S 13 OLED for all-around productivity, and the budget-friendly Vivobook 15X OLED.

It’s part of the Taiwanese computer company’s push to bring OLED laptop displays into the mainstream. We’re used to seeing the self-lit display technology across TVs like the latest displays from LG, and even Samsung in recent years, but the uptake among laptops has been slower. It’s mainly down to cost, as OLED panels cost more to produce than traditionally backlit LCD screens. Now, Asus is hoping you’ll see the benefits of OLED and take the plunge.

After seeing many of the newly released laptops in person at a launch event in Sydney, the difference between display technologies is stark. Asus claims its Lumina OLED tech is far superior to other types of laptop displays for various reasons.

Some of the widely agreed-upon advantages of OLED are the high level of colour reproduction, vivid contrast, and precise light control. Because these types of displays are lit at a pixel level, instead of using a comparatively imprecise backlight, there’s no blooming effect where light bleeds between lighter and darker sections of an image.

Another message Asus focused on involved OLED’s lower blue light levels. Although research is still ongoing in this space, early studies, including a 2014 paper Asus referenced, indicate that blue light emitted from various sources interferes with sleep and eye health.

Regardless of the specifics, OLED technology looks great. As the technology comes down in price, expect to see more and more devices abandon LCD in favour of the hotter tech. As it stands currently, Asus already has a sub-$1,000 OLED laptop, so affordable options do exist.

Vivobook OLED range for budget-conscious buyers

At the entry level of Asus’ 2023 consumer laptops is the Vivobook. Aimed at students, workers, and anyone who needs an affordable laptop capable of multi-tasking, these devices are one of the biggest sellers for the company.

All up, there are 46 different configurations of the Vivobook this year, with a mix of OLED and LCD panels, and varying power levels. The most affordable OLED device comes in the form of the Vivobook Go 15 OLED, a $999 compact laptop that runs on the AMD platform. Otherwise, the smaller LCD Vivobook Go 14 starts at $599 when it arrives later in the year.

Headlining the 2023 Vivobook range is the $1,399 Vivobook 15X OLED (M3504) laptop powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 7730U CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. Its OLED panel is Full HD, although limited to 60Hz, which is fine for most users anyway. You can check it out in stores, as it’s available now.

Zenbook goes super slim with S 13 OLED model

Asus’ mid-range devices, the Zenbooks, also received plenty of updated models for 2023. At the top of the pile is the ultra-portable Zenbook S 13 OLED (UX5304), said to be the world’s slimmest 13-inch laptop. Picking it up, you barely notice its svelte 1kg weight, and despite only being 1cm thick when closed, it still feels sturdy and durable.

Asus Zenbook 14 Flip OLED 2023
Asus also offers hybrid 2-in-1 devices like the Zenbook 14 Flip OLED

On the inside, the Zenbook S 13 OLED uses up to a 13th Gen Intel Core i7-1355U CPU, integrated graphics, 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and a 1TB PCIe 4.0 x4 SSD for storage. In a pleasantly surprising move, the laptop has a USB-A port alongside its USB-C ports. Many of us still have plenty of USB-A peripherals, so other manufacturers should take note.

Continuing the brand’s focus on OLED, the Zenbook S 13 OLED’s display is 16:10 2.8K (2880 x 1800) resolution, has a 60Hz refresh rate and 550 nits peak brightness. From a sustainability perspective, the laptop uses a range of recycled materials, including recycled metals and ocean-bound plastics throughout its design.

It starts at $2,099 from stores now. I’d like to see $2,000 laptops start using displays at higher refresh rates, but as this particular range isn’t aimed at gamers, it’s not an integral feature.

New Studiobook devices for creatives

Separate from Asus’ gaming-centric ROG range, the Studiobook laptops are aimed at people who spend plenty of time editing videos and need high-powered graphics for work. This year’s main model is the ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED (H7604) which uses Nvidia RTX 40 series GPUs and wields a fancy 3.2K (3200 x 2000) 120Hz display. You can even splash out on a glasses-free 3D display, which looks impressive in person but remains something of a novelty until more use cases come along.

Asus ProArt Studiobook 16 OLED 2023
Asus’ ProArt Studiobooks also feature the dial controls, handy for precise media editing.

Of course, with higher specs, including more SSD storage, up to 64GB of RAM and more, there’s a big price tag. Rolling out between now and June, the ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED starts at $4,999, so it’s more geared towards high-level enthusiasts and professionals.

We’ll have ongoing coverage of the new Asus laptops as we get to try different devices. For now, you can check out more details on the full 2023 range via the company’s website.

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Chris Button attended a launch event in Sydney as a guest of Asus.