What I’m most looking forward to with these next-generation laptops is pushing graphical performance further. There’s a lot of fanfare over the Intel Core Ultra range including a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU) built to take on AI-based workloads. However, the biggest and most immediately useful change promises to be its overhauled graphics architecture.
Instead of using a discrete graphics card – like an Nvidia RTX – higher-end Intel Core Ultra devices use Intel Arc integrated graphics. Based on internal testing, it means better video rendering, improved gaming performance, and reduced power consumption. In theory, it should mean that laptops like the Asus Zenbook 14 OLED last longer with an overall performance increase.
Slim, vibrant and versatile
This year’s Zenbook 14 OLED (UX3405) range comes in three configurations, equipped with either the Intel Core Ultra 5, 7, or 9 processor. Aside from that, the devices weigh just 1.2kg – only slightly heavier than last year’s Zenbook S 13 model.
As the name suggests, an OLED display is a major part of the offering. Asus has espoused the benefits of OLED technology before, engineering its in-house Lumina technology designed to enhance colour accuracy and display longevity. The Zenbook 14 OLED laptops come with a 3K (2880 x 1800) resolution touchscreen screen that runs a smooth 120Hz. Its 600-nit peak brightness isn’t super bright but the expectation is that you’d use the laptop in a relatively controlled setting.
Smaller doesn’t mean sacrificing on ports, which is good to see. The new laptops contain two Thunderbolt 4 ports, one USB-A slot, an HDMI 2.1 port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. For wireless communication, it supports Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3.
One of the biggest claims from Asus is that the latest Zenbook 14 OLED provides upwards of 15 hours of battery life. That will differ depending on how you use the device, with the testing consisting of 1080p video streaming on a low-brightness setting. Still, its 75Wh battery supports fast USB-C charging, intended to get you up to 60% capacity in under an hour.
It’ll be interesting to see what impact the integrated NPU will have on battery life. The Zenbook supports AI video and audio processing natively, to get you looking and sounding your best when on calls. An NPU is meant to handle the bulk of this sustained load, reducing strain on the CPU and GPU, which should theoretically increase the power efficiency of such computer tasks.
Asus Zenbook 14 OLED release date and price
The Intel Core Ultra 5 and 7 Asus Zenbook 14 OLED laptop configurations are available now directly from Asus, JB Hi-Fi, and The Good Guys. It comes in a Foggy Silver finish, with the Ultra 5 model costing $2,199, and $2,399 for the Ultra 7 version.
You’ll need to wait a bit longer for the top-of-the-line Intel Core Ultra 9 model, however. When it does arrive in Australia, the laptop will cost $2,799. Plus, it’ll be a Ponder Blue colour to show everyone that you have the fanciest version.