Asus ZenBook S 13 Oled test: the ultrabook that is an excellent student but thinks too much

The new ZenBook design is successful.

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ZenBook S 13 Oled is the benchmark ultrabook from Asus. It benefits from a new design that abandons the brushed aluminum cover with concentric circles for a plain surface with a stylized “A”, all accompanied by an original hinge. As the name suggests – and now an Asus trademark – this ZenBook is of course equipped with an Oled panel to take advantage of the benefits of this technology, namely deep blacks and flawless response.

Above all, this new ZenBook is one of the first ultrabooks on the market to send an AMD Ryzen 7 6800U engraved in 6 nm. If this finesse of engraving gives it a performance gain and a decrease in consumption, we will especially remember that it authorizes the integration of AMD of an RDNA2-type graphics chipset, as on the Radeon RX 6000, instead of the aging Vega architecture.

The ZenBook S 13 Oled is already available from €1,499, accompanied by 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD.

Editor's rating: 4 out of 5

Construction

The chassis of the ZenBook S 13 Oled is made of aluminum-magnesium alloy, which gives it a weight of only 1 kg. Asus has returned to a more conventional design on its 2022 lineup, and our model sports a midnight blue dress and an “A” on the hull with a selective paint effect.

The chrome-plated hinge that makes the entire width of the PC is of course part of it, while we note the side air outlet located to the left of the chassis. The whole is sober and harmonious. The downside is that the shell easily attracts fingerprints and cleaning with a microfiber cloth is not enough, as our photos show.

asus zenbook s 13 oled

ZenBook S 13 Oled has a simple and successful design.

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A notch on the front of the touchpad lets you grab the screen with one finger; however, opening it will often require the use of both hands. Once the machine is open, we find the same design as the exterior with a blank plate (since the screen is touch sensitive), not to mention a keyboard with black keys and the numeric keypad equipped with the manufacturer’s NumPad function, which shows a numeric keypad.

asus zenbook s 13 oled numpad touchpad keyboard

The ZenBook S 13 Oled integrates the numeric keypad dear to Asus.

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The three-level backlit keyboard provides comfortable and well-marked typing. The power key has a Windows Hello-compatible fingerprint reader, which will take the fingerprint into account from the start to connect the user directly to Windows logon as if nothing happened.

The touchpad is a bit difficult to drag and drop. However, it is very comfortable to use with a smooth glide and Windows gestures are perfectly accounted for.

asus zenbook s 13 oled usb-c connector

Most of the connections are on the right side; on the left we identify the air outlet.

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The ZenBook S 13 OLED’s connectivity options are limited to one connector and three USB-C 3.2 Gen2 (10 Gb/s) ports. It is possible to connect a monitor via DisplayPort support or a charger with the Power Delivery protocol. Asus, on the other hand, ignores the HDMI port and the card reader, which is very useful and present on the ZenBook 14 Oled.

In terms of wireless connectivity, the AMD RZ616 chip from MediaTek is compatible with wifi 6E at 2400 Mb/s and Bluetooth 5.2. The built-in 720p webcam offers a mediocre rendering, very noisy even in ideal lighting conditions.



In the shadow.


Good brightness.

The cooling of the Ryzen 7 6800U is provided by a single fan, a heat pipe and a radiator. Under our thermal camera, the right part of the keyboard heats up to just over 48°C after coding for 15 minutes. The buttons located above the fan utilize the air flow so that they do not exceed 36°C. This heating could have been limited by Asus by increasing the speed of the fan, which remains relatively unobtrusive with 34.6 dB recorded. It will therefore be necessary to play with the cooling modes offered by the MyAsus software to improve this situation, but at the cost of noise pollution.

thermal imaging asus zenbook s 13 oled ryzen 7 6800U

In balanced mode, the ZenBook S 13 Oled tends to heat up.

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To access the components of the ZenBook S 13 OLED, you need to unscrew nine Torx screws, two of which are hidden under the non-slip pads. The shell then comes off very easily. The SSD, wifi card and battery are easily accessible and replaceable, only the RAM is soldered to the motherboard. The manufacturer claims a repair index of 7.5/10 for this ZenBook S 13 Oled.

asus zenbook s 13 oled separated ssd open battery fan

The SSD, wifi card and battery are available.

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Editor's rating: 4 out of 5

Performance

The ZenBook S 13 Oled (UM5302TA) is equipped with an AMD Ryzen 7 6800U processor. This is based on the Zen3+ architecture and features an all-new Radeon 680M graphics chipset derived from the RDNA2 cores in the Radeon RX 6000. The Ryzen 7 6800U has eight hyperthreaded cores clocked at 2.7GHz and can occasionally reach 4.7GHz, all with a envelope. varying from 15 to 28 W. Asus has set the limit at 28 W for more performance but also more heat dissipation as we have seen.

Ryzen 7 6800U macbook air m2 asus zenbook s 13 oled dell xps 13 Plus i51240P i7-1260P i7-1280p

The Ryzen 7 6800U from the ZenBook S 13 Oled is on par with the MacBook Air M2.

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The ZenBook S 13 Oled achieves a performance index of 111 with its Ryzen 7 6800U. It is thus placed in front of the MacBook Air M2, which achieves an index of 112. It performs less well than the Framework Laptop with its Core i7-1280P, which benefits from the 20 logical cores of its processor for an index of 123, but better than the Core i5-1240P from the Dell XPS 13 Plus, which has 16 logical cores, like the Ryzen 7 6800U.

In practice, during our coding on all its cores, the Ryzen 7 6800U installed in the ZenBook S 13 Oled runs at 2.66 GHz with a boost of 4.46 GHz and an average envelope of 21 W.

A quick word about the Radeon 680M graphics part as we’ll get back to it. We launched Diablo 3 in Full HD with all details set to maximum and we reached 65 fps. On Overwatch with details in “high” mode, the ultrabook tops out at 124 fps. By comparison, this is twice as much as the ZenBook 13 Oled (UM325UA) in the Ryzen 5 5500U and its Vega graphics part.

On the game Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 1920 x 1200 pixels, the ZenBook S 13 OLED achieves the same number of frames per second as the Apple MacBook Air M2: 16 fps with the settings set to “very high”. Switching to the “very low” setting results in 26 fps, which makes the game playable. A good performance for a graphics part integrated in the processor.

Asus zenbook S 13 oled shadow of the tomb raider

Thanks to its integrated Radeon 680M chipset, we are surprised to launch a few games.

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The SSD on the ZenBook S 13 Oled is a Samsung PM9A1, itself a variant of the 980 Pro. Mounted on the ZenBook, it delivers speeds of 3.4GB/si read and write, a far cry from the 6.9GB/si read and 5GB/si write it’s supposed to achieve on the Dell XPS 13 More. However, this will have no impact in daily use.

Editor's rating: 4 out of 5

Screen

Asus has integrated an Oled panel that displays 2880 x 1800 pixels in 16:10 format on this model. The refresh rate is “only” 60 Hz, while the ZenBook 14 Oled utilized a 90 Hz version. The panel’s finish is glossy, it benefits from a tactile overlay that we struggle to understand the usefulness of on an ultrabook.

screen oled asus zenbook s 13 oled

A magnificent screen that only needs an anti-reflective filter to be perfect.

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Under our probe, the returned colors turn out to be perfectly accurate with a delta E of 2, well below 3, the threshold beyond which drift is visible to the naked eye. Thanks to the technology in the panel, ZenBook S 13 Oled shows perfect black colors and flawless responsiveness. The color temperature is a little high at 6830K, which is slightly above the 6500K video standard.

The only negative point of this screen, its reflectance measured at 51.7%. The ZenBook S 13 Oled does not appear to be equipped with an anti-reflective filter, with an average of 51.7% of the received light reflected. In practice, when watching a movie, you’ll see the keys reflected on the screen during dark scenes; otherwise, the plate will reflect its surroundings, especially near a window. It is not the brightness measured at 375 cd/m² that will change much, and it is all in all useless to think about working properly outdoors with the ZenBook S 13 Oled. Note that the panel is HDR compatible and reaches 567 cd/m² peak. However, you must view HDR-compatible content and be connected to the mains to enjoy it.



Editor's rating: 3 out of 5

Sound

The sound part of the ZenBook S 13 Oled consists of two speakers located under the chassis. The problem with this integration is the sound reproduction. The latter actually depends on the support on which the laptop is placed, and the position of the hands on the keyboard covers the speakers and thus changes their reproduction.

When you listen, the reproduction is completely banal. Loudness is decent, but the entire spectrum is tight around the mids. In the Dolby Access software package that comes with the ZenBook, we advise you to disable all the enhancements to enjoy the most neutral sound reproduction possible.

Asus zenbook S 13 old speakers

Close-up of the right speaker on the ZenBook S 13 Oled.

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The headphone output offers good characteristics with no major faults, apart from this lack of output power. Headphones with high impedance should therefore be avoided with this model.

Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED 2022 Average PCs tested
Output level 136mVRMS 157mVRMS
Distortion + noise 0.021% 0.014%
Dynamic range 92dB 100dB
Crossword puzzle -57dB -64dB
Editor's rating: 5 out of 5

Mobility / Autonomy

ZenBook S 13 Oled is a true ultrabook in its size, as it is a few millimeters close to the same dimensions as an A4 sheet (29 x 21 cm) in 1.49 cm thick, all weighing a small kilogram. It therefore finds its place in your bag without any problems. Its 65 W USB-C charging unit weighs only 224 g and can be easily transported.

usb-c charger asus zenbook s 13 oled

The only thing missing is a detachable cable, so this charger is perfect.

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Autonomy is the nice surprise of this ZenBook S 13 Oled, as we achieved 11 hours and 47 minutes of use on our usual test protocol (Netflix under Chrome, screen set to 200 cd/m²). With its 67 Wh battery, it is therefore more durable than its 14-inch counterpart, the ZenBook 14 Oled, equipped with an Intel Core i7-1260P. The MacBook Air M2 holds the hand of efficiency with its 52.6 Wh battery.

Charging will take just under an hour and a half to get the ZenBook S 13 Oled back on its feet.

autonomy asus zenbook S 13 oled battery life dell xps plus apple macbook air m2

ZenBook S 1 3Oled allows you to approach your day calmly far from an outlet.

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