Asus has such a large range of laptops available to purchase that it can be difficult to know just what you want, need and should be looking for. We’ve reviewed gaming versions from Asus’ ROG gaming arm, along with their dual-display Zenbooks.
What about those of us who do not wish anything fancy like that but all they need is a workhorse that is reliable, portable and able to handle most anything you throw at it. For this reason, we are having a look at one of their latest OLED laptops, the Zenbook 14 OLED (UX3402Z) to see if it really can handle anything we throw at it.
Design and construction
The Zenbook 14 OLED features a contemporary design on the lid and although it is different it does not affect the performance of the laptop nor change the appearance all that much. Asus tells us that the new lid design is inspired by timeless Kintsugi craftsmanship, and it’s available in two fresh new colours: Ponder Blue and Aqua Celadon.
The new design is basically a few thin reflective stripes running at various angles across the lid – nothing special but I like it in that it looks different to the standard design of a plain lid with the manufacturer logo in the centre.
The hinge on the Zenbook 14 OLED is an 180 degree “Ergolift hinge” which Asus say is great for sharing – if sharing was the real reason for the hinge surely they would have made it 360 degrees? The hinge does raise the keyboard section of the laptop giving the keyboard a more ergonomic angle and adds more air flow to the underside of the laptop.
While the angle on the hinge is subtle it is certainly noticeable when using the laptop and does make it much more enjoyable to use.
The Zenbook 14 OLED (UX3402Z) is a thin, light laptop measuring just 16.9mm thin and only 1.39kg in weight. This makes for easy portability and I found it easy to carry around with me in my laptop backpack all day without any substantial burden.
Asus has a habit of packing a lot of high-end specs into their Zenbooks and this is no different. Powering the laptop is (up to) a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, Intel Iris X graphics alongside 16GB RAM and 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD to deliver high end performance. I certainly had no issues with any processing I did on the laptop with video editing and processing not missing a beat, even when on battery power only.
These hardware specs drive what is once again for Asus, a gorgeous, colourful touch display – an OLED display, as the Zenbooks are this year. The 14-inch display has a “cinema-grade 100% DCI-P3 gamut” and is touch sensitive. The colours pop and an OLED display really is difficult to go past once you’ve used it on a laptop. The display is a 16:10 ratio display with a very decent resolution of 2880 x 1800 (2.8K).
I love a touch display on a laptop and although I find it useful at times, I don’t feel it essential for things I use a laptop for as a general rule. Others may feel different and if you are one of these you will love this Zenbook. The touch is accurate and extremely sensitive, as you’d expect from Asus who have so many laptops with touch displays. This display is simply gorgeous — enough said.
The keyboard feels nice to type on with decent travel on the keycaps. The sound of the keys are relatively soft and the touch responsive and backlight add that premium feel and look of the keyboard.
The touchpad includes the Asus NumberPad 2.0 which is where you long press on the top corner of the touchpad and it becomes a numpad. For those performing a lot of data input this could be extremely useful – for me though I can’t see where I’d ever use it.
I was surprised with the speakers on the Zenbook 14. They were a lot louder and crisper than I expected from an ultrabook. I suspect it may be because of the way Asus has designed the underneath of the laptop and how the speaker grilles are actually pointing out to the bottom and side. This prevents the bench or whatever the laptop is sitting on muffling them. Not only are the speakers loud but they support Dolby Atmos as well so you can be sure of decent quality sound too.
The Zenbook 14 does include the US MIL-STD 810H military-grade standard but not sure Asus would be overly happy if I tested that one out. It will give you some piece of mind though that it will be able to handle most bumps that it receives while you are out and about on the go..
There is not an excessive number of ports on the Asus Zenbook 14 (UX3402Z) but with an ultrabook designed to be used on the go you *should* not need an excessive amount. The ports that are included are certainly enough for those users on the go with two Thunderbolt 4 ports that support display and power delivery, a single HDMI 2.1 port, a single USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port along with a 3.5mm audio jack and a microSD card reader. Asus also includes in the box a USB-A to RJ45 gigabit ethernet adapter.
With day-to-day use, the Zenbook 14 OLED proved up to every task I asked of it. I edited and created videos on Camtasia, played some basic games along with basic working in a browser with 15 tabs open and it always ran smoothly. This is 2022 and I’d be worried if it didn’t.
I ran it through the 3D Mark benchmarking test, and it scored 1681 on Time Spy which placed it at the higher end of office laptops in 2022 which is to be expected because that is what it is.
If you want an ultrabook that performs well on everyday tasks without any fancy secondary displays or anything you can be sure that the Asus Zenbook 14 OLED (UX3402Z) will be able to perform whatever you throw at it.
The Asus Zenbook 14 OLED (UX3402Z) incorporates an average 75Wh battery which easily provides a day of full use of mostly productivity work such as writing this review. Add in some YouTube in the centre along with streaming music while working and it may have pushed the battery but it still lasted a day.
The Zenbook 14 is charged using a 65W Type-C AC adapter and it is great to see yet another manufacturer using this type of connector. The laptop charged relatively quickly using the Asus charger with it charging to around 50% in the first hour – not the fastest charging but when that one hour of charging means 6 hours of use it’s acceptable.
So who buys it?
The Asus ZenBook 14 OLED (UX3402Z) is a great ultrabook. It’s not the thinnest around, it’s not the most powerful around but it does have one of the best displays in an ultrabook on the market. And it’s a touch display too. For many users this is overkill but if you value a great looking display that only an OLED can deliver along with incredibly accurate colours then this is right up your alley.
Typing on it was a great experience, the speakers were surprisingly loud and clear, the numpad that you can use on the touchpad will appeal to some (but of limited use to me) and being an ultrabook is thin and lightweight at just 1.39 kg. If you are someone who wants and needs an accurate, vibrant display on a laptop that is easily portable without any additional gimmicks then this is for you.
The Asus Zenbook 14 OLED (3402Z) is available from all good computer stores starting at around $1,400 — but that can vary greatly depending on how high you spec it up. For more information head on over to the Asus Zenbook 14 OLED (UX3402Z) webpage.