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ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED Review – Portable and Powerful

It is pretty easy to recommend so many great quality productivity and lifestyle notebooks on the market today, but few truly compare in 2022 to the ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED UX3402. In fact, I would be hard-pressed to recommend any other notebook, apart from the ZenBook 14 OLED as it was just a striking package in both its aesthetics and its performance. 

While it would be easy to look at something like the MacBook Air as a first-choice for productivity, portability and battery life – the holy trinity of any good notebook – the ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED truly offered something unique. It wasn’t just a viable alternative to something like the MacBook Air but is a better option all around.

ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED UX3402

ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED Design

The ZenBook 14 OLED UX3402 is slimmer than its 2022 predecessor coming in at just 16.9mm, with a meager weight of 1.39kg. The notebook lid has been redesigned to ooze elegance, with the new ASUS productivity logo etched all along the surface with a small “ASUSZenBook” text logo on the bottom. The design is in line with its “minimalistic yet sophisticated” tagline that makes it a notebook that is subtle but never understated. 

The all-aluminium chassis not only lends to the reduced weight of the ZenBook 14 but also enhances the beautiful colour finishes available – Aqua Celadon and Ponder Blue. We reviewed the Ponder Blue colour scheme and it was just unbelievably breathtaking from the moment you pick it up. ASUS claims that this colour scheme was designed to “project professional wisdom and introspection”, and while I didn’t feel any wiser, I certainly felt compelled to sit with this notebook at a ravine and ponder life deeply. 

The ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED UX3402 comes with a full suite of I/O ports, as the company did not sacrifice in the face of portability or compatibility, which was rather refreshing. It also features a 180-degree ErgoLift hinge which allows you to pull the screen all the way back for a flat working experience. The touchpad remains about the same size as we have seen on ZenBooks in the past, still offering the integrated NumPad functionality but the surface has been given a boost meant to feel “like silk”. Sadly, the NumPad was still pretty finicky in terms of switching between it and the touchpad. 

ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED UX3402

The keyboard features 0.2mm “dipped” keycaps that have been created to assist you with typing tasks by “guiding your finger to the correct contact point”. The keycap size comes in a comfortable 19.05mm that makes typing pretty breezy, along with 1.4mm key travel, designed to be less taxing on your fingers – perfect for someone who writes for a living. There is a good amount of wrist-resting space on the notebook itself, with the keyboard pushed towards the screen and the touchpad being centered to avoid accidental touching. 

There is also a fingerprint sensor built into the power button for easy logins to Windows or to authorise certain actions. It does take some getting used to as I did accidentally press the button on some occasions but it was nothing a little patience and restraint couldn’t solve.

Lastly, there is the display, which sports a 16:10, 2,8K OLED NanoEdge screen that is, truthfully, the centerpiece of the ZenBook 14 OLED. The display boasts full PANTONE® validation, DisplayHDR™ True Black 500 certification, and a TUVRheinland Low Blue Light certification as well, making it built to display colours vividly and beautifully, all while being less taxing on your eyes. For some more nerdy statistics, the ZenBook 14 OLED screen sports up to 1 billion colours, a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, up to 550 nits of brightness, and a 0,2ms response time. 

ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED UX3402

ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED UX3402 Performance

The ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED UX3402 offers a pretty powerful internal setup with an Intel 12th-Gen Core i7-1260P, Iris Xe integrated graphics, a 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD, and 16GB RAM. The ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED is a powerful workhorse that handled pretty much any task I threw at it. With most of my work being cloud-based, I work daily off of multiple Chrome tabs with large spreadsheets, emails and documents being processed, which the ZenBook 14 OLED handled like it was nothing.

The ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED display was incredible to work on, whether it was something as mundane as spreadsheets, or working off Adobr Illustrator for images, and even video editing. The PANTONE validation and HDR really elevated doing any photo or video editing tasks, and the screen as a whole made colour-correction so much easier. The only downside to the OLED panel is that while working indoors is absolutely spectacular, the panel itself can act as a mirror when working outside, reflecting almost everything behind you. Actually, this could be a great security feature for us living in South Africa, even though you might have difficulty working outdoors. 

Watching content on the screen was an unreal experience as well, especially many of the nature shows on Netflix (I know it sounds weird but it was stunning). Though, even standard content such as YouTube was elevated with the display thanks to the enhanced colour display form the OLED panel. The smaller screen did mean that I had to place the ZenBook 14 OLED a little closer to me than usual but the trade-off was incredibly worth it because the display was just phenomenal. 

ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED UX3402

Audio that includes Dolby Atmos was spectacular thanks to the Harman Kardon speaker system built into the ZenBook 14 OLED. Content that featured this audio, such as movies and series, sounded excellent and accurate on the sound stage but music did unfortunately suffer. It’s okay if you listen to mostly bass-heavy music but anything high treble will suffer significantly. Although, I usually reach for headphones anyway, so I would suggest you do as well. 

The battery life on the ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED was absolutely outstanding with most of my 8-hour work days being handled on a single charge. While you can theoretically get up to 18 hours of battery life from the 75Wh battery, you are realistically going to get around 10 or so, depending on your workload. Though, that is still remarkable considering I could handle an entire day of meetings, video calls and an ungodly amount of Chrome tabs, as well as Slack and Whatsapp, all on a single charge without any interruptions on performance.

If you are editing videos or photos, it will depend on your workload specifically, but you could still comfortably squeeze about 4 or more hours out of a single charge. If you are willing to suffer longer rendering times, then you could drop the battery drain and have it last a little longer. Best of all was that the battery charged in just under an hour with about 5% battery remaining.

ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED UX3402

ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED UX3402 Verdict

The ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED UX3402 is a stunning notebook to look at, incredibly light, and a powerful workhorse with a beautiful display. If you are looking for an excellent value Windows 11 performance machine, you would be hard-pressed to find something better in this price range.

The display offers incredible colour accuracy which elevates tasks and content absorption and is pretty easy on the eyes if you stare at a screen for most of the day, as I do. The performance practically decimated any task I could throw at it and the battery life made it an incredibly portable notebook that I could confidently use anywhere, without worrying about a dead notebook.

  • Display – 9/10
  • Design – 9/10
  • Performance – 9/10
  • Value – 9/10

Summary

The ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED UX3402 is a stunning notebook to look at, incredibly light, and a powerful workhorse with a beautiful display. If you are looking for an excellent value Windows 11 performance machine, you would be hard-pressed to find something better in this price range.

Overall

9/10

Pros

Beautiful display

Incredible performance

Battery life

Elegant design

Cons

OLED panel is not great outdoors

NumPad is still finicky