Asus ZenBook 13 OLED UM325 Review: AMD Laptop Perfection?
“Asus Zenbook 13 OLED is a very important laptop, as long as you don’t need a headphone jack.”
Great OLED screen
Great touchpad and keyboard
Battery life is great
Very thin and light
I must have found the right laptop. Or, at the very least, something that comes very close.
It is not made by Apple, Microsoft or Dell. It also does not look particularly notable from the outside. When I got the Asus ZenBook 13 OLED out of its box, I fully expected it to be another solid midrange laptop.
Then I tested the 1080p OLED screen. And benchmarked the AMD Ryzen 7 5800U processor inside. And then notice how long it lasts on a single charge.
Asus ZenBook 13 OLED has it all. approximately. Despite some flaws, the ZenBook 13 OLED (UM325) is a laptop that all potential buyers should consider when it becomes widely available in May.
The lowest stand-out feature is the look and feel of the Asus Zenbook 13 OLED. This is not a bad-looking laptop by any means – but if you have seen the Zenbook, you have seen it. I’m not a big fan of the concentric circles on the lid or the plaster logo on the front, but this is one of the more recently made prettier laptop Asus.
This is especially true when you open the lid and see what the laptop offers inside. Everything is beautifully laid out, including a touchpad and a new keyboard. The layout and keycap are reminiscent of HP’s Specter laptop – but that’s not a bad thing. The additional column of keys under the power button provides some additional functionality, and the funnel font feels modern and clean.
At 0.55 inches thick and 2.5 pounds, the ZenBook 13 OLED is both thinner and lighter than its rivals, including the Dell XPS 13, HP Specter X360 13, Surface Laptop 3 13, Razor Book 13 and MacBook Pro 13 inches. This makes for a highly portable laptop, it is great for on-the-go use. Even if it is just moving from room to room, the small footprint is convenient.
Despite the size, the chassis is strong. If you use extra force, you may feel some twist, but it is nothing that you will see in daily use. The hinge opens with a finger and lifts off the table upon opening, giving a slight ramp for comfortable typing. I don’t usually like such raised hinges, but Asus pulled it off in a way that is not distracting or ugly.
The aspect ratio of the screen is a major aspect of the design of the Zenbook 13 OLED. It uses 16: 9, which has gone out of style in 2021 in favor of taller, more productivity-minded shapes like 16:10 or 3: 2. Going back to 16: 9 makes the screen feel squat. More importantly, the shape means that there is a chin bezel at the bottom of the screen. It’s not an eyeglass, it’s not as modern-feeling as the Dell XPS 13 or the Razor Book 13.
Asus has decided that you do not need a headphone jack on your laptop.
My last complaint with the design of the Zenbook 13 OLED is the port. For some inexplicable reason, Asus has decided that you do not need a headphone jack on your laptop. If Asus was going for a more minimal setup, I think it would make sense. But ZenBook 13 OLED has HDMI and USB-A. Yes, this is a bizarre choice that will probably affect those who didn’t realize they lacked a headphone jack until they needed it.
Luckily, Asus includes an adapter in the box, although it puts one of your two available USB-C ports down.
Display and speakers
The Asus ZenBook 13 is not the first 13-inch laptop to feature an OLED screen – it was the HP Specter x360. However, this laptop is the first to implement a 13-inch 1080p OLED screen. This is a big deal, as it means OLED panels are becoming cheaper – and hopefully leaving for more people.
It is not that the Zenbook 13 OLED is super cheap, but the OLED is exclusive compared to the 4G model. What’s the big deal with OLED? When you see it in person, you will know its difference. With OLED, the pixels are individualized, meaning that the black level and contrast ratio are what traditional LEDs make out of water. It is also not close, especially on such a bright screen.
OLED panel seems like the future of laptop display.
The 397 nits are too bright to prevent reflections, but it’s the colors that really make this display pop. 100% in both sRGB and AdobeRGB color locations is unheard of in a 1080p screen, and color accuracy is one of the best I’ve ever tested with a Delta E of 0.49. Photographers may be lacking for a 4K option, but they certainly won’t complain about colors.
The display is not touch-enabled, which is common on 1080p screens.
When it comes to panels and calibration, the ZenBook 13 is the future of OLED laptop displays.
The same cannot be said of those who speak. Chintzi audio comes from the bottom of the laptop, just below your table or lap. The sound is mapped down, especially compared to the MacBook. This is always a problem for those speaking at this place.
Keyboard and touchpad
I am very pleased with the inputs on the ZenBook 13 OLED. I have already mentioned the form of the keyboard, but it is completely accurate and enjoyable to type. The layout is comfortable and the 1.4mm of prime travel feels heavenly compared to the 1mm out of the keyboard.
The keyboard does not include a fingerprint reader, which is a strange feature to leave on a premium device.
My only issue was with backlighting. There are three levels of backlighting brightness, but some noticeable uneven spots. It is quite bright on the center region, while others are dimer. This is very bad.
The touchpad is similarly successful. It is extra wide, but does excellently with palm rejection when typing. Tracking is smooth, as are the gestures. My one nitic? The click is a little louder than I like it. This is especially noticeable if you are coming from a MacBook.
The laptop has a shiny 720p webcam above the display. It is no surprise how bad it is, but it should be reserved only for emergencies. It includes a built-in IR camera for Windows Hello Facial Recognition.
Thanks to AMD’s new Ryzen processor, the Asus ZenBook 13 is a notable performance for OLED-sized laptops. My unit came with the Ryzen 7 5800U, a 1.9GHz base clock with an eight-core processor. Add 16GB of RAM and a TB of SSD storage, and you’ve got a very capable computer.
This is the first laptop I’ve tested with this chip, and I was disappointed. This is a meaningful bump over last year’s Ryzen 4000 processor, and it maintains a healthy lead over Intel’s offerings. This is particularly true in multi-core performance, thanks to the additional cores and threads offered by AMD’s 7nm chips.
|Geekbench (Single / Multiple)||Cinebench R23 (Single / Multi)||PCMark 10||3DMark Time Spy|
|Asus Zenbook 13 OLED||1423/6758||1171/7824||6034||Is 1342|
|Dell 13 xps (Core i7-1185G7)||1549/5431||1399/4585||N / A||1380 is|
|Hp specter x360 14 (Core i7-1165G7)||1214/4117||1389/3941||4728||1457|
|Razor book 13 (Core i7-1165G7)||Is 1548/5374||Is 1508/4519||4878||1776|
|Macbook pro 13 (M 1)||1707/7337||1487/7547||N / A||N / A|
|Lenovo yoga 9i 14 (Core i7-1185G7)||1532/5415||1435/4409||4800||1648|
What is real world performance good for? All of the laptops listed above will excel in daily work activities such as multitasking, web browsing, office applications and videoconferencing. It should be considered so.
But this is mainly due to its excellent content creation performance to its rivals in the Asus Zenbook 13 OLED PCMark 10. If you want to run some creative applications on the edge like Photoshop or Lightroom, Zenbook 13 OLED is going to surprise you with how fast these heavy tasks are.
The ZenBook 13 OLED is making an undisputed case to go with AMD in 2021.
It also makes for a decent video production machine. This is 41% faster in H.265 video encoding than Handbook in Razor Book 13, which shows what a huge difference those extra cores make. It is 7% faster in handbrake than last year’s Ryzen 7 4800U when I tested it on the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7.
Now, apparently, the ZenBook 13 OLED will not compare well with discrete graphics cards in real-world video editing against 15-inch laptops. Even a modest 15-inch laptop like the HP Specter x360 15 (Core i7-10750H / GTX 1650 Ti) was 45% faster in PugetBench’s Adobe Premiere Pro benchmark. This is where the incredible performance of the MacBook Pro M1 really shines, which is as fast as the Specter x360 15 in a single test.
Still, the ZenBook 13 is making an indisputable case to go with AMD in OLED 2021, especially if you’re not interested in switching to MacOS.
Battery life is the ultimate move of the ZenBook 13 OLED. This was amazing for 15 hours and 46 minutes in our web browsing test, which is as good as it gets for this type of laptop. This was true of last year’s AMD laptop, and it is true again this year. It beat the HP Specter x360 14 by about 9 hours and the XPS 13 by 7 and a half hours. This is just 19 minutes behind to maintain with the MacBook Pro!
Some of the lower resolution of the ZenBook 13 OLED is explained, but even compared to other 1080p laptops, the Zenbook 13 OLED is prominent and stands ahead of the competition.
Meanwhile, ZenBook also ran for 15 and a half hours while looping the video. This is another test that dominates in the MacBook Pro M1, lasting more than 21 hours. But again, compared to many great Intel laptops, the ZenBook 13 OLED is at least 3 or 4 hours ahead.
Of course, your mileage depends on how hard you are pushing the system. Using the Zenbook 13 OLED as my daily driver for almost an entire week, I found it easy to get through a day’s work without charge, as well as leaving enough juice for a few hours the following morning.
In almost every category that matters, Asus Zenbook 13 OLED is well ahead of the competition. The OLED screen is a stand-out feature, but has an AMD-powered display and superb battery life. Do I wish it had a headphone jack and a 16:10 screen? Of course. But the strength is greater for those defects.
There is a caviate pricing, which has not been finalized yet. Some international pricing has suggested that the base configuration will be around $ 1,000, while our souped-up model will likely cost a few hundred dollars more.
The most liked is the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 chip. It is cheap, fast, and has a high resolution screen. It certainly does not have an OLED screen, nor does it include USB-A and HDMI ports.
But if you are not interested in switching to Mac, Dell XPS 13, HP Specter x360 14 and Razer Book 13, all offer a competitive package. The XPS 13 is still the prettiest of the bunch and will still be my choice among four laptops.
How long will it last?
Asus Zenbook 13 OLED You must last at least four or five years. The 16: 9 aspect ratio will seem a bit outdated in the future, but the chassis and components are all strong and futuristic.
Should you buy it
Yes. It is one of the most exciting laptops of late, especially if you are looking for an AMD-powered device in 2021.