Firstly, let’s discuss the design of the laptop. The Zenbook 14X is available in two colors – Inkwell Black and Sandstone Beige. The version we are reviewing is the latter, and it is a beautiful color with a ceramic-like finish. ASUS has applied a special coating called plasma-ceramization to create a unique texture. This coating gives the laptop an elegant look and makes it stand out from other laptops on the market. Additionally, the new ASUS logo on the lid adds a touch of sophistication to the overall design.
When opening the laptop, the first thing you notice is the keyboard deck. It features a beige color, but it’s not monotonic. ASUS has used a slightly different shade of beige, which breaks the monotony and gives the laptop a unique look. The keyboard itself is springy, making typing feel comfortable. The keycaps on this laptop have a different texture compared to the Zenbook 14 Flip OLED, which we reviewed recently. Overall, the keyboard is easy to type on and offers a good tactile experience.
The trackpad on the Zenbook 14X is excellent, and it tracks well. The palm rejection is also good, making it easy to use without accidentally moving the cursor. Additionally, the trackpad has a Number Pad feature, which is useful for those who need to enter a lot of numbers. It’s a handy feature to have and adds to the overall functionality of the laptop.
One of the most impressive features of the Zenbook 14X is its screen. It has a 14.5-inch OLED screen with a resolution of 2880×1800 pixels and a 16:10 aspect ratio. The screen also has a 120Hz refresh rate, which is uncommon for laptops. The screen’s color gamut is impressive, with a colorimeter reporting virtually 100% for both sRGB and DCI-P3 color gamuts. The screen is so good that it has a maximum ΔE number, which is an indication of color accuracy. The high refresh rate is also useful for gamers, although it may not be necessary for everyone. The 120Hz refresh rate is especially useful for playing games, as it makes the gaming experience much smoother.
The Zenbook 14X has some impressive specs. It’s powered by an Intel Core i7-13700H processor with integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics. It also has 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. With these specs, the laptop is capable of running many games without a discrete graphics card. However, to get the best performance out of the laptop, you’ll need to change to the performance mode fan profile, which you can do by pressing Fn+F.
To test the laptop’s gaming performance, we played Genshin Impact. The game has a maximum FPS cap of 60, and when playing at the lowest graphical settings, we got an average of around 50 FPS consistently. Overall, the gaming experience was good, and the laptop performed well.
The Core i7-13700H processor is a powerful piece of technology that can handle a lot of demanding tasks. However, with great power comes great responsibility, and in this case, that responsibility is managing the heat generated by the processor. To that end, the laptop we’re discussing has two heatsinks and two vents to help dissipate the heat. But when the fan speeds ramp up, the noise level can become unbearable, akin to a tornado. Despite these efforts, temperatures still reach above 80°C, which is quite high.
Upon opening the back panel, it becomes evident that there are no upgrade options available. Everything, except the SSD, is soldered onto the motherboard, so users are limited in terms of customization options. This means that the laptop has to be purchased with the exact specifications required, as there is no way to add additional RAM or swap out the processor.
The laptop’s battery life is also worth discussing. With a 70Wh battery, it has to work extra hard to keep up with the Core i7-13700H processor and the high-resolution OLED screen. To conserve battery life, the laptop automatically tunes down to 60Hz when unplugged from the charger. This causes the screen to go black for a moment, but it’s a necessary trade-off to save battery life.
Using the laptop at 50% brightness with the whisper fan speed mode, users can expect around 4-5 hours of battery life, which is a decent figure considering the power of the processor and the high-quality screen. However, the OLED screen’s brightness has a direct impact on battery life, so users will have to adjust their usage accordingly to conserve battery life.
In terms of ports, the laptop has a single USB 3 Type-A port on the left side and all other ports, including the audio jack, are located on the right side. It would be more convenient if one of the Thunderbolt 4 ports were on the left side, as users would be able to connect high-speed ports to both sides of the laptop. As it stands, using an external mouse while charging the laptop can be uncomfortable due to the location of the ports.
One useful feature of the laptop is Windows Hello, which allows for quick and easy login. However, this feature doesn’t necessarily make up for the laptop’s high price. At RM5,999 for this specific configuration, the laptop is quite expensive. There is a Core i5-13500H version available with half the RAM for RM4,999, which is a more reasonable price. However, this version doesn’t have the ceramic-like finish that the more expensive model has. For those who are looking for even more power, there is a Core i9-13900H version available for RM6,999. This version has a lot more CPU power on paper, but it’s likely to throttle quickly due to the heat generated by the processor. If you’re doing MATLAB or similar types of simulations, the Core i9 version might be a better fit, as it can handle more demanding tasks.
Overall, this laptop is a mixed bag. It has a lot of power under the hood, but it comes with limitations, such as the lack of upgrade options and the high noise levels when the fan speeds increase. The battery life is decent, but it’s directly related to the screen brightness and what’s being viewed. The port placement is also inconvenient, but the inclusion of Windows Hello is a nice touch. The price is quite steep, but that’s to be expected from a laptop with such powerful specifications. It’s ultimately up to the user to decide whether the price is worth the performance.