Cheaper than a MacBook Air (and almost as good)

Cheaper than a MacBook Air (and almost as good)

The Asus Zenbook 14X: A Worthy Contender to the MacBook Throne

People love MacBooks, and it’s not hard to see why. Good performance, great features, and a compact design, all paired with a long battery life, make it a favorite choice among many users. PC manufacturers have tried to replicate this success by introducing their own versions of the MacBook, and one device that comes close is the Asus Zenbook 14X.

While the Zenbook 14X offers good performance and great features, its only downside is its battery life. On a single charge, it can last for a maximum of 10 hours, whereas the MacBook Air can power through for an impressive 18 hours. Nevertheless, if you keep the charger handy, the Zenbook 14X is one of the best sub-$1,000 laptops available today.

To provide a comprehensive review, I tested the Zenbook 14X with the lowest configuration, featuring a 13th Gen Intel Core i5-13500H processor, an Iris Xe graphics card, and 8GB of RAM. The battery, however, only lasted around six hours during my video playback test at 50 percent brightness. Despite this setback, the laptop has numerous positives worth mentioning.

The Zenbook 14X is packed with features that cater to both professionals and creatives. It’s like a Swiss Army Knife, ready to tackle any task or challenge you throw at it. The 14.5-inch display offers a compact yet comfortable viewing experience, hitting the sweet spot for size and usability. Unlike many ultraportable computers with small keyboards, the Zenbook 14X’s keyboard is surprisingly roomy, allowing for comfortable typing. The keys are also slightly indented, providing a satisfying tactile response with a travel distance of 1.4mm.

One notable feature Asus has added to the Zenbook 14X is its proprietary IceCool thermal tech, which helps keep temperatures low even during extended use. This thoughtful design ensures that the laptop remains cool, even when placed on your lap, saving your legs from discomfort.

On top of its performance and design, the Zenbook 14X also boasts a stunning 2.8K OLED touchscreen. With a resolution of 2880×1800 pixels, this display is perfect for creative individuals who want to showcase their work. The vibrant and saturated colors, covering the entirety of the DCI-P3 color gamut, create an eye-catching visual experience. I tested the display by watching episodes of a Netflix series, and I was thoroughly impressed by the richness and immersive quality it offered.

Asus has included the MyASUS app with the Zenbook 14X, which provides software features and functions that enhance the overall user experience. One of the standout tools is Asus OLED Care, which refreshes the pixels on the screen after 30 minutes of idle time. This feature helps prevent any chance of image retention or burn-in that could permanently damage the OLED display.

For teleconferencing, the Zenbook 14X is equipped with a high-quality 1080p webcam with additional features. The Blur Background feature allows you to obscure the room behind you, keeping the focus solely on you and eliminating any distractions. However, you can only activate one feature at a time, making it a slight limitation for those who would benefit from utilizing multiple enhancements simultaneously.

Considering all its strengths, the Asus Zenbook 14X is highly recommended for those in search of a reliable work or school laptop. With its high-quality webcam, high-resolution touchscreen, and comfortable keyboard, it meets the demands of busy users. The laptop’s aluminum alloy frame provides lightweight toughness, and its Corning Gorilla Glass touchscreen offers added durability.

If you’re looking to purchase the Zenbook 14X, I recommend considering the Zenbook 14X Q410 model with an Intel i5 processor, priced at $799. Alternatively, the Zenbook 14X Q420 model, priced at $999, offers a 13th Gen Intel Core i7 and 16GB of memory, providing slightly better hardware. It’s worth noting that Asus has plans to release a higher-end version of the Zenbook 14X, equipped with a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, Intel Core i9 CPU, and 32GB of RAM. Although it may seem like overkill for a work laptop, this third option will be ideal for heavy video editing or multitasking scenarios. Unfortunately, there is no set launch date for this model yet, so keep an eye out for its availability.

In conclusion, while the Zenbook 14X has its minor shortcomings, it holds its ground as a worthy contender to the MacBook. Its impressive performance, feature-rich design, and comfortable user experience make it a solid choice for both professionals and creatives alike. So, if you’re in the market for a new laptop, the Asus Zenbook 14X deserves serious consideration.