- A whole lot Thinner and Lighter
- Pretty Beautiful Looking Laptop
- Good Selection of I/O Ports
- Impressive Battery Life thanks to the Efficient Processor
- Wish it used AMD Processors
When we reviewed the ASUS Zenbook S 13 from last year, which brought that magnificently thin and light laptop back into the consumer scene, I was genuinely excited. But it wasn’t all glitter and gold. While the battery life and the user experience were at its peak, the port selection was kind of a letdown that did raise some eyebrows among many consumers. They realized that it needs to be fixed and lo and behold, in this ASUS Zenbook S 13 OLED UX5304V Review, we will address all about the improvements and our personal experience with it.
ASUS Zenbook S 13 OLED UX5304V Review
Forget Light laptops, it’s now Lighter
The ASUS Zenbook S 13 OLED UX5304V is a whole lot lighter than the S 13 we reviewed last year. For some interesting reason, the S 13 follows somewhat of a similar idea as the ExpertBook B9 which I personally loved. For one, it’s now a 1cm thin and 1kg light laptop – which definitely is the first for a Zenbook. Despite all that being thin and lightweight, they sure didn’t cheap out on the materials. It uses a Dual Layer Infusion display construction, smaller PCBs to maximise the small space it has and the use of Magnesium-aluminium alloy has made the entire build better.
The top of the display where you’d notice the Star Trek-like insignia, uses Plasma Ceramic Aluminum Coating which has a lot less environmental impact in a good way, is 100% recyclable and has better resistance to wear and protected against corrosion. In fact, the entire packaging is now eco-friendly – making it quite possibly the most eco-conscious laptop in and out from ASUS for the first time.
Beautiful Display as ever
We are tired of saying how great the ASUS OLED display is because that’s how amazing it is. The ASUS Zenbook S 13 OLED UX5304V here features an improved OLED display vs the other normal OLED ASUS laptop, they call it the “ASUS Lumina OLED” display – with more accuracy, and reliability and it’s more adaptive. You get in this 2880×1800 resolution with a 16:10 aspect ratio – giving more vertical room for better multitasking and spread-out application layout. The brightness hits upto 550 nits. It essentially gets all the great experience an OLED display from ASUS would get, including DC dimming which is pretty cool including DC dimming which is necessary in certain conditions.
But given that the display is a glossy finish, it’s no stranger to reflections as it can get pretty reflective. We have seen some brands use a special coating to reduce the glare by at least 25% without compromising the punchy colours. So, I do hope that this becomes a thing sooner or later.
Re-engineered Keyboard and Trackpad
Being a thin and light laptop, you can have so many compromises and we have seen that with last year’s model. This year, ASUS has reengineered a bunch of elements with the ASUS Zenbook S 13 OLED UX5304V. For me, typing is very important on a laptop like this because you would want it to be a solid typewriter on the move. Now the key travel on this keyboard is definitely a little shorter than your conventional keyboard because every little space matters when you make a laptop this thin.
It still uses a scissor-type switch with a wee bit shorter than your usual chiclet-style keyboard. It’s nice to type on, although does get a bit of time to get used to the shorter key travel. Most importantly, the layout is a lot more traditional – so you don’t see any key being out of place – other than the power button which isn’t at the top right-most corner.
The trackpad is 3/4th of the size of my hand and that’s pretty huge. So, no worries about using the laptop in a cramped space and not needing a mouse as the trackpad has also been improved – it’s called the ErgoSense Trackpad. Now it has 9.5% more touch area and a .23mm longer click depth, so your left and right clicks don’t feel shallow anymore. Interestingly, the laptop doesn’t have a number pad on the trackpad. This could be due to the lack of space to incorporate one.
Finally, more I/O ports
I/Os were the biggest stopping factor of the last generation Zenbook S 13 because relying just on USB-C – as much it didn’t bother me, the majority of my witnesses, noticed that the USB-C only ports aren’t something they would want to go for, especially a Windows machine. And even ASUS realized it needs to be fixed. So, we get 2x Thunderbolt 4 ports, 1x Audio Jack USB, USB-A 3.2 and HDMI 2.1 which is definitely better. So, you can use anything and everything with the ASUS Zenbook S 13 OLED UX5304V.
This time, Powered by Intel Instead
Performance-wise, we do see a change in the equation. The AMD Ryzen processor has been replaced with the 13th Generation Intel processor, more specifically the Evo Certified processor. Our ASUS Zenbook S 13 OLED UX5304V came with the i7-1355U processor. Coupled with that is 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM that’s soldered and upto 1TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD. You get an Intel Iris Xe Graphics – which is the one that shares memory and not the Xe Max which exists as its own entity. Oh and, it has proper 20W fans to cool the laptop down and give the performance boost when necessary.
U Series processors are very efficient processors and are designed to give a bit of that oomph in a thin profile. That said, this one has 10 cores and 12 threads that are perfectly capable of more productivity-centric use case scenarios. We did something interesting to see if there was a performance dip – and we sure did notice it.
I was using three virtual desktops – where each one had Edge tabs to about 3-4 (11 total tabs across three desktops), 4 Word documents, 1 Excel spreadsheet and my Telegram app. It did have some effect on the performance where it did dip about 10%. It did remain usable, but when you try to multitask, you can see the frame stutter for a good second or two as you do your things.
This should give you an idea that U-Series processors aren’t your run-of-the-mill, heavy multitasking capable processors. The H Series is better like the Zenbook 14X we reviewed but granted, you will lose out on the thin and light experience. As long as you are aware of that, the U Series does well in handling tasks that are more on a moderate level. But there’s one other area where the processor does a whole lot better.
Monstrous Battery Life
Yep, the battery life. Charging the ASUS Zenbook S 13 OLED UX5304V takes a very short span of time, give, or take a little over an hour or so. As I started writing the review on this laptop – it charged from 18% to 97% in about 58 minutes approx. But the battery life on the Zenbook S 13 is what made me use it pretty much every day without needing to charge the entire day, and even the next day.
I went to an event, and as I opened up the laptop I realized I only had about 40% of which I managed to finish up the work at that said event, went to another one, continued my work, came back to VesperLab to… again work and catch up on HBO’s Euphoria – and 8 mins in, I finally got the “Please charge” notification which then I connected to the charger. This laptop was advertised to give about 14+ hours of battery. It did last a good 11 hours in my use case. There were times I’d just play Netflix the whole night as I go to sleep and woke up only to see it still playing the show.
The variant we reviewed here cost RM 5,999 – that’s RM 1 shy from the 6k mark – but that aside, truth be told – thin and light laptops are an acquired taste and the majority of the consumers would go, why would I pay so much for such kind of laptop. If you are one of them, that only proves that this laptop isn’t for you.
It’s for those who want, well, more like who need that absolutely thin profile that makes their constantly on-the-move life easier to navigate around. As a journalist, having to whip out my laptop to do work any place is a crucial element and this ASUS Zenbook S 13 UX5304V is an almost perfect laptop. I am equally glad that they have made things right with the ports especially. Good riddance to dongle life. Although personally, I do wish it ran an AMD processor which would have been miles better in the performance department.