9.0
Score

Pros

  • A Much compact alternative to the ProArt StudioBook
  • First Zenbook with 120Hz OLED Display (with AdaptiveSync)
  • Intel Core i9 with RTX 4070 in this profile is crazy
  • MUX Switch, the absolute saving grace of this laptop
  • A Full Size SD Card reader - frigging finally
  • The ASIS Dial works

Cons

  • It is definitely costs a pretty penny
  • Oddly the ASUS Dial and Control Panel doesn't come pre-installed
  • Stuck with one 240W Adapter

ASUS’ consumer lineup is simple: we have Vivobooks for the mass consumers, Zenbooks for the premium experience and ProArt for the creators. But occasionally, some of the features and series get shared. Think of it as the child between two series. For a few weeks, we have been using the ASUS Zenbook Pro 14 OLED UX6404V and while it’s still a Zenbook at heart, it gives you a taste of what ProArt can offer. Better yet, in this ASUS Zenbook Pro 14 OLED UX6404V review, you’ll find out what a capable MacBook Pro challenger this is.

ASUS Zenbook Pro 14 OLED UX6404V Review

Design and Build

If you have used a Zenbook, well, the ASUS Zenbook Pro 14 OLED UX6404V doesn’t stray away much, in fact not at all from its DNA in the looks. It still has this clean and bespoke finish which I have been a fan of for as long as I could remember. On the lid, we notice it has the Star Trek-like ASUS Insignia in an off-centred position and a subtle ASUS Zenbook engraving at the bottom. Once you open up the lid, the design remains to be clean and composed.

Just like the other ASUS Zenbook we reviewed, we notice the new sinked keyboard which gives a very professional look followed by a huge trackpad which houses the ASUS Dial (which we will get into in a bit). The laptop is constructed out of Aluminium alloy, which brings the laptop to about 1.6kg. It may not be light, but it is light for a laptop of this calibre.

Display

If there’s one thing ASUS is truly proud of, it’s their display. The ASUS Zenbook Pro 14 OLED UX6404V gets a 14.5” 2.8K Display and for the first time, (at least for us), we see a productivity-centric laptop equipped with a 120Hz refresh rate display. On top of that, yes, it has touch support and you can use the ASUS Pen on it – however it’s sold separately. All of this is covered by a Corning Gorilla Glass NBT. And since it’s an OLED display, you get all the goodness of it which we have repeated too many times.

But that said, for one – it makes complete sense to have a 16:10 aspect ratio display on a laptop like this over a gaming laptop, as the vertical space gives you more room for your productivity-centric or creator-centric application. Granted it is glossy, so you will have to deal with the glare but it isn’t too bad per se.

For the past weeks, relying on this display for editing work has been fruitful, thanks to the nice colour calibration. For the most part, I used Lightroom Classic to edit photos on the move and a little bit of Premiere Pro, and a display like this is what you’d want to bring on the move. The display does get decently bright, it surely isn’t the brightest but it is alright. Now back to the 120Hz, yes, you can game on this laptop and enjoy some of your favourite titles on an OLED display. Trust us when we say this: playing games on OLED will ruin your eyes with its impeccable deep blacks and punchy colours.

While playing Back 4 Blood and Doom Eternal, I have to say that the colours just popped. It does justice for content consumption too. This display is amazing, without a doubt.

Specification, Performance and Thermals

As for the specification, the ASUS Zenbook Pro 14 OLED UX6404V comes decked out with the top-of-the-line specification and the best part is that it only comes in one configuration. So, you don’t have to settle for any less as it punches above its weight class. Here are the specs:

  • 13th Generation Intel Core i9-13900H Processor
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 with 8GB GDDR6
  • 32GB DDR5 RAM (16 Soldered + 16GB SODIMM)
  • 1TB PCIe Gen 4.0 SSD (Samsung SSD)

To begin with the upgradability, it’s a little sad to report that with the RAM, only one slot is user upgradable. So, your total RAM at the end of the day (if you are upgrading from 16GB on the second slot), you will have an “unusual” total of RAM. (i.e.,) 16GB Soldered + 32 GB DDR5 = 48GB RAM. The storage can be upgraded as well, but 1TB should be enough.

Now moving on to Thermals, having an i9 in such a compact chassis can be a problem – it’s a powerful processor which requires a capable thermal solution. They have equipped a Dual-fan cooling system to keep the temps at bay. But despite that, expect it to hit the peak 90-degree Celsius range at maximum load. Unlike certain devices, where the heat makes it uncomfortable to use, the Zenbook doesn’t get too hot in the keyboard area, albeit you can feel the warmth.

During our time testing the laptop with benchmarking, editing and gaming, we noticed the fans ramp up and even feel the hot air out on the right side, hitting temperatures in the range of 90 degrees and sustaining in that range of 90-95. When the laptop is idle, the GPU idles at 42 degrees and the processor at 50 degrees. This is expected for an Intel Processor.

As for the performance, we performed the usual on the ASUS Zenbook Pro 14 OLED UX6404V – CrystalDiskMark, PCMARK 10, 3DMARK, Cinebench R23 and R24 and Blender Benchmark. Starting with the benchmark for storage, CrystalDiskMark gave, quite possibly the most bizarre data we have ever seen. For a PCIe Gen 4 SSD, while the read speeds are impressive, hitting over 7000MB/s in Sequential Reads, when it comes to Writing speeds, it caps at 2500MB/s range.

Moving on to Cinebench R23 and R24, we performed both benchmarks – and our scores were as follows. To put it simply, these are the scores you’d expect with devices like these as it does have the power to handle heavy tasks with ease. As for the rest of the benchmark scores from PCMARK and 3DMARK – you can take a look at it below. Do take note that these scores were obtained with the laptop connected to the charger.

That makes a difference as ASUS has incorporated hardware that switches from a dedicated GPU to an integrated GPU. This laptop comes with Intel Iris Xe as well, which should suffice for your daily tasks with no requirement for the power-intensive GPU. It’s the MUX Switch – this is the first laptop in the creator-productivity laptop to feature it.

We used the laptop pretty extensively from light tasks – like browsing, and watching Netflix to editing on Lightroom, Premiere Pro and even games on this laptop. It puts up a good show in every task and I prefer this over a clunky gaming laptop to do the tasks mentioned above.

Battery Life and Charging

The laptop comes equipped with a 76Wh battery under the hood and claims to last long. Now, during our time of using the laptop, while it didn’t hit the numbers ASUS claimed, it still surprised us with the battery life it offered with the specifications it touts. We got anywhere from 6 hours to close to 7 hours (we could never hit the 7-hour mark, we tried).

To be honest, this specification isn’t any different from a gaming laptop, say the ROG Strix Scar for instance – however, there’s an interesting element that makes this laptop last longer than it should have. It’s the inclusion of MUX Switch in a creator laptop for the first time.

As for charging the laptop, and granted it does have some power-hungry hardware – it comes with a 200W (240V) Charger and yes, it uses the barrel DC connection. However, it does have two Thunderbolt 4 ports which can support USB-C power. We used a 65W USB-C charger to charge the laptop, which isn’t the issue, however, granted that it doesn’t provide sufficient power, performing heavy or intensive tasks can be a bit of a challenge. But at least, when you are stranded and need to power the laptop quickly with a battery pack, you still have the option to do it.

Finally, MUX Switch in a Creator-slash-Productivity Laptop

Throughout this entire year, we have seen Gaming laptops with MUX switches but never a creator-slash-productivity laptop. Until we get this for review I have to say, the MUX Switch is the best thing to happen to a laptop like this. When you have such power on the move, you’d want to scale it up and down, depending on what you use. It makes zero sense to have the complete resource available all the time when you’d probably be using it to browse through the internet.

So, switching between your integrated graphics and dedicated graphics is a great feature to make a laptop like this go for the long run. It works well.

Other things worth noting

Decent Keyboard and Massive Trackpad

We get to experience the same keyboard layout as the other Zenbook which has the PEO coating on the back – it’s a bit tactile, has a bite to it and personally, it feels nice to type on. With the white backlight, it’s good to type in the dark. Despite the ASUS Dial taking space on the trackpad, the trackpad is still massive and with the ability to enable and disable the dial, you can use the entire trackpad without losing surface area.

A MUCH better camera

ASUS Zenbook Pro 14 UX6404V gets a huge upgrade to a 1080p camera. That’s all there is to say and now you’d look a whole lot better when you hop on calls.

It’s A True Creator Centric Laptop

Unlike those pseudo-creator laptops, we have seen that lack features and hardware, this ASUS Zenbook Pro 14 OLED is no slouch. A proper SD Card reader, Thunderbolt 4 ports, decent thermal capabilities, a massive trackpad, touch input and most importantly the ASUS Dial – elevate the experience.

Unlike the ASUS Dial which we saw with the ProArt StudioBook which had a physical dial, we have a touch-based dial. We know how touch-based can behave without giving that nice granularity, however, thanks to their software development team, they have optimized the dial as much as they could. With the help of the ProArt Creator Hub, you could treat it as an ASUS Dial or even as a Microsoft Wheel Device (which mimics the Surface Dial of sorts).

Granted if you are using the ASUS Dial, it offers its take, with abilities to customize the dial, not limited to just editing software but even other productivity apps such as Microsoft Office Suite, browsers or even add your app.

You can add functions to existing apps and tweak how you want the dial to be to your taste.

Why is this the True Threat to Macbook Pro?

The battle between Windows and Mac has existed for the longest I could remember. There are friends in my circle that use Mac for their tasks like editing etc., and credit where it’s due, it does offer a certain level of certainty, which Windows laptops never had. But remember that MUX switch we talked about (also known as Advanced Optimus), has changed the game drastically.

We have mentioned above: that the battery life for an i9 with RTX4070 is impressive, hitting close to 6 hours of battery life (sometimes a wee bit more or less) in our use case scenario. The MUX switch giving us the power to scale up and down our resources is exactly what laptop like these has been waiting for.

A Better pick over the ProArt Studiobook even…

Don’t get me wrong, ASUS makes amazing laptops to begin with. As I mentioned earlier, this ASUS Zenbook Pro 14 OLED UX6404V takes inspiration from their ProArt StudioBook which we reviewed last year, that featured a physical dial, hardware that annihilated most Windows-powered creator laptops and software that was good, albeit needed a bit of polishing.

The thing is, when this Zenbook Pro 14 OLED exists and sure it uses a touch-based ASUS dial which is a step down, I still think this laptop gives the taste of what a prim-and-proper creator laptop should be. It has a fast SD Card slot, Thunderbolt 4, and a touch-capable display – which is exactly what the ProArt StudioBook offered. Granted that laptop was so big and feisty, but if you wanted a compact profile creator laptop, this Zenbook is perfect. This is far more lighter than that 3kg monster.

What might stop you from getting it…

The Price

With our Malaysian currency getting weaker and inflation affecting all of us, at the price of RM10,999 – it can be a bit of a stretch and a wee bit painful to acquire the ASUS Zenbook Pro 14 OLED UX6404V. Granted if you do have the ability to purchase it under an instalment, and if this is exactly what you are looking for – it’s a good option—just got to weigh in on your options on how to acquire this laptop.

Conclusion

The ASUS Zenbook Pro 14 OLED UX6404V is without a doubt, a potential threat and the one that can go head-to-head with a Macbook Pro in every aspect of it. While this may seem like an exaggeration, I strongly stick to what I have said. As we mentioned earlier, it is designed with creators in mind and getting extra tools like the ASUS Dial, and touch screen display with support for Stylus, gives creators the flexibility to go for the input they prefer.

For me, I could not ask for a laptop any better than this – especially with the SD Card reader, this laptop went with me everywhere I could bring. ASUS, if you are reading this, make more laptops like this ASUS Zenbook Pro 14 OLED UX6404V. For that, we give this laptop our Gold Vesper Choice Award. Click here to buy the laptop.


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