A real favorite

In the ocean of new computers launched every year, some models do well. This is the case with the ZenBook 13 OLED from Asus, the first ultrabook under 1000 euros with an OLED screen.

This laptop, marketed for 899 euros, has an interesting configuration. In order to contain costs, Asus relies on AMD Ryzen processors rather than Intel chips. A successful bet since this ZenBook 13 OLED has seduced us in many ways.

Prices and availability

The Asus Zenbook with Ryzen chip is available from 899 euros. For that price, it includes a Ryzen 5 5500U processor, 8 GB of RAM, and 512 GB of SSD.

Our test model contains a Ryzen 7 chip with 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD. At the moment, Asus isn’t sure if it should be marketed in France.

Asus Zenbook 13 OLED (UM325UA) at the best price base price: € 1,299

Design and connection

Like the Intel versions, the ZenBook 13 OLED with Ryzen processor also has a brushed metal shell with the most beautiful effect. Available in a single anthracite gray version, it shows a resolutely upscale design.

If we regret the appetite for fingerprints and the sleek plastic interior, we will appreciate the very compact size and low weight (only 1.2 kg). This little game even compares it with the Dell XPS 13, the benchmark in this area.

We would even have a preference for the Asus machine and this for a small innovation that brings a welcome excess of comfort: the Ergolift mechanism. This allows the keyboard to be raised slightly and the screen to be tilted up to 155 degrees. Small bonus: It allows better heat dissipation.

Asus also took care of the integration of the OLED panel. The margins are very thin. The upper edge integrates the webcam. The Taiwanese has a long way to go before he can compete with Dell, which delivers technical feats every year. But the whole thing remains very elegant.

Keyboard and trackpad

Like Dell’s XPS 13, the ZenBook 13 is a space-saving model. Despite a very compact housing, the Asus Ultrabook has a keyboard with 3 levels and backlighting. It is characterized by its large keys and its travel of only 1.4 mm, which is very suitable for longer writing sessions.

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We wrote this review with the ZenBook 13 as well, not without a certain amount of pleasure. Only a small disadvantage, the too narrow “Enter” key, which is often confused with the “Shift” key directly below it.

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A mistake that is easy to forgive since Asus has enough space for an imposing trackpad. It’s much wider than it is tall, and features a small button in the upper-right corner to display a backlit numeric keypad on the touchpad. Brilliant.

Connectivity

Due to its compact size, Asus had to make decisions to keep connectivity to the essentials. For the Taiwanese, the 3.5 mm socket is no longer absolutely necessary, so he decided to forego it here.

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The connectivity of the ZenBook 13 OLED is therefore limited to two USB-C ports, an HDMI, a USB-A and a microSD card reader. We do not recommend that you add a small USB-C adapter to add some ports to the device as the PC only has one USB-C port after it is charged. A little fair.

Finally, for connectivity, we can rely on compatibility with WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.

Screen and audio

This is one of the main attractions of this ZenBook 13. Under the 1000 euro mark, it is the only ultrabook that integrates an OLED panel. And what an OLED panel! Asus puts the small pixels in the big ones and delivers a soaring screen (made in Samsung) that is just as attractive for everyday tasks as multimedia.

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The OLED has several advantages: the blacks are infinite, the contrasts pronounced and the energy consumption reduced (see section on autonomy).

In order not to spoil anything, the brightness here reaches 400 nits, which enables comfortable use even in very bright surroundings, for example on the terrace in full sun (we can hardly wait).

Audio by Harman Kardon

This 13.3-inch full HD OLED display has a premium audio setup. Asus has teamed up with giant Harman Kardon to optimize the sound quality.

Overall, the ZenBook 13 delivers a very pleasant stereo sound. If the bass is discreet and the highs are sometimes aggressive, the whole thing is still very correct. Enough for a comfortable multimedia experience.

There remain two sometimes annoying shortcomings. The first is the lack of a 3.5mm jack which forces us to opt for a wireless device or a jack / USB-C adapter that is not included.

Second problem (more annoying): The speakers are under the keyboard, so we always have to position the machine on a flat surface. The noise is systematically muffled on the knees, on a pillow or on the bed. Pity.

Performance and autonomy

The ZenBook 13 OLED is available in France in a single version that integrates an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 512 GB NVMe SSD. A less muscular configuration than our test model with a Ryzen 7 chip. 5700U and 16 GB of RAM. The whole thing comes with a Radeon Graphics graphics card.

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If we were to compare this ZenBook 13 OLED, we would position it against a MacBook Air M1 (as long as we do). In terms of performance, the Asus machine doesn’t have to be ashamed of Apple’s praised for its remarkable performance, even if the benchmarks place the Apple PC way ahead.

Nevertheless, the ZenBook 13 OLED can do almost everything that a MacBook Air M1 can with the same efficiency. Like the Pommé Ultrabook, the Asus Ultrabook also shows signs of drowsiness when asked to perform extremely resource-intensive tasks over a long period of time.

If the processor is keeping the pace fairly well, it won’t be with the graphics card, which is too tight for editing or gaming. The MacBook Air M1 therefore stays a step further as it makes money without interfering with this type of job, you don’t abuse it.

The main problem with the ZenBook 13 OLED is that it heats up very quickly. This has two disadvantages: the performance degrades with prolonged use and the fans make the machine noisy. Not to mention the risk of defective components in the long run. In addition, a MacBook Air M1 remains silent under all circumstances. Yes, but a MacBook Air M1 with the same configuration costs $ 500 more. An important “detail”.

Record autonomy

An ultrabook designed for great mobility needs to be as durable as possible. Problem, these models also have to be very compact, which makes the exercise dangerous.

Not enough to scare the Asus engineers, who manage to deliver an ultrabook that is both compact and very durable. To achieve this, they relied on three levers: the less energy-consuming OLED screen, the Ryzen processor with low power consumption and the 67 Wh battery.

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Result: The autonomy of the Zenbook 13 OLED is simply excellent. For the versatile use (web, photo editing, social networks, video, office automation) with a brightness of 200 cd / m2 and around 3 hours of listening to music via wireless headphones, we needed almost 15 hours. Impressive!

The Zenbook 13 OLED comes with a compact and easily transportable USB-C charger. Wait a little over an hour for the battery to fully charge, which again is quite an effort.

The device’s USB-C ports are also compatible with Power Delivery. You can therefore connect any other charger equipped with this technology. Very good work.

Asus Zenbook 13 OLED (UM325UA) at the best price base price: € 1,299

Our opinion on the ZenBook 13 OLED

How can I not recommend this ZenBook 13 OLED? By betting on AMD Ryzen processors, Asus wins their bet. The ultrabook has established itself as one of the most interesting ultrabooks on the market today.

It’s powerful enough for the general public and also meets the needs of students and professionals who don’t use creative software.

Its main strengths include the slim design and exemplary surfaces, the great OLED screen and the record battery life. There is also a comfortable keyboard and trackpad and a much cheaper price than the competition. A real favorite.

Asus ZenBook 13 UM325UA (2021)

€ 899

Design and finishes

9.0 / 10

Autonomy and charging

9.5 / 10

Techno-price ratio

9.0 / 10

We love

Premium design and finishes Comfortable keyboard and trackpad Excellent OLED screen Record battery life Excellent techno-price ratio

We like less

Speakers under the chassis performance somewhat tight for advanced applications Heats up quickly and intensely

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