Finding the best laptop for your needs can often feel a bit like an impossible task. Everyone has different priorities and boxes to be ticked. Are you going for a work machine or a gaming laptop? A desktop replacement or something ultralight? Well the Asus Zenbook 15 OLED aims to meet all of your needs.
Weighing just 1.4kg it's definitely among the best lightweight laptops at this size, but it's not quite the lightest of that elite club. In fairness, that's because it has a beautiful 15-inch screen and enough power to crunch through office tasks and even dabble with some light gaming. But is it a jack of all trades and a master of none or the perfect 15-inch Windows laptop choice?
Asus Zenbook 15 OLED: Price & Availability
Ultrabook laptops can vary in price with budget options coming in at a few hundred, such as the Lenovo IdeaPad 3i, through to several thousand for the top-of-the-top-end options. The Asus Zenbook 15 OLED is a middle-of-the-range option, close to the four-figure marker.
The Ryzen 7 Processor and AMD Radeon graphics-equipped UM3504 model of the Asus Zenbook 15 OLED on review here retails for £1099/$1299 – although it's discounted at UK retailer Very at the time of writing. There are step-up options that can cost a couple of hundred more, too, depending on the spec.
Asus Zenbook 15 OLED review: Design
Ultrabooks are consistently some of the best-looking laptops available and the Zenbook is right up there among them. The Ponder Blue colour (yes, really) of the review model is pretty slick – but doesn't have the environmental credentials of the ceramic-style Basalt Grey.
The grey variant's materials transform the aluminium case into a plasma ceramic aluminium, making it harder and more resistant to wear (this is done with a special process using only water). Still, the blue laptop feels nice to the touch and looks like a premium machine.
As I mentioned, it's pretty lightweight too at 1.4kg. That's lighter than air - well, not actual air, more specifically the 2023 MacBook Air 15-inch with the M2 chip. At 14.9mm thick, the Asus is a bit chunkier than the MacBook, but not by much. If you want that MacBook cool but on a Windows machine, this is definitely one of the best options to plump for.
Asus Zenbook 15 OLED review: Display
I have to say this is the standout feature of the laptop. The name gives it all away, really, as you'll find a 15.6-inch OLED display with 550 nits peak brightness at a 2880 x 1620 resolution (with a 16:9 aspect ratio) front and centre.
Streaming movies is a joy with this display, colours run a rich gamut with DCI-P3 support, and gaming isn't completely off limits either with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate (although the GPU will hold you back from serious gaming).
Asus is also keen to look after your eyes, with the Zenbook's panel reducing harmful blue light by up to 70% and reducing the wear on your peepers.
In short, I've seen few displays that can compete with the clarity of the Zenbook, even among ultra-expensive gaming laptops.
Asus Zenbook 15 OLED review: Performance
Our review model of the Zenbook was the 'UM3504' model with an AMD Ryzen 7 (7000 series) processor, 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD and AMD Radeon graphics. What does that mean in English? That it should have more than enough to cope with any ordinary task you throw at it. Basically, if you're not a serious video editor or a hardcore gamer, you'll have no problems here.
In terms of noise output, it's not completely fanless like a MacBook Air, but it is pretty quiet – only really picking up noticeably when gaming. As for heat, the underside can get pretty warm but the top always remains cool.
If you are gaming when using this laptop, it is possible that the GPU will hold it back from running AAA games at smooth framerates unless you seriously tone down the graphics. If, like me, you're a Football Manager addict, then there's more than enough laptop here to run it pretty intensively.
If you are of a benchmarking persuasion then you might be interested to know that on our Geekbench test, this Zenbook registered a single-core CPU score of 2064 and a multi-core score of 9475. The GPU meanwhile measured 28,787 – certainly respectable, but proof this is not a dedicated gaming machine.
Asus Zenbook 15 OLED review: Features
I must admit I'm a big fan of the keyboard and trackpad of the Zenbook. Compared to a 13-inch machine there's plenty of space for accurate typing and even a Numpad (ooh la la). The arrow keys are admittedly squeezed in, but otherwise every box is ticked.
If you're looking for a party trick, the laptop even features a 180-degree hinge to enable it lay completely flat. If you have a standing desk that might be very useful, but otherwise it's a bit niche.
As far as connectivity, these super skinny laptops can often shun useful connectors for style, but the Zenbook puts in a solid showing. You get one USB-C 4.0, one USB-C 3.2 and even an old-fashioned 'fat' USB-A alongside a HDMI 2.1 port and 3.5mm headphone jack.
Asus Zenbook 15 OLED review: Battery life
Having tested plenty of the best gaming laptops with piddly battery life, it's nice to be able to say to you that the Zenbook 15 OLED should last you more than a couple of hours.
Asus claim that the 67Wh battery should reach up to 13 hours, but I've not quite had that level of performance. Streaming the 1hr 40 minute Grand Budapest Hotel on Disney+ (at full brightness) the battery drained 20%. That's not bad at all – 500 minutes, so over eight-and-a-half hours at full brightness with Wi-Fi – and with more general use you can get over 10 hours of life from a single charge easily.
The only real issue is that pesky MacBook Air 15-inch which can comfortably reach 15 hours of battery life when running a similar streaming test. That's a good two-thirds better potentially.
Asus Zenbook 15 OLED review: Verdict
I'm struggling to think of reasons not to recommend the Asus Zenbook 15 OLED. After all: it's priced well, looks stunning, plus features a gorgeous display to boot. So if you want a portable and lightweight Windows machine then it ticks pretty much every box (provided you're not a gamer).
My only hang-up is the competition really. The price does put it in the range of the MacBook Air M2 (2022) (admittedly 13-inch rather than quite 15-inch) which is a powerhouse performer with a superb battery life. If you're not a Mac fan, however, then Asus could have made an ideal Windows alternative for you. It's capable across the board, which for a product like this is exactly where you want it to be.
If you're watching the pennies and don't mind the trade-off in form-factor and performance then perhaps you should consider the Lenovo IdeaPad3i for a versatile everyday machine at a great price. It's way, way cheaper than the Asus.
The elephant in the room is the MacBook Air M2 (2022). It's priced around the same and has a better battery life. If you want to stay with Windows, of course, it might be worth stretching for the Dell XPS 13 – which we also love.