ASUS ZenBook 14X OLED UX5400E Review

"If only the selling point worked properly"

ASUS ZenBook 14X OLED UX5400E Review
ASUS ZenBook 14X OLED UX5400E Review

ASUS’s new ZenBook 14X is the creme de la creme of portable notebooks. It is as if the company has tried to refine most of its gimmicky tech and included these innovations into the notebook. The model I am reviewing here is the ASUS ZenBook 14X OLED UX5400E. It packs a stunning 14-inch Samsung OLED panel and the ASUS ScreenPad all packed into an ultra-thin and lightweight notebook.

Watch our ASUS ZenBook 14X OLED UX5400E review below

The ASUS ZenBook 14X is designed for those on the go who need a portable notebook but at the same time require an accurate display and some hefty internals to power their day. The ASUS ZenBook 14X also packs the ScreenPad. This version isn’t the ScreenPad Plus which is found on some other models and takes up a large portion of the upper keyboard. Instead, this ScreenPad is on the trackpad and doubles up as a trackpad and second display.

Watch our ASUS ZenBook 14X OLED UX5400E review below

Sure, this ASUS ZenBook 14X won’t take you to the moon with its internals but it does make for a premium experience thanks to its sleek design and fantastic display. I don’t think the ScreenPad is a selling point. In fact, it is my least favourite feature of this notebook. But hey, ASUS wants to make this work and if Apple couldn’t get people to love their Touch Bar then I wish ASUS all the luck.

ASUS ZenBook 14X Tech Specs

  • Display
    • 14-inch 16:10 2880×1800 90Hz OLED
    • 550 peak brightness
    • 100% DCI-P3 Gamut
    • 92% screen-to-body ratio
    • Touch and Stylus support
  • CPU
    • Intel Core i7-1165G7 2.8GHz
  • GPU
    • Intel Iris Xe
    • NVIDIA GeForce MX450 2GB DDR6
  • RAM
    • 16GB DDR4X dual-channel
  • Networking
    • Intel Wifi 6 AX201
    • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Connectivity
    • 1 x HDMI 2.0
    • 2 x DisplayPort Over USB C
    • 1 x USB Type-A
    • MicroSD Card slot
    • Audio Jack Combo Port
    • Ethernet to USB Type-A adapter (in the box)
    • 720p Webcam
  • Audio
    • Stereo Speakers
    • Harmon/kardon
    • Microphone
  • Power
    • 100W Through USB-PD
    • 63WH 3-cell Li-Ion Battery
  • Dimensions
    • 311.2 x 22.1 x 16.9mm
    • 1.4Kgs

ASUS ZenBook 14X OLED UX5400E Review

ASUS ZenBook 14X Design

The ASUS ZenBook packs an incredible design. It is only 16mm thin. The lid is coated in an aluminium design that features a circle embossed material that emits from the ASUS logo outwards. It looks stunning under the light. The keyboard body is also metal but the underneath is plastic. The screen ratio takes up most of the top lid and the bezels aren’t too thick. ASUS managed to squeeze a webcam into the upper lid too which is great considering all the strange ways they have tried to implement it in the past. Either by not having a webcam at all or even selling it as an optional attachment.

The display is touch and stylus supported meaning you can get around using your fingers or purchase a supported ASUS stylus. ASUS does not include this in the box. The only additional accessory in the box is a USB Type-A to Ethernet adapter, FYI.

ASUS ZenBook 14X OLED UX5400E Review

The lid on the ASUS ZenBook 14X also acts as the kickstand for the device. When opened, the lid lifts the notebook off the table thanks to the elevated design and rubber feet at the back end of the display.

The keyboard is half-sized and the power button includes a fingerprint scanner on the rim of it. The keyboard includes a while LED backlight too. Then there’s the ScreenPad and trackpad combo. The display on the ScreenPad is 5.65-inches and packs an incredible 2160 x 1080 resolution. That’s a lot of resolution for such a tiny little screen. It is coated with a matte glass surface and feels exactly the same as all other trackpads. Sadly, the matte surface also degrades the quality of the screen on the ScreenPad and the resolution isn’t as sharp as a result.

ASUS ZenBook 14X OLED UX5400E Review

As for the ports, on the right is where you’ll find the two USB C ports, audio jack combo, HDMI and MicroSD card slot. On the left, there is a USB Type-A port. You’ll need to use this port for the Ethernet adapter.

And that’s about it when it comes to the ASUS ZenBook 14X design. It is simple and effective. Of course, the real magic is in the display and ScreenPad which I will talk about in a bit.

ASUS ZenBook 14X OLED UX5400E Review

ASUS ZenBook 14X Performance

The ASUS ZenBook 14X isn’t meant to be the most powerful notebook ASUS has ever made so you should keep that in mind when shopping for it. You can also find a range of models out there. There are QHD, 4K and 2.8K displays and NVIDIA MX450 and Radeon Vega variations. You can also get Intel and AMD Ryzen models.

The ASUS ZenBook 14X ScreenPad is actually just a secondary display to Windows. However, while Windows treats the ScreenPad as a display and you can drag applications to it, you can’t really interact with them. I would say just stick to the built-in apps and elements ASUS has for you to avoid disappointment thinking this is a two-displays-in-one notebook.

ASUS ZenBook 14X OLED UX5400E Review

You can turn off the ScreenPad easily. You can also touch a button that dims the display and enables the trackpad. I did have some issues with the ScreenPad being unresponsive at times. I had a bug where a pop-up kept coming up and I could not close it. Nor could I turn anything on or off. At times I also could not change pages to go to the other apps available. I had to turn off the notebook and reboot it. It wasn’t ideal at all.

The ScreenPad also feels flimsy. Clicking on the trackpad to do general tasks on Windows would result in the LCD rippling under the glass. I was afraid it would break and barely applied pressure on my clicks as a result. Some apps also just didn’t open at all. The icon would darken to show I clicked on it but nothing happened. I often found myself restarting the notebook to fix the ScreenPad issues.

ASUS ZenBook 14X OLED UX5400E Review

Again, this ScreenPad is nice to have but my experience with it wasn’t up to scratch. It really feels more like a gimmick than something I would actually use. I would prefer to have a full display monitor next to me for a second screen, or perhaps an iPad or even my iPhone. Most of the apps on the ScreenPad can be found as other versions on other devices. It also doesn’t help that the ScreenPad simply launches apps that pop up on the main display. You can drag them to the ScreenPad but the aspect ratio often results in a mismatch experience of apps that can’t display correctly.

When it comes to performance, the ASUS ZenBook 14X does okay in its field. You simply can’t compare this notebook to any top-of-the-range device on the market because it just isn’t meant to be a competitor. This notebook would compare to devices like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1, other ZenBooks and maybe the Huawei MateBook range. I ran some productivity tests and got the following results.

ASUS ZenBook 14X OLED UX5400E Review

Performance Benchmark Tests

  • PCMark 10
    • Overall – 5041
    • Essentials – 8526
    • Productivity – 7898
    • Digital Content Creation – 5162

Gaming Benchmark Tests

TimeSpy

  • 1481 overall
  • 1342 Graphics Score
  • 3612 CPU Score

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

  • 1280 x 720 (Low) – 33FPS
  • 1920 x 1080 (Low) – 17FPS

Watch Dogs Legion

  • 1280 x 720 (Low) – 39FPS
  • 1920 x 1080 (Low) – 24FPS

Horizon Zero Dawn 

  • 1280 x 720 (Low) – 35FPS
  • 1920 x 1080 (Low) – 28FPS

While the ASUS ZenBook 14X isn’t really a gaming notebook by a long shot, you can get away with 3D gaming on apps and some lower-end titles. Don’t expect to play much though. The NVIDIA GeForce MX450 is there to help accelerate your creative tasks and power Windows visuals. Not so much let you explore jungles and shoot other players in Fortnite. If you’re willing to drop everything to low and even sacrifice some resolution, you might get away with playing the latest games. Here are some gaming benchmarks I ran.

ASUS ZenBook 14X OLED UX5400E Review

During tests, while running a combination of GPU and CPU tests, the fans didn’t get too loud. I measured a max of 45dB which saw the fans trying to cool down the notebook that was sitting at 50 degrees celsius. Again, the internals here aren’t the most powerful so the heating matches up with the performance you’ll get. I would say it is pretty decent overall.

The webcam is actually quite impressive. Sure, it is only a 720p camera but it handles its light pretty well and even has a focus feature in case you get out of focus and want to get back in. This is done automatically so you don’t really have control over it. As for the speakers, they are decent too. They clearly lack a punch and bass is nonexistent but mids and highs were clear. They also get quite loud too. Should be ample for meetings, streaming and watching content.

ASUS ZenBook 14X OLED UX5400E Review

Lastly, battery life and sound. The ASUS ZenBook 14X packs a great battery that should last you through the day if you turn off the ScreenPad and dim the display. I measure a max of 8 hours during my tests by pushing the performance down and brightness low. Of course, this will change depending on your experience but the battery life is great for a Windows Intel notebook.

Besides the issues with the ScreenPad, which can hopefully get fixed with some updates, the ASUS ZenBook 14X is a great notebook that really shines thanks to its incredible display. The colours are accurate and the panel is vibrant and bright. Sure, the performance isn’t the best on the market but this notebook is aiming to be your everyday companion rather than a monster machine.

The ASUS ZenBook X14 is available starting at R27,999 from the ASUS store here

ASUS ZenBook 14X OLED UX5400E Review
  • Cooling - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Performance - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Value - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Design - 7.5/10
    7.5/10

Summary

The ASUS ZenBook 14X OLED UX5400E packs an incredible OLED panel and a ScreenPad but sadly the ScreenPad is so buggy and pointless it comes across as gimmicky.

Overall
8/10
8/10

Pros

OLED display is wow

Decent performance for price tag

Slim and light

Cons

ScreenPad is a letdown

 

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