Wed. Jun 12th, 2024

Alright, friends, let’s take a deep dive into the fascinating world of Asus laptops, focusing on the Zenbook 14 and its bigger sibling, the 14x. This isn’t your typical tech rundown; we’re going to explore why these laptops are creating such a buzz, especially the 14x, which I’m boldly claiming to be a game-changer. So, grab your popcorn, and let’s dissect why this might be one of the most important laptop releases in recent memory – a device that even Apple should be keeping a close eye on.


Design and Portability: Zenbook 14 vs. 14x

Starting with the basics, the Zenbook 14 is the sleeker, lighter contender at 3.1 pounds. It’s your go-to choice for those always on the move. On the other hand, the 14x sacrifices a bit of portability for a reason – it flaunts a larger 14.5-inch screen, promising a visually stunning experience that’s hard to ignore.

Now, let’s talk aesthetics. The Zenbook 14 keeps it minimal with a single Asus logo on its lid. In contrast, the 14x introduces some cool abstract lines. Plus, the hinge of the 14 lifts the laptop slightly for better airflow, while the 14x sits a bit higher on its large rubber feet, making its keyboard deck more robust. Both laptops scream quality, but they might not match the sturdiness of a MacBook or a Razer.


Display Showdown: OLED Panels and Beyond

Let’s move on to the star of the show – the displays. Both laptops boast OLED panels, delivering stunning visuals with excellent color reproduction, ideal for professional color work. They both sport that coveted 16:10 aspect ratio, offering more content real estate for applications that scroll down the page. However, there are some crucial differences you need to know.

The Zenbook 14 rocks a 14-inch display, while the 14x steps it up with a larger 14.5-inch screen. Side by side, the 14x’s display looks noticeably better. Whites are brighter, and it gives off an overall more vibrant vibe. Interestingly, the 14x is a bit brighter at 380 nits compared to the Zenbook 14’s 360 nits. However, the real-world experience tells a different story – the 14x just seems to shine a bit more.

Diving into the technicalities, the 14 supports 10-bit color, whereas the 14x settles for 8-bit. Both displays boast fast refresh rates, making on-screen movement smooth. The 14 offers a 90Hz refresh rate, while the 14x kicks it up a notch with a faster 120Hz. It’s not just about the numbers; it’s about what you can actually see on the screen without squinting. In this department, the 14x takes the lead, showing more information on the screen – 40 rows compared to the 37 on the Zenbook 14 when working with Excel. A win for productivity!


Performance Unleashed: Zenbook 14’s Ryzen vs. 14x’s Intel i7

Now, let’s talk about what’s under the hood – the beating heart of these machines. The Zenbook 14, in my possession, boasts a Ryzen 7 7300U processor. Don’t let the confusing naming convention fool you; it’s aimed at casual users, not those craving raw power. On the flip side, the 14x flexes its muscles with an Intel i7 13700H processor – a significant step up in performance.

Geekbench results paint a clear picture. The Zenbook 14, unfortunately, doesn’t shine here. It performs below expectations, trailing even the HP Dragonfly with a similar processor. The 14x, on the other hand, is a stellar performer. It outshines the Dell XPS 15 and matches a base model MacBook Pro 14 with M2. When it comes to real-world applications, the 14x is a beast, ideal for anything from basic office tasks to intensive software development.


Thermal Performance: Handling the Heat

Performance is great, but what about when things heat up? Running Cinebench for 10 minutes reveals that both laptops experience a performance drop, especially in the default standard fan mode. This hints at their cooling solutions struggling to keep the processors cool for extended periods. It’s a trade-off for the power they pack.

The Zenbook 14’s Ryzen processor shows its limitations, especially in single-core performance. The 14x, however, stands out in this benchmark, dominating the competition. Thermal performance under light use is commendable. The Zenbook 14 remains cool to the touch, while the 14x gets a tad warm – noticeable but bearable.


Fan Noise and Noise Levels: Keeping It Cool, Literally

Let’s talk fan noise. Under light use, the Zenbook 14’s fans are audible, but not excessively loud. The 14x, surprisingly, remains very quiet in such scenarios. However, push them to perform, and the fan noise can escalate, especially on the performance mode. Speaking of modes, both laptops have a “Whisper” mode, which drops power to the processor, reducing performance but also fan noise. The Zenbook 14, even in this mode, isn’t whisper-quiet, but the 14x truly lives up to the name.

For heavy-duty tasks, the Zenbook 14’s keyboard deck warms up a bit, but it’s manageable. The 14x, with its impressive performance, stays cool to the touch in standard mode and only gets a bit warm on the performance profile. The fan noise, however, reaches uncomfortable levels in performance mode. My advice? Stick to the default standard profile for a good balance between performance and fan noise.


Battery Life Marvels: Zenbook 14’s Surprise and 14x’s Endurance

Moving on to a critical aspect – battery life. The Zenbook 14 surprises with its endurance. In a Netflix video playback test, it outperforms many competitors, boasting around 15 hours with a whopping 70% battery remaining. This is where the efficiency of AMD processors shines, coupled with a large battery and low wattage.

The 14x, with its Intel processor, performs admirably but falls a bit short, showing 54% battery remaining after 4 hours. It’s still a decent result, but the Zenbook 14 steals the show in this department.


Audio Matters: 14x’s Sonic Superiority

Let’s talk audio, because sound matters. Both laptops deliver decent sound quality, but the 14x takes it up a notch. It offers fuller sound with more bass, rivaling even Apple’s gold standard in laptop speakers – the MacBook Pro 14. The Zenbook 14x’s speakers are impressive, but the MacBook Pro 14 still takes the crown.

A small note – the Zenbooks rely on reflecting sound off a desk for optimal audio quality. Lift them up, and the sound quality drops, unlike MacBooks.


Upgradability: Choices and Compromises

It’s time to discuss upgradability. Both laptops offer upgradable storage, a plus for those who like to tinker. Unfortunately, the memory is solder

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