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Asus Vivobook Pro 14 OLED review: snappy performance and smooth screen

“OLED screens in affordable machines” has been the working theme of the laptop computer market this yr. Between Lenovo’s 13-inch Chromebook Duet 5 and numerous 13-inch Windows choices from the likes of Dell and Asus, 2021 has actually introduced the OLED laptop computer from a luxurious product to, nicely, considerably much less of a luxurious product if you recognize the place to look.

Asus’ Vivobook Pro 14 OLED is a shot at placing OLED in yet one more unprecedented kind issue: the midrange workstation. It’s poised to be the primary 14-inch OLED laptop computer available on the market, in addition to the primary OLED laptop computer with a 90Hz refresh charge. Of course, it received’t really earn both of these monikers till it’s really launched, which it hasn’t been but — Samsung (which makes the screen) and Asus are claiming “early 2022.”

Rather than being geared towards a multimedia expertise — as are 13-inchers like Dell’s XPS 13 OLED, Asus’ personal Zenbook 13 OLED, and Samsung’s Galaxy Book Pro — the Vivobook is right here to work. It’s geared up with AMD’s succesful eight-core Ryzen 9 5900HX processor and Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3050 GPU. It’s concentrating on artistic work, on the go, on a price range.

With that in thoughts, my check unit (16GB of RAM, 1TB of storage) is a robust package deal for $1,199 — lower than half the MSRP of a comparable 14-inch MacBook Pro. (Samsung gave me that value with the heavy caveat that it might change previous to launch. You have my phrase that if that occurs, I’ll change the Vivobook’s rating accordingly and republish this assessment.) It has port choice, it’s not too heavy, and the audio system and microphones ought to go well with no matter video calling wants you may have. Still, there are odd issues right here and there that you simply received’t see in costlier gadgets (and even loads of others at this value level). It’s a formidable and highly effective machine that also received’t be the appropriate every day driver for everybody.

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Good Stuff

  • Good processor
  • 90Hz OLED screen
  • Numpad within the touchpad

Bad Stuff

  • So-so battery life
  • Can’t get greater than 16GB of RAM
  • Ships with some bloatware
  • Middling GPU

The touchpad of the Asus Vivobook Pro 14 with the numpad illuminated, seen from above on a white fabric surface.

Plus, useful numpad within the touchpad.

(*14*)If you’re contemplating this Vivobook, it’s most likely due to the screen. I’ll vouch for that: The 2.8K (2880 x 1800) 16:10 OLED panel may be very good and larger decision than you typically see on OLED laptops of this dimension. It’s received spectacular distinction, vivid colours, and sharp particulars, reproducing 100% of the sRGB colour gamut and maxing out at 399 nits of brightness. The trademark of OLED know-how, in fact, is that blacks are completely black (because the particular person pixels simply flip themselves off). Samsung claims that the panel emits much less blue mild than different screens as nicely, and you possibly can choose an “Eye Care” colour profile that yellows every little thing barely within the MyAsus app.

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The 90Hz refresh charge, whereas seemingly not a necessity for too many individuals’s jobs, can be a pleasant bonus. Scrolling is pleasantly smooth — when you get used to it, switching again to 60Hz is downright painful. This is actually going to be one of many smoothest screens you will get at a $1,199 value level (once more, assuming that the Vivobook stays there).

The Asus Vivobook logo on the bottom bezel of the Asus Vivobook Pro 14, up close.

Asus, Samsung, and AMD in a single.

If the screen isn’t what piqued your curiosity within the Vivobook, then it was most likely the chip. The eight-core Ryzen 9 5900HX in my unit is essentially the most highly effective processor that AMD makes for skinny and mild laptops. It’s uncommon to see such a robust chip mixed with a GPU in such a small system — excluding Apple gadgets, this is likely one of the strongest 14-inchers available on the market.

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The Asus Vivobook Pro 14 closed, seen from above, on a white plush chair.

The lid is… conspicuous.

You can check out the chart beneath to see how the Vivobook did on numerous artificial benchmarks. It ought to go with out saying that the Ryzen 5900HX and RTX 3050 are handily beating what we’ve seen equally sized AMD machines with built-in graphics just like the Zenbook 13 OLED.

It’s uncommon to see such a robust chip mixed with a GPU in such a small system

The extra necessary query for lots of artistic professionals is the place precisely the Vivobook stands amongst MacBooks, that are the present gold commonplace and the machines we unambiguously advocate to anybody for whom cash is not any object — additionally they have distinctive screens.

The unhealthy (however unsurprising) information for Asus is that the Vivobook received lower than half the rating that the 14-inch MacBook Pro received on PugetBench for Premiere Pro, which measures video export and playback time at 4K and 8K. (The MacBook received a 1072, to the Vivobook’s 494.) It additionally took twice as lengthy to finish our real-world 4K export (although that process is a weak point of AMD’s and a energy of Apple’s) — it took seven minutes and 36 seconds, the place the Macbook took simply two and a half.

But it does get scores higher than these of the 13-inch MacBook Pro (which is $700 more for comparable specs) on a few of these benchmarks, and is comparable on many of the others. There’s a convincing argument that if you happen to’re contemplating the 13-inch MacBook Pro for no matter motive, the Vivobook Pro is price taking an in depth have a look at, too. (The 13-inch OLED Zenbook took over 14 minutes on the export and received a 201 on the benchmark.)

The Asus Vivobook Pro 14 keyboard with the numpad illuminated seen from above.

It’s not weightless, nevertheless it’s surprisingly moveable.

Also spectacular was simply how simple these duties gave the impression to be for the 5900HX. The Vivobook’s followers had been working all through my benchmark testing, however they had been at all times quiet sufficient that I might work on one other system on the identical desk with no distraction. CPU temperatures had been very beneath management all through the artificial benchmarks — I noticed some spikes throughout the export however nothing above the excessive 80s (Celsius). In different phrases, these famously CPU-heavy duties weren’t working the Vivobook too onerous.

Asus Vivobook Pro 14 Benchmarks

Cinebench R23 Multi

10270

Cinebench R23 Single

1472

Cinebench R23 Multi looped for half-hour

8945

Geekbench 5.3 CPU Multi

7109

Geekbench 5.3 CPU Single

1505

Geekbench 5.3 OpenCL / Compute

55379

PugetBench for Premiere Pro

494

BenchmarkScore
BenchmarkScore

CPU-heavy duties weren’t working the Vivobook too onerous

Now, there’s a caveat to all this: battery life. The Vivobook’s battery life isn’t nice, and it’s one space the place the system is much behind every little thing Apple presently sells. That’s not essentially shocking, given the excessive refresh charge and excessive decision of the show. OLED know-how is meant to mitigate these penalties considerably, because it’s turning off pixels right here and there, however even working in darkish mode with a totally black desktop background, I solely averaged six hours and 37 minutes of steady use. (That was with a load of round a dozen Chrome tabs, with occasional Zoom calls and streaming video). That’s not a horrible outcome, nevertheless it’s worse than many laptops on this value vary. The main advantage of a 14-inch kind issue is the flexibility to make use of it away out of your desk, and battery life is probably going a giant consideration for folk buying on this class. Six and a half hours simply places a bitter style in my mouth.

The different factor for “Pros” to notice is that the configurations appear considerably restricted. The specs the Vivobook comes with could change nearer to launch (and I’ll replace this assessment in the event that they do), however from the sheet I used to be given, it looks as if I’ve the highest mannequin. That means you possibly can’t configure this system with greater than 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, which — even with a succesful processor — actually limits what you are able to do with the system. (It’s not doable to improve the RAM or storage your self after the very fact, both.) Add the shortage of Thunderbolt ports, which limits suitable peripherals akin to exterior drives and docks, and you’re a tool which may be beneath the wants of {many professional} workloads. (There’s additionally not a 4K screen choice listed right here, if that’s one thing you want.)

The Asus Vivobook Pro 14 on a white plush chair open angled to the left. The screen displays The Verge homepage.

The 90Hz refresh charge can’t be serving to that battery life.

The remainder of this laptop is fairly good. The audio is robust, with no distortion at most quantity. The microphones did a nice job of filtering out loud dishwasher noise within the background of my Zoom calls. The keyboard is kind of springy with a snug texture — I’ll be aware that the deck is a bit flimsy and my keystrokes typically depressed the deck, which I do know is a factor some individuals hate (and I’ve a reasonably mild stroke, as they go).

One cool factor is that if you happen to press just a little button within the high proper nook of the touchpad, an LED numpad pops up on it. (This is a staple of a lot of Asus laptops.) It’s doubtlessly helpful, and it doesn’t get in the way in which of utilizing the touchpad, however the button is delicate sufficient that I often pulled up the numpad with my palm accidentally whereas I used to be typing. Slight annoyance.

Assuming this Vivobook stays on the value I’ve been given, it’s an amazing deal. It additionally looks as if, as we stated of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, a little bit of a tweener. Realistically, I’m undecided how massive the constituency is who’s in search of a processor this highly effective with a discrete GPU however can be nice with simply 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. The so-so battery life, given this system’s skinny and mild stature, could restrict the viewers additional.

I see this largely as a tool for individuals in search of a main driver who need to recreation or edit on the facet. This is an effective inexpensive choice for that crowd, however you’re additionally considerably getting what you pay for — editors, or others with GPU-heavy workloads, who can afford to spend a bit extra on the 14-inch MacBook Pro ought to completely accomplish that, and avid gamers who can reside with out the OLED screen can get a extra highly effective GPU, extra RAM, and significantly better battery life within the Zephyrus G14.

But I’m nonetheless glad the package deal exists; 90Hz OLED screens are actually a pleasure to make use of, and they’re a factor I hope we see extra of at this accessible value level down the street. And with its Ryzen 5000 collection, AMD continues to convey energy to skinny and mild laptops that we haven’t seen in years previous. This is extra so an thrilling factor to see than one thing I’d advocate most individuals purchase. But it is extremely thrilling.

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