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Zenbook S 13: flame and functionality

Despite running hot, the Asus Zenbook S 13 (UX5304) gets fired up with its beautiful display and long battery life, writes JASON BANNIER.

What is it?

The Asus Zenbook S 13 (UX5304) laptop boasts a beautiful OLED display that delivers exceptional visuals. The 13,3-inch screen, with a 2880×1800 resolution, offers comfortable levels of brightness variation, though it is capped at 60Hz. The display hinge opens the device to a 180-degree position, but it does not lay entirely flat.

The device features up to 10-core 13th generation Intel processors, 32GB of RAM, and 1TB of internal storage. It handles Microsoft Suite applications, internet browsing, and video streaming effortlessly.

While not designed for gaming, and lacking an Ethernet port, its performance in lightweight games is commendable. The game Ori and the Will of the Wisps maintained a consistently smooth performance on low graphics with framerates dropping to 50 during graphically intense scenes. When put to the test with a more demanding title, Overwatch 2, the laptop-maintained framerates between 30 and 60.

With its slim and lightweight design, measuring about 1cm when closed, and weighing about 1kg, the laptop is portable and sleek. However, this design contributes to heat buildup, especially noticeable at the keyboard’s centre and underbelly. Despite this, the Zenbook maintains its performance without any discernible slowdown.

The device conforms to the military-grade MIL-STD-810H standards while maintaining a sleek and slender profile.

The following ports are featured: two Thunderbolt USB-Cs, one USB 3,2 Gen 2 Type-A, one audio combo jack, and a full-sized HDMI 2,1 port. The inclusion of WiFi 6E ensures seamless web browsing, complemented by Bluetooth 5,2 for device connectivity.

The laptop boasts an impressive battery life of around 5,5 hours during varied tasks, such as streaming YouTube videos, web browsing, and light gaming, while at maximum brightness. However, Asus claims it can last up to 14 hours according to the 1080p video playback scenario. Charging the battery from 20% to 90% takes about an hour via either USB-C port.

Audio is clear, and can be delivered at high volumes. However, webcam quality is subpar.

The backlit keyboard, and large trackpad provide for comfortable and quiet experience.

How much does it cost?

The Asus Zenbook S 13 (UX5304) is available at a recommended retail price of R29,999.00.

Why does it matter?

The Asus Zenbook S 13 (UX5304) excels in handling lightweight tasks, including seamless video streaming, swift internet browsing, and smooth operation of Microsoft Office suite applications. It’s remarkable performance extends to effortlessly managing multiple open applications, while its impressive battery life ensures prolonged usage. Although it is not a gaming laptop, it demonstrates a commendable ability to run games with reasonable efficiency. While the device heats up to a somewhat uncomfortable temperature, this does not compromise its performance.

What are the biggest negatives?

  • Device runs hot.
  • Subpar webcam quality.
  • No ethernet port.

What are the biggest positives?

  • Bright, vivid OLED display.
  • Thin and lightweight design.
  • Long battery life, and fast recharging.
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