If you told me you’d found an OLED laptop for just $800, I’d have warned you against refurbished computers and deep-discount closeout sales. The inky blackness and gorgeous colors of OLED have notcome cheap. Dell charges a $300 premium just for the screen. And yet Asus’s new affordable OLED laptop defies those expectations.
The new machine is called the Asus ZenBook 13 OLED, and early reviews are already suggesting it could be a slam dunk for budget buyers. While there’s no headphone jack and some are complaining about a cramped keyboard, the 2.5-pound laptop doesn’t seem to skimp on the specs. In addition to that 13-inch 1080p OLED screen (one of the first 1080p OLEDs I can recall on a laptop) with its 100-percent DCI-P3 color gamut, you can configure it with up to Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 processors, 16GB of storage and 8GB of RAM.
The Intel model replaces these USB-C ports with visually identical Thunderbolt 4 ports instead.
Even at the $800 starting price, you get your pick of an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U or an 11th-gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 chip, a backlit keyboard, a Windows Hello ready IR camera, full-size HDMI 2.0 and USB-A ports, a pair of USB-C ports, and a microSD card slot.
There’s a few important differences between the Intel and AMD models, though, according to the company’s spec sheets:
- Intel starts with a measly 256GB of storage at the $800 mark instead of 512GB for AMD
- The company quotes three additional hours of battery life for the AMD system over Intel (note that both were measured at a fairly dim 150 nits of brightness) from the same 67Wh battery
- With Intel, you get a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports instead of plain ol’ USB 3.2 Type-C
- AMD models only have Wi-Fi 5, while Intel ones get Wi-Fi 6
As far as I can tell, retailers like Amazon and Newegg quietly put the laptops on sale earlier this month, though the $800 AMD variant doesn’t seem to be shipping quite yet. Here’s a $900 Intel model at Amazon, an $800 AMD model at Newegg, and a whole array of the new laptops at Asus’s own store.
If you’re looking for a 2-in-1 convertible, Asus is sticking its affordable OLED screen in those too, starting at $950, though Intel appears to be your only CPU option there.
We’d heard screen manufacturers were finally going to mass produce laptop-sized OLED panels this year — perhaps Asus’ laptops are just the tip of the iceberg.