Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED clearly shows that AMD is the superior choice for compact laptops right now ↺
The new Asus Zenbook S 13 is a very compact subnotebook and managed to get a very good score in our review; we just did not find any real drawbacks. The device is extremely compact, uses an excellent magnesium-alloy chassis, has an OLED panel with a software solution against PWM flickering and the battery runtime is also good. You should know that the display only reaches its maximum peak brightness of more than 500 nits with HDR contents, while standard SDR contents are limited to around 350 nits. Unfortunately, you have to activate the HDR mode manually in the settings, but this is a general issue of Windows.
The highlight is obviously the new AMD Ryzen 7 6800U CPU, and the Zenbook is actually the first laptop with this processor. It runs at power limits of 30/25W and the is therefore much more efficient than the current Alder Lake chips from Intel, which can easily consume more than 50W under high workloads, which is a big challenge for the cooling solution of a compact laptop. Looking at the classification (U-series), the Ryzen 7 6800U should compete with the Intel counterpart Core i7-1255U, but the multi-core performance is actually on par with the Core i7-1260P running at around 40W. The single-core performance of the new Intel chips is superior, but the performance also results in high consumption figures. Please see our comprehensive efficiency review for more single-core and multi-core data. The lower power limits of the AMD chip result in less fan activity in everyday scenarios.
While the CPU performance is just slightly better compared to the old Ryzen 7 5800U, there is a significant performance increase when it comes to the integrated graphics card. The new Radeon 680M is much faster than the Iris Xe Graphics G7 and can even compete with the dedicated GeForce MX450 in gaming benchmarks, The integrated video decoder is also very efficient and enables long battery runtimes when you watch videos.
All in all, the new AMD Ryzen 7 6800U is a much more balanced processor for very compact laptops. Intel's current chips require a lot of power to be competitive. This requires powerful cooling solutions and during our reviews so far, we noticed that the fans of Alder Lake laptops tend to run more frequently and the standard 65W power adapters are sometimes insufficient as well for extreme scenarios.
However, there is a big problem: The availability. Almost all new laptops right now are equipped with Intel processor. The Zenbook is supposed to be available in the end of July, but we are still waiting for more devices with the new AMD chips. If you need a new laptop right now, you might be forced to get an Intel powered laptop. Please see our comprehensive review of the new Zenbook S 13 for more details: