Asus ZenBook 14X OLED Space Edition Review: Buy it for the fun, not for productivity
You have to laud Asus for attempting ludicrous concepts in its laptops — a space where creativity is seldom found. The ROG division has produced some masterpiece creations over the years, with the ROG Mothership being my top pick of all. All the special edition ROG machines, or concept devices introduced something new to the mix, and made them irresistible. Hence, with the ZenBook 14X OLED Space Edition, I was looking forward to something interesting — something “out-of-the-world” mind blowing thing we have not seen in the world of laptops ever!
Sadly, with the ZenBook 14X OLED Space Edition, there's no such thing happening. Built to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Asus P6300 laptop making it aboard the MIR space station, the ZenBook 14X OLED Space Edition is dressed with cool vinyls depicting the pace station and several interesting stuff space nerds will kill for. Oh, it also has a small display on its lid for no purpose other than to show some space graphics, or text to your liking.
Is that enough to justify spending Rs. 1,69,900 on a Windows ultrabook? After spending two weeks with the laptop, I have the answers.
Asus ZenBook 14X OLED Space Edition Design
Asus knows a thing or two about making special edition products “special”. The ZenBook 14X OLED Space Edition makes you feel that right out of the box, or may I say, right from its packaging box. Just look at the picture below and tell me you won't get excited! You can even reuse the packaging box for the charger as a laptop stand while doing intensive tasks.
As for the laptop, the ZenBook 14X OLED Space Edition looks special from all angles. The body is bathed in a shade of Zero-G Titanium and the rest of it carries special space graphics and stickers, with easter eggs smeared all over. All of this may have seemed cool if I was younger than 20 years old but I am a grown-up and despite being a space nerd, all of these graphics seem too much. I wished there was something reminiscent of the Asus P6300 laptop on this ZenBook 14X OLED Space Edition.
Okay, the lid has a small 3.5-inch OLED display that keeps showing animated space graphics. It looks cool for the first few minutes but after that, it is simply a gimmick. It doesn't work as an Always On Display to show time or other information while the lid is closed. I asked Asus whether it is doing something to bring that functionality to this display but the answers I got were unsatisfactory.
Open the lid and the ZenBook 14X OLED Space Edition looks similar to a regular ZenBook model, except for the space graphics and easter eggs, and that orange painted spacebar. The trackpad is large and you get the integrated Numpad. The keyboard's white backlighting is disturbing in the daylight as well.
Despite being a special edition laptop, it is 15.9mm thick and weighs 1.4 kilos. This is not a lightweight laptop and not at all slim, especially next to a MacBook Air. The thickness allows the laptop to feature all useful ports such as two Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB 3.2 Type-A port, the microSD card slot. You get an adapter for USB-C-to-Ethernet, and a fingerprint sensor to unlock the device.
Asus ZenBook 14X OLED Space Edition Display
The ZenBook 14X OLED Space Edition gets one of the nicest displays from Asus. There is a 14-inch OLED display with 2.8K resolution, 100 percent DCI-P3 colours, and a refresh rate of 90Hz. Being an OLED display, you are getting one of the nicest viewing experiences on any Windows laptops at the moment. Whether watching YouTube videos or reading our HT Tech website with all its colourful content, this is a treat for the eyes. The 90Hz refresh rate makes scrolling and animations a bit easier on the eyes.
Asus ZenBook 14X OLED Space Edition Performance
Being a new Asus laptop, it is bound to get some special edition goodies inside. My unit of the Space Edition came with the Intel Core i9-12900H processor, 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and 1TB 4.0 Performance SSD, and Intel Iris Xe graphics for graphics duties.These are all good specs by all means and for power users, these should make for joyful experience.
I had tested a 12th Gen Intel laptop prior to this and there were some issues with the performance, which I observed also on the ZenBook 14X OLED Space Edition. This was the Core i9 processor and yet the laptop often stumbled with basic workloads involving Google Chrome, Word, and YouTube Music running in the background. It ran fine for most times but it was in those busy moments when the ZenBook 14X OLED Space Edition took a second or two to load up a page, or open the Word document. Maybe Microsoft needs to optimise Windows 11 better for the new processors but at the moment, you don't expect a Rs. 1.7 lakh laptop to run out of breath, especially when a much cheaper MacBook Air is at home managing similar workloads.
Having the Core i9 processor is also detrimental to the battery life. On a typical office workday, the ZenBook 14X OLED Space Edition could last at most up to six hours at a stretch. Hence, I had to use it plugged in most of the time to get work done seamlessly. Maybe choosing the more efficient Core i5 processor or the Core i7 could help with longer battery stamina but on the Core i9, the situation is grim. Asus could have fitted the laptop with a bigger battery.
The dual speaker system on the ZenBook 14X OLED Space Edition delivers sub-par audio quality. It goes loud but there's no depth to the audio. The 720p webcam is of poor quality and is best left unused for video calls indoors.
The Asus ZenBook 14X OLED Space Edition is a great attempt at creating something exciting out of a mundane high-end Windows notebook. Asus has certainly gone the distance to justify the extra you pay for this one, especially with the special packaging, that space-themed paint job, a cutesy display, some beefy performance bits inside, and a gorgeous OLED display. It all looks exciting but for the extra I am paying, it just doesn't feel as special as the ROG special offs we have seen in the past.
Even if you consider the base Core i5 variant at Rs. 1,14, 990, the ZenBook 14X OLED Space Edition doesn't bring anything revolutionary or exciting. It is essentially the same Windows 11 laptop you can buy for much less, albeit with a meh paint job and some tacky wallpapers that shouldn't have been approved by Asus designers in the first place!
Being a fan of all things space, I could not find it exciting enough to spend an extra day with the ZenBook 14X OLED Space Edition over the designated review period. That small display on the lid look promising but is simply useless by all means at the moment. Maybe all of this “space hoorah” could appeal to some of you but I feel Asus has done too little here to justify the cost.
The Dell XPS 13 may not carry those nerdy graphics and paint but it does a much better job at being a reliable Windows laptop. And there's still nothing beating the XPS in terms of its looks. Why not buy that then? Or, if you are fine switching to macOS, the Apple MacBook Air for an even lower price is a much better deal by all means.
- Fast performance
- Superb display
- Sub-par battery
- Tacky design
Display14-inch 2.8K OLED 90Hz
ProcessorIntel Core i9-12900H