Zenbook 14X OLED Space Edition vs. MacBook Pro

many posts (the edge included) have heralded this year’s MacBooks as the best laptops you can buy today. For many users, they will be.

But some surprisingly compelling Windows-based alternatives have been emerging in Asus’ high-end Zenbook lineup, offering the build quality, display, and performance to match Apple’s best. The 13-inch Zenbook 13S OLED option has proven to be a worthy competitor to the MacBook Air M2, and eyes have been on the 14-inch Zenbook 14X OLED (and, in particular, the high-powered Space Edition) as a possible option. rival to the fan-equipped MacBook Pro M2.

I took an early look at a preview of the Zenbook 14X OLED Space Edition back in January, and this week I got to test the performance and battery life of a real, finished unit. The Zenbook actually beats the MacBook in several important areas, but it loses out in one crucial category.

The Zenbook and the MacBook are very, very similar in size. The Zenbook weighs 3.09 pounds, while the MacBook weighs three pounds. The Zenbook is 0.62 inches thick, while the MacBook is 0.61 inches thick.

I will say, from my extensive experience carrying both, that the Zenbook feels noticeably heavier, especially when lifted with one arm. But both are fairly thin and light devices for the power they offer.

The Zenbook is slightly cheaper than the MacBook Pro, although I don’t think the difference will be very significant for most buyers.

There is only one configuration of the Zenbook 14X OLED Space Edition: it includes a Core i9-12900H processor, 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. it has a price of $1,999 on the Asus sitethough some retailers currently has it listed for $1,979.99.

If you wanted to buy a 13-inch MacBook Pro with 24GB of RAM (the maximum available) and 1TB of storage, you’ll pay $2,099, a $100 premium. While neither the Zenbook nor the MacBook M2 are cheap, they’re both in the range of what consumer ultraportables cost. A 32GB/1TB version of the 14-inch MacBook Pro (including base CPU option) it would be $2,599.99.

Now, Yes If you’re someone whose workload won’t take full advantage of the 1TB/32GB the Zenbook offers, you’re better off buying, say, a $1,699 MacBook Pro with 16GB memory and 512GB storage and save several hundred dollars. dollars compared to the Zenbook. That will come down to what your daily needs are.

It’s also true that the 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro is often on sale these days (you can currently get a 16GB / 512GB model for $1,599). If you can get by with 512GB of storage and don’t mind a little extra weight (the 14-inch is around 3.5 pounds), that’s the model to go for.

Sorry Apple, but no MacBook can compare here. Both laptops are very sturdy, well built, and hard to squeeze. But when it comes to looks, the M2 Pro still has the same boring, gray, big-bezel design that MacBook Pro models have had since 2016. The 14-inch device has an updated design, but all things considered, it still looks, well, MacBook-y.

The Zenbook 14X OLED Space Edition, on the other hand, looks like a spacecraft. Design elements on the lid and keyboard deck evoke a shuttle and a cockpit, and apparently, there’s Morse code hidden in them if you feel like sitting down and decoding. Clearly, this is subjective, but I would always go with the style of the Zenbook.

The Zenbook 14X also wins when it comes to display. The Zenbook has a 14-inch 16:10 OLED touch panel with a 2880 x 1800 resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has a slightly smaller 13.3-inch display with a resolution of lower (2560 x 1600) and a lower refresh rate (60 Hz). While the MacBook’s display is certainly good, I’d pick up the Zenbook any day: it’s sharp and vibrant, and I’m always here for those deep OLED blacks.

The Zenbook also has what’s called the ZenVision display on its lid, a 3.5-inch OLED panel that can display your music, the time, battery percentage or other stats, a business card, the text you choose, or cute astronaut animations. (I’m guessing it’s supposed to be the spaceship window.) The MacBook Pro has a touchscreen Touch Bar on its deck, while the Zenbook has a row of physical features, but I personally find the ZenVision display much cooler.

The Zenbook also has the ErgoLift hinge, a feature you’ll find on all sorts of Asus laptops. This hinge folds down slightly under the keyboard deck and raises it a few degrees off the ground to improve airflow, and it digs into your legs when using the Zenbook on your lap. It’s not super sharp, but it’s something you have to deal with that the MacBook doesn’t have.

The Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 seen from above on a lavender background.

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