Asus Zenbook 14X OLED (Q420) Review

The Zenbook laptop line from Asus comes in all shapes and sizes, and we most recently saw a 14-inch version last year in the Asus Zenbook 14X OLED UX3404. We’ve now tested and reviewed a more affordable version of this laptop, the Zenbook 14X OLED Q420 ($999.99), which drops the discrete GPU but still features a 13th Gen Core i7 H Series CPU. This gets you some quickness at a much lower price while maintaining the lightweight build and attractive OLED display. It’s not the fastest laptop around, but it is the performance upgrade we wanted out of the similar, AMD-based Asus Zenbook 14 OLED. This falls nicely between the two alternatives, an appealing and fast-enough package with an alluring price tag, making the Zenbook 14X OLED Q420 our new Editors’ Choice award-winning midrange ultraportable.

Design: Slick Portability for All Types

In terms of build and design, this version of the Zenbook 14X is no different from the Zenbook 14X we reviewed last year. The focus is on the configuration differences, so for all of my detailed takes on the design and build quality, you can read that review. As an overview, the configuration makes it less of a creative pro production machine and more of a general ultraportable. You also have the Zenbook 14 (non-X) mentioned above, which was even less expensive at $869, but lacked in power; this is a mix of the two on paper.

Since 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. See how we test.

Asus Zenbook 14X OLED (Q420)

(Credit: Joseph Maldonado)

In short, this is a super-slim and portable laptop, even though you can configure it quite highly for serious pros, as was the case with the previous model. It measures 0.67 by 12.7 by 8.9 inches and weighs 3.44 pounds, specifically, easy to throw in a bag or pull out while in transit. It looks high-end, even in this more modestly configured version since the design is shared, and it feels decent in hand, too.

Asus Zenbook 14X OLED (Q420)

(Credit: Joseph Maldonado)

The shared build extends to the keyboard and touchpad, too. This is again covered in the other review, but the typing is comfortable, with enough key travel, and the touchpad has a hidden now-signature Asus feature. If you press the icon in the top right corner of the pad, an LED number pad appears, to make up for the lack of a physical numpad on this compact system. Some people don’t need this, while others can’t live without it, so it hurts nothing to include it (and does feel neat to use).

Asus Zenbook 14X OLED (Q420)

(Credit: Joseph Maldonado)

Though the specs are different between this unit and the previous model, they do share a 14.5-inch OLED display. It’s one of the main attractions, bringing brilliant colors and vibrancy to a portable form factor. It features a 2,880-by-1,800-pixel resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate, and touch capability, a combination that fits the intended user and the size.

Finally, the ports are also the same, and since they’re make or break for some users, here’s the full rundown. On the left, you’ll find just one USB Type-A port, but the right flank is home to two Thunderbolt 4 connections, an HDMI port, and a headphone jack.

Asus Zenbook 14X OLED (Q420)

(Credit: Joseph Maldonado)

It’s reassuring to see at least one USB Type-A port when it’s needed, and the same goes for the dedicated video-out connection, which is often dropped in favor of only USB Type-C ports on super-thin laptops. Creative pros should appreciate the above-average options on such a portable laptop.

Asus Zenbook 14X OLED (Q420)

(Credit: Joseph Maldonado)

Configurations and Testing the Zenbook 14X OLED (Q420): 13th Gen Speed, No Dedicated Graphics

This is where the new model differentiates itself from the previous, and unlike most follow-up reviews, not in the way you think. We normally check out more powerful editions after the fact, but what’s on display here is a much deeper value play, bringing the same slick design at a much lower price.

The key to this is the components, which have been drastically scaled back to achieve this appealing $999 price. In our model, you get an Intel Core i7-13700H processor, 16GB of memory, and a 512GB SSD.

Asus Zenbook 14X OLED (Q420)

(Credit: Joseph Maldonado)

The processor comes up short compared with the Core i9-13900H we tested in the previous model, but it’s also no slouch, and even with the reduced price you’re not exactly skimping on the CPU here. It’s still 13th Gen Intel, and still an H-series processor, which denotes the higher-performing tier, rather than a weaker CPU used in other portability-first laptops. It’s a 14-core, 20-thread chip that should (as we’ll see on the tests in a moment) deliver punchy performance.

The main reason for the price drop-off is the lack of a discrete GPU, compared with the GeForce RTX 3050 in the prior model. Plenty of people (even those who need a fast CPU) simply do not need a discrete graphics chip, and it’s one of the most expensive parts to add to a laptop order. More-demanding pro users who work with graphics, video, and 3D visuals will make use of a GPU, so pairing it with a step-up Core i9 chip in the other unit makes sense. For most, this is a much more appealing configuration.

Cutting the storage in half doesn’t hurt the price, either; your use case will vary, depending on if you need more, but 512GB is fine for those who don’t create and store many media projects.

With that rundown covered, here are the systems we’ve compared with the new Zenbook 14X…

Naturally, the Core i9 model is included here, as well as the AMD-based Zenbook 14 alternative. The 2023 Acer Swift Go 14 includes the same CPU in a different laptop, a straight competitor, while the 2024 HP Spectre x360 14 (our new convertible Editors’ Choice award winner) features the brand new Intel Core Ultra 7 155H. This is one of Intel’s new “Meteor Lake” chips and was our first look at the platform in a review, so it’s noteworthy to see how they stack up. This laptop also features Intel Arc graphics instead of Iris Xe integrated graphics, while the AMD Zenbook runs on integrated Radeon graphics.

Productivity and Content Creation Tests

We run the same general productivity benchmarks across both mobile and desktop systems. Our first test is UL’s PCMark 10, which simulates a variety of real-world productivity and office workflows to measure overall system performance and also includes a storage subtest for the primary drive.

Our other three benchmarks focus on the CPU, using all available cores and threads, to rate a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 uses that company’s Cinema 4D engine to render a complex scene, while we use the open-source video transcoder HandBrake 1.4 to convert a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p resolution (lower times are better). We normally also show results from Geekbench 5.4 Pro from Primate Labs, which simulates popular apps ranging from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine learning, but the test repeatedly crashed on this system.

Finally, we run PugetBench for Photoshop by workstation maker Puget Systems, which uses the Creative Cloud version 22 of Adobe’s famous image editor to rate a PC’s performance for content creation and multimedia applications. It’s an automated extension that executes a variety of general and GPU-accelerated Photoshop tasks ranging from opening, rotating, resizing, and saving an image to applying masks, gradient fills, and filters.

This Zenbook was on the slower end of the results in this group, though it presented a well-performing baseline, so that doesn’t mean it is a slow laptop, generally speaking. The margins aren’t by much, and while other machines were quicker, it handily beat the AMD-based Zenbook 14 OLED.

It’s clear that superior options are available if your main priority is speed at this tier, but most are pricier, and none of them rises or falls out of the same class or target audience. The Zenbook 14X OLED is a fast laptop for general productivity, everyday use, and light-to-moderate office work. The main complaint about the AMD version of the Zenbook 14 was a lack of pep in its step, so a faster version without going beyond the $1,000 mark is welcome.

Graphics Tests

We test the graphics inside all laptops and desktops with two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL’s 3DMark: Night Raid (more modest, suitable for laptops with integrated graphics) and Time Spy (more demanding, suitable for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs).

We also run two tests from the cross-platform GPU benchmark GFXBench 5, which stresses both low-level routines like texturing and high-level, game-like image rendering. The 1440p Aztec Ruins and 1080p Car Chase tests, rendered offscreen to balance out different display resolutions, exercise graphics and compute shaders using the OpenGL programming interface and hardware tessellation respectively. The more frames per second (fps), the better.

You can’t expect too much on the graphics front from this laptop and its integrated GPU, though our integrated-graphics testing deeper dive shows they aren’t useless, either. It performed serviceably enough when called upon, but you can see how much it lagged behind the laptops with Intel Arc graphics and the discrete GPU. Unlike the processor, this is enough of a difference to be wary of. Go for an Nvidia-based model of this laptop or a different alternative if you need graphics power.

Battery and Display Tests

We test each laptop and tablet’s battery life by playing a locally stored 720p video file (the open-source Blender movie Tears of Steel) with display brightness at 50% and audio volume at 100%. We make sure the battery is fully charged before the test, with Wi-Fi and keyboard backlighting turned off.

To gauge display performance, we also use a Datacolor SpyderX Elite monitor calibration sensor and its Windows software to measure a laptop screen’s color saturation—what percentage of the sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 color gamuts or palettes the display can show—and its 50% and peak brightness in nits (candelas per square meter).

You’ll no doubt find systems with longer battery life—shout-out to the Spectre here!—but this laptop’s runtime is decent and supports the portable design. The color coverage in display testing was quite broad, while the screen was bright enough. OLED doesn’t get as bright as other panel types, but I can’t imagine finding this screen too dim in normal use from my time with it.

Verdict: A Winning Value for Mobile Users

While the core laptop hasn’t changed, the Q420 Zenbook 14X OLED model is a far more appealing configuration price-wise. The processor is still fast—beyond merely capable—even if it doesn’t quite stack up to the Core i9 version. The move to an integrated GPU is the main downgrade, but it does keep costs down, and the GPU version is available if you need it. Halved storage is not ideal, but plenty of you don’t need more than 512GB for normal office and personal files.

Asus Zenbook 14X OLED (Q420)

(Credit: Joseph Maldonado)

In short, the options are available for different users, and this Q420 model as tested is an appealing value. The portability and style come through at this lower price as much as they do in the more expensive version. Versus other systems, this one drives decent speed for less; we just wouldn’t recommend it to the same class of enthusiasts and creative pros as we would more powerful alternatives. For most shoppers, though, the Asus Zenbook 14X OLED (Q420) is the best total package for the price, earning our Editors’ Choice award.

Asus Zenbook 14X OLED (Q420)


  • Snappy 13th Gen Core i7 CPU

  • Attractive price

  • Super-slim, premium design

  • Vibrant 120Hz OLED touch screen

  • Long battery life

  • Decent port selection for its size

View More

The Bottom Line

The Asus Zenbook 14X OLED Q420 model is more of a general productivity ultraportable than a creator machine, but its sharp build, quick CPU, and brilliant OLED display are the best deal for $1,000.

Like What You’re Reading?

Sign up for Lab Report to get the latest reviews and top product advice delivered right to your inbox.

This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links. Subscribing to a newsletter indicates your consent to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe from the newsletters at any time.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart