This Windows laptops will get surprisingly near dethroning the MacBook Air

The M3 MacBook Air in front of a window.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

The Apple MacBook Air M3 has dominated the 13-inch laptop computer marketplace for some time now. Unless you completely want Windows, there’s been little cause to decide on every other laptop computer because of the MacBook’s construct high quality, efficiency, and class-leading battery life.

Asus has lengthy supplied some stable opponents, although. In specific, the Zenbook S 13 OLED brings a spectacular OLED show to the struggle. It’s an excellent laptop computer as properly, however does it have sufficient to dethrone the MacBook Air?

Specs and configurations

  Asus Zenbook S 13 Apple MacBook Air M3
Dimensions 11.66 inches x 8.52 inches x 0.43-0.46 inches 11.97 inches x 8.46 inches x 0.44 inches
Weight 2.2 kilos 2.70 kilos
Processor Intel Core Ultra 7 155U Apple M3 (10-core)
Graphics Intel Arc Apple M3 (8-core)
Apple M3 (10-core)
Display 13.3-inch 16:10 2.8K (2880 x 1800) OLED, 60Hz 13.6-inch 2560 x 1664 IPS, 60Hz
Storage 512GB
Touch No No
Ports 1 x USB-A 3.2
2 x USB-C 3.2 with Thunderbolt 4
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x MagSafe 3
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3
Webcam 1080p with infrared digicam for Windows 11 Hello facial recognition 1080p
Operating system Windows 11 macOS Sonoma
Battery 63 watt-hour 52.6 watt-hour
Price $1,400+ $1,099+
Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

The Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED begins at $1,200 for an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 13.3-inch 2.8K OLED show. While the laptop computer may also be bought with 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD in some areas, pricing is at present unavailable within the US.

The MacBook Air M3 is available in a variety of configurations, with the bottom mannequin priced at $1,099 for an 8-core CPU/8-core GPU M3 chipset, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 13.6-inch IPS show. Various upgrades can be found, comparable to an 8-core CPU/10-core GPU M3 for an additional $100. It’s $200 extra for 16GB of RAM and a further $800 for the utmost 2GB SSD. The totally loaded mannequin with the quicker M3, 24GB of RAM, and a 2TB SSD is $2,299. That makes the MacBook Air inexpensive on the entry-level, however much more costly on the excessive finish.


Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED 2024 front view showing display and keyboard.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

These are two very skinny laptops, with the ZenBook S 13 coming in at 0.46 inches at its thickest level and the MacBook Air M3 at 0.44 inches. The Zenbook is significantly lighter at 2.2 kilos versus 2.7 factors. The MacBook’s bezels are a bit thinner throughout, making it simply barely wider, however not as deep, even with its bigger show.

The Zenbook S 13 has extra angles and a keyboard that props up at an angle, which supplies it a barely sleeker aesthetic than the blockier and fewer angular MacBook Air. Somehow, although, Apple’s meticulous design comes by and offers the MacBook Air a barely extra elegant look. Apple additionally provides extra colours, together with Midnight Black, Starlight, Space Gray, and Silver. Nonetheless, each laptops have their charms and also you’ll have a great-looking machine regardless of which you select.

In phrases of construct high quality, they’re additionally on equal footing. In truth, the Zenbook S 13 is likely to be the extra inflexible laptop computer given some bendiness within the MacBook Air’s show. While the MacBook is machined from a piece of aluminum, the Zenbook makes use of a “plasma ceramic aluminum” materials that offers the lid a novel really feel. Overall, each laptops really feel very properly constructed and sturdy.

The Zenbook S 13 additionally has extra connectivity, with a mixture of fashionable and legacy ports. The MacBook Air’s one benefit is its MagSafe 3 energy adapter that retains each Thunderbolt 4 ports out there to be used even when charging. Both have the identical degree of wi-fi connectivity.

Both even have 1080p webcams, whereas the ZenBook S 13 provides in an infrared digicam for Windows 11 Hello facial recognition. The MacBook Air has Apple’s Touch ID sensor constructed into the facility button. The ZenBook S 13 can make the most of the Neural Processing Unit (NPU) constructed into the Intel Meteor Lake chipset that powers Microsoft’s Studio Effects software program, together with AI background blurring and different results. The MacBook Air will be capable to make the most of the AI options coming in macOS Sequoia later this yr.


Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED 2024 side view showing keyboard angle.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The Zenbook S 13 OLED makes use of the 15-watt Intel Core Ultra 7 155U with 12 cores (two Performance, eight Efficient, and two Low Power Efficient) and 14 threads. It’s a chipset geared toward higher effectivity for productiveness customers. The MacBook Air has two chipsets, an 8-core CPU/8-core GPU model and one with 10 GPU cores. It’s additionally aimed primarily at productiveness customers, nevertheless it has a fairly quick GPU and CPU optimizations that assist velocity up numerous creativity duties like encoding and decoding video.

Overall, the MacBook Air M3 is quicker than the Zenbook S 13 OLED, and it will make for a greater entry-level photo- and video-editing laptop computer. Neither of those machines are excellent for players.

Cinebench 2024
(Single/ Multi)
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(Core Ultra 7 155U)
Bal: 131
Perf: 119
Bal: 103 / 409
Perf: 105 / 508
Apple MacBook Air
(M3 8/10)
Bal: 109
Perf: N/A
Bal: 141 / 601
Perf: N/A

Display and audio

Baldur's Gate 3 being played on the M3 MacBook Air.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

The Zenbook S 13 OLED’s greatest function is true there in its title — its glorious OLED show. It’s sharper at 2880 x 1800 in a 13.3-inch 16:10 show dimension in comparison with the MacBook Air’s 13.6-inch, 16:10 2560 x 1664 panel. And in fact, when wanting on the two facet by facet, the OLED show’s sensible colours and inky blacks stand out.

When examined with a colorimeter, the distinction is important. First, the Zenbook S 13 OLED’s show has wider colours at 100% of sRGB, 97% of AdobeRGB, and 100% of DCI-P3 in comparison with the MacBook Air’s show at 100%, 87%, and 99%, respectively. The Zenbook’s shade accuracy can also be higher at a DeltaE of 1.12 versus 1.24 for the MacBook Air. And the Zenbook’s distinction is almost infinite, measuring at 27,180:1 in comparison with 1,480:1. The solely metric the place the MacBook Air’s show is healthier is brightness, at 495 nits versus 391 nits.

The MacBook Air M3 has an excellent IPS show. But the Zenbook S 13 OLED’s panel is lots higher.

The MacBook Air additionally has a a lot better 4-speaker audio system that delivers extra quantity and clearer sound than the Zenbook’s 2-speaker setup.


A side of the MacBook Air showing the ports.
Digital Trends

Both laptops are very transportable, with the Zenbook S 13 OLED profitable primarily based on its half-pound decrease weight.

More spectacular is the MacBook Air M3’s phenomenal effectivity. It lasted 19 hours in each our web-browsing and video-looping battery assessments, whereas the Zenbook went for 8.75 hours and 12.5 hours, respectively. The MacBook Air additionally lasts longer when working extra demanding assessments.

Ultimately, if battery life issues, then the MacBook Air is your most suitable option for a small laptop computer.

The Zenbook S 13 OLED places up a great struggle

The Zenbook S 13 OLED is among the many greatest 13-inch Windows laptop computer you should purchase proper now. It’s very properly constructed, quick sufficient for demanding productiveness customers, has a lovely and stable construct, and its battery life is respectable. It’s even one of many only a few Windows laptops that’s transportable sufficient to compete with the MacBook Air. You can’t ignore that sensible OLED display both. If you need a MacBook Air competitor on the Windows facet, the Zenbook S 13 is among the absolute best.

But evaluating it straight with the MacBook Air M3, it should be mentioned that the latter is quicker and will get considerably higher battery life. It’s laborious to beat the effectivity of Apple’s Silicon chipsets, and contemplating the 2 are very shut in worth, the MacBook Air M3 will get the general win.



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