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This Windows laptop beats the MacBook Air in one important way

Apple’s latest MacBook lineup, running on the fast and efficient M2 processor family, has elevated itself above the Windows competition in many ways. The usual MacBook build quality and design remain superior, and with such an attractive balance between power and efficiency, the machines are hard to beat whether we’re talking about the mainstream MacBook Air M2 or the high-end MacBook Pro.

But Windows laptops still have a few tricks up their sleeve. And when we compare a laptop like the Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED 2023 to the Apple MacBook Air M2, one thing stands out.


  Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED (2023) Apple MacBook Air M2
Dimensions 11.66 x 8.51 x 0.43-0.46 inches 11.97 inches by 8.46 inches by 0.44 inches
Weight 2.2 pounds 2.7 pounds
Processor Intel Core i7-1355U Apple M2 eight-core CPU, eight-Core GPU
Apple Me eight-core CPU, 10-Core GPU
Graphics Intel Xe Graphics Apple M2
Display 13.3-inch 16:10 2.8K (2,880 x 1,880) OLED 13.6-inch 16:10 2560 x 1664 Liquid Retina IPS
Storage 1TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD 256GB PCIe SSD
Touch No No
Ports 2 x Thunderbolt 4 ports
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type A
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0
Webcam 1080p + IR camera for Windows 11 Hello 1080p
Operating system Windows 11 Pro macOS Monterey
Battery 63 watt-hour 52.6 watt-hours
Price $1,400 $1,200+
Rating 4 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

OLED for the win

Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED 2023 front view showing display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Zenbook S 13 OLED has a lot going for it compared to other Windows laptops at around the same price. But when compared to the MacBook Air M2, it’s the OLED display that separates it.

It’s not that the MacBook Air M2’s display is poor. It’s not, and in fact, it’s much better than MacBook Air displays of the past. It hits 90% of the AdobeRGB gamut, which is good enough for all but the most demanding creators, and it just misses the magical DeltaE of 1.0 or less. Its contrast is also good for an IPS display and is brighter than the Zenbook’s OLED panel.

But the Zenbook S 13 OLED’s display has even wider colors that are professional-grade, with the kind of accuracy demanded by professional creators. My colorimeter wouldn’t measure the panel’s contrast (something I’ve seen with some other OLED displays), but I guarantee it’s in the usual 25,000:1 range that provides inky blacks.

Undoubtedly, all kinds of users, whether productivity workers, creators, or heavy media consumers, will prefer the Zenbook’s display to the MacBook Air M2’s.

Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED 2023
Apple MacBook Air M2
380 nits 486 nits
AdobeRGB gamut 97% 90%
 sRGB gamut 100% 100%
(DeltaE, lower is better)
0.78 1.08
Contrast ratio WNM 1,310:1

But then there’s everything else

The screen of the MacBook Air M2.
M2 MacBook Air

The MacBook Air M2 is the faster laptop in all but our Handbrake test with the Zenbook S 13 OLED 2023 running in performance mode. And while we didn’t test the Zenbook in the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark that runs in a live version of Adobe’s Premiere Pro, the MacBook Air M2 is likely to be much faster here as well thanks to its creator-oriented GPU performance. Windows laptops with integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics just don’t do well in this benchmark.

Cinebench R23
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED 2023
(Intel Core i7-1355U)
Bal: 1,820 / 5,893
Perf: 1,836 / 6,908
Bal: 157
Perf: 135
Bal: 1,629 / 6,005
Perf: 1,827 / 6,962
Apple MacBook Air M2
Bal: 1,925 / 8,973
Perf: N/A
Bal: 151
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,600 / 7,938
Perf: / N/A

The Zenbook S 13 OLED 2023 achieved good battery life for a Windows laptop. But it can’t compare to the MacBook Air M2’s phenomenal results, which makes the MacBook’s performance even more impressive. If you need all-day battery life running a legit productivity workflow, then the MacBook Air M2 is much more likely to make it all the way through.

Web browsing Video
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED 2023
(Intel Core i7-1355U)
9 hours, 47 minutes 15 hours, 14 minutes
Apple MacBook Air M2
17 hours, 59 minutes 21 hours, 9 minutes

The MacBook Air M2 also has a much better keyboard than the ZenBook’s, which again is good for a Windows laptop but not as good as Apple’s. And the MacBook’s Force Touch touchpad runs circles around the Zenbook’s mechanical version. The MacBook Air M2’s chassis is even more solid than the Zenbook’s, although the latter’s lid is surprisingly more rigid than Apple’s.

There’s more, but OLED seals the deal

The Zenbook S 13 OLED 2023 also has better connectivity than the MacBook Air, with legacy support that the MacBook can’t match. And it’s equal in its webcam performance and security, while being almost as thin as the incredibly thin MacBook Air M2 and half a pound lighter. Finally, we can’t forget the price, where the Zenbook is $400 less for a similarly equipped configuration.

That’s a big deal. Is that $400 worth the bump in performance and battery life? For some, the answer will be yes. But for many, the Zenbook S 13 OLED is the kind of Windows laptop that offers a cheaper alternative without sacrificing the premium components and build quality.

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