Asus Vivobook S14X, an excellent 120Hz OLED display
OLED laptops are not only becoming more common, but the speed of the display itself is also increasing. Asus' new Vivobook S14X (S5402) is the first laptop with a 120Hz refresh rate OLED display. This is noteworthy, especially for Asus' budget to mid-range laptops.
Asus Vivobook S14X Laptop
I reviewed the high-end configuration of the Vivobook S14X, which includes the Core i7-12700H CPU and a 14.5-inch 2.8K (2,880x1,800) 120Hz OLED display, priced at $1,100. It's a peculiar machine, equipped with a fast 45-watt CPU but lacking a dedicated GPU, relying instead on the integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics. The display is indeed impressive, but my enthusiasm is dampened by the inconsistent performance and cooling of this Vivobook.
Clean lines and minimalistic aesthetics. This seems to describe so many laptops recently that I feel like I could copy and paste a review from one to another. The Vivobook S14X also fits that description with only a few exceptions. Its chassis is a solid color, without any chrome accents, and only a new, more refined Vivobook logo adorning the lid. The color options include Midnight Black, Sand Grey, and Solar Silver.
The keyboard color matches, and the overall appearance is nice, with the left side vent adding some aggression to the design. Otherwise, the angles are pedestrian, and overall, the aesthetics are quite conservative. Two additional touches on the keyboard stand out, namely the red Esc key and the white stripe at the bottom of the Enter key - although, honestly, they look odd and unnecessary. The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon is another design-simple 14-inch laptop, while the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7 stands out with its rounded and stylish look.
The Vivobook S14X is made entirely of aluminum, but the plastic display bezels don't feel as premium. The lid has some flex, and the keyboard panel has a bend, making the chassis feel less rigid. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 and Yoga 9i Gen 7, in comparison, are more robust laptops, but of course, they are also much more expensive than the Vivobook. It's not to say that Asus feels cheap. It's just not as sturdy as I would like to see in a laptop that costs over $1,000.
The 14.5-inch display size is unusual, making the Vivobook S14X slightly larger than other 14-inch laptops. Its bezels are narrow on the sides and top, but the chin is large, which adds to the overall size. For example, it is wider and taller than the IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon by about half an inch, and thicker at 0.70 inches compared to 0.59 inches, and heavier at 3.53 pounds compared to 2.4 pounds. However, the IdeaPad is an extremely thin and light 14-inch laptop, so let's compare it to the Yoga 9i Gen 7.
In this case, the Vivobook is again wider by about half an inch, taller, with the Yoga 9i Gen 7 being 0.60 inches thick and weighing 3.09 pounds. The Vivobook S14X is not the smallest, lightest, or thinnest laptop in its class, but even so, it doesn't feel overly large or heavy.
The Vivobook S14X features a variety of modern and traditional ports. On the left side, there is a USB-A 2.0 port. On the right side, there are two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, a full-size HDMI 2.0 port, a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The only noticeable omission is an SD card reader, which would have been welcomed.
Wireless connectivity includes the latest Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.
Asus Vivobook S14X Laptop
So far, every laptop we've reviewed with the 45-watt, 14-core (6 performance and 8 efficiency), 20-thread Intel Core i7-12700H CPU has come with a dedicated GPU. The Vivobook S14X is the first product we've seen that relies solely on the integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics. In contrast, all the other thin and light 14-inch Intel 12th generation laptops we've seen use the 28-watt, 12-core (4 performance and 8 efficiency), 16-thread Core i7-1260P. This makes the Vivobook an outlier in several aspects.
I can imagine Asus trying to do something different: providing a faster CPU for tasks that can leverage it while minimizing power consumption and heat by skipping a dedicated GPU. The problem is, despite the IceCool cooling technology with dual fans and heat pipes, the Core i7-12700H is limited in every benchmark test, reaching temperatures as high as 97 degrees Celsius (still below the chip's maximum of 100 degrees Celsius), and the CPU frequency frequently drops below 1GHz. As a result, the performance of the Vivobook S14X is inconsistent and, in some cases, quite poor for a CPU of its level.
For example, it is the slowest laptop in our comparison group when running Geekbench 5, only outpaced by the Asus ZenBook S13 OLED in single-core mode, which has an 8-core/16-thread AMD Ryzen 7 6800U. In fact, the Vivobook is even slower than the Core i7-1260P laptops listed below. I also have to note that Asus' thermal management utility is not very effective, with the performance mode