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The new Asus Zenbook S 16 is one of the best big, slim laptops I’ve seen

The Asus Zenbook S 16 open, pictured on a display stand at Asus HQ in Tapei

It’s big, it's slim, and it’s beautifully made: the Asus Zenbook S 16 is an absolute zinger

Asus Zenbooks have been making regular appearances on our best laptop pages over the past couple of years because they typically deliver great design, solid ergonomics and fantastic screen quality while keeping the price down to sensible levels.

The slimline Asus Zenbook S 16 – the company’s flagship ultraportable launched at Computex 2024 – certainly looks to encapsulate these elements, although I’ll have to withhold judgement on value until I have confirmed UK pricing.

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Asus Zenbook S 16 hands-on: Specifications

  • 16in 3K 120Hz 16:10 OLED touch display
  • AMD Ryzen AI 9 370HX CPU
  • Up to 32GB RAM
  • Up to 2TB SSD storage
  • 11mm thin
  • 1.5kg weight
  • Price: From $1,399
  • Availability: From 3 June 2024 at

Asus Zenbook S 16 hands-on: Design and first impressions

Like many of the company’s new laptops at Computex this year, the Zenbook S 16 comes with one of AMD’s latest Ryzen Ryzen AI 9 370HX CPUs inside, complete with its 50 TOPS NPU, and is kept cool with a new “3D vapor-chamber cooling system”, capable of near-silent cooling at less than 25dB. That’s an impressive feat, but we’ll only be able to confirm this when we get our hands on one for proper testing.

The new AMD processor is backed up by 32GB of RAM, 2TB of SSD storage, and topped with an expansive 16in, 120Hz 3K OLED screen.

All impressive stuff, but the Zenbook S 16’s most striking aspect is its physical appearance. Despite its size, this is a very light laptop. It weighs a mere 1.5kg and its all-metal chassis is super slim at a mere 11mm when closed. To put this in perspective, it beats the Apple MacBook Air 15 on both metrics, which is a fraction heavier than the Zenbook at 1.51kg and measures a thicker 15.6mm when closed.

Not only that but this is a fabulous-looking laptop as well. Topped with what Asus is calling Ceraluminum – a finish that has the smooth feel of ceramic, but the “strength” of aluminium – it feels textured under the finger and ever so slightly rough. It’s available in white or grey colourways and, in my opinion, the latter makes for the more sophisticated look, although both look great.

The Asus Zenbook S 16 pictured from the rear

One visual highlight is the ventilation grille above the keyboard, which features inset perforations within larger CNC-machined circular cutouts. Asus says this increases airflow while ensuring less dust and debris enters the cooling system. All I know is that it adds an extra element of luxury to proceedings.

I’m all for lightweight large-screened laptops like this, but the very lightest are usually compromised in some way. The LG Gram 17, for instance, is an incredibly lightweight 17in laptop, but it sacrifices build solidity and has a mediocre keyboard, not to mention poor thermal management.

The Asus Zenbook S 16 isn’t as feather-light as the Gram, but having given the keyboard and enormous touchpad a quick workout, and the screen and chassis a firm twist, I can confirm this is a far more rigid and robust feeling machine.

The Asus Zenbook S 16 pictured from the right edge, open

That touchpad, in particular, has an amazing feel – a soft, deep thunk of a click, that I don’t remember ever experiencing on any touchpad – and it’s also one of the biggest I’ve seen on a laptop. The keyboard, too, although less memorable, feels comfortable and well-engineered in all the right places. The keyboard backlight didn’t look too even on the version I saw on the stand, though.

A close up of the Asus Zenbook S 16’s keyboard

Despite all this glitz and glamour, the Asus Zenbook S 16 doesn’t lack practicalities. Around the edges are a pair of USB 4 ports, one USB-A 3.2 socket for legacy connections, an HDMI output and a 3.5mm audio jack. There’s also a full-sized SD card slot for transferring photos and videos from your cameras without having to hook up a dongle.

There’s a Windows Hello-supporting IR camera in place here, for quick biometric logins, and it’s all rounded off with a six-speaker Dolby Atmos audio system and a capacious 78Wh battery.

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Asus Zenbooks S 16 hands-on review: Early verdict

AI might be the mot du jour at Computex 2024 (and every other launch event), but when it comes to producing a high-quality laptop, it’s the engineering that matters and, in this respect, the Asus Zenbook S 16 looks to have it nailed.

We’ll have to see how the new AMD chips stack up when it comes to performance and battery life, but physically at least, this laptop hits the sweet spot.

It has a large, practical display; it’s light and slim, yet stiff and robust feeling; and it looks the absolute business. I can’t wait to get one in for testing.

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