Space, that’s where the next battle lies. Billionaires want a part of the action. Musicians have always celebrated it because of the mystery that comes with space. Artists stare into space, trying to visualise. I can’t help but think of all this as I sit with the Zenbook 14X OLED Space edition, which is the company’s way of celebrating the ASUS P6300 laptop that spent 600 days in orbit on the MIR space station 25 years ago, without developing glitches.
The Space edition honours a legacy. Space also requires one to detach and undock from where we are but at the same time there needs to be enough power to see us through our journey. The special edition laptop is on the one hand about portable power to remain mobile during our travel and on the other, captures the look and feel of orbit, space station and what not. This is an ultrabook which has been designed keeping this mission in mind with the screen adapting to the environment we are in — the garden, the cafe, in the office, at home, an airplane or any place we can make our own.
To the stars
The special edition laptop is a variation of the Zenbook 14X OLED, which itself is a solid ultrabook. What you get is a crisp 14-inch 2.8K OLED screen whose saturation and contrast cannot be doubted while the screen refreshes at 90Hz for smooth scrolling. It’s stratospheric to say the least. There is no need to change the mode to vibrant to make the screen shine. And I won’t haul you over stones mentioning all the certifications that come with the display.
The design too is futuristic enough to make you play Elton John’s Rocket Man or David Bowie’s Space Oddity, which we did while pumping up the volume to test the speakers. It’s rare for a laptop to put fun before anything else. Don’t ask why while working on this machine. The titanium-colour finish, or to be more specific “zero-G titanium”, is reflective of rockets while the patterns on the lid as well as the palm rest have patterns of the MIR station. There is even a message in Morse code that translates to “Ad Astra Per Aspera”, roughly translating into “through hardships, to the stars”.
Taking the space motif further is the 3.5-inch OLED screen on the laptop’s lid. Don’t ask why it’s there because this is about going “space crazy”. There is no notification support or mini apps on the screen, which is there for pure flourish. You can either stick to space animation or use it to display time or even your name on it. A handful of stock animation comes preloaded to reinforce the space motif. There is even a way to put a custom QR code which people can scan with phones. The unboxing of the laptop is an equally, let’s say, cosmic experience. The charger box doubles as a stand for the laptop.
All this may make you wonder if the processor lives up to the flourish. It does, thanks to the 12th Gen Intel H-Series processor with Intel Xe graphics, up to 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM and up to 1TB PCIe NVMe Gen4 SSD. All these numbers and figures translate into excellent specs. For content creators there is the promise of long-term usage. Throw anything from Adobe — Photoshop to Premiere Pro — at it and there are zero complains. If you want a laptop for office use, there is enough for you. Let’s be more specific: Having 50 tabs open on Chrome, powering through Spotify, running Slack, Microsoft Office… all of it works without any hiccup. And the display is just perfect for watching films. The 16:10 aspect ratio (instead of the standard 16:9 display) makes movie watching fun and while working the need for scrolling reduces.
For someone who writes a lot, the keyboard is important. It’s a big, full-size keyboard with colours here and there. I like the “space” bar which is painted copper and the same goes for the power button (also works as a fingerprint scanner). Excellent key travel makes the typing experience memorable. The touchpad could have doubled as a supplementary screen, instead ASUS has gone with the number pad approach. You can turn the trackpad into an LED number pad but it’s something I didn’t need all the time. As for key backlighting, it’s adequate. There is nothing to report about fans or thermals, which put in solid performance.
For such an outstanding laptop perhaps the only gloomy corner is the webcam, which is stuck at 720p. Since you will cling on to this machine for a few years, I wonder how it will hold up in 2025. Working in favour of the company is how easily you can cut off the webcam for privacy.
And to the most important part — battery life. In case your average workday is six hours long and doesn’t involve heavy processing needs, like 4K video rendering, then it’s all good. Of course, workflow will differ from one person to another, so you may get more out of the machine.
The laptop celebrates space, the thousands of people who have worked round the clock to put humans into space. We are living in an era of Starlink and space tourism, which is just about taking off. Keeping all this mind, Zenbook 14X OLED Space edition is a stratospheric achievement.
Device: ASUS Zenbook 14X OLED (Space edition)
Price: Rs 169,990
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