Asus has been doing a lot of interesting things lately and this is yet another one of them. It’s the Vivobook 13 Slate OLED and it’s basically a tablet PC running full Windows 11 with the key highlight being that OLED display.
World’s first, as Asus claims. It's really interesting to say the least. But it has one major flaw and I think that alone prevents me from recommending it.
Before we get into the reason as to why I really cannot recommend this, there are actually quite a number of things that I do like about the Vivobook 13 Slate OLED.
In very simple terms, this is similar to the Surface Pro from Microsoft. It’s basically a tablet PC, so you can use it as a tablet by itself without any additional accessories but yet it is still providing you with the full Windows 11 experience.
Which on that note, I would say is actually pretty nice as Windows 11 does implement quite a number of new features which play very nicely with a touchscreen in mind.
But let’s first talk about what you actually get with the Vivobook 13 Slate OLED. This is one thing that I can greatly commend Asus for. Unlike the Surface Pro, all the additional accessories that you might need with this tablet/laptop comes bundled in a single package.
To be noted, things may vary depending on where you’re from and the region, but you should have the option to get all this stuff.
Now you won’t be getting this fancy acrylic case, so don’t go thinking that. But even so, in the standard retail packaging, you’ll of course get the unit itself with the accompanying 65W USB-C charger. But you’ll also get a sleeve, a stand, the Asus Pen 2.0 as well as a holder for it and the detachable keyboard with a trackpad.
All in all, you’re pretty much covered on every front on how you would use this.
But back to the Vivobook 13 Slate OLED itself. I’ve to say it has a pretty stylish design that gives it a little bit of character while still remaining really minimalist. I honestly quite like it and if you pair it with the cover and keyboard, the simple kind of cyberpunk-ish digital design adds even more character. The bezels aren’t too large either but neither is it too thin. I personally find it just about right to allow your fingers and thumb to hold onto it when you’re using it as a tablet without accidentally touching the screen.
This is also where you’ll find the 5MP webcam, which is decent enough. It’s nothing amazing but it’s not too bad either. Though on the back, you’ll find a 13MP camera as well, which you can also use to take photos and the such, but I wouldn’t do that though.
Now despite being quite the thin device, you still get a decent amount of ports. Two USB3.2 Gen2 Type-C ports, a microSD card reader and a 3.5mm combo jack. As it can be used as a tablet, you do also get a side-mounted power button which also acts as a fingerprint reader, and a volume rocker as well.
However, the most amazing thing about the Vivobook 13 Slate OLED is in the name itself. That OLED display. This display is just simply amazing, downright gorgeous.
It’s a 13.3-inch OLED touchscreen display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 at 60Hz. It’s 10-bit, covers 100% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut, 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, a peak brightness of 550 nits with support for HDR True Black 500 and it is also Pantone Validated.
In short, this display is fantastic for just about anything, but where it truly shines is definitely when you’re consuming content. Watching your favourite series or movie on Netflix, it really shines. The colours just pop and everything is just so much more visually appealing. Dark scenes especially, stand out even more than usual thanks to the basically infinite contrast ratio. Heck, even your everyday YouTube videos look better.
OLED is truly something different and from TVs to your smartphones, and now to your laptops and tablets, it’s just great.
On that note, you can even squeeze out just a tad more battery life if you just have a black wallpaper since with OLED, the pixels just turn off. Though even if not, you can easily get over seven hours of battery life with general daily use.
But now, that’s where all the good things come to an end. We now have to talk about the one reason why I can’t bring myself to recommend this and it’s got everything to do with the specifications.
We have the maxed-out model here, and it sports an Intel Pentium Silver N6000, 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM running in dual channel and a 256GB NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD.
Firstly, the RAM maxes out at 8GB. And yes, while it’s dual-channel, which is great, it’s still just eight. There’s no option for 16GB here. Storage-wise, while 256GB is the maximum, you can expand via the use of the USB-C with an external SSD and the such, so that’s still not too bad.
The main issue is the Pentium Silver N6000. It’s just not good enough.
Featuring just four cores and four threads with a base clock of 1.1GHz, it’s just not good enough. Even more so when it really doesn’t reach its advertised boost clock of 3.3GHz at all, even on a single core.
In Cinebench R23, scores are pretty much an all-time low and it really shows. Even just using it for day to day standard tasks, you really feel that the processor is just, for lack of a better word, slow. And that’s the experience plugged in. If you were to run it off the grid, which you would be doing more often than not, given most of its use cases, the performance is even worse.
Simple websites take far too long to load. YouTube, for instance, would sometimes take up to 15 seconds just to load the main homepage. Multitasking with different programs would chug it further.
The new Asus Pen 2.0 is honestly pretty great, featuring 4096 pressure levels along with a 266Hz sampling rate and USB-C charging with multiple tips. While not to the level of the Apple Pencil or a Wacom just yet, it’s darn close. But yet, it’s only ever good for taking notes. Once you start adding layers, colours, edits and more in either Photoshop or Lightroom, the processor just can’t keep up.
Don’t even bother about playing games on it either, despite the awesome OLED display. You are getting single digit frames right on the home menu in CS:GO and we don’t even need to talk about Genshin. Both are downright unplayable.
And that’s my main gripe about it. Everything about the Vivobook 13 Slate OLED is what I would want in such a device. Everything, except that processor.
The processor basically ruins the entire experience. Asus should have at least put in an Intel Core i3 in my opinion, with a TDP of 15W or so. You might take a slight hit in battery life, but performance is going to be so much better, especially off the grid.
Thus, I can’t recommend it. I just can’t.
It was honestly frustrating to use it as a daily driver even for just really generic things. Now when I was simply watching a video, it was amazing for sure. But anything apart from that, and you can really start to feel the blocks falling apart despite everything else that’s amazing about it.
So here’s my honest opinion. I honestly really like this and I can see where Asus is going with this. It even starts at a great price of just under US$599 and I understand that the choice of CPU allowed that price in the first place. In addition, all the accessories are included within that sticker price, which is commendable.
But at its current state, it really just breaks my heart. Therefore, I simply have two suggestions that I would like to see implemented in the next generation if there is going to be one.
Firstly, a more powerful CPU. At least a Core i3 or a Core i5 even, for reasons I’ve mentioned several times by now.
And for the second, perhaps Asus can add a display input so that you can use it as an external monitor should you want to do so, because honestly, that’s the best thing about it. That OLED display. When the time comes that the specifications are not that great any longer, being able to just use it as a portable external monitor will be nice and would make this doubly useful.
That’s about it. Hopefully, Asus is watching and can make that happen.