Designers take note, Asus's newest ZenBook is how you get our attention

The 3.5-inch LED display on the lid of an Asus Zenbook 14X Space Edition laptop
(Image credit: Asus)

The Asus Zenbook 14X Space Edition laptop has just launched, featuring a 3.5-inch LED display on the lid along with other space-themed elements, and some seriously powerful hardware to boot.

The laptop, which was previewed at CES 2022, is packing some impressive specs, including an Intel Core i9-12900H with integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, 32GB LPDDR5 RAM, a 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD, and a 14-inch, 2.8K (2880 x 1800p) OLED display with a refresh rate of 90Hz and a response time of 0.2ms.

But what really makes the Space Edition stand out is the 3.5-inch LED ZenVision display on the lid, which can be customized to display things like the time, customizable messages, animations, and more. There are also engraved designs in the aluminum chassis that gives the entire laptop a particularly starship kind of feel. 

And, as The Verge notes, the laptop is said to meet the US Space Systems Command Standard (SMC-S-016A), making it resistant "to extreme vibrations and high/low operating temperatures." This makes sense, since the Asus Zenbook 14X OLED Space Edition was apparently released to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first Asus laptop traveling into space. You can get one now for $1,999. 


Analysis: more experimentation with form, please!

Nearly every laptop out there is built around the same clamshell form factor we've been using for decades now, and there's no real reason to change that. It's hard to imagine a portable PC coming in some other strange design that we weren't expecting that isn't simply a novelty item.

Still, even as efficient and useful as it is, we've been looking at the same form factor for decades now, and so anything that can break up the monotony is a good thing. While the laser engravings are cool, the 3.5-inch ZenVision smart display on the lid is really the kind of thing we wish we saw more of in the laptop market.

Having a cool, eye-catching element like a customizable screen that can let some of your own personality seep into the design – especially one that is going to be facing out into the world for everyone to see – shows how sometimes playing around with a familiar form can make a standard laptop design feel out of this world. Needless to say, this is one laptop we can't wait to get our hands on.

John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 


Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.


You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.


Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).