ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo | Review
For the last few weeks I’ve been road testing the Asus Zenbook Pro Duo. Now I have to point out that over the last year I’ve tested quite a few of the Asus machines, and I’ve found most of them to be great, but this is the first time I’ve really grown so attached to a demo device that I just didn’t want to give it back.
The Zenbook Pro Duo is the most beautiful laptop I’ve ever had the pleasure of using, with an insane i9 9th Gen Intel 8-core Processor and stacked with 32 GB of DDR ram it’s also easily the most powerful machine on the market.
The graphics are powered by a GeForce RTX 2060 gaming-grade graphics card that is pumping high quality images to the Dual 4K touch screens.. Yeah you heard right. Dual screens on a Laptop.
(pics from Asus)
You just can’t go past this technology. The main screen is suburb but the second screen is so much more than a gimmick and much more powerful than say the touch bar on the current Macs. This 4K ASUS ScreenPad™ is fully customisable and makes working in any program so much more efficient. The screen takes up half of the bottom section of the laptop which pushes the keyboard down to the edge of your machine. This keyboard layout was used on one of the recent Zephyrus models and I didn’t like it, but on this machine when it is there for a purpose, I just loved it.
When using apps you can grab then and move them from screen to screen but there are also options to lock them in at a quarter the size or half the size of the screens, another feature that I used was to make the app display on both screens essentially making it one long display, really great for scrolling on web pages.
The main screen is a glossy OLED 4K while the ScreenPad™ is an LED Matte 4k this does help with reflections in well lit rooms but I did find that I needed to turn the brightness right up all of the time. Once I did that, the real fun began.
I ran all my regular day to day work on the machine, so using the second screen to hold my Skype channel open and check emails while still being able to update websites on the top half was general practise. This was especially handy when a call would come in on Skype. The simple press of a button causes the two screens to swap over, letting me see the person I was talking to. Then mid conversation I could press the button again to bring up a screen I was sharing. So quick, so efficient.
The second screen is also super customisable, with audio and video editing the machine ran the Adobe suite better than anything I’ve used before. I messed around with the layout a lot and found setting up hot-keys and effects panels and even a timeline on the ScreenPad™ let me edit on the fly so much faster. Then when it came to export.. All I can say is WOW! Just so fast!
I loaded a few games on to test the “gaming-grade” graphics. When I read that for the first time I must admit I thought it was a disclaimer telling me that “You can play games on this but its not a gaming machine”. Well imagine my surprise when I was running Borderlands 3 on 4K Ultra settings and it was super smooth. I’d consider this a gaming machine as well.
Another use of the second screen is that you can watch a video or twitch stream while you are gaming. If you stream, it makes perfect sense to run all your chat and extra content like OBS on ScreenPad™ while you use your main screen to play.
The battery depletes pretty quickly especially when gaming or using both screens for intense programs but I think given this is a more all round work station you’ll be using it while plugged into power more often than not. Average time of battery life I found to be 3 to 4 hours.
Style is everything, and the “Celestial Blue” colour should be an option on all machines it looks modern and professional with the spun metal finish. The reflective edges give it an infinite screen appearance.
The subtle keyboard light adds without distracting and the option to change your trackpad to a numeric keypad at the touch of a button is seamless and impressive. It’s probably the one feature I found myself showing off to colleagues apart from second screen itself.
It also comes bundled with a smart stylus that can really take advantage of the touch screens. Writing on the ScreenPad™ felt really good and even though I can’t draw I found the responsiveness to be really good and using it with the Microsoft Whiteboard app was a brilliant feature.
The Asus Zenbook Pro Duo is like a mothership of all of the great features of other Asus products all rolled into one powerful all purpose laptop. While other companies are releasing dual screen technology I would argue that no-one is doing it as well as this. It could have quite easily have been a cheap gimmick and still sell units but the design is by far the most pleasing on the eye while making the practicality of the second screen not only actually worth having it but miss the functionality when you have to hand it back in.