“Our initial impressions of ASUS’ dual-screen laptops — the ZenBook Duo and the ZenBook Pro Duo”
If there’s one company which has consistently delivered breathtaking laptops over the last few years, it’s undoubtedly ASUS. The Taiwanese manufacturer has more laptop models under its belt than one can count with two hands, and each year, the company brings oodles of innovation into its latest offerings. Case in point, the latest ZenBook Pro Duo which takes Apple’s touch bar to a different level altogether and ships with a 15.6-inch, 4K secondary display which, for the lack of a better word, is just bizarre. I managed to get a closer look at the product during the company’s pre-Computex briefing and here’s why I believe when ASUS calls the ZenBook Pro Duo “the laptop of tomorrow“.
Before we begin, watch our hands-on video of the all-new ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo.
Let’s just address the elephant in the room, shall we? The ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo, is a two-display laptop with the primary screen measuring in at 15.6-inches and offering a crisp 4K resolution. The main display is backed by OLED technology which means you will be able to enjoy deep, dark blacks on the panel. The secondary screen, on the other hand, too measures 15.6-inches diagonally, however it’s half the length of the screen up top. Moreover, the display isn’t OLED, and the company has instead used an IPS LCD display for the assisting screen. Having said that, the secondary display is 4K too, and it features a matte coating on top, which helps keeps the glares and unnecessary reflections to the minimum.
Now, I know you must be twitching in your seats and wondering why the company opted to furnish the laptop with two screens. Well, when prompted, folks at ASUS gave some pretty convincing answers and outlined multiple scenarios where a user would benefit from a two-display laptop. For instance, say you’re booking flight tickets to go on a vacation. Now, instead of jumping in and out of the calendar app and your browser, you can instead open it on the secondary display and browse through the booking website without any hassle. Moreover, if you’re an online game streamer, then you can use the primary display to run your game, and open discord and view comments from your subscribers on the display below.
And boy can you run games on the ZenBook Pro Duo. You see, as sleek as the laptop looks, ASUS allows the buyer to spec it with up to Intel’s 9th-gen Core-i9 9980K processor, 32GB of RAM and NVIDIA’s RTX 2060 graphics card. Suffice it to say, if configured properly, the ZenBook Pro Duo will be able to crunch through most, if not all AAA titles. Correspondingly, you should be able to task the machine with the multitudes of processing load too. During my brief stint with the rig, I didn’t run into any instances of lag or stutter. In fact, even the transitions of moving apps to and from the secondary display seemed quite polished. Rest assured, while I will have more to say about the laptop’s performance after I’ve used it for some time, I doubt my stance on its processing prowess will change.
While you’re here, I should tell you that the ZenBook Pro Duo has been constructed really, really well too. The laptop employs a unibody aluminium design and it exudes luxury – be it the concentric circle finish on the lid, or the machine’s chamfered and smooth edges, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any flaws in the laptop’s overall build and design. What’s more, ASUS has even furnished its flagship laptop with a healthy number of ports and with the device, you’ll get two USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports, one Thunderbolt Type-C port, a standard HDMI connector, an audio jack as well as a microSD card slot. Moreover, the laptop is compliant with the latest WiFi 6 standard, and it even comes with Bluetooth v5.0, which should ensure a seamless wireless connection to compatible accessories.
Going by the design shots, I’m sure you must be wondering how the typing experience on the ZenBook Pro Duo is. Well, since the secondary display shifts the keyboard downwards, you’ll get no palm rest which makes it extremely difficult to type on the device for long sessions. However, ASUS is including a palm rest extension with the retail unit of the machine, which more than makes up for the lack of the same.
Now, as is the case with most laptops, buyers can opt for a lower-spec version of the ZenBook Pro Duo too. Dubbed simply the ZenBook Duo, the laptop offers a smaller screen size, a lower-res secondary display, and less powerful innards. While the unit still ships with the latest Core i7 processor, the graphics department takes a massive hit as the 14-inch model is equipped with NVIDIA’s MX250 chip. I’d also like to point out that buyers opting for the unit will not get a bundled palm-rest accessory.
Lastly, the ZenBook Pro Duo ships with a 71Wh battery whereas the smaller ZenBook Duo features a 70Wh cell. ASUS is yet to inform us of the pricing of its latest products, so stay glued to 91mobiles for more details. And while you’re at it, do let us know in the comments below of what you make of the company’s dual-screen machines.
Disclosure: this writer is in Taiwan for attending Computex on ASUS India’s invitation