Asus ZenBook Duo review: two displays and four cores

Microsoft continues to move steadily towards a future dual-screen device. But Asus started trying its dual-screen laptops in 2019, the Asus ZenBook Duo.

Whether replacing the touchpad with a second screen or creating a second 4K screen directly on the keyboard. Asus is at the forefront of the game. The dual-screen innovation you can buy today. .

The Asus ZenBook Duo is the latest attempt to bring this technology to the general public. It’s an affordable and portable version of the ZenBook Pro Duo. It uses a 14-inch screen with a resolution of 1080p and a quad-core processor.

Is the second screen a must-have feature? We’ll take a look.

* ScreenPad 2.0:

Obviously, the standout feature of the Asus ZenBook Duo is its second screen. It is a 12.6-inch IPS panel, which is the same width as the main screen and about a third of its height. This is what makes the Asus ZenBook Duo special.

ScreenPad 2.0, as it’s called, is touch and stylus compatible. You can drag applications and application windows – for example, the image-editing app’s control panel – onto the ScreenPad and manipulate it as you would any “external” screen.

It’s easy to use, allowing you to watch Netflix on the go or open a second browser instance for multitasking. You can keep a Firefox tab while opening the specifications of this laptop on ScreenPad 2.0. This makes checking facts and figures fast.


    Asus has a number of utilities and special features that make ScreenPad even more useful. You can activate a virtual numeric keypad to facilitate data entry. And you can make use of the launcher to access various applications on ScreenPad. You can also extend your primary screen on ScreenPad. Which provides (at an odd angle) access to more information in a productivity app.

* ScreenPad is more useful than MacBook Touch Bar:

Asus ZenBook Duo    

ScreenPad supports Asus Active Pen. This provides the same responsiveness and resolution as the main screen. It is a true godsend to be able to write on both screens. And switch between them seamlessly depending on your creative workflow.Overall, it’s an unusual feature, outside of the ZenBook Pro Duo. It is much more useful. For example, from the Touch Bar on Apple’s MacBook Pro. The extra screen size makes ScreenPad a really useful addition to the Asus ZenBook Duo. It will be of particular interest to anyone who can benefit from accessing additional controls or apps on the job.If you are a creative professional or someone who multitasking regularly, chances are you will find ScreenPad a real advantage.

* the design:

Laptop aesthetics are clearly Asus, for better or worse. It’s a design improvement on ZenBook that is recognizable and stands out at the same time. You will appreciate the usual centered swirls of the ZenBook on the cover, which are perhaps Asus’ most well-known design feature.

Here, the tourbillon is not centered but rather asymmetric, which is a noticeable change. There’s also a new sky blue color that adds a touch of elegance.

Overall, the Asus ZenBook Duo is an attractive laptop that can transcend that thin line between extravagance and conservatism

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Asus ZenBook Duo  

Connectivity is just right, with one USB-C 3.1, two USB-A 3.1 (one Gen 1 and One Gen 2) port, a full-size HDMI port, and a microSD card reader. Unfortunately . Asus skipped support for Thunderbolt 3 again. Just like it did with other recent ZenBooks.

Honestly, that’s unforgivable for the $ 1,500 laptop. Thunderbolt 3 delivers the best connection performance, including the ability to connect to an external GPU box. Which would be a boon to creative types that may be attracted to the Asus ZenBook Duo.

Asus ZenBook Duo

* Keyboard and Touchpad:

 

There are more prominent sacrifices imposed by the second screen below. While the keyboard features clear keys with a steady mechanism and a lot of travel. I found it too young for comfortable writing. The keys are small and the keyboard layout is narrow, which makes typing difficult.

It can’t be compared to the premium keyboards on the latest Apple MacBooks and HP Specter x360 13. There is also no wrist, which makes your palm hover behind it.

Asus has ErgoLift accessories on the back of the laptop. This contributes to the lack of a wrist rest and improves air circulation for better performance. On the other hand, it makes your laptop thicker when placed on your lap or on a desk.

  The touchpad is small. Albeit quick to respond. It is located to the right of the keyboard. It suffers from the same lack of a palm as the keyboard. It is almost impossible to use on a left-handed person. You will need to pack a mouse to use it with the Asus ZenBook Duo

Display quality:

ScreenPad 2.0 has its added benefit, as it remains the main 14 ”high-definition screen.

Unfortunately, Asus has equipped the ZenBook Duo with a modest display. The color gamut is not broad with only 70% AdobeRGB and 94% sRGB. Although color accuracy is reasonable, with an average DeltaE of 1.45 (below 1.0 is excellent).

The screen is only 251 nits, well below our favorite 300 nits per square meter, and contrast is as low as 730: 1.

Personally, this is a great showcase for productions and watching Netflix videos. But the creatives won’t like the narrow color gamut, especially when you can buy cool monitors on other laptops. Including an HP Specter x360 13 AMOLED panel that delivers stunning color (100% sRGB and 98% AdobeRGB), brightness (405 nits) and contrast.

The AMOLED display in ZenBook Pro Duo is absolutely gorgeous, which makes the Asus ZenBook Duo Home screen somewhat disappointing.

* the performance:

While the larger ZenBook Pro Duo packs eight H Series Core i9 cores for serious performance, the ZenBook Duo is halfway there.

It uses a quad-core Comet Lake Core i7-10510U processor which is good enough for productivity tasks … but won’t be particularly suited to demanding creative workflows.

Overall, ZenBook Duo is fast compared to other 14-inch laptops, but it won’t keep up with more powerful creative platforms.

In a real-world Handbrake test that converts a 420MB file to H. Asus ZenBook Duo took exactly three and a half minutes. That’s fine for a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor. However, ZenBook Pro Duo completed the same test in 1 minute 16 seconds.

While the Dell XPS 15 finished in 1 minute 42 seconds – it’s still much faster than the ZenBook Duo. Dell XPS 13 completed the test in three minutes and 13 seconds.

When it comes to graphics performance. The ZenBook Duo again lags well behind the larger ZenBook Pro Duo. The latter features the speed of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 2060, which makes it a powerful tool for creative GPU-enabled applications.

Asus ZenBook Duo is limited to Nvidia GeForce MX250. It’s faster than integrated Intel graphics (and as powerful as the newer Intel Iris Plus), but it won’t make much difference when it comes to video rendering.

You’ll also find ZenBook Duo a little picky when it comes to gaming. Fortnite will run at just over 30 frames per second (fps) at 1080p and Epic settings. And it pushes to 60 fps with details down. However, you will struggle to run more demanding titles with the same precision and graphical detail.

Portability and Battery Life:

Portability is also sacrificed on the altar of the ScreenPad – the Asus ZenBook Duo is fairly chunky at just 0.78 inches thick. It’s not that big in width and depth thanks to its relatively small screen bezels, but it’s a bit heavy at 3.3 pounds.

You’ll find other 14-inch laptops smaller than this, including the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon and Asus’ ZenBook 14.

Battery life is solid though. With ScreenPad turned on, the 70Wh battery capacity kept the ZenBook Duo running for what turned out to be surprisingly long since the batteries occupy two displays. Nine hours cleared in our web surfing test, which is fine, although it’s less than 11.5 hours from the Dell XPS 13.

ZenBook Duo wrapped our test video by about 12 hours, again with a good result, but less than the XPS 13 in 14.5 hours. And in the tough Basemark test, Asus managed nearly five hours compared to the XPS 13 in 10 minutes less.

Are there alternatives?

You’ll find plenty of 14-inch (and 13.3-inch) laptops that easily rival the ZenBook Duo. None of them will offer a second screen, but they will all be thinner and lighter. Some will offer better performance and longer life, and most will offer much better keyboards and touchpads.

One example of this is the Dell XPS 13. Which offers a 16:10 screen aspect ratio, making it great for productivity and making the screen nearly the length of ZenBook Duo. But not the same width.

The XPS 13 is much faster than the Asus ZenBook Duo, even in the kind of video editing process in which the performance of the ZenBook Duo itself is very fast. You can spend less on XPS 13 or more depending on configuration. But it is a good alternative for those who are not a fan of ScreenPad 2.0.

Asus also makes several 14-inch models that offer solid value. They lack ScreenPad 2.0, which rings in the hundreds for the price. It’s the obvious decision if you don’t find ScreenPad attractive.

How long will it last?

The Asus ZenBook Duo is well designed and promises years of productive performance thanks to its state-of-the-art components. However, you will miss Thunderbolt 3 and the ultimate benefit of ScreenPad 2.0 will depend on the support of the developer.

The one-year warranty is the industry standard, and it’s shorter than we’d like, but Asus offers a one-year accident protection should the ZenBook Duo be dropped or a cup of coffee spilled on the keyboard.

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