Asus ZenBook Duo & Pro Duo review: come with huge secondary display

ByDaniel Camilo 2019-05-29 2443

The TouchBar or the display in the touchpad were yesterday: Asus shows two notebooks with the ScreenPad Plus, a up to 14-inch second display with 4K resolution, which should make creative work much more pleasant.

Asus ZenBook Pro Duo (UX581) Display & ScreenPad Plus

More display is barely possible - Asus already uses a 15.6-inch OLED touchscreen with full 4K resolution, including support for HDR content and full coverage of the DCI-P3 color space. Even the second display can impress with a diagonal of 14 inches in 32: 9 format, the resolution is here 3,840 x 1,100 pixels.

The ScreenPad Plus covers the entire width of the laptop and not only allows the use as a separate, second display, it is also possible to extend the main display. To further extend the functionality, Asus offers the ZenBook Pro Duo with its ScreenXpert Control Software. This not only simplifies the management of many windows and apps via both displays, the program also provides shortcuts for, for example, the App Switcher.

When used as a second display, it is of course also possible to drag individual windows of professional programs on the second display, so you can represent as the timeline of a video project on the ScreenPad and navigate by touch. Some developers are currently working on optimizing their software specifically for the ScreenPad Plus - Asus has so far only named Corel as its partner. The ZenBook Pro Duo comes with an active stylus that allows you to accurately write or draw on the ScreenPad.

Performance & Equipment

Asus supplies the ZenBook Pro Duo with enough power for almost all creative tasks: An Intel Core i9-9980HK and a GeForce RTX 2060 with 6 GB GDDR6 should be able to handle almost any workflow. In addition, there are up to 32 GB DDR4 2.666 MHz RAM and a PCIe SSD with capacities between 256 GB and 1 TB.

With WiFi 6 (802.11 ax), Bluetooth 5.0, Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, HDMI, AUX and USB-A, the notebook brings a decent amount of connectivity. Asus adds a Harman Kardon certified loudspeaker system, a microphone array with support for Alexa and Cortana as well as a Windows Hello compatible webcam. At 2.5 kg, the laptop is now more likely to be the heavier 15-inchers, the battery life of the 71 Wh is likely to be rather modest in terms of features.

Prices & availability

The ZenBook Pro Duo will ship in the third quarter, prices start at 2,399 euros.

Asus ZenBook Duo (UX481) - ScreenPad Plus in a compact package

The ZenBook Duo comes as a slightly smaller, cheaper option for users who want to use the ScreenPad Plus, but do not need the performance and features of the ZenBook Duo. Asus saves on both displays and performance. The 14-inch main screen is not set to OLED, the resolution is also "only" in Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) - without touch functionality. The ScreenPad Plus is slightly smaller here at 12.6 inches, the resolution is as in the main display 1,920 pixels in width.

Performance is the result of an unspecified latest-generation Intel Core i7 along with an NVIDIA GeForce MX250. The memory is limited to a maximum of 16 GB 2.133 MHz LPDDR3, with the connections you have to do without Thunderbolt.

But you do not have to compromise on the rest of the equipment - WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, up to 1 TB PCIe SSD, speakers, microphones, webcams - all the same as the big brother. Even the battery with its 70 Wh is practically the same size, and thanks to the less power hungry components, it should also last a little longer.

It is a pity, however, that the power supply does not rely on USB-C, but on a DC-in connection - so it is not possible to charge the ZenBook Duo via a docking station, although the required 90 watts via USB-C would be quite feasible. With a thickness of 19 mm and a weight of 1.8 kg, the device is also slightly more compact than its more expensive brother.

Prices & availability

Like the ZenBook Pro Duo will start shipping in the third quarter of this year, information on the price is not yet known.

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