The year 2019 marked the launch of foldable smartphones. And while consumers were still coming to terms with this wonderful technology, they were taken by surprise by another piece of tech – dual-screen laptops. While the dual-screen technology isn’t entirely new, ASUS ZenBook Duo takes it to a whole new level.
The ZenBook Duo is a more practical take on dual screen-laptops. It offers users a primary full-HD AMOLED screen and a touch-sensitive secondary display that has the same length as the chassis, making it a true multitasking monster.
The moment you set your eyes on ASUS ZenBook Duo, you can’t help but be amazed by the engineering innovation that has gone into making the secondary display a reality – something that also gives the laptop its name. True, it’s not the first dual-screen laptop, but the brilliance of ASUS is in its aesthetic and technologically innovative execution, which is a whole lot different than any other rival manufacturers.
The ZenBook Duo UX481 is a true successor to the last year's ZenBook Pro 15 UX580 – it sports a larger secondary touchscreen to accompany the main display. Unlike the ZenBook Pro 15 UX580, the two screens in the Duo are placed close to each other. ASUS calls the secondary display ScreenPad Plus, which can be used as a standard second display to show visual content.
Consumers can also take advantage of many time-saving features and functions built into the ScreenXpert control software to simplify multiscreen window and app management. These include controls, such as App Switcher, ViewMax, and App Navigator, that enable intuitive interactions and easy cross-screen referencing between the main display and ScreenPad Plus.
Not unlike previous ZenBook laptops, the ZenBook Duo also has an aluminium body. It comes in the familiar Celestial Blue colour with smooth surfaces and spun-metal outer lid finish, but it’s thick and heavy.
The 14-inch full-HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 slim-bezel NanoEdge display offers plenty of colours and sharp details. ScreenPad Plus, however, lacks the sharpness of the main display – the same scene isn’t nearly as vibrant on ScreenPad Plus as the main display.
Unlike ScreenPad of the ZenBook Pro 15, which measures 4.8 x 2.6-inch, ScreenPad Plus of the ZenBook Duo runs along the chassis and measures 14.1 inches in length. Located at the top of the keyboard deck, ScreenPad Plus offers much more functionality than its predecessor. You can use it to open websites and apps that are less useful, such as Twitter, Facebook Messenger, Spotify, or Gmail, leaving the main 14-inch full-HD display for primary productivity tasks.
You can simply drag and drop websites and windows from the primary display to ScreenPad Plus. The company has also fined tuned its software, which offers a drag-and-drop hot spot when you want to move a window around to automatically send it to the lower display. There are also physical hardware buttons that allow for quick swapping of contents between the primary and the secondary displays or to disable the latter entirely.
ScreenPad Plus also acts as an app launcher and features MyAsus and Spotify apps, along with utilities like Number Key, Handwriting mode, and Quick Key. With Task Group, you can create custom app groups that would launch at the touch of a button. You can add up to five apps (two on the main screen and three on ScreenPad plus) in a group. ScreenPad Plus can be very helpful for tasks like video editing, gaming, programming, and 2D graphic designing.
While the primary display isn’t touch-sensitive, the secondary display is. And with the bundled stylus having 1,024 pressure levels, it does a fairly good job of imitating the writing experience on the secondary screen.
The ZenBook Duo offers a lot of raw power, thanks to the i7 chipset and up to 16GB of RAM, which are more than enough to run your day-to-day tasks – they are even enough for professional-level CAD rendering, video editing, or handling massive spreadsheets. However, more power demands more battery. During our test, the device delivered nearly three hours of battery life while browsing and streaming videos. And if you are a professional photo or video editor, you will most likely experience a shorter battery life than that.
And while the laptop has a raised-up design, the 1.5kg weight makes the ZenBook Duo uncomfortable to use on your lap.
The Duo features a chiclet-style keyboard with great tactile feedback, however, the lack of a palm rest makes typing quite uncomfortable. The company has added a detachable palm rest, but it is only useful while typing on a level surface.
Overall, the ZenBook Duo is a great laptop. The secondary display is surprisingly useful once you get used to it. The secondary display enables you to quickly access hot keys, launch several apps at once, and access Task Group feature, and you are still left with the entire primary display, allowing you to be more productive without any distractions.
Price Rs 89,990
Vibrant display, ScreenPad Plus
Battery life, lack of palm res