Engineering feat as the latest ZenBook Duo unfolds. We looked at whether Display 2 has a raison d’être in real use.
Even the first ZenBook Duo was an exciting novelty, and it also turned out that doubling the displays was not a dead end, as Asus opened this year with brand new ZenBook Duo models. Of course, the new machines have improved in all respects compared to their predecessors, but that doesn’t just mean a processor replacement.
We’ve already grabbed the UX482’s 14-inch ZenBook Duo, which looks like a classic laptop from the outside, to play around with it a bit and show what the latest luxury machine can do. The compact PC, packed in a full aluminum housing, is rugged and really premium, as you can see from afar. Despite the two displays, the thickness isn’t bad and the weight isn’t that awful.
The main display is a 14-inch IPS FHD resolution panel that is touch sensitive. The color fidelity is super, the brightness is adequate and the stylus also handles what you get in the box. However, this is not OLED, and in 2021, OLED will have a really big bang on the notebook display front – unfortunately, this privilege has remained with the 15-inch model. The lower, secondary, 12.6 “display is also IPS-paneled, so you won’t have to worry about the viewing angle, just as the touch sensitivity is.
The resolution adjusts to the top panel, and the good news is that it has a matte finish so it doesn’t reflect. When you open the cover, this secondary ScreenPad + display on the new generation ZenBook Duo now rises and tilts a bit,
which looks incredibly cool
and it’s not that hard to imagine a scenario where it’s useful as well. You can access Asus’ own extra window management tricks in a floating menu on the bottom right. There are a couple of good features that make it easier to move the window with your finger, for example, and the fact that in many programs you can pack the control panels or a chat window here to keep in mind, but don’t take up the main display.
Due to the extra display, the keyboard was pushed to the bottom and the touchpad to the right, but this layout was quite pleasant – of course you have to get used to it, it won’t be natural from the first moment. The tactile features of the buttons, on the other hand, are super, you can type quickly and easily on the ZenBook Duo 14.
The latest of everything
In our model, the latest 11th generation Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor took over, and a Samsung 1 TB NVMe SSD and 32 GB RAM helped him enthusiastically. There is no dedicated GPU this time, but there is also a model for which you can request a GeForce MX450 chip – of course don’t expect serious gaming, it’s not ROG or TUF.
Since it’s the latest Intel platform and premium machine, by the way, the Type-C ports connect to a Thunderbolt 4 controller, but they didn’t lag behind the traditional USB port and HDMI either, in fact, even an mSD card reader could hold, which we’re honestly happy with.
Sacrificing traditional laptops?
Asus takes this dual-display laptop series so seriously that the question rightly arises: is traditional notebooks coming to an end? After a few days of use, we soon fell in love with the ZenBook Duo, a fast, rugged and comfortable little machine – although we searched for the touchpad many times to reach into the center of the keyboard to then realize the touchpad was pushed to the right. The small keyboard is not crushed, but the surface of the key caps could be a little bigger. The speed of the 11th generation Intel CPU can be expected to be super and slightly above average, who will choose such a machine (unfortunately we have not been able to run benchmarks yet, but these will happen soon).
The primary display received an absolute high-end IPS panel, and we had no problems with color or image quality. Sometimes we even used its touch function because it was more convenient that way. You can also find a task for the lower display, but you have to reckon with the fact that after the usual window management and machine control, this is something completely new that requires a lot of learning. Also – although both panels are IPS – the image of the displays is slightly different, which can be a problem for color-correct editing, for example.
Small, like an ultrabook, yet managed to cram two displays into the premium-grade ZenBook Duo, which is a big engineering feat. The machine is absolutely top-notch, you won’t have to worry about the configuration either, and this year’s innovation, the opening secondary display, is also a good idea. At the same time, in use, we have come to the conclusion that only those who see themselves as they also load the secondary display while picking up the rearranged keyboard with great confidence can choose it. If you don’t use day-to-day programs for which this type of secondary display is useful — for example, it’s not really suitable for reading lots and lots of text because of its small size — you’d rather stick with a traditional-layout notebook. And of that, there’s already a new and exciting model on the ZenBook line in which you’re faced with an OLED display and a Ryzen 5000 CPU chasing bits.
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