Asus’ taken MacBook’s touch bar and stretched it out into a fun multi window productivity tab.
If you’re in the market for a high-end laptop that doubles down on the screen real estate, Asus’ Computex 2019 presence is hard to turn away from. Almost all of the laptops launched at Computex 2019 by Asus have an extra screen by either extending a fine display down to the keyboard area or serving an Android-like experience infused into the touchpad (Asus VivoBook).
The showstopper from Asus’ collection is this dual screen baby right here. The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is creating a demand through a product that will raise eyebrows - first with doubt and then with astonishment. We experienced all the moods of this Zen, here’s what we think.
Asus ZenBook Pro Duo: Double trouble
Let’s get straight to the point, the 4K 15.6in OLED touch screen is pushed right towards the edges, putting bezels on a keto diet. With an 89% screen-to-body ratio it’s easy to be charmed by the display but the real masterstroke is its 100% DCI-P3 colour space with HDR for deeper blacks and vivid contrast.
This OLED bleeds into the 14in 4K LCD that sits atop of the keyboard. If you’ve noticed, the design language is a lot like the ROG Zephyrus laptops but instead of air sucking vents, there’s a matte-finished touch screen which pushes the keyboard down.
The ScreenPad Plus (that’s what it’s called) adds a new layer of multitasking. Microsoft Windows recognises it as a secondary screen so either you can have the contents of the main screen waterfall onto this 14in display or treat it like a seperate screen to horde your tabs.
The use case is unbelievably simple and quite helpful. Unlike the MacBook’s absurdly limited (compared to this) touch bar, the ScreenPad Plus can dock tools such as video previews, timeline controls, coding windows or audio mixer panels to optimize workflow. For gamers, you can have a live chat displayed down on one side and a camera preview of your face on the other while gaming on the main screen. You can even use a stylus on it. ScreenXpert software lets you switch and manage tabs seamlessly between the two displays but there’s no software restriction from Asus so the possibilities are endless.
Asus ZenBook Pro Duo: Body and keyboard
Asus’ ErgoLift hinge serves two very important functions, firstly it lifts the lower chassis to allow better airflow underneath the laptop and secondly, it raises the second display at an angle which is easier to reach. Both these things make the design of the ZenBook Pro Duo that much more functional.
Asus definitely thinks you’ll carry a mouse because the touchpad, like the ROG Zephyrus, is pushed on the side. It doubles down as a number pad but we prefer not using it. The keyboard is nice and has decent actuation meanwhile you get a palm rest to go with it. Weirdly, the palm rest does not magnetically attach to the laptop so every time you lift the lid, the ErgoHinge raises and pulls the keyboard ahead, leaving a space between the keyboard and the palm rest. Not functional here.
Asus ZenBook Pro Duo: Performance and battery
You get an i7 or an i9 variant with an Nvidia RTX 2060 so the performance of this lappy is well cut for serious workaholics and creators. And for the folks who bargain for zero compromises, it comes with up to 32GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage.
That’s a power package for anyone looking to get work done and not just play games on MS Excel but it’s also a sign of significant battery drain. We’ll know for sure how long the battery would last on this thing in the full review but our advice would be to keep your hopes low. There are two damn screens on this thing!
Special mention - the connectivity features are amazing. You won’t need chunky adapters to hinder your workflow and there’s WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 and Alexa voice integration too.
Asus ZenBook Pro Duo: Initial Verdict
There are a lot of design elements from the ROG Zephyrus but Asus has kicked the RGB out and added an extra screen to boost productivity. Does it actually work? Well, we’re looking forward to it and walked out thoroughly impressed from the Computex 2019.
Aside from the trackpad and wrist rest, the only alarming point in the ZenBook Pro Duo’s package is the battery life. So far for productivity and serious multitaskers, the Pro Duo is shaping up to shame Apple’s touch bar and pocket as many creators as possible when it launches in India. As for the Indian pricing and availability, it’s still under wraps.