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The best review: Asus ZenBook Pro Duo laptop Pure power

Asus ZenBook Pro Duo

Asus ZenBook Pro Duo: is it worth your purchase?

Pros

  • Performance and power
  • Internal specifications
  • Quality of the two screens

Cons

  • Heavy design
  • Battery duration

It depends on how you are going to use the laptop. If you are a professional of design or editing, or you tend to multitask, the second screen offered by the Asus ZenBook Duo will quickly become your ally. 

Now, you will have to pay a lot of money for it, without achieving the perfection that we would expect in such an expensive laptop. Surely future dual-screen laptops will find better formulas, but for now, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo becomes a spectacular first attempt. 

Retail price (RRP)

$ 2499 (i7, 16GB, 512GB) | $ 2999 (i9, 32GB, 1TB)

The best review: Asus ZenBook Pro Duo laptop Pure power

Asus usually tends to surprise us in a positive way with all its notebooks, and in this case it was no different: the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo aims to become, according to the company, “the future of notebooks” thanks to its two 4K displays. This has undoubtedly been a model that has caught our attention for its originality. 

We are facing surprising power and qualities: a 4K OLED main screen, an RTX 2060 GPU with up to 32 GB of RAM and a Core i9, we cannot deny that the specifications are of the highest quality. 

The secondary display built into the main body, just above the keyboard, tells us that the ZenBook Pro Duo is designed for intense creative tasks, as well as multitasking. 

Of course, this original second screen requires some sacrifices. The end result will either fascinate or disappoint you, with the ZenBook Pro Duo there is no such thing as half inks. 

Let’s talk about your two screens

That’s right, I’ll start by talking about the element that stands out the most in the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo: its dual screen. I cannot deny that it is the element that caught my attention and led me to be writing this review right now, will that attractive double screen be really useful?

Perhaps the origin of this idea is in the touch bar of the MacBook Pro or in the Asus ScreenPad that replaced the classic trackpad turning into a small touch screen. 

With the ZenBook Pro Duo, Asus takes the concept of the ScreenPad to the next level, turning it into a 4K display built into the body of the laptop right above the keyboard. 

Do you think it is nonsense? Maybe you are right. Again, it will depend on how you are going to use the laptop. In my case, I must admit that sometimes I find myself missing that second screen when using another laptop. Although at first I thought the same as surely many (“is it really useful?”), I quickly got used to it.

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The lower screen runs along the middle of the laptop’s body, starting at the edge of the main screen and working down to the upper edge of the keyboard and trackpad, which in this case are slightly flattened towards the edge. 

In terms of specs, we’re looking at a 14-inch IPS LCD panel with a 3840 x 1100 aspect ratio – making it almost half the size of the main OLED panel, which is 15.6 inches and 3840 x 2160. 

Asus touts the secondary display as 4K, which isn’t technically true, but it’s accurate in the ways that count – it has the same pixel density as the top panel, so there aren’t any awkward resolution changes between the two panels, somewhat. that is appreciated. 

Let’s go back to a detail already mentioned: while the top panel is OLED, the secondary screen is just an LCD. This is a sacrifice that was surely necessary for the cost of OLED screens (you surely wouldn’t want the laptop to be even more expensive). 

If you look at the details, you may notice that the second screen is dimmer and less rich in detail, even with the brightness turned up to the maximum. Additionally, the lower screen has a matte finish that contrasts with the glossy finish of the upper screen. However, I quickly got used to the contrast of these two finishes, although the difference is always present. 

On the other hand, you have to bear in mind that the big screen will be the one you use most of the time, so it is this main panel that has the best specifications, especially if you are a design or any other creative profession. 

The large screen covers 100% of the color gamut in both sRGB and AdobeRGB, while the bottom panel drops to 97% and 78% respectively – enough to keep it looking good, but not enough to carry perform a full editing job, which it is not really designed for (nor is it necessary).

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From a software perspective , I am facing a very good performance. In almost all. I must admit that I found myself awkwardly trying to slide the screen-to-screen pointer along the bottom edge with no success (this would have been ideal). I quickly discovered that to switch from one screen to another I had to slide the mouse along the right edge of the upper screen. Thus, it appears on the lower screen. 

You can snap up to three different app windows in the bottom panel side by side, dragging them to suit whatever multitasking you’re doing, whether it’s keeping the file browser open while working on a project, checking Google Maps and a calendar while book hotels on the main screen, or just run Spotify, WhatsApp Web or YouTube while you get on with your work at the top (guilty). 

You’ll be able to quickly switch from one app to another on the fly, set app shortcuts to open some programs directly to the second screen, and save certain combinations of programs, allowing you to quickly access your favorite settings.

If you prefer to focus on one task at a time, it is also an option. You can let a program span both screens, which is ideal for programmers who need to work vertically (in this case they will have two vertical screens), or complex creative applications where you can move certain controls onto the screen. bottom, keeping the project timeline on the bottom screen while you edit the video.

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I almost forgot to mention that both screens are touch screens. You can use the bottom screen to move the top screen up, down and slide, almost like a trackpad, but without being able to see the pointer, which makes things a bit difficult. 

So is the dual screen really worth it? As I have repeated several times, if you are a creative professional or programmer, yes. If you are an average user, like me, you will not get much of this functionality (although it is true that it is great to be able to drag distractions to a secondary screen). 

On the other hand, if you are an average user accustomed to working with multiple monitors in the office and need a similar experience also at home, the Pro Duo can be attractive to you, as long as you can withstand the impact that the second screen has on the rest of the notebook design.

Design: robustness above all

That’s right, the incredible second screen was not going to be free. In addition to paying a lot for it, some sacrifices have been necessary, especially in design. And I get it: it’s not easy to fit a 14-inch screen into the body of a laptop. 

However, Asus has done a good job with minimal bezels around the screen. Plus, there’s not a lot of wasted space – mostly just a thin black bar that bears the ZenBook logo between the screen and keyboard.

But in another sense, that’s exactly the problem: without wasted space there is also no free space, making the entire design inevitably somewhat cramped. 

Yes there is a full-size keyboard, but the trackpad has had to be shifted to the right of it, squeezed in the corner, and doubling as a number pad thanks to the LED strips that you can activate to illustrate the number keys (quite a bit ingenious, really).

There is almost no unused space in the main body, which means there is nowhere to rest your hands while writing. But Asus is in everything, since that is why it also includes a detachable palm rest that makes it much more comfortable to write. 

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This means that you will have to take it with you anywhere to comfortably use the laptop. You will quickly realize that the Pro Duo is difficult to use in a confined space. It is not the most comfortable laptop to support on your legs or to transport it from one place to another. 

On the other hand, the keyboard is very comfortable to use, the feeling is very satisfactory. The keys are of a good size and a comfortable distance of 1.4 mm from each other. The trackpad is also great, I quickly got used to having it on one side instead of the bottom. 

Something that I also have to mention, although you may have already guessed: the Pro Duo is robust. This is due to its high-end specifications and its double screen, all adding 2.5 kg of weight, that is, we are facing an ultrabook that is not as ultrabook as it claims to be. 

Obviously, portability is surely not the requirement that creatives and professionals seek since they will need to work comfortably from their desks. However, keep in mind that there are other models of notebooks for creatives that offer similar performance and a thinner frame at the same time (for example, brands such as Apple or Dell). 

One advantage of the weight is that it leaves room for many ports, although the potential does feel a bit wasted. It has two full-size USB ports, a USB-C and an HDMI, along with a dedicated power port. 

Sadly, Asus hasn’t jumped on the USB-C charging bandwagon yet. Still, it’s weird that there’s not even a MicroSD card slot, let alone a full SD, while limiting it to a single USB-C slot and having no ethernet means you surely have to carry a dongle anyway.

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As is customary in current Asus laptops, the sound is provided by Harmon / Kardon, although I unexpectedly found it somewhat weak. The tone of the audio is strong, with a balanced sound profile, but the maximum volume is actually a bit lower than I would have expected.

The Asus ErgoLift’s hinge design makes a comeback, naturally propping the base of the body up at a slight angle – ideal for both cooling off and comfortable typing. 

It is available in a dark blue (“Celestial Blue”) finish with minimal detail, featuring the Asus logo and its slightly offset concentric circle finish on the aluminum body.

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Specifications: full-blown power

Let’s recap: it is somewhat robust and its second screen (mostly) works, but what about the laptop’s performance? Is it as good as its specifications promise?

The answer is clear: yes. The performance is flawless, suitable for multitasking and the most demanding tasks. It does not hang up and responds with a pleasure that is quick. 

In our case we have reviewed the model with higher specifications, that is, a Core i9-9980HK backed by 32GB of RAM, which is more than enough for any demanding job. 

Passing it through our benchmarking tests , the results were as follows: 

 

As you can see, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo excels by far. It is only slightly beaten by Dell’s Alienware Area 51M , which can be purchased for a price starting at € 2,628.74 with more basic specs. Obviously, this model does not have the dual display of the ZenBook, and the price of the Dell rises too high if you want to get the model that matches the specifications of the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo. 

Now, not everything is perfect in this sense. The very powerful Asus ZenBook Pro Duo fails in something very necessary in a laptop: its battery life. So much power is not easy to maintain, which leads to the laptop running out after three or four hours of continuous use and with fairly basic tasks (Chrome and Spotify). 

This reminds us again that this laptop seems to be more designed to be used at a desk or office. It’s a work laptop for creative professionals who won’t mind having the charger around at all times. 

Cooling power is surely another reason that drains the laptop battery right away. At the same time, we love that the laptop doesn’t get hot at any time, thanks to the vents on the side of the chassis that blow out the hot air almost continuously (they make absolutely no noise). 

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If you are reading this some or some gamer, surely you are thinking that with so much power and such good cooling, this could be an optimal laptop for video games. In this sense, they have the RTX 2060 in their favor and against them the lack of power to feed the 4K screen at a respectable frame rate (although if you lower the quality to 1080p this should be fixed). 

The downside is that it is difficult to get the most out of the second screen while playing. You can leave Twitch, YouTube, or other apps open on the bottom screen, but due to the way Windows handles full-screen games, you’ll end up minimizing the game window the moment you tap anything else. 

One final note: in addition to the usual wireless connectivity options, it also includes Wi-Fi 6 support. Not all routers will get the most out of the new technology, but under the right conditions it should help you achieve noticeably faster connection speeds.

Price and availability

No, as you may have imagined, the ZenBook Pro Duo can be anything but cheap. Currently we have only found available the model with 512 GB of storage memory and seven cores, although the model that we have had the opportunity to test has 1 TB of internal memory in addition to nine cores. 

Currently, you can buy the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo at one of the following stores: 

  • El Corte Inglés: i7 model, 32 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage for € 2,999. 
  • Fnac: i7 model, 32 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage for € 2,849.91. 
  • Amazon: i7 model, 32 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage for € 2,849.91.

If you are an average user, surely the prices that we have just shown you seem crazy. However, a professional will be able to better assess the top specifications offered by the ZenBook Pro Duo. It will be this second type of user who is willing to pay the price for the best specifications. 

In the Asus online store, the device is not available, although we do find the standard version of the Asus ZenBook (it is not the Pro version and its specifications are different, that is, it is another model). You can buy this for € 1,499 at Asus . 

This cheaper model has more or less the same design, although the screen is 14 inches and the RAM is 16 GB. It also reduces the high definition of the screen already a MX250 GPU.

Verdict

To understand it, you have to try it. The ZenBook Pro Duo may or may not be the future of notebooks, as Asus claims, but what it is is an ultra-powerful notebook with great specs. 

The dual screen, the main attraction of this laptop, will be useful if you are a creative professional, if you are a programmer or if you are used to multitasking. The same goes for the super powerful specs. 

There is no doubt that the laptop is designed for professional environments: it is very little portable and its battery does not last long, so you will not want to move it from the table in most cases. 

If you are really going to take advantage of the double screen and all its power, then it can become a very easy laptop to love. 

specs

  • Windows 10
  • 15.6-inch (3840 x 2160) 4K OLED touchscreen
  • 14-inch ScreenPad Plus touchscreen with 4K LCD (3840 x 1100)
  • 8th Generation Intel Core i7-9750H or Core i9-9980HK processor
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU
  • 16/32 GB of RAM
  • 512GB / 1TB SSD
  • 2x USB-A 3.1
  • 1x USB-C 3.1
  • 1x HDMI
  • 1x 3.5mm headphone
  • Wifi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Infrared webcam with Windows Hello
  • Full-size, backlit chiclet keyboard
  • Numpad built into the touchpad
  • Harman Kardon audio system
  • 359x246x24mm
  • 2.5 kg.

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