Two Screens, One Laptop: the Asus Zenbook Duo is a Marvel to own

In Summary
  • On first impressions, it might look like one of those cool concepts that you cannot use daily, but the practicability and usability are surprisingly really good.
  • The Laptop raises itself a little when you open it, because of its unique hinge-design.
Asus Zenbook Duo
Image: /COURTESY

If you have come across a picture of the Asus Zenbook Duo, there is one reason you may want to buy it - It has two screens. We have seen wild dual-screen laptop concepts over the years, but we must give ASUS credit for bringing them to life. On first impressions, it might look like one of those cool concepts that you cannot use daily, but the practicability and usability are surprisingly really good.

So before we get into the review, Specifications:

  • 14″ 1080p Main display + a 12.6″ secondary ScreenPad+ touch display
  • Intel Core i5 or i7 10th Gen processor
  • NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics card
  • 8GB or 16GB RAM
  • 256GB, 512GB or 1TB SSD
  • 70W Battery

Review

 
 

The Zenbook Duo is built way better than anticipated. There is no flex in its base, and even the screen has minimal flex in it. It is not the thinnest or lightest laptop in the market at 2 centimetres, weighing 1.5 kg, but with its extra features, such as the secondary display (ScreenPad Plus), that’s understandable.

The Laptop raises itself a little when you open it, because of its unique hinge-design. This helps with the laptop's cooling system by offering more clearance from the surface below. On the left side, it has a full-size HDMI port along with a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A and Type-C ports. On the right side, we have another  USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A Port, along with a combined headphone and microphone jack. It also has a micro SD card reader.

The Zenbook Duo has a 1080p 14” IPS panel as the primary display, which you will notice has very thin bezels and 16:9 touch display. The colours are accurate and properly saturated which isn’t a surprise as it is colour calibrated by Pantone. The blacks are deep, the matte coating is very effective, the viewing angles are also good and the full HD looks sharp. 

The ZenBook Duo’s standout feature is its second screen. It’s what makes the ZenBook Duo special. The ScreenPad 2.0, as its called, is touch and pen-enabled. You can drag apps and app windows and treat it as an “external” display. It’s very convenient since one can multitask, like stream some Showmax Show as I found myself do, once in a while as I worked on other applications.

Overall, I was delighted by the ScreenPad since it provided the same responsiveness and accuracy as with the main display. The most notable compromises forced by the second display can be found just below it. The Keyboard felt too small and it was a challenge typing comfortably. The wrist rest for the laptop is not available, which in my opinion is a necessity, but sadly, ASUS has made it a purchase separate accessory.

However, we found the battery life on the Zenbook Duo to be quite satisfying. From our test and usage, the laptop lasted around 10 hours with no battery saving settings, and moderate usages such as music playback, YouTube, and a lot of typing. This is a high-end laptop and delivers when it comes to performance. It is powered by a 10th generation 1.8 GHz Intel Core i7 (10150U) processor that has been paired with 16GB of RAM and 1TB SSD. 

Final thoughts

 
 
 

The Asus ZenBook Duo is at its best when working in an environment with controlled lighting and an external mouse to maximize the visibility and ergonomics of the secondary display. If you travel and like to save space, then the ZenBook Duo makes a lot of sense. 

Pros

Excellent battery life

  • Innovative ScreenPad display
  • Stylus support
  • Good Performance

Cons

  • Small keyboard and touchpad
  • The significant learning curve to master ScreenPad Plus features

The ASUS ZenBook Duo is available in the country for Ksh 235,000. You can get it from any Text Book Centre outlets. The Service Center is at Laptop Clinic Kenya 1st floor Tulip towers, Mpaka Road, Nairobi, Kenya