ASUS ZenBook Duo Review: Best Dual Screen Laptop Yet | Tweakers

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Dual-screen laptops are surprisingly practical, although the dual-screen devices released so far aren’t perfect yet. Does Acer’s ZenBook Duo improve on the negatives of its predecessors?

This is a shortened version of a review that appeared on Tweakers.

Acer was the first manufacturer to release a laptop with two screens in 2010, but that device was not a success. The manufacturer had replaced the keyboard with that second screen. This made the buttons virtual, which works a lot less well than a physical keyboard where you can feel the buttons.

Last year, Lenovo released its dual-screen Yoga Book 9. A physical keyboard was supplied to solve the problem with Acer’s laptop. You just had to take that keyboard separately. An external mouse was actually a mandatory extra, because the keyboard does not contain a touchpad. Moreover, the device was quite expensive with a price of 2400 euros.

However, this showed that two screens in a laptop can be quite useful. Your productivity will increase, because it is practical to have an extra screen when performing daily tasks. For example, you can have a meeting on one screen and take notes on the other.

ASUS is now launching a new version of its dual-screen ZenBook Duo, six months after Lenovo. Unlike the first model from 2019, the second screen is no longer half the size of the primary screen, but both OLED displays have a size of 14 inches. Has ASUS taken the time to iron out its competitor’s flaws?

ASUS ZenBook Duo

Well executed concept, but with a weak hinge

What is immediately noticeable is that the ZenBook Duo is quite thick when closed due to its second screen. At 1.7 kilograms, the device is not exactly light either. However, when you open it up, the ZenBook initially looks like a regular 14-inch laptop. There is a ‘normal’ keyboard available, including a touchpad. However, this is a magnetic keyboard that you can detach, after which a second OLED screen appears. Just like with the Lenovo, it is very pleasant to work with these two screens. The top screen is at eye level and it doesn’t take much effort to switch between the screens with your eyes.

ASUS has also built in a stand. If you unfold it, the laptop with its two screens can stand upright. Although the stand feels sturdy, this is less true for the hinge of the screen, on which the laptop leans in the ‘normal’ laptop mode. That is somewhat flimsy, causing the screen to wobble back and forth a bit while typing.

Typing itself feels great on the magnetic keyboard because the keys have a small dimple. When you remove the keyboard, it connects to the laptop via Bluetooth. When it is clicked into the laptop, the keyboard connects to the laptop via the pins, allowing it to be charged immediately. The laptop also comes with a bag, cover and stylus pen.

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Laptop slows down to extend battery life

The OLED screens of the Zenbook Duo have high resolutions of 2880 x 1800 pixels, which produces beautiful, sharp images. Based on our tests, the screens also have excellent clarity and can display many colors truthfully.

ASUS has put the fastest processor of Intel’s Meteor Lake series in the laptop: the Ultra 9 185H. The chip works smoothly and scores high in our test applications. So you can run demanding programs with it, such as photo and video editors or 3D model design tool Blender. The cooling can dissipate heat from the processor well and, according to our tests, remains silent during light use, such as web browsing. During heavy loads you can hear the cooling clearly, but we have heard noisier ZenBooks.

Finally, we tested the laptop’s battery life. This shows that the device lasts just under twelve hours while web browsing, provided you use one screen. If you use both, you lose four and a half hours of battery life. With more demanding software, one screen can last five and a half hours without charging, and two screens can last just over four hours. What is also noticeable is that the laptop becomes slower when you turn on both screens. However, this does not apply if you use the laptop while it is connected to the power supply. It therefore seems that ASUS is deliberately making the device slower to extend the battery life.

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ASUS ZenBook Duo

Conclusion

Lenovo already proved last year with its Yoga Book 9 that a dual-screen laptop works well, but ASUS has succeeded in solving the shortcomings of that laptop with its own ZenBook Duo. Unlike the Yoga Book, you do not have to carry the physical keyboard separately, but you can click it magnetically onto the second screen. This time it is also a full-fledged keyboard with touchpad, so an external mouse is no longer required.

In addition, it is nice that there is a sturdy stand to place the ZenBook upright. However, if you use the device as a regular laptop, you may be bothered by the weak hinge, which can cause the screen to wobble. The screens use a high-resolution OLED panel, which makes the image very nice and sharp. Keep in mind that using two screens is at the expense of battery life and that the device runs a little slower to limit consumption. The performance of the processor is otherwise excellent.

The ZenBook Duo currently costs 2100 euros, while a regular ZenBook is also available for 1500 euros, the only difference being that the latter only has one screen. So you pay 600 euros for that extra screen and a detachable keyboard, but that is not a crazy price at all. If you are convinced of the usefulness of two screens in a laptop, the ZenBook Duo is the best choice at the moment.

Want to know more about the ASUS ZenBook Duo, such as specifications, user experiences and the stores with the best prices? Then view the overview in the Tweakers Pricewatch.

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The article is in Dutch

Tags: ASUS ZenBook Duo Review Dual Screen Laptop Tweakers

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