The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 is a very different laptop in terms of look and the user experience, as this laptop comes with dual display, Intel Core i9 processor clocked at 2.4GHz and up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM.
We have to say that we have not experienced anything before like that, So we have got the beast in the office and here is our full review of Asus ZenBook Pro Duo (UX581).
Design and chassis
Starting with aesthetics, there are any changes in terms of design especially to fit dual displays, ZenBook Pro Duo has quite a minimal looking and simple exterior and that’s what I like most. The lid of the laptop is hard to keep smudge free but I think once you start using it as your daily work machine, you will barely notice this. When placed on a flat surface, the ZenBook Pro Duo has a natural incline. This is a combination of Asus’ ErgoLift designs we have seen this in past on many of its laptops and subsequently, this helps with the airflow and the typing experience.
Processing power and I/O
Under the hood, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is truly a power house, We are looking at an Intel Core i9 processor clocked at 2.4GHz and up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM. You also get NVIDIA’s RTX 2060 graphics card with 6GB of dedicated DDR6 VRAM. In terms of storage, there are options for a 256GB, 512GB or 1TB PCIe SSD storage variant.
But as for the port selection, What we think Asus seems to have skimped out. There are USB Type-A ports on either side with an extra USB Type-C port and a headphone jack on the right side. Being aimed at hardcore creatives, you will need to use dongle adaptors with this laptop so that you get access to an SD-card reader and maybe even an Ethernet port. While the laptop does come with WiFi 6 capabilities, it struggles when the connection is weak so for that, I prefer the wired internet option.
The most special feature about the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is that it packs two displays. The primary 15.6-inch OLED touchscreen display has a 4K 3840 x 2160 resolution. What this means is that you will enjoy consuming multimedia on it thanks to its sharp and relatively bezel-less panel. Furthermore, the audio experience is also quite good thanks to Harman Kardon tuned speakers. The only drawback to the panel is that it is a bit reflective which makes it difficult to use in harsh light conditions.
The other 4K (3840 x 1100) display is a secondary 14-inch panel and resides where you would usually find the keyboard of any other laptop available in the market. Imagine Asus’ VivoBook S14. Its trackpad doubles as a secondary display where you can do a whole lot of neat things. But with the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo, that experience is elevated. Its main goal is to enhance users’ productivity as well as use Asus’ ScreenPad 2.0 features. Personally, I enjoyed using this as a secondary display whether it was for video editing or simultaneously using for Twitter while creative writing.
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Keyboard and trackpad
Because of the secondary display, there is a learning curve to using the ZenBook Pro Duo’s keyboard as Its keys are shifted downward whereas the trackpad is off to the right. For my use case, the trackpad positioning is passable but for someone who is “accustomed” to using a trackpad or mouse with their left hand, this is not the ideal solution. I also think it is a bit cramped in terms of space, but the responsiveness of clicks is pleasantly surprising. In addition to this, there is a special number pad mode that you can toggle, giving you the option of having numbers on the right.
The keyboard itself is a joy to use. I found myself making less mistakes and typing faster key spacing is also good, It is excellent once you get used to it, with dedicated function keys right above the trackpad for things like turning off the secondary display or instantly moving content from one display to another. Furthermore, it also supports up to three levels of backlighting sadly no RGB colours.
Naturally, battery life is not the best on the machine but it is capable of getting through some on the go mixed intensive usage for about 2-3 hours. This includes having editing software open in the background, browsing the web, watching a few videos and some document editing. I’d also recommend turning the secondary display off in situations like these because that seems to save you some more power.
While I reviewed this laptop from a creator’s perspective, there is nothing about the laptop that makes it unsuitable for gamers. It has got the internals and arguably, an extremely good display panel. Over the course of the review, I was only able to test the GTA 5 game which performed well, with no trouble for me.
At Full HD, I was able to toggle all my settings to the maximum and still retain a smooth frame rate of about 80-90fps. Bumping the game up to 4K resolution, I had frames drop to 8 just on the menu screen. This should give you a good indication about the laptop’s gaming capabilities. What is most impressive about this laptop even under intense load from gaming or video editing, the machine was able to maintain a cool temperature with not that much fan noise.
The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo hits a very specific market segment. If you are someone like me who is constantly doing video editing work, the machine will serve as a great investment, priced at [indian price]. At the same time, it packs capable hardware for gaming too, giving you all-rounded performance. With the added value of Asus’ display and design technology, it is an extremely good choice.