Asus Zenbook Duo UX482 (2021) REVIEW
It looks very similar to the rest of asus line, including the expert book and the regular zenbook, which i both reviewed on this channel in the past, but it comes with one main difference. It has a second screen, let’s begin by talking about the thing that stands out the most the huge second screen above the keyboard sporting resolution of 1920×515. The 12.5 in touchscreen is a pretty cool addition and unique addition to any laptop. As you open the zenbook duo, the hinge mechanism pushes the rear articulating screen upwards, giving the screen a small tilt towards me. I can see why they designed the laptop like this as the secondary scheme’s. Viewing angles are really quite poor and you lose increasing amounts of color and brightness the further perpendicular to it. That you are. The second display has a few neat features. First of all, it has an always present transparent menu to the far left or to the far right, depending what you choose, which enables you to do. A few tasks like open the apps set the brightness and rearrange windows. Secondly, the keyboard between the screen and the trackpad has some convenient keys for disabling the screen or moving the active window from the primary screen down to the secondary screen, or vice versa, which is pretty handy. My primary issue with touchscreen notebooks is my arm, gets tired from reaching up to the display and there’s, no real, compelling reason to move my arm versus just using the keyboard and mouse, but with the secondary display.
Now, just above my hands, the touchscreen is a lot more accessible and a lot more useful. My main use is putting content that i’m referencing on the primary display, for example, in my day job. As a software engineer, i often need to reference like specifications for what i’m developing of the feature that i’m building um and so on. My primary screen i’ve got the code up on the top, whereas on the bottom, i’ve got a description of the task or any notes i need to reference and if anything is unclear, i can use the touchscreen to navigate supporting materials without losing context or even moving. My mouse position on the primary display, it’s kind of like having a tablet off to the side, except that i can drag material from my computer and not have to switch device context. Asus also has another trick up its sleeve with the screen expert software. This software essentially replaces the secondary display with a custom control panel when you open certain applications. Unfortunately, compatibility for this is quite limited at the moment, so i was only able to use it in action in photoshop, but i can see the potential essentially. What it allows you to do is have a tactile and visual representation of commonly accessed settings in the app, for example. The default layout in photoshop allows you to zoom in and out change the brush size, layer, opacity and much more, and you can customize this panel to surface a wide range of controls.
Kind of think of the macbook pro touch bar at the top. Only that it’s big enough to have labels on each control, so you don’t need to guess what each of those controls are doing. I’D, love to see the software in action in more softwares like davinci, resolve and maybe obs, because at the moment it doesn’t work in any software that i actually use. Normally, i find features like the second display. Quite gimmicky. I mean take a look at my review of the regular zenbook 14 or even the macbook pro with the touch bar. But honestly, i really really like this implementation. I’M sure there’s a whole bunch of applications that i haven’t even begun or thought to try. But this is a situation where i’d happily pay hundreds of extra dollars for the convenience of this second display, particularly just for referencing materials. However, this display isn’t without its drawbacks across the rest of the laptop. Firstly, in order to fit both a keyboard, a trackpad and this display all on the bottom, shell, the trackpad and the keyboard – are now next to each other. Instead of the traditional trackpad below the keyboard design, i can definitely understand why they made this trade off, but i found myself a number of time being misaligned with the keyboard because it wasn’t centered. In addition, the trackpad is small and because it’s off to the right my hand constantly feels like it’s in an unnatural position when using it.
The most annoying thing is the right arrow key and the left click button, which are right next to each other, i’m. Constantly clicking the right arrow key instead of clicking left click. I wish one of them had like a different texture, or maybe firmness when you press it. So i can actually tell the difference without having to look down accidentally clicking that right arrow key instead of the left button, the keys on the keyboard itself are a chiclet design. They offer a decent amount of travel and aren’t too mushy in terms of the overall design of the zenbook duo, it’s super thin coming in just under 2 centimeters. It weighs 1.5 kilos and would easily fit in into any laptop bag. Interestingly, it only comes in this dark blue metallic, looking finish, which is okay, but i’d, probably prefer black. The top side is a bit of a fig print magnet and i think it would look cleaner without the asus logo. But you understand why they’ve got it there because of the hinges that i described earlier: the design of the laptop isn’t, overly clean or minimalistic. But given the size and the functionality, the form isn’t really that important. Rounding back to the primary display. It’S a 1920 by 1080 14 inch panel boasting a max brightness of 400 nits, as i’ve noticed before. I like running this at 100 scale, and this is a good amount of room to manage all. My windows i’d still like to see high dpi options, but i really appreciate the relatively high max brightness.
This display has making it pretty usable even outdoors in sunlight ports. Wise, the zenbook duo is pretty jam, packed offering one usb a port two thunderbolt 4 enabled usb c ports. A 3.5 millimeter combo input, audio out input, output, audio jack, hdmi, port and micro sd card reader other than the micro sd card reader, not being full size. I’M, pretty happy with this, offering there are enough usb c ports and modern devices, while still offering usb a and hdmi ports for those times when you don’t have an adapter handy. Fortunately, i’ve got a new thunderbolt 4 dock behind me from kensington, which is the sd 5700t. So i was able to test this out with the zenbook duo and i’m happy to report that two 4k monitors can run at 60hz. My microphone is recognized it’s, a usb one and the laptop started charging all via the single thunderbolt 4 cable. This has been an area that’s often been lacking with windows. Laptops so i’m really glad to see all this working out of the box i’m, also, really glad that the charger is just a regular usbc charger it’s, not another type of proprietary cable that i need to keep track of. Let’S move across to the performance side and specifications wise. The zenbook duo has an intel core i7 1165 g7 cpu, which is a quad core hyper threaded cpu with a base frequency of 2.79 gigahertz and a boost frequency of 4.69 gigahertz.
This is paired with the onboard intel, iris, xe, graphics and 32 gigabytes of ddr4 ram. As usual, i like to test computers in two scenarios that are reflective of the kind of work that i actually do with a computer, just software development and video editing. I began with the usual test of firing up davinci resolve 16 and rented out a two minute and one second long clip at 4k, 284 fps in h.264. Given this laptop doesn’t have dedicated graphics, i wasn’t really expecting anything groundbreaking, but the specs are a step up from the 10th generation intel core i7 in the asus expert book, and i was really pleasantly surprised with this clip only taking eight minutes and two seconds to Render i also tried a one minute, long clip which took just 3 minutes and 47 seconds to render, which is pretty good for a laptop with no dedicated graphics scrubbing through the timeline is pretty good too, with only really minor hiccups and stutters even running at that Full 4k resolution to test its software development capabilities. I built the popular web development framework react which took seven minutes and 29 seconds. In contrast, the zen book 14 i reviewed last year, took nine minutes and three seconds for the exact same task. I also ran geekbench 5 for some hard benchmark numbers and got a singles core score of 1550 and a multicore score of 5473. This smokes the asus expert book and zenbook 14.
. I thought i’d briefly touch on the software that’s pre installed on the zenbook duo. As this is pretty much the worst part of this laptop and i’m, specifically talking about one piece of software and that’s mcafee, this is possibly the worst software ever known to humankind. Do you want to have full screen dialogues popping up and taking over your whole screen? Every couple of minutes: how about big red alerts in the bottom right warning? You that your computer is probably being infiltrated by hackers right this very second well, mcafee is probably the software for you, it’s single handedly, the most obnoxious junk software ever and i’m disappointed any laptop makers include it by default, even if you accept risk or dismiss the Dialogues continues to hound. You asking you to pay their subscription fee. Ladies and gentlemen, windows security is absolutely fine. In 2021, don’t pay a single dollar for any antivirus software, honestly i’d, probably prefer an actual virus over mcafee at least it wouldn’t pop up every five minutes. Anyway, moving on to test battery life, i started a test running netflix 50 brightness in google chrome for the purpose of this test. I turned off the second screen as if you’re watching netflix, you probably wouldn’t, be using it and it kind of makes for a more balanced and easier comparison with other laptops. The battery literally lasted for 24 hours, which is absolutely amazing and a dream, especially for traveling. Finally, i thought i’d take a look at the webcam and microphone.
The 720p webcam supports windows, hello, which is useful for logging in quickly, unfortunately other than that the webcam isn’t really anything to write home about asus touts the webcam position as one of the main features and a selling point, which is a clear dig at the dell Xps nose cam, but surely the first selling point of the webcam isn’t uh. This doesn’t have some weird placement like one of our competitors in low light, the webcam struggles and in bright light. It looks like a camera from 10 years ago. I realize this space in the screen is pretty small, but given the amount of video calls that i’m in these days i’d really like to see a step up in this area by all laptop makers. Like i said by no means this is a problem limited to asus but i’d love to see some innovation beyond simply not having a competitor’s webcam placement. The microphone quality is also average, giving quite a tiny, sound lacking any low end. However, i was pretty impressed with the audio quality, even as i still took a few step backs from the zen book. I could kind of see this laptop being put at like the end of end of a conference table with 8 or 10 people around it and still being able to pick up clearly the voices at the back of the room. Audio quality out of the laptop with the speakers is much the same as the microphone quality quite average and lacking any bass.
I was, however, pretty happy with the max volume of the zenbook duo, something that other laptops often lack on the whole. The zenbook duo is one of the best laptops that i’ve ever taken a look at the combination of really really solid performance, great battery life and the pretty useful second display make it a great proposition for a number of applications, including video, editing and programming. Even if you want to watch netflix you’re going to have to spend a lot of time away from a charger to even begin to push the limits of its battery life, my main issues with the zenbook duo are the smaller keyboard, especially next to that trackpad. The horrific pre installed software mcafee and the video quality and audio quality. None of these are deal breakers, but i’d love to see asus address some of these to make an almost perfect laptop for the next iteration pricing wise. The zenbook duo starts at around 3100 australian.