ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo Review – Are 2 Screens Needed?
, Starting with The specs Ive got the top end model so theres an 8 core Intel: i9 9980HK overclockable CPU 80 watt, Nvidia, RTX, 2060, graphics, 32gb of memory in dual channel two 4K screens, which well discuss in depth soon and a 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD. For network connectivity. Its got the latest 802.11ax WiFi and Bluetooth 5. However, despite the thicker body, theres, no ethernet port youll need to use an adapter. If you want that., There are a few different configurations available, including with i7 CPU instead of i9 and even a non pro version with much lower specs.. You can find examples and updated prices linked in the description. On the metal. Lid weve just got the ASUS logo on the celestial blue finish., The interior is the same colour and we can see that second screen above the keyboard.. Overall. The build quality was excellent, it was extremely solid and there were no sharp corners or edges anywhere. ASUS list. The weight at 2.5kg or 5.5 pounds and mine was spot on with this., With the 230W power brick and cables for charging the total weight rises to 3.3kg.. The dimensions of the Pro Duo are 35.9cm in width 24.6cm in depth and 2.4cm in height. With the lid closed, so a little thicker than most others, Ive recently covered, but still not too big for a 15 inch machine., The maximum height will actually change when you open the lid., When you open it up the bottom of the screen, props the machine up And this has the advantage of improving cooling as more air can get in underneath improved viewing angle for the second screen, and the keyboard is also raised to be on a better angle for typing.
, Alright, with the basics out of the way lets get into the most Interesting part of this laptop, the dual screens. Theyre, both touch screens and can either be used with your finger or the included pen.. The bigger one up top is a 15.6 4K OLED panel with 9mm screen bezels on the sides, giving it an 89 screen to body ratio., As its glossy fingerprints will show up very easily if youre, using the touch functionality without the pen.. The bottom screen. What theyre, calling ScreenPad Plus is a 14 inch LCD matte panel., Both screens are listed as 4K, however theyre clearly different.. The top panel is your traditional 4K, so 3840 by 2160, while the bottom screen is also 3840 across, but 1100 pixels high. Theyre, both also listed with 178 degree. Viewing angles which is good, considering youll, be looking at them from different angles, and I didnt notice any issues, regardless of where I sat. Ive used. The Spyder 5 pro on both screens for the main OLED panel, were looking at 100 sRGB, 97 NTSC and 100 AdobeRGB excellent results and ASUS also specify 100 DCI P3.. The OLED panel is also HDR capable, however, ASUS dont actually specify, if its been certified with any particular standard. For the smaller screen, its got 96 of sRGB 72 of NTSC and 76 of AdobeRGB. So, although lower compared to the OLED panel, these are still decent results compared to many other machines.. I think this is perfectly fine, given its size, its mostly meant to be used for showing extra things like tools or additional content, rather than being the primary display source.
So doesnt need to be as impressive as the main screen. Heres. What were looking at in terms of brightness, the OLED panel is able to get up to 429 nits in the center at 100, while the screenpad gets to 302., As for backlight bleed. Well, as the main panel is OLED, all black just means the pixels are off. Bleed doesnt exist with this technology.. The lower screen is just standard. Ips though, however, I had zero bleed with mine.. Although the OLED panel does look excellent, its not without its faults., The main one for me is the glossy finish which easily shows reflections.. The refresh rate is capped at 60Hz, which may be a limitation if you want to play some games.. These new OLED laptop panels use pulse width, modulation or PWM to adjust brightness so, depending on how sensitive your eyes are, this could cause eye strain for you over time. Burn in is also an issue inherent to the way OLED technology works. However, these new panels are supposedly better in that regard, but its not something I can test, as it would require long term. Use. Thats, a lot of information on the screens now lets get into how they actually work., Basically the screenpad. So the one on the bottom acts as a second monitor.. This means you can simply drag things between the two screens in Windows, just like with dual monitors on a desktop PC.. The Pro Duo comes with the ScreenXpert software installed, and this helps you use the second screen.
Its got some useful features. For example, if you start dragging a window on either screen, it offers a shortcut for you to quickly move it to the other screen.. You can also use the ViewMax option on the end to make the window fully take up both screens and you can drag an application to the pin icon, which adds it to the app launcher. On the bottom screen. Its easy to set two windows side by side. With the standard Windows method of dragging the windows over to the far sides, however, the software also lets you set three side by side, though it did feel a little janky, but it worked alright.. I didnt find a limit of apps. I could have on the bottom screen its just a second monitor, and I had about 10 at once its just that if you want to neatly arrange things side by side. The software seems to limit this to three sections. On the second screen, theres, this arrow icon. On the left that you can press to bring up the screenpad options, and this displays the app launcher allowing you to quickly open, apps youve added here, and you can also change the order or remove icons by right, clicking or selecting the pencil icon up the top Right., This is also where you adjust the brightness of the lower screen. I wasnt able to change it through Windows. The Windows brightness only affects the main OLED screen.. The next option lets you configure four task groups.
. Basically, you set up the apps you like using on the screenpad, how you like them then go into here, click the capture button, and it will remember them. That way. You can easily select the task group and it will automatically open up the same apps.. If you have more than 3 apps when making the task group, it will only show the first three tiled side by side and you can have up to four groups. Below that is a shortcut to quickly swap the windows open on each screen. So the windows up top move below and the ones on the bottom screen move up to the top one. Theres, also a dedicated key on the keyboard. To do this as well, just above the touchpad.. The next option is the app navigator which just lets you see. The open apps on the screenpad, so you can swap between them. The last icon, locks, the keyboard and theres, also a shortcut to this just above the touchpad. It prevents the keys from being used.. This could be useful for drawing on the screenpad, without worrying, about pressing keys with your hand., Otherwise theres. Also the screenpad settings, which, along with what you can see here, allows you to make that hovering. Arrow icon disappear until you need it change the screenpad resolution and more.. If you dont want to use the second screen, you can quickly disable it by pressing the button next to the power button. This lets you turn it on or off.
. Next lets look at some potential use cases for the two screens. Ill start off by noting that, while sitting at my desk, I could easily see both screens without having to tilt my head theyre, both in view.. I didnt feel like I needed to move my head over the screen due to the slight angle that its on., The first thing I was keen to test – was Adobe Premiere for some video editing.. Initially I played around with moving just the timeline window separately onto the bottom screen, but found it too annoying to resize and configure the rest of my layout.. I just ended up using the viewmax shortcut to make the entire application window take up both screens then resize. The timeline, so it was on the bottom.. I honestly did like it after using it for a bit. I definitely felt like there was extra space to work.. At the same time, though, I dont personally benefit from a larger preview of my project, as I work with 720p proxies, but I know this is important to many people.. For the most part, the touch screen functionality wasnt that useful, as most options are too small to press. However, I did find it useful that I could use two fingers to scroll the timeline over.. Overall, I would say I enjoyed the editing experience compared to a normal laptop once I got used to it. I dont see how extra space could be a bad thing.
. You can also draw on either screen using the included pen, which uses a AAAA battery. I did notice, while drawing there was a little delay before the image shows on screen, and this happened on both screens. Theres pressure sensitivity with either screen. However, I couldnt find how many levels were offered. Gaming is another area where the secondary screen could be beneficial. In particular, for streaming., You can have your game running on the main screen and then manage something like OBS or chat on the second screen.. Another example would be watching YouTube or a movie on the second screen, while playing a game. Theres lots of possibilities.. You could, of course, do the opposite and game on the second display if you want, but I wouldnt recommend it simply due to the size. Support would vary by game, but the ones I tested didnt scale well and just run in the middle, resulting in wasted space.. A limitation I found, while having a game on the main screen was that you need to run it in some other mode like borderless or windowed. If you want to be able to move to the mouse to the lower screen. With full screen in most games, you still have to alt tab out to get to the second screen. You cant just move the mouse down to the lower screen while in a game, but this will also vary by game.. Basically, just dont assume its going to be a smooth, seamless process.
If you need to get to the second screen to change something, while in a game. Many people mentioned, they were interested in doing things like move a minimap into the lower screen. However, I found things like this were not really possible. In the games. I tested moving items within the game still need to sit within the overall game window, so the only way to get part of the game on the second screen would be to stretch the game out over both screens. However, I couldnt get this to work properly either due to available resolutions.. The best I could do was set a game to windowed and tell it to use both screens, but the end result wasnt very useful.. This is going to depend entirely on game support which will vary, but for the most part I dont think many will work very well on two screens.. An exception would be games that dynamically adjust to the available window space. Even then, the center of the game will probably be in a weird spot, and things will scale incorrectly again its really going to come down to the specific game, and I cannot test them. All. Now lets continue onto the rest of the machine.. There was almost no screen flex. The lid is completely solid, metal and built like a tank, its probably the toughest lid Ive ever had.. The machine can be opened with one finger. However, depending on the surface you do this on and how you do it.
It can slide back a bit before the feet on the bottom of the screen move into place.. Despite the thin screen bezel, the 720p camera is found above the screen in the center and its also got infrared for Windows, Hello, support., The camera looks pretty average and the microphone sounds pretty good. As the back of the machine rises it up. When you open the lid, the keyboard is on a slight angle, which I personally didnt notice or mind.. The keyboard is pushed down towards the front due to the second screen, just above it, so youll need to push the machine back a little to type.. It also comes with a wrist rest that you can place against the front which I did find to feel a bit better while typing. The keys have 1.4mm of key travel and heres. How typing sounds to give you an idea of what to expect. The keyboard has white backlighting, which can be adjusted between three levels or turned off with the F7 key, and it lights up all keys, including secondary key functions.. There was almost no keyboard flex while pushing down hard like the lid. The body was very sturdy. Due to the keyboard being pushed down. The precision touchpad has been moved over to the right hand, side.. It is on the smaller side, but after a bit of use, I didnt actually mind the position.. It worked pretty well granted. It was on the smaller side and it clicks down anywhere.
. You can hold your finger over the top right icon to enable the numpad, while doing the same on the left changes the brightness of the numpad between two levels.. Fortunately, you can still use the touchpad normally with numpad mode enabled, but ideally youll want to stick to using a proper mouse. Fingerprints. Dont really show up on the keyboard or touchpad. It was more of an issue on the touch screens, more so on the OLED screen. As its got that glossy finish. On the left from the back theres, the power input, HDMI 2.0 output and USB 3.1 Gen2 Type, A port. On the right from the front theres, a Type C port, with both DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3 support, 3.5mm, audio combo jack and A second USB 3.1 Gen2 Type, A port. Theres, nothing really on the back. We can see a couple of feet on the bottom of the screen and these are what come into contact with the table when the lid is opened.. Despite the smaller surface area, the machine didnt move around too much when pushed due to its overall weight, but with some force it would slide more than most other laptops.. The front is just smooth metal and while nothing is visible here when powered on theres a light bar in the center for talking to Alexa, though Im honestly not sure what the deal was there as there was no app installed by default to use it., You can Still see the light bar when you attach the optional wrist rest too, as it shines through.
Underneath theres, just some small air vents in the center and up towards the back, but well check out thermals soon.. The two speakers are found towards the front left and right corners and they sounded very good for a laptop easily one of the best Ive tested. They had a little bass and were still clear at maximum volume and the latencymon results looked good.. The bottom panel can be easily removed by taking out 10 TR5 screws and the front four are shorter than the rest. Once inside. From left to right, weve got the single M.2 slot for the SSD battery down the bottom WiFi 6 card, and the memory appears to be soldered just below the heatpipes. Powering. The laptop is an 8 cell 71 watt hour, battery. Ive tested it both with the two screens on and also with just the main screen on and second screen, underneath off., Both screens were at 50 brightness for this test and keyboard lighting was disabled. As expected, with Both screens on the two screens drained the battery faster., While playing the Witcher 3 with medium settings and Nvidias battery boost set to 30 FPS. It lasted for 1 hour and 26 minutes in total. However, after the first hour and 20 minutes at 7, charge left the frame rate dipped to 10 FPS and wasnt usable. For the size. The battery life is below average outside of gaming, even with the second screen off, then about average, with the game running.
. The 230 watt power, brick included, also seems to be adequate. Even with the i9. I didnt see any battery drain beyond the standard 95 level. However, you can change the limit through the MyASUS software. Lets move onto the thermal testing. Air is pulled in through the bottom theres more space for air flow, as the back raises up when the lid is open and then its exhausted out of the left and right Sides. Heres, what were looking at in terms of heatpipes. There are some shared between the processor and graphics and again we can see the heatsinks and air exhaust goes out. The sides. Theres a button directly above the touchpad that allows you to swap between auto and turbo mode, and you can also toggle this through the MyASUS software. Otherwise, there were no built in options to modify performance or fan. Speed. Thermal testing was completed in an ambient room temperature of 21 degrees Celsius so expect different results in different environments. At idle down the bottom. It was starting to get a little warm, but no problem with this.. The rest of the results are from combined CPU and GPU workloads and are meant to represent worst case scenarios, as I ran them for extended periods of time.. The gaming results towards the upper half of the graph were tested by playing Watch Dogs 2. As I find it to use a good combination of processor and graphics., The stress test results shown on the lower half of the graph are from running the Aida64 CPU stress test, with only the stress, CPU option checked and the Heaven GPU benchmark at max settings at The same time to fully load the system.
, Starting with the stress tests, there was no difference between auto and turbo mode., While turbo mode does boost fan speed. The CPU power limit also raises. However, both thermal and power limits were still being hit. Again. No change with the CPU undervolted and then with a cooling pad, were only seeing the GPU drop by a couple of degrees.. The game tests see a similar pattern. However, the CPU was a little cooler here again only the cooling pad made a difference to the temperatures.. These are the average clock speeds for the same tests just shown., Both while gaming and under stress test the CPU clock. Speed is capped by the power limit. Going from auto to turbo mode does boost the power limit from 45 watts. However, thermal throttling quickly becomes the next limitation, so PL1 dynamically lowers back down, resulting in minimal clock, speed change with turbo enabled.. We see the largest improvement to CPU clock speed by undervolting, as this helps address the power limitations. However, as theres still intermittent thermal throttling, the cooling pad does help improve clock speed a little too.. These are the average TDP values reported by hardware info during these same tests.. In all cases, the RTX 2060 was able to average at its 80 watt power limit, as shown by the green bars. There were no thermal restrictions preventing this.. Otherwise we can see the average CPU TDP change. Pl1 is set to 45 watts in auto mode. Then, in turbo mode the limit automatically adjusts based on thermals, so it wasnt going much higher compared to auto mode.
. These are the average clock speeds, while under a CPU, only stress test, so no GPU load, and this is why were seeing higher results.. We can see turbo mode improve performance a little while manually, raising the power limit, helped much more still, not quite able to hit the 4.2GHz boost. Speed of the i9 though. Heres, the average CPU TDP during these tests again auto caps, it at 45 watts and raising it manually, gets us to 62 watts before thermals become the next limitation.. The temperatures show why the undervolt was required to go further. Thermal throttling was being hit once the power limit was boosted.. We can see how these changes to the CPU affect Cinebench scores.. Just for comparison, the only other laptop Ive tested with i9 9980HK, the Aero 17 also scored around 3600 points at stock. However, I could undervolt that further and the power limit could also go higher due to better cooling. It is a larger machine, after all, allowing it to top out at 4252 points.. As for the external temperatures, where youll actually be putting your hands at idle, it was only getting to the low 30s standard stuff., While under stress test, the keyboard area was still surprisingly cool.. The screenpad was a little warmer, but realistically still quite cool. Considering the CPU and GPU are right below and enabling turbo mode didnt really seem to make much difference.. As for the fan noise produced by the laptop Ill, let you have a listen to some of these tests.
At idle. It was completely silent., While under stress test or gaming, with auto mode, it was quieter when compared to most other laptops, Ive tested with similar specs and then turbo mode barely made any difference.. The ZenBook Pro Duo was mostly limited in terms of thermals. Power. Limit. Throttling was also often hit in auto mode. However, the power limits would dynamically adjust based on temperatures once turbo was enabled., It would have been good if we had better fan control, but I guess they wanted to keep the machine running quiet something many of these more professional machines. Preference. Id expect the i7 CPU option to run cooler. However, if you do multicore work, the fact is. The extra two cores with the i9 are still able to give some pretty nice results, just not as high as other machines, with better cooling like the larger Aero 17.. Based on the clock speeds. Seen in my testing, I wouldnt bother attempting to overclock the i9., As this laptop seems to be more geared towards content creation. Ive performed some more relevant benchmarks, comparing it against the Gigabyte Aero 17 I recently tested, which is the only other i9 9980HK machine, that Ive tested.. That one was a 17 laptop, though so were expecting better thermals and performance. Ive tested both at stock and both while undervolted with power limits boosted listed as custom. Mode. Ive also got my Aero 15x with 6 core 8750H too, as I had data for that available.
. Starting out with Adobe Premiere, there wasnt really much difference. The ZenBook was just a little slower exporting the same video, though in this specific test, even a last gen, throttling 6 core Aero, 15x wasnt too far behind either.. This is my second time using the Puget Systems. Photoshop benchmark, so I dont have any other data to compare against. The ZenBook wasnt too far behind here and with the undervolt. It was very close to the Aero 17.. The blender benchmark only makes use of the CPU and we can see that under heavy CPU load. It was taking a bit longer compared to the larger and better cooled. Aero 17. However, the extra two cores are still giving much better results compared to the 15x, with 6 cores. Ive also used Handbrake to convert a 4k video to 1080p and then a separate video file from 1080p to 720p.. This is another task that benefits from additional CPU cores. So the results are much better than the 6 core 15x, though again lower results due to the CPU throttling on the ZenBook. SPECviewperf measures, graphics, performance based on professional applications that run on both OpenGL and Direct X.. I only had numbers from the Aero 17 from this test and its winning as expected, as it has a higher tier 2070 Max Q graphics. So I guess take this as a comparison between 2060 and 2070 Max Q thats not based on games.. If you want to see how well games run on the ZenBook Pro Duo check the card in the top right corner or in the description, Ive tested, 20 different games at all setting levels in that video, and this review is already long enough.
Without repeating that information.. We will, however, take a brief look at how it compares against other machines. Though. In Battlefield 5 Ive got the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo, highlighted in red near similarly specced machines., In this case, its performing closely to most of the other 2060 laptops covered, with the exception being the Triton 500 just ahead of it, however, that does undervolt the CPU By default and also boost up the wattage of the 2060, giving it an advantage., This game does seem to favour more cores, which I think is why the 1 low is higher than the other stock i7s.. These are the results from Far Cry 5 with ultra settings. In the built in benchmark and its more of a CPU, demanding test. In this test were seeing the lowest results from a 2060 based laptop, and this seems to be due to the CPU throttling that was taking place, and this is mirrored by the 1 low performance. Thats, placing behind the last gen i7 8750H.. These are the results from Shadow of the Tomb raider, with the built in benchmark at highest settings.. Again, the results were on the lower side. Out of the 2060 machines tested matching the throttled Dell G5 with lower tier CPU. In this test. Next lets take a look and see how much of a performance loss we can expect by using the second screen, with some different workloads. For all of the previously tested games. I just left the secondary screen, empty.
Ill, be comparing these results with two more workloads watching a YouTube, video in Chrome and using OBS to stream. The game on the second screen. Battlefield 5 was tested with ultra settings.. The bottom bar is just the results we saw before with nothing on the second screen, then, with a YouTube video playing on the second screen, there was no real difference.. While streaming, there was a performance hit as expected, as the encoding process does use system resources. However, the game still performed well enough, considering this is max settings and it was very nice to be able to watch OBS while playing full screen. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the built in benchmark using highest settings.. Again, there were no differences in the game FPS between nothing on the bottom screen and just watching a YouTube video. So although the Intel GPU is doing more work to display this image, its not negatively affecting the game while again streaming lowered the performance as expected. Far Cry 5 was also tested using the built in benchmark with ultra settings.. This time there was actually a difference in performance by having a simple YouTube: video playing on the second screen.. I triple checked this and the results were consistent, so it just goes to show that performance will vary by game as well, based on what youve got on the bottom screen.. Overall, the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo performs well enough in games its a little lower than what youd typically expect from these specs.
Due to some throttling, however, its still more than capable of running any modern game with higher setting levels, no problem. To be fair. This isnt advertised as a gaming laptop, I just thought it would be interesting to see what its capable of as many people are interested in a machine where they can play games on one screen and have something else on the second screen. And when it comes down to it, it is playing these titles just fine.. Now for the benchmarking tools, Ive tested, Heaven Valley and Superposition from Unigine, as well as Firestrike, Timespy, Port Royal and VRMark from 3DMark just pause. The video, if you want a detailed look at these results. Ive, used Crystal Disk Mark to test the storage and the 1TB NVMe drive, was performing quite well. For updated pricing check. The links in the description as prices will change over time. At the time of recording. In the US, the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo is going for 3000 USD, though you can save 500 USD with the i7 model. However, that does also have half the RAM.. Meanwhile, here in Australia were looking at 5000 AUD for the same specs, Ive tested. Here.. Lets conclude by covering the good and bad aspects of the new ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo, laptop.. Obviously, the main feature with this machine is the secondary screen. If thats, something that may benefit your workflow, then there arent currently many other alternative options out there and, as a result, it does come with an associated price premium.
. Overall, I found the second screen beneficial and the screenxpert software helped in more easily managing it as it provided useful shortcuts for moving around and organizing applications.. It will depend on how you plan on using the screen. For instance, getting games to make use of. It will vary wildly based on the specific game, but for simply being able to watch a video or have a browser window in view that you couldnt before its a nice addition.. The content creator. Side of it was also interesting, but again it will depend on the application. When it comes down to it, its just a physically separate screen below the main one. So you can use your imagination as to how that might benefit your individual workflow. Its hard for me to say if just using an external portable screen would be better, probably as itd be larger. However, I havent had one to test with yet. The addition of this. Second screen does seem to make the overall size a little thicker and heavier for a modern, 15 laptop but other than the forward placement of the keyboard and requirement for an off to the side, narrow touchpad. I didnt find it to add any negatives., As we saw the additional screen hardly affected battery life and I didnt find using it to affect thermals.. The primary OLED panel looked great in terms of contrast and colours. As expected, though, the downsides for me include a glossy finish: PWM to adjust brightness and potential burn in over long periods of time.
. The Pro Duo is available with some pretty high end specs, including the overclockable i9 9980HK CPU., As we saw this did result in the machine getting hot and throttling, and while we did have the option of enabling turbo mode, I hardly found this to change much. The exterior does at least stay cool though.. The machine doesnt get too loud, even under worst case stress test. However, I would have liked to have seen better fan control for those who are after increased performance at the expense of additional noise. Optional user control is always best., Although I wasnt able to hit the full boost speed of the 8 core CPU. The performance from the additional cores is still a benefit in multicore work compared to an i7 regardless of the thermal limitations. So it will depend on what youre doing with the machine as to which one you should choose.. I wouldnt be expecting and overclocking with the i9, though, even if it is technically a capability of the chip.. Unfortunately, the memory appeared to be soldered to the motherboard, though I didnt take it apart and check for SODIMM slots on the back, but hardware info didnt report, SODIMM modules installed, so youll probably want to buy it with the amount of RAM. You think youll need from the get go.. I thought the IO was a little limiting its got. The basics, though, and does have Thunderbolt support, with the option of attaching two external 4K displays.
However, personally from a creator, laptop Id have preferred an SD slot.. Let me know what you thought about the new ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo laptop down in the comments Im really interested to hear how you would make use of the dual screens and, if youre new, to the channel, consider getting subscribed for future laptop reviews and tech. Videos.