Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo Review: 120Hz OLED Is AMAZING
If there’s one thing that Asus is really good at, it’s surprises. This right here, is the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo, which isn’t anything that new per se. But this generation gets a really awesome facelift and thanks to new hardware and features, it’s turning out to be a really unique package.
Right off the bat, we have to talk about the design because this is by far the most visually distinct difference compared to the previous generation Zenbook Duo 14 which this replaces. Now instead of the standard Asus wording that you’ll find on the typical Zenbook lid, this has now been replaced with a new minimalist arrow-shaped logo.
Now we aren’t entirely sure why the change was made, but it’s a welcome for sure. This new logo design looks much cleaner, minimalistic but yet still exudes character. It looks really sweet and in our opinion, definitely much nicer compared to having the Asus text. The other prominent change is with regards to that dual display hinge assembly. Before, it used what Asus calls the ErgoLift hinge mechanism, whereby when you lift the lid up, the bottom of the display will in turn prop the laptop up at an angle and that lifts the secondary display at the same time as well. However, for this generation, the bottom remains completely flat no matter the angle. That bottom chassis kind of acts like a platform for the dual display hinge assembly.
Now there are pros and cons here.
Unlike the previous generation, you aren’t going to get that slight angle on the keyboard deck since the entire bottom doesn’t move. So for some, it might translate to a slightly less comfortable typing experience. On the other hand, since the bottom of the display no longer obstructs the rear of the laptop, Asus has managed to put in some ports. Now you might also be wondering if that affects thermals and performance in any way. We’ll get to that later. But to just give you a hint, you needn’t worry too much.
As for the webcam, it is situated up top despite the thin bezels, which is really nice. It is however only 720p so you won’t be getting far with image quality. But you do get Windows Hello, so that’s nice.
We now come to the display, and this is another department which gets quite a huge upgrade. Previously, you could only get up to a 1080P IPS panel running at 60Hz. This however gets the OLED treatment and the resolution gets upped to 2,880 x 1,800 which also means it’s slightly larger with a 16 by 10 aspect ratio. Additionally, you’re going to get better color coverage, a higher max brightness and best of all, it’s actually 120Hz. Of course, it still supports touch and a stylus just like before. It’s an extremely beautiful display that’s really great for anything. Watching movies, browsing the web, doing some creative work, you name it. And thanks to that 120Hz, gaming was a really pleasant experience as well.
We then move downwards onto the main unique aspect of this laptop, that secondary display. This gets a resolution upgrade to match the main display, coming in at 2,880 x 864 but still remains an IPS panel. It does however get a new coating to minimize reflections and improve clarity off angle. Now how useful this is to you, really depends on how you use a laptop. Personally, I enjoy simply using it as a secondary display like you would on a desktop. Any secondary information or application, I would simply put them on the ScreenPad Plus instead of the main display, such as Spotify or my Folders and Documents. It also proved pretty useful when I was navigating around Genshin Impact finding materials while having the interactive map on the other display. Saves a little time Alt-Tabbing.
But you can take it up a notch if you want to, especially if you’re a creator, and Asus provides you the tools for that.
You get a slew of quick functions via the toolbar on the left side. You can quickly toggle the brightness, you can quickly swap applications between the two displays, you can even save shortcuts to your favorite applications and capture different desktop scenes to help with your workflow. Really intuitive.
But if you're a creator, perhaps the most useful feature is the creative control panel that can be fully customized through the ProArt Creator Hub. This essentially turns the ScreenPad Plus into a custom mixer/deck that can be configured to match the software you’re using. So for example you’re using Photoshop, you can have a dial to control your brush size or perhaps a slider to control opacity or hardness. Or if you’re in Lightroom, you can have sliders for individual parameters like Exposure, Contrast and more. And you can basically mix and match and place them wherever you want using the Creator Hub software.
Now it’ll take some time getting used to, but it really does add versatility to your workflow. At the moment, only Adobe applications are mainly supported, but more support should be on the way in the coming months. Though we’ve to say Asus really isn’t that great at keeping this promise.
As for the keyboard and trackpad, this is where things stayed relatively the same. The only difference as mentioned earlier is the flatter typing angle. It’s just slightly less comfortable.
Ports wise, it’s almost the same as before. You get two Thunderbolt 4 and a single USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A on the right, the 3.5mm combo on the left and the rest moved to the rear where there’s now space. HDMI 2.1, microSD card reader and the power port. But in a way, you actually gained a port because in the previous model, it came with a 65W Type-C adapter.This time however, you get a 180W adapter. Which is definitely a little heavier than the small square brick from before, but that’s simply because of the power under the hood. So let’s talk specs, because this is where the Zenbook Pro 14 Duo gets a huge boost in performance.
A Core i7-12700H, GeForce RTX 3050 Ti with a 65 watt TGP, 16GB of 4800MHz DDR5 RAM and 1TB of PCIe 4.0 SSD storage.
We start with Cinebench R23 as usual and honestly, it’s really impressive. You can toggle between the different profiles through ProArt Creator Hub but even on the Standard profile, performance is great, easily scoring above 10,000 on the Multi-Core.
As for DaVinci Resolve, the Core i7 and RTX 3050 Ti combo handles 4K edits really smoothly as well. There weren’t any major hiccups or frame drops while editing and as for render timings, any of the profiles will net you basically real-time.
Goes without saying that we ran some of our favorite games as well, at both the native resolution and at standard 1080p. At 1080p, you’re going to get a really fantastic experience in games like Valorant and even something more graphically demanding like Apex Legends. This is where you can really appreciate the 120Hz. Not to mention it’s going to look really beautiful as well, especially with games like Genshin Impact. At the native resolution, frame rate definitely takes a hit. It’s still going to be plenty enjoyable however.
But what about thermals? We hark back to the major redesign of that hinge assembly. As mentioned, the bottom chassis now doesn’t lift up which means that the fans can draw in fresh air from the gap between the display and the chassis, the gap below is now much lesser and even much lesser than you would initial think because of the design of the feet, which only allows air to be drawn in from this small area behind. No worries however, thermals are well under control. Using the standard profile, CPU temps hover around 80 degrees while GPU stays cool around 70 degrees. Turn that up to Performance and CPU temps do rise up to the high 80s and low 90s, but with fan speeds still well within reason.
We do however have one nitpick about the Zenbook Pro 14 Duo. The battery life isn’t that great. We could get about 6 hours or so on a full charge with moderate usage with some power savings but that’s about it. Though not entirely surprisingly given the dual display, with OLED no less and the higher powered components, we still wished it could’ve been just a little better.
Lastly we’ve got to talk about price. Which we do not have information about at the time of filming this. But regardless, given the use of Intel 12th-Gen, DDR5 and having a dedicated GPU, this will definitely cost quite a little bit more compared to the previous generation.
All in all, the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo really is a unique laptop, just like before but it’s even more capable now thanks to new hardware and a vastly superior GPU compared to the MX450. If I didn’t have a desktop, this is one laptop I would seriously consider.