CES 2021: Asus Updates Their Flagship ZenBook Duo Series
Updated: Aug 20
If we are talking about dual display laptops, Asus immediately comes to mind. They weren’t the first to start the trend, but in our opinion? They might just be the company leading the trend with their updated ZenBook Duo series.
Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED (UX582)
The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo has been out for quite a while now. Since its debut, it has garnered the interest of many and is certainly innovative in more ways than one. But of course, much can still be improved and with the feedback from their customers, Asus is back with a slightly revamped design on the new model.
The new Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED (UX582) retains pretty much the same design as the previous model, but has now been upgraded with features which they brought over from their colleagues at Republic of Gamers (ROG), specifically the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15. So now, the secondary display named ScreenPad Plus features the same auto-tilt mechanism integrated with the hinge which props the display up at an angle as you lift the lid on the main display.
This was one of the major feedback from the community at large, including ourselves when we reviewed the original ZenBook Pro Duo. Now that the secondary display tilts at an angle, it simply makes for a much more ergonomic experience that is much appreciated, especially for our necks.
The full-width 14.1-inch secondary display does support full touch functionality, sits at a tilt angle of 9.5°, has a resolution of up to 3840 x 1100 and can now get up to a higher brightness of about 400 nits. The panel does also support the Asus Pen which supports 4096-pressure-level.
But Asus did not stop there, for they upgraded not just the hardware, but the software as well. The new Screen Xpert 2 software that powers the secondary display includes new features, such as a new multitasking overview where you can view all your open applications at once and simply drag and drop which applications you would like to be on the main display or the secondary display, a slightly revised app drawer where you can pin your favourites apps for quick access, and an improved task group function where you can see all four of your task groups at a glance and easily customize each task group with a few presets available.
But what really caught our eye, and might be a total game-changer, is the new control panel function.
This is a fully customisable app aimed to help bolster creative workflows, where you can mix and match four types of controls, Dial, Button, Slider and Scroll, place them however you like and program them to basically any individual function within your creative program of choice. For example in Premiere Pro, you can have scroll for volume control and different buttons for functions like open project, mark in or out and more.
With everything set up, it is like having a physical mixer or panel in front of you, and placed where you would actually put it. The support for apps is a little limited at the moment with only a few Adobe apps, but Asus is working with the developers and more apps should be compatible in the future.
As for the main display, it is actually the same panel as the previous model. Which does not mean anything bad, far from it in fact. You still get a gorgeous 15.6-inch OLED UHD (3840 x 2160) panel with a 60Hz refresh rate, supports 100% DCI-P3 while being PANTONE Validated as well. The panel does also fully support touch as well as support for the Asus Pen which supports 4096-pressure-level, just like the ScreenPad Plus.
Better performance can also be expected from the new ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED. The laptop can be configured with up to an Intel Core i9-10980HK, up to 32GB of 2933Mhz DDR4 RAM, up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070, as well as up to 1TB of M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD storage. In order to contain all the power, the laptop does feature the new Active Aerodynamic System Plus (AAS Plus) thanks to the ErgoLift hinge mechanism and tilting 14-inch ScreenPad Plus which increases overall cooling airflow by up to 36% compared to the previous model.
The laptop will also feature a plethora of ports including HDMI 2.1 which will support up to 8K 60Hz or 4K 120Hz. It will also come equipped with Intel Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.0 support. Other features include a IR webcam with support for Windows Hello, as well as a Harman Kardon-certified audio system.
Asus ZenBook Duo 14 (UX482)
If 15.6-inch is slightly too large for you, perhaps this might be more up your alley. Just like its bigger brother, the Asus ZenBook Duo 14 (UX482) receives the same major upgrade.
The full-width 12.6-inch secondary display supports full touch functionality, sits at a tilt angle of 7°, has a resolution of up to 1920 x 515 and can get up to a higher brightness of about 400 nits. The panel does also fully support touch as well as support for the Asus Pen which supports 4096-pressure-level. It also gets the same software upgrade package as well, with Screen Xpert 2. It will also feature the same AAS Plus thermal cooling system thanks to that auto-tilt mechanism.
As for the main display, you will get a 14-inch IPS FHD (1920 x 1080) panel running at 60Hz, covers 100% sRGB and is PANTONE Validated. It will also have full touch capability and support for the Asus Pen.
Specifications wise, the laptop can be configured with up to an Intel Core i7-1165G7, up to 32GB of 4266MHz LPDDR4x RAM, optional NVIDIA GeForce MX450 dedicated graphics, and up to 1TB of M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 x 4 SSD.
Other notable changes include a slightly slimmer chassis which allows for a much better typing experience without a wrist rest – which is no longer included. Asus now bundles a laptop stand called the Duo Stand which further increases the overall tilt angle of the entire laptop which creates a stylus-friendly angle for the ScreenPad Plus.
Pricing and availability will be known at a later date.
Written by Soon Kai Hong