Further than the revamped ScreenPad Plus, the ZenBook Duo appears to be like practically the identical as previous year, with ASUS’s regular magnesium alloy frame and sharp strains. There’s also a greater collection of ports, which include two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports (the last design experienced USB-C but no Thunderbolt) one particular USB 3.1 Variety-A a entire-sized HDMI connection a microSD card reader and the usual headphone jack.
The most noteworthy updates are inside of the ZenBook Duo: It now incorporates Intel’s 11th-generation Tiger Lake processors extra highly effective Intel Xe integrated graphics an optional NVIDIA MX450 GPU and up to 32GB of RAM. The Duo is also Intel Evo qualified, which is internet marketing talk for a effective ultraportable with very long battery lifetime.
In spite of seeming like a rapid branding possibility, the Zenbook Duo lived up to that Evo badge in my testing. Our evaluation device showcased an Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU with only 8GB of RAM, but it nonetheless felt snappy as I juggled various applications at as soon as. To be trustworthy, I’d actually only advise the Duo with 16GB of RAM to genuinely optimize your multitasking possible. But I was nevertheless equipped to operate dozens of browser tabs, Evernote, Slack, Spotify and YouTube throughout the two screens without any difficulty.
Intel’s Xe graphics also proved deserving, scoring almost 4,000 details larger than very last year’s model in 3DMark Night time Raid. I didn’t have a chance to do significantly gaming on the Duo, but that score by yourself makes it distinct it’ll be in a position to enjoy a small-effect title like Overwatch. NVIDIA’s MX450 really should present far more GPU electric power, but I have not been in a position to exam that but. A lot more significant than game titles, while, is the ZenBook Duo’s raw computing electricity. Its vastly improved PCMark 10 and Geekbench scores make it obvious that Intel’s Tiger Lake components is a significant improve. It also lasted 11 hours and 40 minutes in our battery examination, which is close to quite a few ultraportables, although 5 several hours a lot less than the XPS 13.
For the most aspect, I observed the ScreenPad Moreover to be a lot a lot more handy than very last calendar year, basically for the reason that I could see it superior. But it’s nevertheless a little bit far too brief for numerous apps. Technically, you can operate a few little home windows side-by-facet, but I observed that also tiny to be helpful. Instead, I normally experienced a net browser or a productiveness application like Evernote up on the primary monitor, while two other applications sat beneath. Most of the time, it was a combination of YouTube and Spotify on the ScreenPad In addition for effortlessly controlling media (and a good way to sneak in my favourite YouTube channels when working).
The ZenBook Duo’s most important 1080p 14-inch display seems to be fantastic as well, with a lot of brightness and vibrancy to make movies and pics pop. You can certainly convey to that it can be of a better quality than the ScreenPad Plus — it supports 100 p.c of the SRGB gamut — but the simple fact that equally can reach 400 nits of brightness tends to make it easier to fake as if they’re one particular single display. I just desire ASUS integrated a way to change the brightness of both of those screens at the same time. As it stands you can use the purpose keys for the major show and the ScreenPad Plus’s touchscreen configurations to deal with brightness individually.
Just one important downside to the ZenBook Duo is that, the moment yet again, ASUS experienced to shove the keyboard and trackpad underneath the ScreenPad Plus. The keyboard is a bit cramped and awkward to use with no a built-in wrist relaxation, while I received used to it after a couple of several hours. The keys by themselves supply a decent total of journey and opinions. The trackpad, though, is a major difficulty if you’ve been spoiled by the great touchpads on most ultraportables. It can be vertical and shoved to the correct, with minor place for multitouch gestures. All over again, I could reside with it, but it was not precisely enjoyable to use.
If you happen to be thinking about the ZenBook Duo, you can have to imagine difficult on no matter whether a limited next display is well worth dropping a a lot more ergonomic keyboard and touchpad. At the very least this calendar year, you are going to have to pay a large amount fewer for the privilege of owning the Duo: It starts off at $1,000 with a Main i5-1135G7 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. All those are basically beneficial specs for mainstream people, but if you are genuinely planning to put it via its paces, I would advocate the $1,500 design with 16GB of RAM and an MX450. Our review device, which once again was confined to 8GB of memory, sells for $1,300. And you can spec the ZenBook Duo all the way up to $1,700 with 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and NVIDIA’s MX450.
ASUS’s ZenBook Duo is just not excellent, but it truly is amazingly compelling and a noteworthy enhance in excess of past year’s product. It is really no speculate why it gained our Very best of CES 2021 award for PCs: the Duo is genuinely impressive in a time when several ultraportables are setting up to experience stale. Dual-screen notebooks are not for absolutely everyone just yet, but ASUS has built a stronger situation for why you would want just one.