ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo review: Beautiful innovation! - Page 2

5 out of 5 stars

Using the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo

ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo is the most elegant dual-screen laptop on the market today. This being such a futuristic device, that tries to innovate, I was not expecting it to be this solid and well built. Luckily, ASUS has used high-quality materials and excellent engineering for the ZenBook Pro Duo, and the end-result is a laptop that feels sturdy and looks great at the same time. The military-grade toughness touted by ASUS does not feel like a marketing gimmick, but like the real deal. However, an immediate downside to all this high-quality engineering is the heaviness of the ZenBook Pro Duo: it weighs 5.51 pounds or 2.5 kg.

Using the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo

The main screen on the ZenBook Pro Duo uses an OLED panel, and it is gorgeous to watch. The colors look amazing, the blacks are stunning, and watching 4K movies on this laptop is a treat. This is one of those laptops where Windows 10's Dark Mode is a must use, because it showcases how great the screen is. However, the speakers do not sound as good as you would expect from a device certified by Harman Kardon. The audio does not sound bad, but it is not as loud as you would expect, and it doesn't seem to have any real weight.

The second screen, called the ScreenPad Plus is a pleasure to use too. The only downside to it is that it's not as bright as the main display. However, that does not make it less useful. You can drag apps to it, switch apps between the main and the secondary display, save groups of programs in a specific layout, change the resolution from 3840 x 1100 pixels to 1920 x 550, set its battery saver settings, etc.

The settings of the ScreenPad Plus

The ScreenPad Plus is useful for both productivity and gaming. When editing video or creating artistic content, it might be useful to take the ASUS Pen out of the box, and use it on either of the two screens. Artists might appreciate it when fine-tuning their digital creations, while other users may prefer to use it for handwriting. The only problem with the ASUS Pen is that there is no place for storing it with your laptop, so you need to make sure that you do not forget to carry it with you.

The ASUS Pen that comes with ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo

The keyboard is pleasant to type on, especially when using the ZenBook Pro Duo on a desk. The keys have a short travel distance and they promptly register your keypresses. However, when holding the ZenBook Pro Duo in your lap, the keyboard is very close to your body, and you may tend to press the wrong keys for a while, until you adapt to the typing position and figure out where all the keys are. The precision trackpad is excellent. It has support for three-finger and four-finger gestures that can be personalized with ease, the sensitivity is spot on, and it can also be transformed into a NumberPad, with the press of a button. Most users are going to love it. However, for maximum productivity, a portable Bluetooth mouse remains your best option.

The trackpad doubles as a NumberPad

Considering the powerful hardware found inside the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo, it is not surprising that performance is top notch on this laptop no matter what you do, from Office work, to software development, video and photo editing, or gaming. This laptop can run all modern games in 1080p with no problems, on high quality settings. This performance and the two screens come at a cost: the autonomy is not anywhere close to the 7.5 hours promised by ASUS. In real life, you get around 3 hours of use, depending on what you do. If you play games on the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo, do not expect the battery to last more than two hours.

If you perform resource-intensive tasks on this laptop, the laptop heats up, and the cooling system kicks in. I noticed that the ZenBook Pro Duo tends get hot in the middle, around the top of the keyboard. If you keep it in your lap while the laptop heats up, it may become uncomfortable to use. However, when the laptop is getting too warm, you can press the Turbo button to increase the fan speed.

The area where the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo heats up

The webcam on the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo offers support for Windows Hello authentication with face recognition. It is useful for video calls, but don't expect it to impress you. It has a 720p resolution, and it is good enough for chatting with friends, family, and co-workers.

The webcam on the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo

Another impressive fact about the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo is that it has an Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 wireless network card, that works well with Wi-Fi 6 wireless routers. When we connected the laptop to the wireless network, broadcast by the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 router, we reached a maximum download speed on WiFi of 762.03 Mbps. Impressive by most standards.

WiFi speeds on the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo

Overall, we were satisfied with the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo. It is an innovative laptop, with excellent performance, and interesting ideas.

Performance in benchmarks

We ran several benchmarks on the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo to get a more realistic perspective on its performance. First, we measured how fast it boots, using BootRacer. As you can see in the screenshot below, this laptop starts in about 28 seconds.

How fast the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo boots

To check the performance of the SSD inside the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo, we ran a tool called CrystalDiskMark. In the screenshot below, you see the results: the speeds are good both when reading and when writing data to the disk. However, other laptops offer even faster SSD drives.

ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo - CrystalDiskMark results

Users buying the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo are going to use it for lots of productivity tasks. We ran the default benchmark offered by PCMark 10, and it got a score of 5046 points, which proves that this laptop is capable of delivering excellent performance for productivity and digital content creation.

ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo - PCMark 10 score

We then ran the default Time Spy test from 3DMark, which showed that this laptop is capable of running modern games well. The score it obtained is 5809 points.

ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo - 3DMark score

We also wanted to check how well you can run VR experiences on the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo, and we ran the SuperPosition VR benchmark developed by Unigine. The score it got was 9794 points, which shows that this laptop is capable of delivering VR experiences at optimum quality.

ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo - SuperPosition VR score

We also tested the cooling system of this laptop, using the FurMark app. After a few dozen minutes, running at maximum load, the video card reached a temperature of 172.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 78 degrees Celsius, while the processor ran at 203 degrees Fahrenheit or 95 degrees Celsius. It is quite hot, and you should really switch the ventilation to Turbo, when running resource-intensive tasks.

ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo - How hot it gets

We also used Powermark to see how long the laptop's battery lasts. On the Balanced tests, which measures the battery time while browsing the web, working with Word, editing video, and gaming casually, ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo lasted just 2 hours and 29 minutes, when both of its screens were turned on.

How long the battery lasts with both screens turned on

When we turned off the second screen, ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo lasted about 3 hours and 2 minutes, which is not a lot.

How long the battery lasts with the main screen on

The benchmarks we ran show that the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo is a capable device that can run anything you wish and deliver a satisfying performance.

Apps bundled with the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo

The ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo that we received for testing had surprisingly little bloatware. Except for the default apps, that are bundled by Microsoft with Windows 10, and all the necessary drivers, we also found the following apps:

The MyASUS app

Where To Buy

  • McAfee Personal Security - a trial version of a security product that includes antivirus protection, web protection, and a password manager. Most users are going to uninstall it, as other security products tend to offer better protection.
  • MyASUS - a useful app that you can use to access the Customer Support service, tools for System Diagnosis, and software updates for your laptop, to configure the fans, the charging mode, or the screen and its color temperature.
  • Realtek Audio Console - a basic app that you can use to configure the speakers and the microphone on your laptop. It doesn't offer any special options compared to Windows 10, so you may want to uninstall it and save some storage space.
  • ScreenXpert - a Windows app used to control the secondary screen on the ZenBook Pro Duo and how it works.
  • Thunderbolt Control Center - helpful to configure the Thunderbolt devices that you connect to the ZenBook Pro Duo.

On the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo there was little in terms of bloatware included by ASUS. This is a nice surprise, and we were glad to see that most of the bundled apps are useful to users.

What do you think about the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo?

Now you know what we like and do not like about the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo and its many innovations. Before closing this review, tell us your opinion about this product, and whether you consider buying it, despite its premium price. Comment below, and let's discuss.