Asus always uses its Computex hometown show, which coincidentally is the largest computer hardware event in the world, to show off a wide and occasionally wild range of new products. And this time he surpassed himself – the headline announcement is one of the most decadent laptops ever made.
The ZenBook Pro Duo has not one, but two 4K screens. (At least if you count horizontal pixels.) There is a 15-inch 16: 9 OLED panel where you would normally find the screen on a laptop, followed by a 32: 9 IPS "ScreenPad Plus" screen directly above the keyboard that same width and half the height. It is as if Asus looked at the Touch Bar of the MacBook Pro and thought, "what if that, but with 32 times as many pixels?"
Unlike the Touch Bar, the ScreenPad Plus takes nothing away from the ZenBook Pro Duo, except presumably the battery life. Asus still contained a full keyboard with a function row, including an escape key, and the trackpad is directly on the right. The design is reminiscent of Asus & Slimline gaming laptops from Zephryus – you even get the etching for illuminating the light with which you can use the trackpad as a numeric keypad. HP has recently tried something similar, although the second screen was much smaller.
Asus has built some software for the ScreenPad Plus, making it more of a secondary control panel, but you can also use it as a full screen, or even two if you want to split it into two smaller 16: 9 1080p windows. You can also make it work as an extension of the main screen, so websites rise from above your keyboard while you scroll down, which is pretty nerve-racking. Or you could use it to watch Lawrence of Arabia while getting stuck in Excel spreadsheets.
The ZenBook Pro Duo has up to an eight-core Intel Core i9 processor with an Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU. There are four distant field microphones designed for use with Alexa and Cortana, and there is an echo-like blue light at the bottom that is activated with voice commands. It has a Thunderbolt 3 port, two USB-A ports, a headphone connection and a large HDMI port.
The performance seemed fine in my short time with the ZenBook Pro Duo, without any hitches or hitches, even when performing an intensive demo of video editing software. It is a fairly large laptop with 2.5 kg (about 5.5 lbs), but that is to be expected, given the gaming laptop class internals. I would also expect the battery life to be somewhere near that specific product category, but we will have to wait a while.
Although both screens looked good, I will say that they looked different. This is partly due to the scorching intensity of the primary OLED panel, but the ScreenPad Plus is also covered with a matte finish and usually looks less clear due to the way you view it naturally from an angle.
Asus also makes a cheaper and smaller 14-inch model, the ZenBook Duo. The design and concept are basically the same, but both screens are full HD instead of 4K, there is no Core i9 option and the discrete GPU is heavily degraded to an MX250.
Asus has not announced a price or availability for the ZenBook Pro Duo or the ZenBook Duo, but they are expected to land in the third quarter of this year.