For a content creator such as myself, the modern fast-paced environment that’s now at home poses a lot of challenges in terms of being able to deliver in time. I found out that having more space to work with almost always boosts my productivity. Not having to fiddle around with switching windows and tabs saves a lot of time and improves the overall workflow, and lets me focus on what’s more important.
Speaking of tools, the ZenBook Pro Duo was one of the most unique devices of its time, offering those who can get it, the flexibility of having two screens in one laptop. Now, there’s a new version that offers numerous improvements, such as a more capable CPU and GPU, and a beautiful OLED display.
The ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED comes in typical ASUS packaging – a black box with some branding. It’s got a handle up top, which makes it easy to carry around, despite the weight.
As you open the box, the laptop, wrapped in plastic, slightly rises so you can easily get it out of the box. You’ll find a dedicated box for the power cable and brick, another box that contains standard documentation, and a digital pen. Our review unit did not come with a battery for it, so I had to pick one up from another device. It also comes with a similarly themed wrist rest.
Just as one would expect from a flagship, the ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED is an eye-candy, despite having a more “formal” look that drops all that bling that the ROG Zephyrus Duo has. Its sheer size is more than enough to make heads turn the moment you place it on a desk, and at 2.40 kg, it can be quite an exercise to move around.
You get the usual thematic ASUS branding on the lid along with a brushed metal surface – something uniform across the ZenBook lineup. Upfront, the thicker bezels are noticeable, especially the one on top, top accommodate the front camera.
There’s a touch of Intel Branding, along with the ASUS ZenBook monicker at the bottom of the ScreenPad Plus. Keyboard Layout is similar to what you’d get from the ZenBook 13, which means you can access commands like Page Up and Page down using the Fn key. The touchpad is smaller than what you’ll get on the 13-inch ZenBook, and can also be instantly converted into a calculator.
The keyboard is backlit, with three levels of brightness to choose from. The typing experience is the same as well, at lease for the few pieces I’ve published on this thing – soft and silent.
Despite its massive size, the ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED only has one USB Type-A port, which means you’ll have to use a dongle to connect more than just a mouse. Most of the extra space on the side have been turned into exhaust units.
You get two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, an HDMI 2.1 port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. For a productivity-focused laptop, it’s a bit strange for me that this thing also doesn’t have a microSD card reader. I don’t know, that’s something I always use to transfer files. Maybe they think that USB Card Readers work better or something.
Of course, the bread and butter of this laptop are its displays. The main one is a touch-enabled, Pantone-Validated 15.6-inch OLED panel with UHD resolution and covers 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut.
Then there’s the ScreenPad Plus, a 14.09-inch secondary screen that’s also touch-enabled and boasts UHD resolution. The ErgoLift Hinge allows the screen to be slightly raised up to an angle when the laptop is fully open. This is part of the ZenBook Pro 15 OLED’s Active Aerodynamic System that increases overall cooling airflow by up to 36%.
I’ll save the color tests for later, but what I can tell you is that the colors in this thing look amazing. Colors just pop-out and details look fantastic, especially when doing media consumption. Unfortunately, you don’t get the smoothness and fluidity of say, a 120Hz or 144Hz display, but you trade that for more pixels and real estate.
Performance and Software
The ScreenPad Plus not just acts as a secondary screen, it can do all other sorts of things, thanks to the ScreenXpert 2.0 software that powers it. When using Adobe Photoshop, for example, it displays shortcuts to some commonly-used tools like the Eyedropper, Lasso Tool, and more. Pretty convenient, especially since it’s touch-enabled.
It’s not free from flaws though. One complaint I have is that when the controls for a window – which contains the buttons used to minimize or close the window, crosses the black border area on the ScreenPad Plus, it becomes completely inaccessible.
For everything else, it’s smooth sailing. You can easily drag and drop any app from the main screen to the secondary, very useful when writing articles, as I can put the source on the second screen, and have my editor on the main.
Under the hood, you get a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10870H processor, along with 8GB of 2933MHz DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD. Graphics work is handled by no less than an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070.
I’ll save the benchmarks for later, but I haven’t encountered any performance issues, at least for now. As expected from a device of this caliber, Apps open fast, and switching from one to another is a breeze.
Software-wise, the ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED comes with a fair share of extra apps. Some, you’ll need, and some you’ll not. For a reference, I uninstalled the proprietary anti-virus.
The Deal So Far
So far, my experience with the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED is nothing short of enjoyable, and productive too. With the help of ScreenPad Plus and powerful hardware, creating articles and editing photos were much easier. It’s not able to fully replicate having an actual second monitor, of course, but it does the job.
The design is familiar, but still eye-candy. The whole AAS thing is great and all, but a second USB Type-A port would’ve been great. Overall performance has also been flawless so far, though you can tell that it’s getting a bit toasty inside with all that heat from the side exhausts.
Do look forward to our deep-dive article, where we take a closer look at what makes this laptop “incredible” apart from having two displays.