Asus has announced the second generation of its dual-screen laptops and is aiming them at creative professionals thanks to software and hardware improvements. The original dual-screen design felt more like a novelty, but this follow-up feels far more practical.
The company has revealed two different versions of the dual-screen laptops, the ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED (model number UX582) and the ZenBook Duo 14 (model number UX482). Both models add a feature that is poised to make the dual-screen nature of the design a lot more usable: they tilt. Called the Asus ScreenPad Plus, it’s a full-width secondary touchscreen with a new auto-tilt mechanism that the company says improves readability, has 36% better airflow for cooling purposes, and allows it to work more seamlessly for multitasking and creative applications.
That second screen tilts upwards by about 9.5 degrees on the Pro Duo and 7 degrees on the Duo 14 which the company says reduces glare and reflections, making it much easier to read.
When the laptops are placed on the supplied Duo Stand, the tilted display sits at a stylus-friendly angle, and both displays support the latest 4096-pressure-level devices including the bundled ASUS Pen.
The ScreenPad Plus is powered by an upgraded version of the ScreenXpert 2 software that hosts a colleciton of new and upgraded apps that are designed to boost productivity.
The new Window Flick feature that allows users to simply flick windows between displays. The popular Task Group app has an updated design, so users can see their Task Groups at a glance, and lock into work modes instantly by launching multiple apps with a single tap.
Asus also announced that the ScreenXpert 2 software has a new feature called Control Panel, which is a fully customizable app that currently works with Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, Premiere, and After Effects. Very clearly targeted at creatives, the Control Panel allows you to gain precise control over Adobe apps like adjusting brush size, saturation, layer opacity, and others through a Dial, Button, Slider, or Scroll control setting. Asus says that each works in a different way to give precise and smooth control over a set of parameters.
ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED
The Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED is the flagship dual-screen model and features a high-performance Intel Core i9 processor, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 laptop GPU, up to 32 GB RAM, and up to 1TB of PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD. The 14-inch 4K UHD ScreenPad Plus has an improved brightness of 400 nits and sits below the main 15.6-inch display.
Asus says the Pro Duo is one of the first NVIDIA Studio laptops to feature a RTX 30 series GPU that it says offers GPU acceleration for ray tracing, artificial intelligence, and high-speed video encoding.
The Pro Duo includes two Thunderbolt 3 ports that support an additional 8K external display or two 4K UHD displays. The laptop is also equipped with WiFi 6 (802.11ax) that’s up to three times-faster wireless connections than Wi-Fi 5.
The OLED display is a 4K NDR NanoEdge touchscreen that has a frameless four-sided slim bezel design with a 93% screen-to-body ratio that Asus says maximizes screen space for the size of the laptop. That OLED display also provides incredible contrast, something OLEDs are always praised for achieving. Asus says it also has superb color accuracy and hits 100% of the DCI-P3 range and has a PANTONE Validated certification (Adobe RGB specification was not provided, however).
The ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED is slated to be released in April with pricing to be announced at a later date.
ZenBook Duo 14
The Zenbook Duo 14 has many of the same features as the Pro Duo but pared down to be more affordable. It is powered by up to an 11th generation Intel Core i7 with Intel Iris Xe graphics and a choice of NVIDIA GeForce MX450 graphics, up to 32 GB of RAM, and up to 1TB of PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD. It features a 12.6-inch secondary ScreenPad Plus along with the 14-inch Full HD touchscreen main display.
The Duo 14 has a pair of Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports which support power delivery and offers the ability to connect an external 8K display or two 4K UHD displays. It is also equipped with WiFi 6.
Asus uses the term “casual creators” to describe those who would be attracted to the Duo 14, clearly drawing a line between it and the much more powerful Pro Duo.
The Duo 14 is set to be available much sooner than the Pro Duo, with pre-orders starting January 14 in North America for as low as $999.