Dual-screen laptops took a long time, and while Asus’ last try was more of an experiment, the latest ZenBook Duo 14 seems pretty convincing once you know how to use it to the full. It feels a lot better to be used as a daily driver, which the original dual-screen notebook lacked. The ZenBook Duo 14 fulfills many criteria, but it is not without its flaws. Here are the good and bad parts of the new ZenBook Duo 14 dual-screen notebook.
Asus ZenBook Duo 14 Price in India (as verified): Rs 129,990
Asus ZenBook Duo 14 Review: What’s New?
The ZenBook Duo 14 is a well thought-out device that differs from the notebooks used so far. Still, it feels familiar. Asus has equipped the notebook with a metal case, which makes it a premium notebook. The lid has this lovely brushed texture with the trademarked pattern of concentric circles and the shiny silver Asus logo. The ZenBook Duo 14 is not considered ultra-portable, but it is less heavy and lighter than its predecessor. I could open the Duo 14 anywhere and write content or capture an idea. In fact, I was able to work on the ZenBook Duo even if I didn’t have a real table in front of me.
The notebook has enough external connectivity ports that are rarely found in a mainstream laptop these days. On the left we find an HDMI out and two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports that use the USB Type-C port. Asus has installed a 3.5 mm headphone jack, a microSD reader and a USB-A port on the right.
Asus ZenBook Duo 14 Review: What’s Good?
Open the lid of the notebook and the ZenBook Duo 14 is a completely different laptop thanks to its unique dual-screen design. The main screen is a 14-inch FHD display (1920 x 1080 pixels) with minimal bezels. The screen becomes very bright and is perfect for multimedia applications. The display also supports an active pen that you get in the box.
The magic happens when you hook in the ScreenPad Plus – or the secondary screen, which measures 12.6 inches. Thanks to its unique shape, it has an unusual resolution of 1920 x 515 pixels. So when you open the Duo 14, the hinges in the notebook raise the ScreenPad Plus by 7 degrees. Though the continuity factor is missing, I still like the way the 12.6-inch touchscreen rises above the keyboard to get closer to the 14-inch display. This also helps with better airflow management.
Both screens are 400 nits in brightness, but I found the 12.6-inch secondary panel a bit boring. Though it’s perfectly fine for what it’s supposed to be; It basically serves as a secondary display. The idea of a secondary ad makes a lot of sense, especially if you’re working on multiple apps at the same time. I really enjoyed watching YouTube on the secondary screen while editing Google Doc on the main screen. There are several ways you can use the ScreenPad Plus.
Moving a window onto the ScreenPad Plus is as easy as dragging it down onto the secondary display. What I liked about the secondary screen is that it’s great for apps like Spotify or TweetDeck that I want to have access to at all times. The ScreenPad makes more sense when used with creative apps like Adobe Photoshop or Premiere Pro. For example, when you open Adobe Photoshop, a touch-friendly control appears on the ScreenPad Plus. It sure isn’t perfect. I had problems switching between windows all the time.
The ZenBook Duo is a fast machine. During my weeklong testing, it skillfully handled everything I threw at it. More importantly, common everyday tasks are also seamless. It has more than enough power to handle an average work day using a web browser, participating in Zoom calls, listening to Apple Music, streaming Netflix, or chatting with friends and family on WhatsApp Web. The model I tested has a Core i7-1165G7, 16 GB of RAM and a 1 TB SSD. My test unit used Intel’s built-in Iris Xe graphics, which provided a reasonable boost when compared to built-in graphics on older computers.
As with any laptop, the ZenBook Duo battery life depends on what you do with it. It has a long battery life that can keep up with everyday tasks. In my tests, the battery life lasted between eight and nine hours, which is good for a notebook with two displays.
Another thing I love about the ZenBook Duo is its speakers. The Harmon / Kardon speaker produces a balanced sound that is good enough to fill my medium sized room with sound. They’re pretty good whether you’re listening to music, streaming YouTube videos, or watching movies on Netflix.
Asus ZenBook Duo 14 review: what is bad?
The dual-screen concept works for me, but I struggled to adapt to the keyboard and touchpad. There is no space for the keyboard deck or the palm rest in the design of the ScreenPad Plus. Honestly, the keyboard feels a little tight to me. The keyboard is comfortable for typing, although overall it’s still plentiful. Then there is this awkward, vertically shaped touchpad that is just very weird to use.
The Duo 14 is an impressive machine, but its nondescript 720p webcam is a disappointment. While the HD webcam isn’t that bad, you’d get it on other laptops in the same price range.
Asus ZenBook Duo 14: should I buy it?
When I started using Asus’ ZenBook Duo 14 a few days ago, I got the impression that I would have trouble adapting to a new form factor. Although I had difficulties initially, the transaction has so far been smooth. The idea of a dual screen actually makes sense, although few compromises were made in the design that could have been avoided. However, the ZenBook Duo marks a major change in the hardware and design of a traditional laptop.