The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is an extravagant laptop with two 4K screens

Asus always likes to use its hometown trade show of Computex, which also happens to be the world’s biggest computer hardware event, to show off a wide and occasionally wild lineup of new products. And it’s really outdone itself this time — the headline announcement is one of the most decadent laptops ever created.

The ZenBook Pro Duo has not one, but two 4K screens. (At least if you’re counting horizontal pixels.) There’s a 15-inch 16:9 OLED panel where you’d normally find the display on a laptop, then a 32:9 IPS “ScreenPad Plus” screen directly above the keyboard that’s the same width and half the height. It’s as if Asus looked at the MacBook Pro Touch Bar and thought “what if that, but with 32 times as many pixels?”

Unlike the Touch Bar, though, the ScreenPad Plus doesn’t take anything away from the ZenBook Pro Duo, except presumably battery life. Asus still included a full-sized keyboard with a function row, including an escape key, and the trackpad is located directly to the right. The design is very reminiscent of Asus’ Zephryus slimline gaming laptops — you even still get the light-up etching that lets you use the trackpad as a numpad. HP tried something similar recently, too, though its second screen was far smaller.

Asus has built some software for the ScreenPad Plus that makes it more of a secondary control panel, but you can also use it as a full-on monitor, or even two if you want to split it into two smaller 16:9 1080p windows. You can also set it to work as an extension of the main screen, so websites rise up from above your keyboard as you scroll down, which is pretty unnerving. Or you could use it to watch Lawrence of Arabia while you jam on 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 far-field microphones designed for use with Alexa and Cortana, and there’s an Echo-style blue light at the bottom edge that activates with voice commands. It has a Thunderbolt 3 port, two USB-A ports, a headphone jack, and a full-sized HDMI port.

Performance seemed fine in my brief time using the ZenBook Pro Duo, without any hiccups or hitches even when running an intensive video editing software demo. It’s a fairly hefty laptop at 2.5kg (about 5.5lbs), but that’s to be expected given the gaming laptop-class internals. I would also expect its battery life to fall somewhere close to that particular category of products, though we’ll have to wait and see about that.

While both of the screens looked good, I will say they looked different. Part of that is because of the searing intensity of the primary OLED panel, but the ScreenPad Plus is also coated with a matte finish, and usually looks less bright because of how you naturally view it at an off angle.

Asus is also making a cheaper and smaller 14-inch model called the ZenBook Duo. The design and concept is basically the same, but both screens are full HD rather than 4K, there’s no Core i9 option, and the discrete GPU has been heavily downgraded to an MX250.

Asus hasn’t announced pricing or availability for the ZenBook Pro Duo or the ZenBook Duo, but they’re expected to land in the third quarter of this year.

Comments

Pretty cool idea. But like the Touch Bar, do people really want to look away from their screen when using an interface? Seems like a UI (UX?) problem?

This second screen is a lot more useful than the touch bar though.

in what way? because it’s bigger?

Because it’s an actual second screen not a mere function bar

I honestly don’t know what I’d do with it.

pretty much anything you would do with a dual monitor setup. For me it would be most reference materials and chat screens.For graphics apps you can move most of the tools out of your workspace, which is doubly useful on a laptop because of the small primary screen size..

That sounds terrible for your neck/back.

Neck? How big do you think the laptop is lol. Just need to lower your eyes

Would make an excellent preview of open tabs and application dock.

YouTube, todo list, terminal, messages/inbox, Slack window, Spotify. Basically anything you don’t really need to full screen interact with, but you might want to be easily glanceable at the same time.

I love the idea, even if the execution looks a bit wonky. We’ll have to see if it completely wrecks battery life.

And you get to keep your F-keys.

Because it’s an actual screen and not just a useless bar

the bar is a screen, and as with it, supporting software will win or doom it. does seem more useful although i’m not sure i would be happy with the keyboard layout.

Sure, the bar is a screen, but a tiny one that is so useless. I keep accidentally pressing the ESC key because apparently I rest my finger in that spot when I type or something

The bar is still more useful than f-keys on mac. You can ignore it but when you get used to it, it’s really convenient for certain tasks

I think it’s awesome for anyone who works on a laptop. It’s almost as good as having a second screen. Video editing, Photoshop, Sound editing, using a programming API, you name it.

If it comes at a reasonable price, i’ll buy one, it’s perfect for working in Unity.

Do people want to look away from their screen, to look at their secondary screen…just like people do with multi-screen setups on their desktop computers? Why, yes…yes they do. It’s not just a gimmick screen limited to what ASUS wants to display on it. It’s a fully functional monitor.

Looks interesting, but no hand/wrist support when typing will make it difficult to type on.

They need the keyboard to flip back (i.e. keys will face the desk the laptop is resting on).. So when you want to use the screen flip the keyboard back..

You should not be actually resting your wrist on your laptop when typing normally, that’s poor ergonomics and hard on your wrists. The bigger problem is that it’s so far forward that you have to have the screen further away from you. Sucks for limited workspaces like on planes because you have to pull your arms back too close to your body.

At 5.5lbs, you would want to use this is a cramped environment anyway. Tabletop or desktop.

How else can you type? Holding wrists above the keyboard is worse.

You are supposed to hold your wrists straight when typing, not rest on the surface. Google "typing ergonomics" for dozens of examples.

This would mean holding them in the air without a wrist rest. Nope, you’re not supposed to do that.

Yes, you are. Your wrist should always be straight from arm to hand level. A traditional "wrist rest" is only for when you aren’t typing. If you have a disability that prevents you from holding in the proper position, you use an alternative rest or angled tray to support your arm.

https://www.google.com/search?q=typing+ergonomics&tbm=isch

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