Asus updated its ZenBook Duo and ZenBook Duo Pro dual-screen laptops at CES 2021, and while the show is practically taking place this year, Gadgets 360 was able to spend some time with a demo unit. The ZenBook Duo series now has updated internals and an automatic tilt mechanism that elevates their secondary displays to a more comfortable viewing angle. The original ZenBook Duo series was first unveiled at Computex 2019, after which Asus showed off its ROG Zephyrus Duo based on the same rough design, but with a raised secondary screen to help with airflow and airflow. ‘ergonomics. This little tweak has now made a comeback in the ZenBook lineup, and it’s making a pretty big difference.
The giant secondary display, which Asus calls ScreenPad +, spans the width of the bottom half of the ZenBook Duo. It matches the horizontal resolution of the main screen so you can treat it as a second monitor aligned vertically rather than horizontally. With the original ZenBook Duo, the ScreenPad + was flat and aligned with the keyboard, which made it a bit difficult to use. When I looked at this laptop, I found myself leaning and leaning forward quite often. The new mechanism solves this problem to some extent.
Asus combines its “ Ergolift ” hinge action, which lifts the entire lower deck, with this new automatic lifting mechanism, so that the ScreenPad + automatically tilts when you open the lid. The angle is up to 7 degrees and is not adjustable beyond that. Fortunately, the raised panel doesn’t obscure the bottom of the main screen at any angle. My demo unit came with a stylus and the ScreenPad + did not flex or bend when pressed.
The mechanism looks pretty sturdy, but it looks like it could be damaged if you try to close the laptop cover with something like a pencil accidentally stuck under the ScreenPad +. There shouldn’t be much risk of getting a finger pinched, but it would be a good idea to handle this laptop gently. I’m a little wary of dust and lint as the space is relatively tight and seems difficult to clean, but Asus does include a protective sleeve.
The main display and the ScreenPad + both have matte finishes which reduce glare to some extent. The resolutions are 1920×1080 and 1920×515 respectively. As for the internal hardware, we have an 11e Generation Intel ‘Tiger Lake’ processor with integrated Intel Xe graphics and optional Nvidia GeForce MX450 discrete GPU. My demo unit has 32GB of RAM and a 1TB NVMe SSD, but the exact specs vary.
ZenBook Duo UX482E has an Intel Evo sticker, which means it has been designed to meet a variety of weight, performance, and battery life requirements. It’s 16.9mm thick and has relatively narrow bezels, with room for a webcam in the usual spot. Asus claims 17 hours of battery life, and this laptop can be charged via USB Type-C.
There are two Thunderbolt Type-C ports and a full-size HDMI port on the left, plus a Type A port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a microSD card slot on the right. The keyboard layout is improved over the first generation, and we now have a more responsive arrow group and the Shift keys are in the right place. There is always a vertical trackpad that will not be suitable for lefties. In terms of comfort, the keyboard is right at the lower edge of the body which could become uncomfortable over time.
Asus has improved its software and you can easily move programs from one screen to another. You can configure batches to run a number of programs and automatically tile them across both screens. Both are tactile, so the ScreenPad + can function as a control surface in some software.
Overall, Asus seems to have refined the design of its original ZenBook Duo series, and the new model should be more practical for everyday use. Information on pricing and availability in India is not yet known. Stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for when it launches in India.
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