Asus ZenBook Duo is all about two displays, a technology that Asus has been pushing and embellishing for several years now. The 2021 duo lineup includes Zenbook Duo 14 and Zenbook Duo 15 with prices starting at INR 99,990 and 239,990, respectively.
This year Asus brings in a slimmer design, updated performance hardware, and several improvements to the core dual-screen technology. In our Asus Zenbook Duo 14 UX482E review, we will explore if the two screens on a portable laptop are indeed useful and how far the Screenpad technology has evolved. Let’s get started with the price and specifications.
Asus ZenBook Duo 14 UX482E Price and Specs
|Product||ZenBook Duo UX482E|
|Primary Display||14-inch LED-backlit FHD (1920 x 1080) 60 Hz touchscreen with 100% sRGB|
|Secondary Display||12.65″ ScreenPad Plus (1920 x 515p resolution)|
IPS-level panel with stylus support
|Processor||2.80 GHz Intel Core i7-1165G7 quad-core processor Turbo Boost (up to 4.70 GHz) and 12 MB cache|
2.40 GHz Intel Core i5-1135G7 quad-core processorTurbo Boost (up to 4.20 GHz) and 8 MB cache
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce MX450 2GB GDDR6 VRAM|
Intel Iris Xe Graphics
|RAM||Up to 16 GB 4266 MHz LPDDR4x|
|Storage||Up to 1TB M.2 NVME PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD|
|Dimensions and Weight||324 x 222 x 16.9 mm; 1.6 Kg|
|Keyboard and Touchpad||Full-size backlit, with 1.4 mm key travel; 5.65-inch Full HD+ (2160 x 1080) IPS LCD display|
|Webcam||IR HD type (30fps@720p) with Windows Halo support|
|Audio||Harman Kardon-certified audio system|
|I/O port||2 x Thunderbolt™ 4 USB-C® (up to 40 Gbps)|
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
1 x Standard HDMI 1.4
MicroSD card reader
3.5 mm audio jack
|Wireless connectivity||Intel WiFi 6 + Bluetooth 5.0|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home|
|Battery||70 Wh 3-cell lithium-polymer battery, 65 W (Type-C) power adaptor|
|Price range||INR 99,990 to INR 1,34,990 (review model)|
Asus ZenBook Duo 14 UX482E Review: Design
On the outside, the new Zenbook Duo can pass off as a regular 14-inch ultrabook and there is nothing that leads to suspicion of its unique two-screen layout. It’s fairly slim (16.9 mm) and reasonably light (1.6 Kg), and very comfortable to carry in a backpack.
Asus uses magnesium-aluminum alloy for the chassis and the lid, and the signature brushed metal finish still feels premium and elegant.
As with previous Zenbook Duo models, the dock makes room for a secondary 12.6-inch touchscreen. It is a bright IPS Panel that supports touch and stylus input and the good thing is that the Stylus is bundled within the box.
The biggest change this year is the new AAS Plus (Active Aerodynamic System) and hinge that seamlessly lifts the secondary panel to a 7-degree angle. This gentle lift reduces the spacing between the two screens and also ensures better airflow. This means you won’t have to crane your head downward or adjust your posture every time you switch your gaze from one to another.
We will get to the usability of the additional display in a bit, but accomodating two displays involves some design tradeoffs. The biggest is that there is no space for handrests. Asus addresses this by shifting the keyboard to the very bottom so users may comfortably rest their hands on a table while typing. The makeshift elevation stand bundled in the box helps too.
The trackpad crammed to the far right is also far from ideal. The click buttons are small and productivity applications mandate the use of an external mouse. There’s option to convert the secondary screen into a giant touchpad, but that didn’t cut it for us.
Due to these limitations, the Zenbook Duo is best suited for use on a table. Using it on your lap or in odd places like the handrests of your living room couch is very inconvenient.
The laptop sits firmly on a table without any wobble and the overall build seems extremely sturdy. The webcam is appropriately positioned on the top bezel above the screen.
Asus ZenBook Duo UX482E Review: Dual Displays
The primary 14-inch screen has narrow side bezels which make it appear more immersive. Asus targets 100% RGB color space, which should make the duo more appealing to its target of creative professionals. There’s also Pantone Validated certification which should be relevant to a section of designers and those involved in publishing work.
Yes, the primary screen feels perfectly befitting the price tag, but the main reason why you’d be buying a Zenbook Duo is for its two screens. This year, the 12.6-inch secondary IPS LCD panel is brighter and more vibrant, and better matched to the primary one – which really helps. Both screens can get 400 Nits bright, but the matte finish on the ScreenPad makes it appear a tad dull against the glossy and reflective primary panel.
Windows recognizes the Screenpad as a secondary screen and you can use it as an extended monitor. The new control center for the Screen Pad is a lot more intuitive and it’s quite easy to drag applications and chrome tabs between the two. There are separate brightness control and an app drawer for Screen Pad apps like calculator, Spotify, etc (the list is currently very limited).
With a few applications like Adobe Premiere, After Effects, Photoshop, and Lightroom, the ScreenPad opens up a control panel with relevant buttons, sliders, and dials for zoom, contrast, and more. This should be helpful for creators who frequently use these apps.
Adjusting workflow for two screens takes some getting used to. Initially, we had to force ourselves to use the secondary screen, but eventually, we took to it and really enjoyed the experience. It’s kind of convenient to not have to switch screens to check mail or to refer to a tutorial or to check and refer to notes while writing a review.
The dual-screen experience is not a gimmick. At the same time, convincing masses to break years of single-screen conditioning and get used to dual screens should be an uphill task.
Asus ZenBook Duo UX482E Review: Keyboard, IO, and Connectivity
The keyboard obviously feels a bit cramped and spacing between keys isn’t ideal. Our primary use case involves a lot of typing and surprisingly we got used to the Zenbook Duo keyboard fairly quickly.
Keys have 1.4mm travel and there are several hotkeys including one to switch windows between the two screens or to disable the screen pad. We believe it won’t be hard for most people to get used to typing on a Zenbook duo placed on a tabletop.
There’s a rich assortment of connectivity options, similar to what we have on other Zenbook models this year. These include a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, two USB Type-C thunderbolt ports, an audio jack, a Card Reader, and standard HDMI 1.4. The new duo also supports dual-band Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.
Asus ZenBook Duo 14 UX482E Review: Performance, Battery & Audio
Our review unit is powered by a 2.80 GHz Intel Core i7-1165G7 quad-core processor paired with 16 GB 4266 MHz LPDDR4x RAM and 1TB M.2 NVME PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD storage. The Zenbook Duo 14 comes with optional NVIDIA GeForce MX450 graphics with 2GB GDDR6 VRAM. For the Duo 14, there is also a Core i5 -1135G7 option with 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD, which starts at INR 99,990.
In comparison, the Zenbook Duo 15 UX582 starts at INR 239,990 should be better suited to advanced productivity needs. It has a 15.6-inch OLED display and goes up to Core i9-10980HK and Nvidia RTX3070 graphics.
Asus further brandishes Intel Evo certification, which Intel diligently awards only to laptops with premium components that can match up a certain performance threshold.
The Zenbook 14 Duo that we have with us is a powerful laptop for routine work and moderate productivity needs. This is not a machine that would stutter if you push it with umpteen chrome tabs or aggressive multitasking. However, the Nvidia MX450 is pretty much entry grade and it won’t be wise to expect much in terms of graphics-intensive loads like gaming or video editing.
We didn’t face any random stutters, the laptop boots up in no time and transfer speeds over WLAN were excellent. Heavy graphics games like Assasins Creed did not work well. Other less demanding games like Witcher 3 work well in medium settings.
Asus has a very impressive heat dissipation mechanism that includes two 59-blade fans, a heavy-duty heat dissipation pipe, and the new Ergolift hinge that supposedly improves airflow by 49%. The system proved very effective and the Zenbook Duo 14 could sustain performance really well.
The 70-watt-hour battery is rated to last for 17 hours of all-day usage. We could consistently manage more than 12 hours with both displays turned on. The ZenBook Duo also supports fast charging and can go from zero to 60 percent in under 49 minutes. So, battery mileage is quite impressive, especially factoring in the extra screen.
As for audio, there Asus-tuned and Harman Kardon certified speakers that get fairly loud. We still had to rely on external speakers and TWS earbuds most of the time.
Review Verdict: Should you buy the Asus ZenBook Duo 14 UX482E?
The 2021 Zenbook Duo Laptops bring in several improvements to the secondary ScreenPad display like a brighter and more vibrant panel, more customizable and intuitive UI, and the new elevating hinge. The Duo 14 is remarkably well designed – it looks premium and is very portable in spite of making room for an extra display. The performance is comparable to what you’d get from ultrabooks in the same budget.
The core premise remains that two screens are better than one, and if that doesn’t sound convincing to you, the whole experience could fall flat. Over the generations, Asus has been keeping its ears to the ground and has incorporated community feedback to get the foundation of dual-screen laptops right.
The Zenbook Duo 14 is for anyone who has a specific dual-screen use case in mind or values two screens enough to bear a cramped keyboard and trackpad. If not, the more conventional Zenbook 14 UX435 ultrabook should be a better choice.
Asus Zenbook Duo 14 UX482E review rating:
ScreenPad is genuinely useful
Excellent battery mileage
Impressive connectivity options including two Thunderbolt 4.0 ports
- Cramped keyboard without proper handrest
- Squeezed trackpad and its odd positioning