Asus Zenbook Pro Duo UX581 Review

0

The year 2019 has seen a really aggressive side of Asus in the laptop segment. The Tawainese manufacturer has introduced a number of laptops across different price segments so far this year. The latest to join the list is Asus Zenbook Pro Duo. As the name suggests it is Asus’ new dual-screen laptop which was earlier showcased at the Computex 2019. (Asus Zenbook Pro Duo UX581 Review हिंदी में पढ़िए)

A year ago, Asus first introduced a ScreenPad laptop where the touchscreen display replaced the traditional laptop trackpad. This year, Asus has just notched things up by adding a large 4k secondary screen just above the keyboard and trackpad. 

This unorthodox laptop from Asus also packs really powerful hardware on the inside. Performance hardware is led by octa-core Intel i9-9980HK CPU, coupled with Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU. On paper, the Asus Zenbook Pro Duo looks like a really impressive rig but what about the real-life performance? Does the secondary screen have any real use?  Well, we spent a couple of weeks with this new Asus laptop, and based on that experience here’s our Zenbook Pro Duo Review.

Page Contents:

Asus Zenbook Pro Duo UX 581 Specs and Price in India

Model

Asus Zenbook Pro Duo UX 581

Finish / Color

Celestial Blue

OS

Windows 10 Home

Processor

Intel® Core™ i7-9750H processor; 2.6GHz hexa-core with Turbo Boost (up to 4.5GHz) and 12MB cache

Graphics

NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2060 ; Video memory: 6GB GDDR6 VRAM

Display

15.6” OLED 4K (3840 x 2160) 16:9 touchscreen; 5mm-thin bezel with 89% screen-to-body ratio 178° wide-view technology; 100% DCI-P3

ScreenPad Plus 14” 4K (3840 x 1100) touch display; 178˚ wide-view technology

Memory

Integrated LED-backlit numeric keypad on touchpad

Storage

1TB PCIe® x4 SSD

Ports

1 x Thunderbolt™ 3 USB-C™(up to 40Gbps and DisplayPort)

2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A (up to 10Gbps)

1 x Standard HDMI 2.0

1 x Audio combo jack

1 x DC-in

Keyboard and Touchpad

Keyboard – Full-size backlit with 1.4mm key travel

TouchPad – Precision touchpad (PTP) technology supports up to four-finger smart gestures,

Audio

ASUS SonicMaster stereo audio system with surround-sound;  smart amplifier for maximum audio performance

Array microphone with Cortana and Alexa voice-recognition support

3.5mm headphone jack

Long-travel voice coils for improved low-frequency response

Certified by Harman Kardon

Camera

IR webcam with Windows Hello support

Connectivity

Intel Wi-Fi 6 with Gig+ performance (802.11ax) , Bluetooth 5.0

Power

71Wh 8-cell Rechargeable Li-Polymer Battery Pack; 230W power adapter; Plug Type: ø6 (mm) (Output: 19.5V DC, 11.8A, 230W) (Input: 100-240V AC, 50/60Hz universal)

Weight and

Dimensions

Height: 2.4cm (0.94 inches); Width: 35.9cm (14.13 inches);

Depth: 24.6cm (9.68 inches) Weight: 2.5kg (5.51 pounds)

Price in India

Rs 207,999

ALSO READ: 13-Inch HP Spectre x360 (2019) Review

Asus Zenbook Pro Duo Review: Design and build quality

Like most Zenbooks, the Pro Duo also follows Asus signature design language and features concentric-circle pattern on the outer lid. The laptop has a unibody design made from premium grade aluminum. The premium built quality could be felt from the moment we laid hands on this elegant machine. The Celestial Blue color variant has mirror-finished, diamond-cut chamfered edges that further add to the style.

To make the usage more ergonomic for this unique laptop, Asus has added some slick design elements. One that needs a mention here is ErgoLift hinge which lifts the keyboard deck slightly from the surface to allow air circulation. It also creates a 4.5-degree angle which makes typing and viewing experience more enjoyable. What further complements viewing experience are the slim bezels. These bezels around the primary display are just 5-mm thick, resulting in an 89% screen-to-body ratio.

Even with the ScreenPad covering substantial space in the bottom deck, Asus has managed to squeeze in a full-size keyboard with trackpad at the bottom. Though Zenbooks are known for their slim profile, the same can’t be said about the Zenbook Pro Duo. Unlike other Zenbooks, here Asus hasn’t cut any corners when it comes to specs. The Zenbook Pro Duo includes two displays, Intel’s high-performance octa-core processor and NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX discrete GPU. All of this tech pushes the weight to 2.5Kg (5.51 pounds) which means it is heavier than Apple Macbook Pro and HP Spectre X360 (both of which weigh about 1.83Kg and 2.08Kg, respectively).

Asus Zenbook Pro Duo Review: Displays

Everyone who prefers the convenience of having a dual monitor setup is likely to be intrigued with the Asus Zenbook Pro Duo, and we quite loved the dual-screen experience. It has a 15.6-inch 4K resolution OLED panel as the primary display. This is a Pantone Validated screen with 100 percent DCI-P3 color gamut coverage.

The secondary screen which Asus prefers to call the ScreenPad Plus features a 14-inch touchscreen with 4K resolution support. Though this second IPS screen also has 4K resolution (3,840 x 1,100p), the aspect ratio is 32:9 aspect ratio and your content will appear stretched if you run just one application across it. The ScreenPad Plus screen has a matte finish which makes it less reflective.

The main screen delivers excellent brightness and contrasts. With the crispness of 4K, it presents a delightful experience for basic usage as web surfing or for doing creative work on Adobe suit. 

Windows 10 detects the ScreenPad Plus as a second screen. It means that you can drag content from one screen to another. Asus has also added an App Switcher key which lets you switch screens in s jiffy. There’s also a ViewMax feature that expands and stretches a single application across both screens.

Initially, we were a little skeptical about the second screen’s practical usage but instead, it adds a new dimension to your workflow. While working on the Asus Zenbook Pro Duo we preferred to pin Spotify on the secondary screen while working on our assignments on the primary screen. You can even use the Screenpad with split-screen by stacking two or three apps side by side. 

Asus’ ScreenXpert control center lets you run a few apps that are specially designed by the OEM for this dual-screen setup. ASUS says that it is also collaborating with professional application makers to come up with more useful ways that take advantage of ScreenPad Plus, so this could get even more efficacious moving forward.

ALSO READ: Sony A9G OLED TV Review

Asus Zenbook Pro Duo Review: Ports and connectivity

If the big size of the Zenbook UX581 led you to assume a full array of ports, you might be disappointed. The Pro Duo 2019 comes with a Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port, audio jack and USB 3.1 port on one side while the other side only houses a power-in, a full-size HDMI and another USB 3.1 port.

So, there is no card reader, no Gigabit Ethernet port and no secondary USB Type-C port on the Asus Zenbook Pro Duo. As for connectivity, it includes Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) with speeds up to 2.4Gbps thanks to the Intel AX200 module. 

It is worth pointing out that our unit has had a peculiar issue with WI-FI connectivity. Every now and then it drops the Wi-Fi signal even when we are sitting next to the router. The new Zenbook also supports Bluetooth 5 connectivity.

Asus Zenbook Pro Duo Review: Keyboard and Trackpad

With the Screenpad Plus covering the major part of the bottom deck, Asus was left with limited space to manage Keyboard and trackpad. Let’s address the keyboard first. Asus has done well with the keys which have decent size and are well laid-out. Each key has an excellent 1.4mm of key travel resulting in excellent feedback.

The keyboard is silent and doesn’t create any unnecessary or unusual sound while typing. Lack of proper handrest support will be a problem for hardcore typing but since Asus is bundling in a separate hand rest this should be manageable. There are smart function keys for regular things like making brightness or volume adjustment which can be used in combination with Fn key. There are also dedicated hotkeys for adjusting fan speed, and NumberPad embedded touchpad.

The Trackpad, on the other hand, will require getting used thanks to its cramped size and odd placement. It is just 6.3 x 8.6 cm in size which is even smaller than what we get on other Zenbooks. The right-hand side placement makes it difficult for lefties who will have a really hard time using this trackpad.

ALSO READ: Asus ZenBook 14 (UX434FL) review

Asus Zenbook Pro Duo Review: Performance 

Asus has clearly made the Zenbook Pro Duo for performance users. In India, the Asus Zenbook 14, is offered with either Intel Core i9-998HK or Intel Core i7- 9750H processors. For this review, we had the tenth generation i9 variant. The most powerful Intel chip for laptops is paired with up to 32GB DDR4 (2666MHz) RAM. It also includes a terabyte SSD drive that offers excellent Read and Write speeds.

With Intel’s mightiest laptop processor, Asus ZenBook Pro Duo offers delightful performance and the machine can handle multitasking without breaking a sweat. We were able to load more than two dozen RAW images in Adobe Photoshop while running Spotify, Slack, and Twitter. If that’s not good enough, Asus also lets you overclock the processor for even better performance.

This productivity machine from Asus is also equipped with NVidia GeForce RTC 2060 GPU with 6GB VRAM, Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) and real-time ray-tracing.  Although it is not a hardcore gaming machine, the RTX2060 manages to deliver decent gaming performance similar to 1660Ti. It delivered the best gaming experience when rendering games at 1080p delivering a 60-70fps refresh rate.

For those who are into synthetic benchmarking, here the results of all the benchmark test we ran on the Asus Zenbook Pro Duo:

  • 3DMark Ice Strom Unlimited score: 169844
  • 3DMark Fire Strike score: 12732
  • 3DMark Time Sky 2K overall score: 5948
  • CineBench R15 Single-Core score: 183
  • CineBench R15 Multi-Core score: 1533
  • Crystal DiskMark 6 Sequential Read: 3360.8
  • Crystal DiskMark 6 Sequential Write: 2364.1
  • PCMark 10 overall score: 4104
  • PCMark 10 Essentials Score: 8540

Asus Zenbook Pro Duo Review: Battery

With two 4K screens and powerful innards, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is expectedly a power hog. It packs a 71Wh battery which managed to last for 4hours with both screens turned on Wi-Fi.

We also measured battery performance in normal work mode which involved lots of web browsing, office suite music playback, and video streaming. With primary and secondary screen brightness set to half, we crossed four hours mark with 35 percent left in the tank. If you want, you can turn off the secondary screen to extend battery life further.

Asus bundles a  230W AC adapter with the Zenbook Pro Duo to refill the battery. In our test, it took about one hour and 40 minutes to go from zero to a hundred percent.

Bottomline

 

Asus has made a bold move with its dual-screen Zenbook Pro Duo. The two 4K screens certainly exemplify out of the box thinking. Although in the past we have seen laptops with the second screen including Asus’ own Zenbook, this is the first instance when the secondary screen is not a gimmick and actually proved to be quite useful. We sincerely hope Asus continues to innovate with its ScreenPad Plus in future products.

On the downside, the extra screen required a bigger casing and the new Zenbook isn’t as portable. In performance terms, it is one of the most powerful portable productivity machines in India today.

Pros

  • Excellent screen quality
  • Thumbs up for computing power
  • Quite operations 
  • Good keyboard 

Cons

  • Cramped trackpad
  • No additional storage slot
  • Heavy
  • Costly

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here