It’s been like forever that we have seen a groundbreaking revamp on laptops. But, with the growing workflow in a fast-paced mobile life, a larger expanse of the screen seems an eventual outcome. While folding phones had the initial rage, the trend seems to switch sides to laptops. As such, the upshot appears to be Dual Display and Foldable Laptops!
To be fair, there have been some experiments, which were few and far between. While the decade-old Asus Taichi and Acer Iconia 6120 were far ahead the times, the Asus Zenbook Duo and HP Omen X 2S of yesteryear felt like mere stepping stones. And then in the recently concluded CES 2020, the center stage was dedicated to Dual Display Laptops. Several brands showcased their multi-display lappies. Granted they were mostly fresh out of labs and their actual time to market might be long drawn.
So, the question looms whether you should be excited about the purposed shift in laptop design. Like any other technological transition, the inception stage will attract early adopters. But, before biting the bullet, you must be wary of a few things.
Challenges with Dual Display Laptops
Here are a few points to take note before betting your money on the neoteric technology –
- Multi-display devices must have evenly responsive touchscreens without performance hiccups.
- Two or more displays will slurp more juice and hence brands need to come up with better power optimization.
- More displays mean more addition to laptop heft. Since a laptop is an ‘on-the-go’ gadget, it should be as light and handy as possible. Moreover, a display-centric device will involve hand movements and as such, ergonomics takes precedence.
- The hinge mechanism must be flexible yet sturdy.
- Using a virtual keyboard or modular one might demand a learning curve. Especially, they should address ample key travel. So, typing and functioning the new input means will require some getting used to.
- Further, the panels must be better resistant to scratches, glossiness, etc.
- The software *cough* Windows 10X *cough* must tailor the UI according to the new format. Further, app development must pace to utilize the larger canvas and use scenarios.
- You may have to spare more to own one, at least in the early years before the tech matures.
But, all these are more like suggestions to bake a better computing experience. After all, innovation propels progress and its only a matter of time that all the issues get fixed. On that optimistic note, here are the possibilities that the Dual Display tech could bring about.
Possibilities with Dual Display Laptops
- A selling point for Dual display laptop is the maximum productivity it warrants on a large yet portable expanse. This ensures avenues for better multitasking, seamless sharing of data between apps and above all a creative use of the space. One could use the peripheral display for reference, comparison, instruction, etcetera. Creative Folks out there, take note!
- This also proposes increased collaboration and communication
- If one doubts their relevance in the presence of dual desktop monitors, the answer is – lesser space consumption.
- The touch screen employs swipes and gestures which ensues innate and natural modes of navigation. It’s a playground for those who love fiddling with a stylus.
- The tech is cutting-edge, which comes with a fancy and premium appeal.
Best Dual Display Laptops Announced Thus Far
Asus Zenbook Pro Duo
The Zenbook Pro Duo has a 15.6-inch 4K resolution OLED panel as the main display. This is a Pantone Validated screen with 100 percent DCI-P3 color gamut coverage. The secondary screen christened the ScreenPad Plus stretches a 14-inch touchscreen with 4K resolution and 32:9 aspect ratio. It has a matte finish.
You can drag content from one screen to another. Asus’ own ScreenXpert control lets you run some tailor-made apps on this small screen. There is an App Switcher key to swap screens without a slouch. The built-in ViewMax feature makes things even more interesting by allowing a single app across both screens.
HP Omen X 2S
Hp Omen X 2S flaunts a primary 15.6-inch LCD panel (144Hz refresh, full HD resolution and NVIDIA’s G-Sync compatible), followed by a secondary, 5.98-inch 1080p multitouch screen right above the RGB lit keyboard. The use cases are somewhat similar to the Asus laptop given above.
Lenovo Think book Plus
Now, this one has a different approach to the whole dual-display concept. The primary display is a 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080, an anti-glare screen with 300 nits of luminosity. Lenovo has placed the second display on the bonnet. But, this is just an e-ink panel capable of presenting black and white color only. So, the use case is limited to jotting something, reading docs or glancing the reminders and task notifications.
This one has a resemblance to the Microsoft Duo. The obvious difference is in the larger footprint and a modular keyboard. The hinge can rotate 360 degrees opening up different form factors. Dell offers a few gestures to navigate the UI. On the periphery, there are two USB-C ports.
Intel Honeycomb Glacier
As the name suggests, the laptop has a 2D honeycomb structure accommodating a native companion display. The main display is a 15.6-inch FHD panel and right beneath it, there’s the secondary 12.3-inch screen. When unfolded fully, the two displays are backed by a two-hinge system along with a keyboard at the base.
Under the hood, there is an Intel Core i9 processor coupled with Nvidia GTX 1070. The heat dissipation is handled by the proprietary star-field cooling system. Other things included in the mix are the Tobii eye-tracking feature.
Intel Twin River
This Intel prototype combines two 12.3-inch panels, which, with a 1080p resolution and an aspect ratio of 3:2. Under the hood, it ran on an Intel Whiskey Lake U-series quad-core processor. Intel had structured the motherboard into two compartments. Whilst the CPU, storage and memory were nesting on the top, the bottom portion held networking, connectivity, and I/O modules. Another unique aspect was the use of fabric coating on the periphery.
Razer Project Valerie
Touted as the world’s first automated triple display laptop, it’s surely one spectacular piece of machinery. Three 17-inch screens with the two peripheral screen that can be slid open from the side of the main screen. All three sports 4K IGZO displays powered by Nvidia’s G-Sync technology.
It’s an obvious target for hardcore gaming. As such, the feature set also boasts Nvidia 180-degree Surround FoV, full Adobe RGB color spectrum, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics with 8 gigs of video RAM, a cool 32GB of system RAM, and vapor-chamber heat dissipation mechanism.
Acer Iconia 6120
This one’s a throwback from the past. The Acer Iconia 6120 ushered in a dual display model back in 2011. However, due to technological disabilities, the tablet couldn’t set a trend. Yes, it was marketed as a tablet back then. But, it had a larger surface area than a tablet. The Toshiba Libretto would better fall into the category of a tablet.
Both the displays were of 14-inches with 1366 x 768 pixels resolution. The glossy panels were conjoined by a 180-degree tiltable hinge. Iconia was propelled by a Core i5 processor.
Asus Taichi 21
This is yet another retrograde in the evolution timeline of laptop design. Taichi’s second display happened to be on the lid. You could use the laptop as a tablet while closed. And in the opened state, you could either mirror screens or show different content on the surface screen, so that anybody sitting across you can see and interact with it. There was even a Screen Share in-house app that presents a small preview window of the back screen contents on the inner screen. Both screens measured 11.6-inch with 1080p resolution.
Other things included an Intel Core i5 CPU clocked at 1.7GHz, housed with 4GB of RAM, 128GB of solid-state storage, and two USB 3.0 ports.
Best foldable Laptops announced so far
The following might not cut for a dual or multi-display format, per se. But, their use case somewhat falls under the same gamut.
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Fold
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Fold was unveiled at CES 2020. It folds inward on itself. The torque hinge juts out a little. The screen accepts pen-input and multi-touch. Yeah, you get a pen bundled with it. As for the display itself, it spans a 4:3 aspect ratio.
Inside, it harbors an unnamed Intel processor. The rest of the details are still under wraps.
Dell Concept Ori
The Dell Concept Ori also saw the daylight at CES 2020. Its fold mechanism is quite similar to the above one. As such, it can be used as a book, tablet, and table-top format. Dell hasn’t revealed any specs for the time being. But, the screen reportedly measures 13-inches give or take with QHD+ resolution.
Intel Horseshoe Bend
Also debuted at the CES 2020, the Intel’s take on the foldable laptop has a weird code name ie., Horseshoe bend. This one sports a 17.3-inch OLED panel which when bent a little transforms into a 12.5-inch laptop. When folded inward, there’s a small wedge-shaped space between the two panels. Intel has stowed in a keyboard in that gap, which is a clever use of that vacancy.
Windows 10X: The Software for Dual Display and Foldables
The software must also be ready to accommodate the hardware imperatives. Realizing the same, Microsoft announced a custom iteration of Windows 10 in October 2019. The company hasn’t worked from the ground up. Rather, they have tweaked and optimized the core Windows technologies in areas like power-saving, app and service compatibility. It will even run Win32 applications in a container. You can expect the OS to feature swipe gestures for sailing through the UI and UX.
Windows 10X will be available for dual-screen and foldable devices starting by Holidays 2020. Look out for devices from major players like ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc. Needless to say, both Surface Duo and Surface Neo from Microsoft will be on the cards for the new OS.
Holly Molly! this might very well be the decade when we witness the Dual Display and Foldable tech ripe. So, we leave you with a simple question – how excited are you?