Computex 2019 | The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo looks to offer a more productive alternative to the MacBook Pro's Touch Bar
If for some reason you are a fan of the Touch Bar in the MacBook Pro but need something actually more useful, Asus has just the right solution for you. Meet the ZenBook Pro Duo (UX581) and the ZenBook Duo (UX481) laptops that offer a complimentary second screen to the main display called ScreenPad for enhanced productivity.
Asus ZenBook Pro Duo
The ZenBook Pro Duo sports a svelte chassis featuring 9th gen Intel Core i9-9980HK and Core i7-9750H processor options, up to 32 GB of DDR4-2666 RAM, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, and NVMe SSD storage up to 1 TB. The USP of the laptop are the dual 4K displays. The main display is a 15.6-inch 4K OLED touchscreen with extremely slim bezels (NanoEdge) that offer an 89% screen-to-body ratio. The main display can cover 100% DCI-P3 color gamut and HDR. The secondary display, also called the ScreenPad Plus, is what makes the ZenBook Pro Duo stand apart from the rest of the laptops in the market.
The 14-inch ScreenPad Plus secondary display is also a 4K touch panel with a resolution of 3840 x 1100 and spans the entire length of the laptop yielding a 32:9 aspect ratio. The ScreenPad Plus sits right above the ErgoLift keyboard deck and offers a wide-range of use cases for multitasking and productivity. Asus bundles certain enhancements for users to take advantage of the extra screen estate. These include ScreenXpert control software along with utilities such as App Switcher, ViewMax, and App Navigator for easy interactions and cross-screen referencing.
While any Windows app can work with ScreenPad, Asus said it is working with developers including Corel to build adaptive ScreenPad tools into their apps. A stylus is bundled for use with the ScreenPad display, but you can also use your own active stylus. Since the keyboard is pushed forward to accommodate the ScreenPad, the ZenBook Pro Duo also offers a deluxe palm rest for comfortable typing.
Connectivity-wise, the ZenBook Pro Duo is well-endowed with 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, 1x Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C, 2x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A, 1x HDMI-out, 1x combo audio jack, and an IR camera for Windows Hello. A 4-cell 71Wh battery rounds up the specifications.
Asus ZenBook Duo
For those who need something much simpler, Asus is also offering the ZenBook Duo (UX481) with a 14-inch NanoEdge FHD display and a 12.6-inch FHD ScreePad Plus. At 1.8 kg, the ZenBook Duo is considerably lighter than the Pro variant (2.5 kg) and is powered by an Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics. Rest of the specifications are more or less the same as the ZenBook Pro Duo with a few differences in I/O connectivity. The ZenBook Duo forgoes Thunderbolt 3 but offers 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C, 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A, 1x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A , and also a microSD card slot. The ZenBook Duo does not come with a bundled stylus and the battery capacity is slightly lesser at 70Wh.
The Asus ZenBook Duo series could finally be the laptops that can actually put a secondary display to good use. It will be interesting to see how creative professionals receive these notebooks and we look forward to reviewing them ourselves.
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