(Pocket-lint) - Asus has been doing some pretty interesting things with laptops of late and the new Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is a perfect example of the company's new direction in terms of design.
We've previously seen Asus laptops with forward-slung keyboard layouts, dual-purpose trackpads that double as a numpad and recent ZenBook models with trackpads that also worked as touchscreens. But now the company has gone a step further by adding an extra screen to its latest ZenBook models.
There are two versions of this device. The ZenBook Duo and the ZenBook Pro Duo. The latter of these is the main focus of our attention here, but they're both equally as awesome at first glance.
We've had hands-on time with these new devices in the run-up to Computex and we have to say, they're both incredibly eye-catching. But what else do they have to offer?
Designed for multi-tasking
- Up to Core i9 eight-core CPU
- Intel Optane Memory with h10
- Nvidia Geforce RTX 2060 GPU
- Thunderbolt 3 USB-C and Intel Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+)
The new Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is a wonderfully eye-catching laptop that's apparently been designed specifically to help improve productivity and support those who regularly use their device to multitask.
If you like a machine that allows you to use multiple windows at once, then this might well be it. But the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is so much more than that. It's also a real powerhouse, at least based on the rough spec sheet that we have seen. That large secondary screen is also much more than just eye candy, it's also incredibly flexible and customisable.
A first glance at the ZenBook Pro Duo and you're immediately struck by a stylish finish and a premium construction. That's because it's been CNC Milled and features an all aluminum design for "increased durability and a great finish".
It's really striking, but it's that second screen that stands out the most.
We immediately noticed a similar design aesthetic to the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX531. Where that laptop has a front-forward keyboard layout and side-slung trackpad to make room for cooling fans, this one is making space for the extra screen.
More screen if you please
- 15.6-inch 4K UHD OLED touchscreen main display, DCI-P3 100 per cent
- 100,000:1 contrast ratio and HDR support
- Secondary 14-inch 4K ScreenPad Plus 3840x1100 (32:9) display
That screen is a full-width 14-inch 4K panel as well. Asus made a point of showing us that things don't scale when dragged that that screen, so you're essentially getting either more screen real estate or an extra screen for multitasking.
There is a multitude of different ways you can use it too. It's possible to snap as many as three windows side-by-side within that display. Once you find the perfect setup and have things the way you like them, then you can create so-called "task groups". These allow you to launch specific layouts for certain tasks.
For example, Photoshop users can make use of that extra screen as a control center to access various tools and improve productivity. Video editors can use it to access settings for colour grading while processing edits in their timeline on the main screen. Programmers can use the 50 per cent extra screen length to view long lines of code while tweaking a website design.
For streamers and gamers, the secondary display can be used for stream chat or Discord or perhaps a view of OBS to check on recordings.
A number of different apps work within that space, but you can also just use it as extra screen for different purposes. Perhaps having what's playing in your Spotify or keeping an eye on WhatsApp, Slack or Facebook Messenger without having to switch windows and move away from what you're doing. The possibilities are endless.
The screen also supports a stylus and is touchscreen capable, so you can not only drag and drop things around, but you can also draw, doodle and edit as well.
Ergonomically enhanced too
- ErgoLift and Palm wrist rest for enhanced comfort
- Four mics for Cortana and Amazon Alexa support
As well as being aesthetically and practically improved, the ZenBook Pro Duo has also had some ergonomic enhancements added to its design. Perhaps aware that some users might not like the front-forward keyboard layout, the company is offering a palm rest accessory to ease the pressure on your mits.
An ErgoLift design also ensures the laptop sits in a comfortable position while you're using it.
One thing the ZenBook Pro Duo might be lacking though is ports. We spotted it only has two USB ports and one USB-C. Which might present an issue in some cases, but that lack of ports is fairly common on a lot of laptops of this calibre.
That's the point as well. This is a high-end laptop with a premium design. There's a heft to it that hints at the design quality and the materials it's built from. It seems you are getting what you pay for with this new machine and you can tell. Beauty is very much more than skin deep here.
At first look, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is going to be a really interesting machine. The extra screen space offered by the ScreenPad Plus gives the user plenty of different options for use.
If you thought the touchscreen trackpads of other models was interesting, then you're bound to be impressed by this full-width 4K display.
It's also incredibly stylish, seemingly well-built and a real eye-catcher. With a fairly decent spec that includes up to an Intel Core i9 CPU and an RTX 2060 GPU from Nvidia as well, this new laptop should certainly be no slouch.
Whether you're looking to multitask while gaming, enhance your efficiency in Photoshop or just have more space to work on your laptop, this machine offers it all.
We really enjoyed the layout of this laptop too, just as much as we have with other recent laptops from Asus.
We'll be interested to see how it stands up to everyday use when we get our hands on it in for more thorough testing at some point in the near future.
The pricing and availability of the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is yet to be announced, but we're expecting a premium price tag to match the design.