We tested one of the latest Asus products, the Zenbook Duo 14 ″ (2021 version). If laptop rarely rhymes with innovation, some names stand out. Asus is one of them, as shown by this laptop, which has a dual touchscreen, and benefits from an 11th generation Intel processor.
The Zenbook Duo (UX482), a consumer version of the Zephyrus Duo targeting gamers, is a 14 ”laptop whose particularity is to integrate not one, but two touch screens. The device also benefits from 32 GB RAM and pulsates using a 11th generation Intel processor. Presented at CES 2021 “ALL DIGITAL”, this Zenbook Duo offers a very interesting alternative to more conventional laptops which will modernize and facilitate many aspects of your daily use.
Our video test of the Zenbook Duo
Prices and availability
The Asus Zenbook Duo 14 will be marketed in France from March 2021. The laptop PC is available from € 1799 in its 8 GB RAM version. Here are the prices of the different configurations:
• Core i7 1165G7 / 16 GB of RAM / 1 TB SSD / integrated GPU storage (Intel Iris X) = € 1,799
• Core i7 1165G7 / 16 GB RAM / 1 TB storage SSD / MX 450 GPU 2 GB = € 1,999
• Core i7 1165G7 / 16 GB of RAM / 512 GB storage SSD + 32 GB OPTANE / MX 450 2 GB GPU = € 1,999
• Core i7 1165G7 / 32GB of RAM / 1TB storage SSD / MX 450 2GB GPU: € 2,499
Zenbook Duo 14 (2021 – UX482) datasheet
|Asus Zenbook Duo 14 (2021)|
|Screen||– 14.0 inch touchscreen IPS
– FHD (1920 x 1080) 16: 9,400 nit
– sRGB: 100%
– Pantone approved
– screen size / total surface ratio: 93 ％
|Dimensions||16.9 x 32.3 x 22.2 mm|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-1165G7 (11th Gen)|
|GPU||Intel Iris Xe Graphics or Nvidia MX450 (depending on version)|
|RAM||8GB, 16GB or 32GB LPDDR4X (depending on version)|
|Storage||512 GB or 1 TB (depending on version)|
|Autonomy||– 6 / 7h in maximum performance
– 5/6 p.m. in energy saving
– 65W adapter supplied (full charge in 2 hours)
|Connectivity||– 2 x USB-C
– 1 x USB-A
– 1 x HDMI 2.0
– 1 x 3.5mm TRRS mini-jack
– 1 x Micro-SD card slot
|Connectivity||– Wi-Ffi 6 802.11 (ax)
– Bluetooth 5.0
|Supplied accessories||– Stylus
– Carrying case
Box contents and design: a step into the future
The Zenbook Duo UX482, in addition to being very original as you will discover a little later in this review, does not come alone. You will obviously find the USB-C mains charger allowing to deliver up to 65W, but above all plethora of accessories to complete the laptop. The device is first of all accompanied by a protective cover in imitation leather with very elegant orange stitching. A Asus Pen SA201H stylus is also provided. Its two buttons to simulate a right or left click. Finally, we take advantage of a ” booster », Which sticks under the computer, in order to raise it and optimize the air flow below.
Closed, the Zenbook Duo UX482 may not be anything fancy. The cover is covered with a dark blue circular brushed aluminum, on which the Asus logo takes place. Below the device, there are several punched areas, which house the stereo speakers, as well as a ventilation space and two long rubber pads that will keep the device carefree in place on a desk. The left edge of the Zenbook Duo offers us the first connections: one HDMI 2.0 port, as well as two USB Type-C ports supporting technology Thunderbolt4 for recharging and data transfer. On the right side, we discover a port USB-A, a 3.5mm mini-jack in TRRS allowing to connect a headphone / microphone combo and, surprise and rare enough to be mentioned, a microSD card slot.
When opening the computer, we are faced with something unusual: the lower edge of the screen creates a stand to elevate the computer to maximize airflow. Feeling the screen bump up against the table and having to “force” the opening a bit is a bit confusing on first use.
After the apprehension of this first opening, the Zenbook Duo reveals its two panels as well as its keyboard / trackpad assembly. On the upper part, we therefore discover the main panel of 14 ”offering an FHD + resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels, surmounted by a 720p webcam and a facial recognition sensor allowing the activation of Windows Hello. Just below the slab, on hinges which lift it up when opening, we can only notice the famous “screenpad +”. This is a 1920 x 515 pixel mini screen which offers a number of innovative and practical functions. Something to note, the inclination of the latter is not adjustable and is content with the one position he has been given.
Under this screen, there is a keyboard in “Ten Key Less” format equipped with chicklet keys. And to the right of the latter, a tiny trackpad very confusing when you are used to the “huge” trackpads offered today. Even if we easily understand that the choice to reduce the trackpad was compensated by the addition of touch on both panels, it is still much easier to use a trackpad to this day than touch screens on a PC. A negative point in short, and we can therefore only recommend the use of a physical mouse for more comfort. Nevertheless, for absolute trackpad fans, it is quite possible to use the Screenpad + as such, via an option implemented by Asus. From then on, the latter becomes one of the largest touchpads available on the market.
Dimensional side, the Zenbook Duo remains, despite its two screens, relatively thin and easily transportable. 222 millimeters long by 324 millimeters wide and 16.9 millimeters thick. A beautiful baby weighing 1.6 kg, who will however remain discreet thanks to his very sober look.
Screens: with an S for twice the fun
The two IPS panels of the Zenbook Duo therefore offer a beautiful FHD + definition of 1920 x 1080 pixels for the 14 ”part, and 1920 x 515 pixels for the Screenpad +, the set covering 100% of the sRGB color space. These screens are also equipped with the “Pantone Validated” certification, which will ensure a good color match when printing if you are graphic designers for example. They also benefit from TÜV Rheinland technology, which ensures low blue light emission.
In absolute, the colors are bright and faithful, the screen is precise in its reproduction. Only point to note: basic, the Screenpad + is in power saving mode, thereby reducing its maximum brightness. It will therefore be necessary to think in the options of the latter to deactivate it to obtain a beautiful harmony between the two screens, especially when the PC is connected to the sector.
Touch side, no complaints : the two panels respond well and are precise in their recognition of the touch. So we have here a very good combo of screens that will meet all needs.
Asus Screenpad +: the little extra that does a lot more
Asus seems very confident, as many of its new laptops have incorporated this technology in recent years. The Screenpad + is a small secondary screen that rises when the cover is opened thanks to its “Ergolift AAS Plus” hinge. The idea behind this secondary screen is to improve and facilitate certain actions in your workflow.
It will be quite possible for you to position windows in 2/3 or 1/3, in order to occupy the necessary space. You can also shift certain applications such as your music player or a video so you can view them without taking up space on your main screen.
For example, if you are working on the Adobe suite, drag your Photoshop toolbar or your Première Pro timeline, in order to enjoy a much smoother and more natural navigation than with “classic” methods.
Asus has taken care to add many very interesting and practical features, like a writing area on which you can simply use your finger or your stylus to take handwritten notes, but also, two very practical applications ” Quick Key “And” Number Key “. The first will allow you to record macros and have quick access to them. Basically, the standards are already integrated: Copy, Paste, select all, search, cancel… The second will give you the possibility of simulating a numeric keypad to fill the absence of the latter.
In use, the Screenpad + is a real pleasure. The only downside, mentioned above, is its lack of brightness due to its inclination. Beyond the latter, we quickly get into the game of directly using the pre-recorded shortcuts in Quick Key which are really readable and accessible. This is by far one of the features that we appreciated the most, but also to try different display configurations to improve its comfort of use.
You can also save task groups that include one or more software, and access them quickly by opening them on the Screenpad + with a single click. Also useful for starting the day with all your most useful software.
Let’s quickly move on to the Control Panel Setting, which offers compatibility with several software from the Adobe suite: Première Pro, After Effects, Photoshop and Illutrator. You can therefore very quickly assign functions and shortcuts that will enhance your efficiency. Finally, the Screenpad + will allow you, thanks to a dedicated button, to move the windows from one screen to another while dynamically resizing them.
In short, this Screenpad + is a strong and really interesting proposition. What appears to be a simple gadget makes quite a few, usually daunting, simple, quick and accessible tasks.
The concessions made on the dimensions of the keyboard part are admittedly somewhat confusing at first glance. But once we get used to working with two screens and the features offered by Asus have been well implemented in our method of use, the whole is really pleasant.
Sound … Or rather noise
Let’s talk about speakers of this Zenbook Duo UX482. Signed Harman / Kardon, we expected something balanced and precise in its rendering. Disappointment : the highs are very loud, the bass almost imperceptible and at full volume, it borders on saturation. It is clearly one of the most negative points of this computer. The restitution is hazardous in its balancing and deserves, if you want to improve the whole a little, to go through a small equalization.
Keyboard: it’s not the size that matters?
The Zenbook Duo is equipped with a chicklet type keyboard offering a very pleasant race, That’s not the problem. As mentioned previously, the main concern of this keyboard is its somewhat confusing layout. The trackpad coming to take place to the right of the keyboard regularly invites you to reposition your hands correctly during the first uses. Fingers looking for directional arrows are regularly found on right / left click buttons by mistake. Note also the relatively small size of the keys. All these ergonomic concerns are obviously due to the Screenpad + which takes up a huge space of the lower part of the keyboard. However, it is only a matter of time to adapt in order to get used to typing on this Zenbook Duo and tame the keyboard.
Small interesting addition, two keys of this keyboard are directly linked to the Screenpad +. The first allows you to turn on or off the latter, and the other, much more useful, offering the possibility of a single press to migrate all its open applications from one screen to another, and vice versa. Switching from one to the other therefore becomes very fast. A really practical feature, in short.
Hardware: almost a monster
The Zenbook Duo UX482 is one of the first computers equipped with the 11th generation of processors offered by Intel, here the Intel Core I7-1165G7, a Quad-core clocked at 2.8 GHz (4.7 GHz in Turbo). This processor is here supported by 32 GB of Ram LPDDR4X, but the model is available in less powerful versions, respectively equipped with 8 GB and 16 GB. No graphics chip here, everything is directly managed by Intel thanks to Iris Xe technology. On the storage side, it’s all good, since we are entitled to a 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD.
You will surely have understood it, being the general-public version of the Zephyrus, you should not expect breathtaking graphics performance. The most greedy games are to be avoided. However, the i7-1165G7 / 32GB of RAM assembly offers good application performance. Creatives, for example, will not have a major problem using various graphics software. The whole will run without too many problems. It remains more questionable for video editing. But overall, the new Iris Xe architecture offers great performance that will meet your needs.
As our benchmarks show, the Zenbook Duo UX482 offers much better performance than a standard laptop. Adding an NVIDIA 2070 or 2080 chip could have turned it into a power freak altogether. Note, however, thatthere is a more powerful version graphically speaking, equipped with an Nvidia GeForce MX450 chip that we have not been able to test to date. Those most eager for performance can opt for the pro version of the range.
But whether in application or multimedia, the Zenbook Duo UX482 is doing extremely well. The PC requires less than 5 seconds for a standard boot. Waking up is instantaneous. We did not encounter any problem with fluidity during our entire testing phase.
On the battery side, we have here a 70Wh accumulator which, in optimal performance mode, will not have to worry about 6/7 hours. For the more economical, Asus announces a lifespan of 17 hours. This is verified, and even surpasses itself: it was possible for us to use the Zenbook Duo during 18 hours, with a versatile use involving word processing, some visio, and web browsing with viewing of video content. However, to achieve such autonomy, it will have been necessary to turn off second screen and reduce the brightness to a minimum, which makes the very concept of this computer meaningless. As for recharging, you will have to be a little patient, the 65W adapter will take almost two hours to fully charge the battery.
Small connectivity point to finish, you will have everything you need there on a daily basis: Wi-fi 6 (ax), Bluetooth 5.0, and if you connect a hub to one of the USB-C ports, you can obviously connect to Ethernet.
The hinge raising the Screenpad + will have, in addition to facilitating the readability and accessibility to this second screen, an airflow optimization role. Combined with the raised screen when opening, the assembly ensures controlled temperatures during standard use. Be careful, however: if you put too much demand on performance, there are still risks of thermal throttling that could affect the performance of the processor.
Very good performance, a convincing design, two quality screens and a host of features well thought out by Asus. This Zenbook Duo 14 ”is really surprising. It is obviously not free from flaws. The sound or ergonomics of the keyboard are just a few examples. But these points will be eclipsed, as the functionalities allowed by the Screenpad + allow to optimize its working method.
It will be able to meet the demands of creatives looking for an efficient ultraportable. Be careful, however, to the absence of a solid performance graphics chip: falling back on the pro version of the Zenbook Duo seems more appropriate if you need more power.
Asus does in this new version of the Zenbook Duo a strong and innovative proposition which, despite a few points of improvement to be considered for future versions, promises great things for the future of the Laptop. The faults cited in this test are more likely to open avenues for improvement for future versions of Zenbook duo than to really denigrate the product which, to this day, remain one of the most innovative ultraportables on the market.