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Asus ZenBook Duo UX481 Review: Dual-Screen Ultraportable


Asus has never shied away from experimenting with its hardware design aspects. This exciting new device from Asus comes with a second display just above the keyboard and track pad. We were looking forward to reviewing this system and finally got our hands on it recently. Here’s all you need to know.

Design

The ZenBook Duo UX481 is not especially slim, like many of today’s premium models try to be, but it is definitely a head turner. The 14-inch. 3.3-pound ZenBook Duo is compact and handy; but the real eye catcher in the design segment is the presence of two displays. Both the screens look good with narrow rims, giving the system a 90% screen to body ratio. It is one of the most light weight dual screen systems. The trackpad, however, could have had more space to itself than was allotted to it, we felt.

Weighing 3.3 pounds and 12.7 x 8.8 x 0.8 inches, the ZenBook Duo is a little heavier compared to its similarly sized single-screen laptops. However, its second display and the convenience it offers really does make up for that little bit of extra weight and space.

Features

Like most other new Asus laptops, the Zenbook Duo too, comes with the brand’s latest ErgoLift hinge – this helps raise up the back of the computer when it is open, thus providing users with an impressive incline to the keyboard as well as much better accessibility, especially for those who wish to make full use of the secondary 12.6-inch ScreenPad Plus that sits right above the keys and touchpad.

The second display attracts quite a bit of attention and let’s be honest, we fell for it too. However, both the displays are up to mark and offer sharp 1080p resolution with slim bezels and 90% screen-to-body ratio. This amazing given that the integrated webcam remains exactly where it belongs i.e. right above the main display. IR support is also included for Windows Hello login.

ScreenPad Plus

The 12.6-inch, 1920 x 515 secondary display that sits below the main screen is the ScreenPad Plus. This display is intuitive, which makes the entire experience smoother. Alternatively, the second screen can simply be used as an external monitor, by moving programs and windows around and snapping them to the edge of the display.

The ScreenPad Plus launcher can be slid out by tapping on the translucent button that sits on the left edge and applications can be dragged to it so that they launch on the ScreenPad rather than the primary display. You can conveniently tap on the screen to switch applications between the primary and secondary display, and save sets of programs in particular layouts that suit you best, so that once you settle on a workspace that works for you, you can get back to it with just a few taps. You can also snap two or three programs across the ultra-wide aspect ratio of the ScreenPad Plus.

For the multi taskers, there’s a floating menu that pops up when you’re moving an application or window around that lets you instantly add it to the ScreenPad display,  you can maximize it across both screens (which can be useful for things like video editing or just surfing the web), or pin it to the ScreenPad launcher.

Connectivity

While its bigger cousin, the ZenBook Pro Duo lacks the port variety that we have come to become accustomed to, thanks to cooling vents on its sides, that is not at all a problem with the Asus Zenbook Duo. The right side is houses a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port (5GBps), a headphone/mic combo jack and a MicroSD card slot. The left edge has two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (10GBps), one Type-A and the other Type-C, a barrel-shaped power connector and an HDMI port. We missed seeing a USB-C charging port with turbo charging capabilities.

Verdict

We cannot deny that Asus ZenBook Duo UX481 may just be the best dual-screen laptop yet. It is one that perfectly combines good battery life with an intuitive UI, all in a light-weight 3.3-pound package. However, it is important to note that the keyboard and touchpad suffer quite a bit to make all that space for the secondary display.

Yay!

It is very sleek and light for a dual-screen laptop

It offers an intuitive control software for the secondary display

It offers a really good battery life considering there are 2 screens eating into it

Nay!

Smaller screens and smaller touchpads as well

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