I read the tagline across the ASUS website, stating that the ZenBook Pro Duo was ‘the laptop of tomorrow’ and immediately threw on a pair of skepticles. Every laptop since the dawn of laptops has been the laptop of tomorrow… right? Well I remained cynical right up until the moment I unboxed and turned on the ZenBook Pro Duo. Before anything else, lay your eyes on this beauty;
ASUS have named the second screen on this laptop the ‘Screenpad+’ and it’s one of the most useful additions I’ve used in years. I found I was regularly using this second screen for video conferences and media players (YouTube, Spotify, etc) in the same way you would traditionally use a second or third display on a desktop setup. To have that functionality in a portable setup is severely underrated.
On first boot, you go through a very easy and intuitive ‘ScreenXpert’ guide that teaches you the functions of Screenpad. This is inclusive of how to dock apps, boot up shortcuts to functions like your numpad, calculator, etc as well as how to use it for handwriting.
I’ve yet to run any application that hasn’t worked seamlessly with the second screen and have thoroughly enjoyed it’s functionality.
The software surrounding the Screenpad is incredibly easy to use. As soon as you pick up a window you’re greeted with this small menu that provides quick access to ‘send’ the window to Screenpad, or otherwise back up to your main display.
As far as the rest of the laptop is concerned, the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo is a wonderfully sleek and relatively futuristic looking device. The addition of Screenpad+ makes it a good deal thicker and heavier than most laptops on the market today, but this is an instance that functionality far outweighs flaw. This additional size means that the device is host to a range of ports, including thunderbolt, headphone jack, 2x USB 3.1, HDMI and DC power input (for one hell of a charger).
The touchpad is located to the right of the keyboard to accommodate the second screen – and while it functions as a normal touchpad, it doubles excitingly as a numpad, should you flick on the setting.
ZenBook Pro Duo’s keyboard is equipped with a few very specific hotkeys that allow for seamless use of the Screenpad kit – keys such as ‘switch content’, ‘disable screenpad’, ‘disable touchpad’, ‘quick display properties’ and a shortcut to MyASUS.
MyASUS is a wonderful little bit of tech that comes pre-installed on the ZenBook Pro Duo that controls everything from the fan speed to automatic diagnosis of specific laptop functions.
For the nerds among us, the ZenBook Pro Duo is specced up with;
- i9-9990HK (8-core, 2.4GHz)
- RTX 2060 6GB
- Optional 8/16/32GB 2666MHz DDR4 RAM
- 15.6″ 4K OLED Display
- 14″ 4K Screenpad+ Display
And if you understood all of that, you’ll know that it’s fully equipped to deal with not only the vast majority of your creative needs, but is also capable of some serious video gaming.
So what’s the downside? Where’s the shortcoming? Well… you know what they say – if its too good to be true, it probably is. Either that, or you just can’t afford it.
The ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo currently retails for $5,670 on Kogan. For reference, we at EFTM built an absolutely absurd PC for $6,000 that comes significantly higher specced than the ZenBook – making it difficult to recommend. However having said that, if you’re flushed with cash and love the concept of the device – it’s exceptionally fun to use and one hell of a gimmick in 2020.