Asus hasn’t ever been shy about experimenting with shape elements. We’ve got observed an entire string of sequence 2-in-1 units, the enduring Padfone sequence, the dual-screen Taichi, the desktop-tablet Transformer AIO, or even the actually bonkers Five-in-1 Home windows-Android hybrid Transformer E-book V. Many of those designs were fanciful and impractical, and a few of them similar to final 12 months’s Mission Precog have not even made it to marketplace. Then again, some experiments have caught – take into account that that is the corporate that pioneered the netbook. If not anything else, those over-the-top ideas make for terribly entertaining showstoppers at Asus’ elaborate annual Computex keynotes.
This 12 months’s large unearths have been the ZenBook Duo and ZenBook Professional Duo, two an identical laptops with massive secondary displays proper underneath their number one ones. Those 14-inch and 15-inch fashions are a part of a bigger industry-wide push to experiment with a couple of presentations, however they’re to this point probably the slickest and maximum reputedly sensible implementations we have now observed. But even so, they have got simply been introduced in India.
How a lot software can a 2nd display convey on your pc, and the way sensible is it to have one that is at all times there? What are the tradeoffs in relation to ergonomics, battery lifestyles, and straightforwardness of use? Will the ZenBook Duo sequence utterly rewrite the foundations of the pc marketplace, or will this be simply any other flash within the pan? We are reviewing the smaller ZenBook Duo UX481FL lately to respond to all the ones questions, and lots of extra.
Asus ZenBook Duo UX481 design
The ZenBook Duo UX481 isn’t particularly narrow, like a lot of lately’s top rate fashions you ought to be, however it is going to flip heads it doesn’t matter what. Once folks recover from the preliminary marvel of what they are shopping at, they’ll do a double-take. After a long time, we have now one thing that makes folks forestall and reconsider what they suppose a pc will have to seem like and the way it will have to paintings.
Its general measurement is small for a 14-inch pc for the reason that borders across the two displays are quite skinny, and the hinge is designed in order that its barrel pivots underneath the bottom. This props the decrease deck up at an perspective when the lid is opened. Asus calls this its ErgoLift design, and it makes a large number of sense right here, supplying you with a greater view of the decrease display.
Interestingly, Asus has determined to incorporate an adhesive folding stand. This lies flat in opposition to the ground of the pc when now not wanted, however will also be folded right into a triangle form similar to many pill covers we have now observed, to permit the bottom of the pc to be propped up at a good larger perspective. The corporate says it is helping with cooling and makes typing extra relaxed, however it kind of feels like an afterthought – or in all probability a last-ditch approach to an unexpected design factor. It additionally made the pc slide round on our desk when closed, for the reason that rubber legs have been lifted.
Asus provides this pc in just one color, a deep greenish-blue that it calls Celestial Blue. It indubitably stands proud, however now not in a nasty means. It is in truth relatively understated with out being dull, and we adore it. Fortunately there aren’t any garish gold accents like we have now observed on earlier ZenBook fashions.
A signature ZenBook contact is the delicate concentric ring trend at the lid radiating outwards from the Asus brand, which on this case is off-centre. Many of the frame is comprised of steel, and the entirety feels very cast. The lid does not bend or flex a lot in any respect, and you’ll be able to push the display relatively some distance again. You can want each palms to open and shut this pc, for the reason that ErgoHinge design reasons all the base to transport because the lid pivots.
The keyboard and trackpad have each been squeezed into the distance underneath the ScreenPad Plus, and that is the largest drawback of the ZenBook Duo UX481. The vertical trackpad is some distance too slim for relaxed use, and we repeatedly discovered our finger hitting the keys to the left or border to the fitting. As for high quality, we discovered that it wasn’t specifically correct, and the cursor would wobble slightly once we have been making an attempt to choose one thing or simply hover. Take into account that, left-handed customers will to find this association extraordinarily uncomfortable.
The keyboard is compressed into more or less as a lot area as on a 10- or 11-inch netbook, and the ones have been by no means superb. In a similar fashion, Asus has dedicated a number of sins right here. There is not any palm relaxation space in any respect, and the keyboard deck is beautiful top above no matter floor you’ve this pc sitting on, which does not make for relaxed typing posture in any respect.
You will have to stay your fingers soaring fairly than resting on one thing as a result of there is a raised lip that interferes with the ground row. The keys don’t seem to be too small, however are relatively squished in combination. The fitting Shift secret is positioned past the Up arrow, this means that contact typing is out of the query. As for keyboard high quality, the keys themselves are slightly comfortable and unsatisfying. At the sure facet, there is white backlighting with 3 brightness settings.
Asus ZenBook Duo UX481 specs and tool
There may be extra large information than simply the second one display – that is the primary pc in our lab with a 10th Gen Intel Core CPU. Unfortunately, it is a 14nm ‘Comet Lake’ chip, this means that it is only a mildly refreshed nineth Gen ‘Espresso Lake‘ chip, now not one of the most all-new 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ sorts. Nonetheless, we will have to see some enhancements in relation to battery lifestyles, efficiency, and warmth dissipation. The chip in query is a 15W Core i7-10510U which has 4 cores with Hyper-Threading and runs between 1.8GHz and four.9GHz.
The principle 14-inch display has a full-HD 1920×1080 solution. Asus says it’s validated by way of Pantone and springs color calibrated from the manufacturing facility, however we detected a heat crimson tinge that would possibly simply be as a result of we have now won an early assessment unit. 100 % sRGB protection could also be promised.
Asus calls the secondary display ScreenPad Plus, to set it except for the ScreenPad enhanced trackpad of final 12 months’s flagship ZenBook fashions. This display has a solution of 1920×515 and is touch-enabled. Each panels are mentioned to have 178-degree viewing angles.
To complement this CPU’s elderly Intel UHD Graphics features, there is a discrete Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU. You get fortify for the short new Wi-Fi 6 usual in addition to Bluetooth Five. The battery has a 70Wh capability and a 65W charger is bundled within the field.
Our assessment unit used to be kitted out with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB PCIe SSD, and this configuration is priced at Rs. 1,09,990 in India. If that turns out like overkill, Asus additionally provides this pc with a Core i5-10210U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, beginning at Rs. 89,990.
At the left, there is the DC energy inlet, an HDMI port, and 2 USB three.1 Gen2 (10Gbps) Kind-A and Kind-C ports. They are joined by way of a Kind-A USB three.1 Gen1 (5Gbps) port, a three.5mm audio combo socket, and a microSD card slot at the proper. That is not a large number of connectivity, however it is sufficient to paintings with. There may be additionally a webcam above the display with an IR sensor for Home windows Hi face reputation, a couple of microphones designed for Cortana and Alexa, and stereo audio system that fireplace downwards in addition to outwards from the edges. Alexa integration is likely one of the large promoting issues for this pc, however Asus has showed to Devices 360 that it’s not applied in India, a minimum of now not but.
Our assessment unit used to be operating Home windows 10 House with the present Might 2019 Replace (v1903). We have been frequently aggravated by way of massive, intrusive McAfee Livesafe popups urging us to subscribe to a plan. Asus additionally comprises some tool of its personal. The MyAsus app combines a number of of the corporate’s smaller apps which used to mess up our PCs. You’ll be able to configure the primary display’s color profile and select battery saver settings, run fast diagnostic checks, test for tool updates, and speak to buyer fortify.
There may be an AppDeals phase inside MyAsus with a number of promotional provides, and Asus has correctly highlighted apps that may profit from the second one display, together with Overwolf which displays stats and for aggressive onine gaming, and several other apps for creativity and productiveness.
Asus ZenBook Duo UX481 ScreenPad Plus presentations
So let’s communicate in regards to the decrease display. The entire concept is that by way of making it precisely as large as the principle display and the use of the similar horizontal solution, you’ll be able to transfer content material round and multitask simply with out bothering about alignment and with out repeatedly swivelling your head. The perspective does result in slightly of hunching, although, which some folks will to find problematic.
Asus has long gone with a matte texture for each displays, in particular with the intention to keep away from reflections, which might have another way been an issue as a result of they are fixed at an perspective to one another. We have been shocked that the 2 displays looked as if it would have other color temperatures – the principle one had a heat crimson tinge in comparison to the decrease one. Brightness additionally needs to be adjusted independently.
What is odder is that the decrease display recognises contact, however the principle one does not. We took some time to get used to this, and ultimately settled for simply the use of the trackpad throughout each. Then again, it is great that Asus features a stylus within the field with the ZenBook Duo UX481, which would possibly turn out to be useful for scribbling, sketching, signing, or simply tapping issues at a extra handy perspective. You’ll be able to disable the keyboard and trackpad with Fn key shortcuts to relaxation your wrist underneath the ScreenPad, however it’s not precisely relaxed.
The decrease display is largely recognised as a 2nd observe by way of Home windows 10, and you might be in Prolonged Desktop mode by way of default. That implies you’ll be able to simply drag and drop home windows from one display to any other. It additionally signifies that when the ZenBook Duo UX481 wakes up from sleep, the entirety jumps again to the principle display.
Asus has get a hold of one artful Home windows UI enhancement. On every occasion you drag a window by way of its name bar to transport it any place, a suite of 3 goals seems subsequent on your cursor. You’ll be able to “drop” the window onto any of those to both pop it without delay onto the decrease display, drive it to span each displays, or upload a shortcut to Asus’ touch-enabled ScreenPad launcher (extra in this in a minute). Moreover, 3 bars seem on the peak of the decrease display permitting you to snap a window to precisely one-third its width.
You can understand a semi-transparent arrow button overlay on the left fringe of the decrease display. This pulls up a menu that Asus has applied to regulate the ScreenPad Plus. The primary panel displays fast shortcuts to applets similar to a digital quantity pad and handwriting enter panel, that are considerate techniques to make use of the . Those are splendid when docked to make use of one-third of the to be had area.
You actually have a brightness slider, adopted by way of a couple of buttons for Activity Teams, an App Navigator, and a couple of fast controls. Activity Teams permit you to outline the positions and sizes of a couple of program home windows throughout each displays, and triggering any of them will release the ones systems and snap them into position. There are 4 of those Activity Workforce slots, and the characteristic works smartly sufficient. App Navigator is one of those job supervisor that displays all open apps. Fast Key’s a panel that permits you to flip keyboard shortcut combos into tappable buttons with transparent labels. You’ll be able to create your individual shortcuts and outline a couple of pages of them. Every web page can then be related to a selected program in order that contextually suitable shortcuts seem when wanted.
Asus has touted the ScreenPad Plus as a keep an eye on floor, and in spite of the quirks of such an implementation, we will be able to see the way it might be helpful. You’ll be able to paintings on a photograph or video full-screen whilst having more than a few software panels and pop-up bins at the decrease panel, or you’ll want to use it to show reference subject matter whilst operating on a report. You’ll be able to have a tune participant’s controls visual and now not too distracting, and you’ll be able to additionally use it whilst gaming to show statistics or maps.
Briefly, the rest you’ll want to do on a secondary observe, you’ll be able to do at the ScreenPlad Plus. Some systems are designed to milk this, and others would possibly nonetheless receive advantages as a result of you’ll be able to multitask extra simply. You’ll be able to even stretch a window to show throughout each displays if that is helping you whatsoever. One quirk to pay attention to is that after you’re taking screenshots, each displays’ content material is captured in a single contiguous symbol.
Asus ZenBook Duo UX481 efficiency
Ergonomics apart, we had no issues of the efficiency of the ZenBook Duo UX481. We discovered that Home windows 10 used to be very snappy, and there have been no slowdowns even if streaming video with a number of systems operating within the background and a dozen or so different browser tabs open. This pc used to be additionally fast to wake from sleep, but it surely takes an extra 2nd or two for the ScreenPad Plus to come back to lifestyles. The beneficiant quantities of RAM and PCIe garage are without a doubt key to the great efficiency, and the new 10th Gen Intel Core CPU cannot harm both.
One good thing about having the keyboard to this point ahead is that it’s not suffering from warmth in any respect when the pc is in use, while the ScreenPad Plus did get particularly warm. Fan noise used to be additionally most often smartly beneath keep an eye on, and we most effective ever truly heard the rest when operating our heaviest gaming benchmarks.
As we have now mentioned previous, we discovered a heat tone at the number one display, which may well be a topic remoted to our assessment unit, and we have been glad after tweaking the color temperature manually the use of the Asus Preferrred adjustment characteristic. As opposed to this factor, the display used to be advantageous for productiveness paintings in addition to leisure. Viewing angles are excellent and we at all times like a non-reflective panel. The ZenBook Duo UX481’s ErgoLift hinge lets in the audio system extra space to respire. The sound is relatively loud and expansive, but it surely does distort relatively badly at complete quantity.
PCMark 10 returned ratings of four,072 and three,618 in its usual and prolonged runs. Cinebench R20 confirmed a single-core rating of 367 and multi-core rating of one,449. We used CrystalDiskMark to try how the SSD plays, and measured superb sequential learn and write speeds of 3499.8MBps and 2385.9MBps, at the side of random speeds of 754.6MBps and 337.6MBps respectively.
The Blender 3-d workload benchmark failed to finish, however POVRay ran its render in three mins, 35 seconds and the Corona benchmark took Five mins, 50 seconds that are each respectable ratings. In our real-world checks, we have been ready to compress a three.24GB folder of various recordsdata in three mins, 49 seconds, whilst a 1.3GB AVI record took 1 minute, 39 seconds to be transcoded into H.265.
3DMark’s Time Secret agent take a look at posted a rating of one,013, and the Fireplace Strike Excessive take a look at controlled 1,357. This is not truly a gaming pc, or even the discrete Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU is only ok for 3-d graphics, so we were not anticipating nice ends up in video games. We attempted Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 1920×1080 with the Top preset, and were given most effective 12fps on moderate. That went as much as 20fps at 1280×720 the use of the Medium preset. Issues have been a lot the similar in Some distance Cry Five, which gave us averages of 16fps and 34fps beneath the similar prerequisites.
We were not anticipating excellent battery lifestyles, taking into account the dimensions of the ScreenPad Plus, however we have been very pleasantly shocked. Our intense Battery Eater Professional drain take a look at went on for three hours, 30 mins, which is much better than many laptops can set up. With real-world utilization together with a large number of video streaming and Internet surfing, we were given just about 8 hours on a unmarried rate. The ScreenPad Plus used to be lively all the time, set to 50 % brightness.
So did we discover any use for the secondary display? If truth be told, we did. We used it for reference subject matter as we have been typing, and located it relatively handy. We favored having a Home windows Explorer window open and to hand always. Through the years, shall we simply see ourselves leaving our e-mail and messaging apps open at the ScreenPad for speedy updates whilst we get paintings achieved at the major display. We are hoping that if this idea catches on, tool makers will get started designing apps that in particular profit from a 2nd display on this place.
A few of this capability will also be completed the use of Home windows 10’s integrated digital desktops characteristic. There may be additionally the potential for purchasing a small transportable exterior observe, similar to Asus’ personal ZenScreen, although after all that would not be just about as handy or transportable. In order that leads us to invite, is having the ScreenPad Plus definitely worth the ergonomic tradeoffs?
Unfortunately, the solution to that query is not any. The keyboard and trackpad are simply too awkward and uncomfortable. We had an overly exhausting time getting fundamental paintings achieved, and our productiveness didn’t build up. We needed to save you the ZenBook Duo UX481 from going to sleep in order that home windows would keep in place. No longer having the ability to contact one of the most two displays used to be additionally irritating.
The bigger 15-inch ZenBook Professional Duo UX581 style has area for a greater keyboard format, and with 4K resolutions in addition to complete contact fortify on each displays, it could appear to do extra justice to this idea. With an exterior keyboard and mouse, you’ll want to have your self an impressive, flexible mobile workstation. The smaller ZenBook Duo UX481 simply looks like an excessive amount of has been shoved into too little area.
Nonetheless, given what we have now observed to this point this 12 months, this pc might be the primary instance of many an identical ideas and designs from a couple of producers. Innovation like that is what assists in keeping pushing the ahead, and with tighter and tool integration, shall we see a large number of use cases rising round secondary displays. After all, if none of that issues to you and also you simply need a cool-looking pc that everybody will need to see and play with, there is truly not anything else just like the ZenBook Duo presently.