Review of the ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024… The Best Laptop for Productivity and Multitasking!

Review of the ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024... The Best Laptop for Productivity and Multitasking!

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Unveiled earlier this year during CES, the ASUS Zenbook DUO (2024) UX8406 is set to hit the shelves in Australia this month. Boasting dual 14-inch 3K 120Hz ASUS Lumina OLED displays housed in a lightweight body with a detachable keyboard, this laptop brings a new level of versatility to the table.

The Zenbook Duo series has a rich history with ASUS, dating back to the introduction of the secondary display concept with the Zenbook Pro Duo in 2019.

The latest Zenbook Duo model packs a punch in terms of specifications. It features dual 3K resolution ASUS Lumina OLED touchscreen displays, powered by an Intel Core Ultra 9 185H processor with ARC graphics, 32GB LPDDR5x RAM, and a 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD.

With a price tag of $3,999 and hitting the shelves today, the Zenbook Duo offers the perfect blend of specifications and portability, making it a true mobile workstation. I’ve had the opportunity to spend the last week with the Zenbook Duo, and here’s my experience.

Upon unboxing, the ASUS Zenbook Duo surprises with its compactness, measuring just under 2cm thick with the keyboard stored underneath.

Sporting an Inkwell Gray color scheme, the laptop features the ASUS monogram logo prominently displayed on the lid, accompanied by a modest Zenbook branding in the corner. Its understated appearance may not attract much attention at first glance – until you reveal the dual displays.

Built with exceptional quality, the device exhibits minimal flex. The base is equipped with rubber feet to elevate it slightly off the desk, along with a conveniently placed, sturdy, and compact kickstand.

Review of the ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024... The Best Laptop for Productivity and Multitasking!
Review of the ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024... The Best Laptop for Productivity and Multitasking!

The kickstand cleverly hides when not in use but can be easily adjusted to facilitate dual-display usage. It can also extend wider to enable side-by-side Desktop mode, allowing for convenient reference material placement. Alternatively, users can utilize the Zenbook Duo as a traditional clamshell laptop.

Review of the ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024... The Best Laptop for Productivity and Multitasking!

The dual touch displays are a standout feature of the Zenbook Duo, featuring ASUS’s Lumina OLED panels. These 3K displays offer crisp, vibrant, and responsive visuals, enhanced by the 120Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling across all applications.

Connected by a slightly offset hinge, the displays accommodate the keyboard storage between them. While the slight offset functions well in Dual-Screen mode, it restricts the hinge’s range to 180°, unlike some other dual-display laptops on the market.

Review of the ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024... The Best Laptop for Productivity and Multitasking!
Review of the ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024... The Best Laptop for Productivity and Multitasking!

The top display of the ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024 features a FullHD resolution 3DNR (3D Noise Reduction) Infra-Red ASUS AiSense Camera equipped with ambient light and color sensors.

This camera supports Windows Hello for quick login and is capable of capturing decent photos in favorable lighting conditions. Additionally, it performs admirably during video calls, with the built-in array microphone effectively capturing your voice, surprising for an integrated option.

Located above the bottom display are the power button, along with charging and power indicator LEDs. Below the bottom display, you’ll find the Pogo pins designed for the keyboard, aligning perfectly with the pins on the base of the keyboard.

Review of the ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024... The Best Laptop for Productivity and Multitasking!

The keyboard deck of the ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024 is both lightweight and remarkably sturdy, exhibiting minimal flex. It offers two connectivity options to the Zenbook Duo: via the POGO pins or Bluetooth. When not in use, it seamlessly fits between the screens on the lower display, securely held in place by strong magnets that ensure stability during transport and also facilitate alignment of the POGO pins for charging.

Featuring backlighting, the keyboard provides a comfortable typing experience, thanks to its 1.4 mm key travel. The generously sized keys are slightly indented, aiding in guiding your fingertips to the center of each key.

Equipped with a power switch and a USB Type C port for charging, the keyboard offers extended battery life. Even after a full day of typing, I only noticed a low battery indication towards the end of the day. Recharging is convenient – simply reattach the keyboard to the lower deck for approximately an hour, or use a USB Type C charger plugged into the side.

Review of the ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024... The Best Laptop for Productivity and Multitasking!

The ErgoSense touchpad is generously sized and highly responsive, covering nearly half of the keyboard deck. Despite its large size and ease of use, it effectively avoids any issues with unintended touches while typing. It also offers support for multi-touch gestures and features a coating to prevent fingerprint smudges.

The Zenbook Duo comes equipped with a well-rounded selection of ports considering its compact size. On the left side, you’ll find dual USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4 ports and a USB Type-A port, while the right side features an HDMI 2.1 port and a combo audio jack. The Thunderbolt 4 ports support both Power Delivery and Display, offering flexibility for connecting external monitors alongside the impressive internal OLED panels.

Review of the ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024... The Best Laptop for Productivity and Multitasking!
Review of the ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024... The Best Laptop for Productivity and Multitasking!

In terms of wireless connectivity, the Zenbook Duo comes equipped with Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.2, ensuring seamless connectivity with wireless peripherals such as keyboards and other devices.

The highlight of the Zenbook Duo is undoubtedly its dual 14-inch 3K (2880 x 1800) OLED touchscreen displays, which deliver stunning visuals. With a peak brightness of up to 500 nits, they offer excellent visibility whether you’re working in a well-lit office or enjoying a cup of coffee at an outdoor cafe.

These displays boast exceptional color reproduction, including rich blacks typical of OLED screens, with support for 100% DCI-P3 and VESA DisplayHDR 500 True Black certification. Additionally, Dolby Vision support ensures an immersive viewing experience.

The 120Hz refresh rate and 0.2ms response time contribute to sharp and smooth visuals, enhancing overall usability.

Managing the dual displays is made easy with ASUS ScreenXpert software. This software allows users to access various features through a floating control center, including brightness adjustment, virtual input, keyboard battery status, toggling the second screen on/off, sharing mode, screen rotation lock, microphone control, access to all apps, and settings.

Review of the ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024... The Best Laptop for Productivity and Multitasking!

The keyboard also features quick access keys, such as the task swap function key (F8), which allows you to switch contents between the upper and lower panels. Additionally, there is a key that disables the second display when you need to conserve battery life.

Furthermore, there are gestures available to assist you. You can bring up the virtual keyboard with a six-finger tap or access the touchpad with a three-finger tap. Swiping down with six fingers provides access to various useful utilities, including handwriting input, the control panel, number keys, and a quick key menu for common commands.

Review of the ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024... The Best Laptop for Productivity and Multitasking!

With the exceptional touch-enabled displays, the incorporation of a pen for note-taking or drawing is a brilliant concept. The ASUS Pen 2.0 is included in the package, offering 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and four interchangeable pen tips in 2H, H, HB, and B.

Review of the ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024... The Best Laptop for Productivity and Multitasking!

The pen performs admirably, conveniently charged through the concealed USB-C port. ASUS claims that the pen can be charged for up to 140 hours of usage in just 30 minutes.

Featuring two side buttons that function as a mouse click or erase in applications, as well as a button on the end for Bluetooth activation.

The pen supports the Microsoft Pen Protocol (MPP) 2.0, allowing you to utilize the Handwriting panel with the software translating and pasting it into any app you’re using. It seamlessly integrates with Word, Google Docs, and Office 365 in Chrome, as well as MSPaint.

Well-designed and ergonomically balanced, the pen feels comfortable to hold for extended periods without causing fatigue. Although it may not enhance my handwriting, the software can, and it does a commendable job of translating it.

On the audio front, the laptop boasts a Harman Kardon-certified Dolby Atmos sound system with two built-in speakers. Positioned on the sides, the speakers deliver decent midrange sound, albeit lacking slightly in bass.

There is an option to customize spatial audio through the Dolby Access app.

Review of the ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024... The Best Laptop for Productivity and Multitasking!

With the Intel Core Ultra 9 Processor 185H and 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM, the ASUS Zenbook Duo delivers impressive speed. The 1TB Gen 4 M.2 SSD ensures quick performance, facilitating fast data transfers via the Thunderbolt 4 ports.

Startup times are swift, with the desktop appearing in approximately 20 seconds from a cold start, thanks to the Windows Hello login feature. Loading applications like PhotoShop or Premiere is quick, making the laptop suitable for light editing tasks. Even Chrome runs smoothly, despite its tendency to consume significant RAM.

While the Zenbook Duo performs admirably for running applications, browsing, and watching movies, it encounters challenges with gaming, particularly due to the limitations of the Intel ARC GPU. Games such as Palworld ran at around 22fps through the Xbox app (with a bonus 3-month GamePass Ultimate trial included), and more demanding titles like Sons of the Forest experienced lag with 14fps.

Despite these gaming limitations, the Zenbook Duo maintains excellent thermal performance. The ASUS cooling system, which includes a Graphene sheet, 2 heat pipes, dual fans, and a heat spreader, effectively keeps the system cool. Fan noise is rarely noticeable, and only becomes audible when actively listening for it.

As per usual, I subjected the Zenbook Duo to 3DMark testing, yielding the following results.

Review of the ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024... The Best Laptop for Productivity and Multitasking!
Review of the ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024... The Best Laptop for Productivity and Multitasking!

The ASUS Zenbook Duo comes equipped with a 75WHr, 4S1P, 4-cell Li-ion Battery and includes a 65W USB Type-C charger included in the package.

Review of the ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024... The Best Laptop for Productivity and Multitasking!

The battery life of the Zenbook Duo proved to be impressive, providing a solid nine hours of usage on a single display while performing various tasks in Office 365/Google Drive, as well as web browsing and catching up on YouTube videos – all made easier with the second display!

When using both displays simultaneously, there was a slight decrease in battery life, averaging around seven and a half to eight hours of usage. Nevertheless, it was sufficient to last through a full day of work.

With the 65W USB Type-C charger, you can expect a full charge in approximately two hours, while a 50% charge can be achieved in about 35-40 minutes.

The ASUS Zenbook Duo comes pre-installed with Windows 11 Home, along with optional software such as an Office 365 trial and a suite of Microsoft applications.

Additionally, ASUS provides a range of apps including the MyASUS app, which serves as a support tool. Through the MyASUS app, users can monitor the status of their laptops, perform diagnostics, receive updates, and take advantage of special offers.

Review of the ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024... The Best Laptop for Productivity and Multitasking!

The ASUS Zenbook Duo 2024 comes with the pre-installed ScreenXpert app, which proves to be incredibly useful for managing your displays, along with GlideX for enhancing multi-display control, including your mobile device.

In terms of software, you’ll find a modest selection of pre-installed apps, and the Windows experience with dual displays, coupled with the surprisingly efficient on-screen keyboard, delivers a positive user experience.

With its stunning displays, speedy internal components, well-designed keyboard deck, and a convenient kickstand, the Zenbook Duo presents a compelling option for those seeking productivity on the go.

The inclusion of the new Intel Core Ultra 9 processor and 32GB of DDR5 RAM provides a solid foundation for resource-intensive applications for creators, as well as for everyday tasks on dual displays.

While there are areas for improvement such as audio quality, and the potential addition of an AMD or NVIDIA GPU could elevate its performance further, the ASUS Zenbook Duo still stands out as a winner for mobile productivity, making it a worthy candidate as your next travel companion.

To explore further, you can visit the ASUS e-Shop or JB Hifi.

Traditionally, working on a laptop while managing multiple documents or applications has been challenging. However, the ASUS Zenbook Duo, featuring dual 3K resolution ASUS Lumina OLED touchscreen displays, presents a solution. With its 180° lay-flat hinge and detachable keyboard, it transforms into a versatile mobile workstation. Equipped with the latest Intel Core Ultra 9 processor, 32GB of DDR5 RAM, and 1TB of M.2 SSD Storage, it delivers ample power for any task. Additionally, with Dolby Atmos and Vision support, users can unwind with a movie after completing their work.

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