Asus ZenBook Duo: Is this mobile workstation worth its price?


For a moment you might think it's a gimmick – you can make do with one screen, like any regular laptop, so why have two touch screens side by side? But there is something logical in the arrangement of the Asus ZenBook Duo: it can be used like a normal laptop, with a keyboard that is external but integrates into the computer without any problems. And you can switch to a two-screen display when you want or need, and that's also a useful and logical option, not really just a gimmick.

However, this option comes at a price, with the Duo often being sold for more than $3,000. With this amount you can buy several computers or one powerful computer and an external screen.

Duo is not perfect: the whole package, i.e. computer, keyboard and charger, weighs about 2 kg, it does not excel at heavy graphic tasks, the sound from the speakers is not always good and the price is high, as mentioned .

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asus zenbook duo

,Itai Smuskowitz,

And there's another small problem: These are actually two screens and they're not small for a laptop, but they're not the size typically found in a stand that incorporates two separate screens. When screens are placed vertically, side by side, this is the common arrangement in many workspaces, but they tend to be narrower due to the limitations of laptops. That is, it is not a complete replacement of two full screens, but a mobile solution, it has its advantages and disadvantages.

Who will it suit? For those who aren't put off by the price (or it's not a consideration for them), for those who need two screens anywhere and everywhere and also for those who want to make an impact.

Working with two computer screens is no longer as rare as it used to be. True, not everyone needs it and you can still make do with one screen, but on the other hand, screen prices are no longer sky-high and technically this is not a problem.

There are also solutions for those who work with laptops – to add an external screen or a docking station. Asus offers another approach: the ZenBook Duo, a laptop with two 14-inch touch screens, similar to Lenovo's Yoga Book 9i. Asus had previously launched a model with the same name (full name was Pro Duo), only with an additional smaller screen at the bottom above the keyboard. This time it is two large screens and an external keyboard that can be placed on the lower screen.

Now you can work from anywhere with two screens and the new model offers many different options for using it. But is it practical?

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Asus ZenBook Duo.

,Photo: Itai Smuskowitz,

Hardware: Strong on paper, but not for graphic tasks

The ZenBook Duo is powered by Intel's Core Ultra 9 processor and has 32GB of memory and a 2TB SSD drive. The graphics card is also from Intel, Arch, so this is not a computer for gamers, but it's also not just a computer for office work or “for students” – it's fast, powerful and handles a wide variety of tasks . When I loaded it with relatively heavy graphic work, there was a delay of a few seconds. This isn't something you can't live with, but it's fair to expect a little more from a computer with such specifications (and price).

The Duo offers ample external connections: there are two USB-C/Thunderbolt sockets, a USB-A socket, an HDMI connection and a headphone socket – all located on the bottom screen. The external keyboard has its own USB-C connection for charging.

The outstanding stars of the Duo are two OLED screens, with excellent color display and high levels of brightness, thanks to which you can work with the computer even in sunlight.

The speakers are Harman Kardon, with support for Dolby Atmos, and while watching some video clips, you can hear the surround sound effect. On the other hand, most songs didn't sound good when I started Spotify, and changing the Dolby Audio profile settings didn't help either.

The battery lasts for approximately 8 hours depending on the nature of tasks and workload. The charger provided by Asus is quite compact and connects to a USB-C socket, and weighs around 180 grams. The battery charged from 10% to 50% in about 40 minutes and took about an hour and a half to fully charge.

Interface and software: It's time to update Windows

The model that came for testing included Windows 11 in Home edition, which still needs improvement in terms of touch screen. You can use a mouse and a keyboard, there is also an Asus Pen, but on a computer that includes two touch screens, this only means touching the screen with your fingers. However, to close a folder window or Chrome tab with the touch of a finger, I had to try two or three times to find the appropriate point.

Working with both screens open in balanced mode makes using the touch screen even more difficult. In this mode, the upper screen is further away, but that's why there are two screens, and it's better to focus touches on the lower screen.

4 look at the gallery

this is zenbook duothis is zenbook duo

asus zenbook duo

,Itai Smuskowitz,

Asus has some extras of its own, for example a menu that helps split the display between screens: when you drag an open window or browser tab, you can choose in the Windows menu which screen Which part of the screen to pin it to, and there's also an Asus menu through which you can choose on which screen to display it.

There is also an option to integrate displays so that one window is displayed on both screens. This is nice, but not always practical: for example, if it's a Word document, you'll get more space to display it. However, in Netflix, for example, profile menus are displayed exactly at the connection between screens and the movie or series is split and cut between screens.

With a standard and separate display for two screens, you can easily figure out what to do with them – watch a lecture or participate in a Zoom call on one screen and write a summary on the other, draw with a pen on one screen Create and display song lists, compare documents or photos, and more on a second screen.


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