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ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 Review: Dual-Screen Done Right

ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 Review: Dual-Screen Done Right 24

[review]

The ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo isn’t the company’s first rodeo for dual-screen laptops, but the Taiwanese company has really outdone themselves with this one. With its long list of beefy specs, there’s nothing the ZenBook Pro Duo can’t handle. Having an Intel Core i9 processor, 32GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce RTX2060, and two 4K touch displays. That’s enough to keep that jaw of yours open, right? Let’s take a look at the full specifications below:

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Specifications

Model Name ZenBook Pro Duo UX581F
ProcessorIntel® Core™ i9-9980HK Processor 2.4 GHz (16M Cache, up to 5.0 GHz)

Intel® Core™ i7-9750H Processor 2.6 GHz (12M Cache, up to 4.5 GHz)
Display15.6’/ Narrow border/ 400nits/ UHD 3840X2160 16:9/ Glare/ DCI-P3: 100%/ Touch/ Wide View
Number PadYES
Screen Pad™ScreenPad™ Plus (4K Resolution)
ChipsetMobile Intel® HM370 Express Chipsets
Total Memory32GB On Board (MAX)
StoragePCIEG3x4 NVME 1TB M.2 SSD
Video Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
IGPUIntel UHD Graphics 630
Video MemoryGDDR6 6GB
On Board WirelessWi-Fi 6(Gig+)(802.11ax)+Bluetooth 5.0 (Dual band) 2*2
Card ReaderN/A
USB Ports and interfaces2x USB3.1 Type A (Gen2)
1x USB3.1-Type C (Gen2) with Thunderbolt 31x HDMI 2.01x Headphone-out & Audio-in Combo Jack
AudioBuilt-in speaker
Built-in microphone
Built-in array microphone
Harmon Kardon
Weight (KG)2.50Kg
Dimension (CM)35.9(W) x 24.6(D) x 2.30 ~ 2.40 (H) cm
AC Adapterø6.0, 230W AC Adapter, Output: 19.5V DC, 11.8A, 230W , Input : 100~240V AC, 50/60Hz universal
Battery71WHrs, 4S2P, 8-cell Li-ion
Keyboard typeIlluminated Chiclet Keyboard
Supplied AccessoriesStylus, Palm Rest

Display

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The ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo has a main display of 15.6-inch 4K touch panel, while the bottom half’s ScreenPad Plus has a 14-inch 4K touch panel. The main display is very bright with crisp details, and its bezels are fairly thin. It isn’t as thin as the Dell XPS series, but it’s still good enough. I’m impressed with how bright its display can get and the amount of pixels it can squeeze out, even the blacks are really black. Combining the 4K panel with the thin bezels, it provides a truly immersive viewing experience.

As for the ScreenPad Plus, despite having a 4K panel, it isn’t as clear as the main. This is primarily because it has a matte surface. While it may be smoother to scroll or touch on, at some viewing angles you will notice some grain that is quite apparent. Touch response wise, it’s responsive, but there tends to be a lag when you’re scrolling, especially when you’re launching applications. It gets pretty obvious when you open up the app tray. It works the way it works, you just need to be patient and bear with it while the app loads.

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There’s easy interconnectivity between the two displays, but switching animation could be improved. Some screen tears are apparent when the windows are switch and maximized to the screen.

Design

The ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo features a dual display laptop that is properly designed for better ergonomics and usability. The key is in having the keyboard and trackpad side by side away from the display. Well, there is a 14-inch ScreenPad Plus in the way, so that’s the only place to put the keyboard and trackpad. But, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. I don’t find my hands in an awkward position while using the laptop, as every part of the laptop feels well placed.

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On the left, there is the power port, HDMI, and USB-A 3.0 port. On the right, there is a USB-A 3.0, one USB Type-C, and a headphone/mic jack. On that note, did you realise something’s missing? That’s right, it doesn’t have a card reader. As a content creator where my photography and videography equipments still utilise memory cards, it’s uber important for the laptop I’m using to have a memory card slot so i can immediately import my content for me to edit on. Most of the sides are occupied by the huge air vents. Considering the thickness of the laptop, I’m sure ASUS could’ve made the air vents slightly smaller and leave some space for the memory card slot.

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The front of the laptop has a notifying light for when you charge the laptop, or go into turbo mode. The bottom of the laptop also gets elevated when you open up the laptop with these small rubber feet on the edges to protect the laptop. On the bottom, there are two large long rubber pads to keep your laptop from slipping.

Overall, the laptop just feels very well built, solid. But because of this, a certain amount of material has to go into the construction and in turn, add on a heft to the laptop. It’s not as heavy as the ROG Mothership, but it’s still very much portable in your hands and in your backpack.

User Experience

Because of the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo’s dual display system, I found myself using the laptop on my lap a lot. It feels more natural and convenient like that. For a while, it’s okay but after a while, it gets quite warm at the bottom of the laptop. When i place it on a table, the bottom of the lid does provide some elevation, but it’s still isn’t enough. So, I’ve had to place it on laptop stand to elevate it to my angle of liking.

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The keyboard feels nice to type on, no flex, and its keys are well isolated. Its backlit keyboard is bright too. The typing experience on the ZenBook Pro Duo gets even better when you attach the provided armrest. Otherwise, typing can be quite exhausting because the keyboard is so far down.

The keyboard has a few very useful shortcut keys – it has the usual audio, brightness controls, but it also has camera on/off key, and a quick shortcut key to take screenshots. The Turbo key automatically overclocks the laptop’s performance and has a notifying light to show you it’s in Turbo mode. On the right, there is also a quick key to switch all windows and apps on both displays. There’s even a to disable the ScreenPad Plus if you don’t need it.

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I love how the highlighter/cursor disappears when you start touching any one of the screens. Its trackpad feels smooth and doesn’t have that draggy sensation like on some other laptops I’ve tried. It also doubles as a numberpad, with a tap of a button in under 1 second, the trackpad gets illuminated with a numpad layout and you can start keying in numbers right from the trackpad. Like this, 75294529625842163. I know you can’t see it, but you get my point.

The web camera doesn’t perform very well, as it can suffer quite a bit of noise and shutter lag. However, it does get the job done for video calls and login identification.

Performance

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The ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo looks tough on paper, performs even tougher when put to the test. Regardless if it’s web browsing, photo and video editing, or gaming, performance is buttery smooth. Thanks to its serious specs, the combination of its Intel Core i9 processor, with 32GB of RAM, and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card, there’s nothing the ZenBook Pro Duo can’t handle well.

Part of its speed is also thanks to its PCIEG3x4 NVME 1TB M.2 SSD. Read write speeds are fast, contributing to the efficient loading time of apps and programs.

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The ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo comes with a professional-grade stylus, but I am no artist so I don’t have any great drawings to share. But with my use, I find that the stylus during rare times can be spotty. When used on the ScreenPad Plus, it feels smooth because of its matte surface. But if you’re drawing on the main display, the glossy surface can feel quite rough and not enjoyable to draw on at all.

Battery Life

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Battery life on the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo didn’t quite perform as expected. I was thinking I could get approximately five to six hours of use, but seeing how its 8-cell battery has to power two 4K touch displays, and a dedicated Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card, it’s understandable

From a full charge to complete depletion, I got about 3 hours and 20 minutes. This is where I was mostly web surfing by touch, typing, listening to music the entire time and had a game of Dota 2 at the end. With all things considered, I think its battery performed fairly well.

On a roughly similar routine but with the ScreenPad Plus turned off, I got about 3 hours 42 minutes. That’s an additional 22 minutes without the secondary touch 4K display turned on.

Audio

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The ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo’s speakers are amazingly clear. Its stereo speakers sound rich and I thoroughly enjoyed every song I played from the laptop. Audio quality wise, the mids and highs are good, but the lows are only acceptable.

That being said, the Harman Kardon speakers could’ve been even better if the speakers were firing right at me instead of sideways. When I was using it on my lap, the speakers didn’t sound quite loud enough. Although the speakers aren’t as loud as i want them to be, it can still be remedied when I place it on the table.

Conclusion

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The ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo might be a little heavy and thick, but it’s one serious powerhouse machine for content creators out there. It doesn’t matter where you bring the ZenBook Pro Duo to, you’re bound to catch some people doing a double take while you write that article or edit that last minute video revision your client wants.

While its asking price can be a tad bit steep, you’d be getting every ounce of performance the best PC hardware specs the market has to offer today. You would have two beautiful 4K touch displays to work on, the GeForce RTX 2060 rendering amazing looking graphics, and the 32GB of RAM with 1TB M.2 SSD keeping things speedy.

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Written By

Chief Content Developer at The AXO

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