From www.digitaltrends.com

The two screens of the Zenbook Duo.

Asus Zenbook Duo

MSRP $1,500.00

“The Asus ZenBook Duo is easily the best dual-screen laptop ever made.”

Pros

  • Excellent value in low-end model
  • Quality build
  • Solid productivity performance
  • Great keyboard
  • Well-conceived stacking mode
  • Surprisingly good battery life

Cons

  • Inconsistent performance
  • Desktop mode is clunky

Laptops with foldable or dual screens are no longer a gimmick. And the Asus Zenbook Duo is proof of that.

Not only does this new machine iterate on previous designs in some meaningful ways, it does so at a price that’s actually somewhat affordable. Greatly expanding on the previous model, which had the same name and a much smaller second display, the new Zenbook Duo sports two 14-inch OLED panels and a detachable keyboard. There’s some performance inconsistencies with the two configurations I tested, but this is easily the best dual-screen laptop ever made.

Specs and configurations

 Asus Zenbook Duo 2024
Dimensions12.32 inches x 8.54 inches x 0.57 inches (without keyboard)
12.32 inches x 8.54 inches x 0.78 inches (with keyboard)
Weight2.98 pounds (without keyboard)
3.68 pounds (with keyboard)
ProcessorIntel Core Ultra 7 155H
Intel Core Ultra 9 185H
GraphicsIntel Arc
RAM16GB LPDDR5x
32GB LPDDR5x
Display2 x 14.0-inch 16:10 FHD+ (1920 x 1200) OLED displays, 60Hz
2 x 14.0-inch 16:10 2.8K (2,880 x 1,800) OLED displays, 120Hz
Storage512GB PCIe Gen4 SSD
1TB PCIe Gen4 SSD
TouchYes
Ports2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
WirelessWi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
Webcam1080p with infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello support
Operating systemWindows 11
Battery75 watt-hours
Price$1,500+

Asus has two configurations of the Zenbook Duo. The $1,500 base configuration includes an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H chipset, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and two 14.0-inch FHD+ OLED panels running at 60Hz. Spend just $200 more, and you get a Core i9 185H, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and two 14.0-inch 3K OLED panels at 120Hz.

On paper, it’s toss-up as to which of these configurations is the better bargain. On the one hand, the entry-level configuration is $560 less than the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i, the Zenbook Duo’s direct competitor. Lenovo’s dual-screen laptop costs $2,060 with the same Core Ultra 7 155H, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and two 13.3-inch 2.8K OLED displays. But even when configured with a faster chipset, twice the RAM, and larger displays with faster refresh rates (the Lenovo’s top out at 60Hz), the Zenbook Duo is still $360 less.

I’ll get into more differences between these laptops below, but based on price alone, Asus offers the more attractive machine. I reviewed both Zenbook Duo configurations, and as we’ll see, the entry-level model is the most attractive.

Design

Asus Zenbook DUO 2024 front angled view showing display and keyboard.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

I’ve reviewed several laptops that offer two displays, either real ones, as with the Zenbook Duo and Lenovo Yoga Book 9i, or virtual ones, as with foldable laptops like the HP Spectre Foldable PC and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold. Although the two approaches promise tons of flexibility, their implementations are very different.

Foldable laptops have large OLED panels that fold down the middle, turning them from very large tablets into smallish clamshell laptops. By propping them up and using them with external keyboards, they can serve as large “desktop” machines with a single expansive display. In particular, the Spectre Foldable PC demonstrates the viability of these “3-in-1” laptops.

Asus Zenbook DUO 2024 front view showing dual displays.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The dual-screen laptop is different. It offers a superior clamshell mode with a physical keyboard on the second, larger display. In the Zenbook Duo’s case, we’re talking about two 14-inch panels. It can also be used as a desktop, with each display standing side-by-side in portrait mode and in a vertically stacked configuration with each display in landscape mode.

However, it’s not one large, seamless display like foldable PCs. Notably, the form factor doesn’t work as a standard tablet, although its displays both support active pens, and its second display can be used for digital drawing and handwriting when the keyboard is removed. None of the laptops can comfortably be used in hand like lighter, simpler tablets.

Asus Zenbook DUO 2024 side rear view showing kickstand.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

While they’re similar in functionality, the Zenbook Duo and Yoga Book 9i aren’t identical in their designs. First, the Zenbook has a kickstand built into the second display that holds the laptop securely in both desktop and vertically stacked modes. It’s a simple, yet effective implementation. The Yoga Book 9i’s origami stand is more complicated to set up and is another piece to carry around. I found Lenovo’s approach workable during my review, but I like the Zenbook’s built-in kickstand much better.

Overall, the Zenbook Duo is an incredibly well-built laptop that felt light enough with or without its keyboard. It can be carried around either with the keyboard in place or without it, unlike the Yoga Book 9i, which can’t hold its keyboard when closed. That makes the Zenbook heavier and thicker, but much more convenient as a self-contained unit.

Asus Zenbook DUO 2024 side rear view showing keyboard inserted and vents.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Second, the Zenbook Duo’s keyboard is full-sized compared to the Yoga Book 9i’s half-sized version. While the Yoga’s keyboard leaves half the second display available for use, it’s not as comfortable for typing, and it lacks a physical touchpad. Instead, it relies on a virtual facsimile. The Zenbook’s keyboard provides large keycaps, tons of spacing, and light, snappy switches. It’s an excellent keyboard that might not match Apple’s Magic Keyboard for sheer precision, but it’s close enough.

The Zenbook’s physical touchpad, although mechanical (the ThinkPad X1 Fold offers a haptic touchpad), was preferable to Lenovo’s software version. And when used in desktop mode, the Yoga Book 9i requires an external mouse.

Again, I liked the Yoga Book 9i’s keyboard during my review, but I like the Zenbook’s better. To top it off, the Zenbook’s keyboard connects via strong magnets and pogo pins, keeping it firmly in place while charging it during use.

It connects via Bluetooth when used externally. The Zenbook Duo also has a software keyboard that can be accessed with a six-finger tap, and it works as well as all virtual keyboards — it’s OK for tapping out a quick text, but not for even short copy. There are also several tools available on the second screen, including a handwriting panel, a control panel, and a virtual numeric keypad.

Asus Zenbook DUO 2024 front view showing desktop mode.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Finally, the Yoga Book 9i’s displays are separated by its excellent Soundbar speaker and microphone, and there’s a smoother transition between them. When sitting in desktop mode, the Zenbook has an angle that works well in clamshell mode, but breaks up the horizontal placement. The Zenbook works much better with both displays stacked vertically — which is a lot more comfortable to configure using the kickstand.

Overall, I’d rate the Zenbook Duo as the best dual-screen laptop I’ve used in clamshell and stacked modes, but it’s not as good in desktop mode.

Ports and webcam

Unlike the other dual-display laptops I’ve discussed, the Zenbook Duo has the usual 14-inch laptop’s connectivity. That is, it has both modern Thunderbolt 4 ports and legacy USB-A and HDMI connectivity. That’s because, once again, the Zenbook is more of a clamshell notebook design that happens to have two displays. Unfortunately, Asus didn’t include an SD card reader, which would have pleased creators. Wireless connectivity remains a generation behind with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, while some recent laptops have made the leap to Wi-Fi 7.

The webcam is a 1080p version, offering a quality image for videoconferencing. That’s lower than the 5MP webcam on the Yoga Book 9i, but it’s still quite serviceable and supports Microsoft’s Studio Effects feature that leverages the Meteor Lake Neural Processing Unit (NPU). An infrared camera enables Windows 11 facial recognition.

Displays

Foldable PCs have smaller virtual top and bottom displays that create smaller clamshell laptops. The Zenbook Duo isn’t so limited. It sports two 14.0-inch 16:10 OLED panels in one of two resolution choices, Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) and 2.8K (2880 x 1800). The higher-resolution panels add the benefit of running at up to 120Hz, while the lower-resolution screens are limited to 60Hz. Subjectively, both display options provided bright, colorful images with OLED’s usual inky blacks. But the FHD+ panels weren’t as sharp, with noticeable pixelation in text. If, like me, you prefer the sharpest text possible, you’ll want to opt for the higher-resolution display.

According to my colorimeter, all displays are excellent. The FHD+ version had slightly better colors on its primary panel, at 100% of both sRGB and AdobeRGB and 99% of DCI-P3 versus 96% of AdobeRGB and 100% of DCI-P3 for the secondary panel. Accuracy was lower than some OLED panels at a DeltaE of 1.37 and 1.07 (1.0 or less is considered excellent), respectively, and brightness was good, but not great at 371 and 365 nits. Blacks were perfect on both, with incredibly high contrast. The 2.8K panels had similar brightness, slightly wider colors, and greater accuracy at a DeltaE of 1.01 and 0.67.

Regardless of your chosen model, you’ll get spectacular colors and awesome contrast that will please productivity users, creators, and media consumers alike. High dynamic range (HDR) content will look great, although brightness isn’t high enough to do it full justice. Only Mini-LED displays, like those on Apple’s MacBook Pros, offer enough brightness for the best HDR performance.

Performance

Asus Zenbook DUO 2024 rear view showing lid and pattern.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

I reviewed the Zenbook Duo’s entry-level and high-level configurations, which use Intel Meteor Lake 14th-gen chipsets. I measured performance of the 28-watt Core Ultra 7 155H with 16 cores (six Performance, eight Efficient, and two Low Power Efficient) and 22 threads running at up to 4.8 GHz, with 16GB of RAM. I also tested the Core Ultra 9 185H that has the same core and thread count, runs up to 5.1GHz, and consumes 45 watts and has 32GB of RAM.  The Zenbook Duo is the first laptop we’ve tested with the Core Ultra 9 185H.

It’s not often that we have a chance to test different chipsets in otherwise identical laptops. The Zenbook Duo is, at heart, a thin-and-light laptop, which means it has limited space to move air and keep things cool. That means a higher-power chip like the Core Ultra 9 185H won’t necessarily perform that much better than the lower-power Core Ultra 7 155H. In our suite of benchmarks, the Zenbook Duo yielded some unsurprising and inconsistent results.

Asus Zenbook DUO 2024 side view showing lid and vents.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

In our CPU-intensive benchmarks, the Core Ultra 9 was faster than the Core Ultra 7, but not by much. Strangely, its score in the PCMark 10 Complete benchmark was considerably lower. Either the chipset’s just not much faster or the Zenbook Duo can’t take advantage of it, as thermal throttling happens earlier and more often.

When I ran the 3DMark Time Spy benchmark, the Core Ultra 9’s Intel Arc graphics scored very poorly. In both balanced and performance modes, the ostensibly faster chipset scored roughly half that of the slower chipset, coming in at the same scores as the previous Intel Iris Xe graphics. That indicates some serious and troubling throttling (or an issue with the firmware). While neither model got overly warm on the chassis bottom, the high-end model’s fans spun up more often and ran longer. Neither was ever annoyingly loud, however, even in performance mode that was significantly faster.

Compared to the other dual-screen laptops we’ve tested, the Zenbook Duo is consistently faster with the Core Ultra 7. That’s particularly true when compared to the two foldable PCs. It’s important to note that the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i has recently been updated to Meteor Lake, so it’s likely to be more competitive.

The Zenbook Duo is fast enough for very demanding productivity workflows when in performance mode. However, like all laptops with integrated graphics, it won’t please creators who use apps that can leverage a discrete GPU. Intel Arc graphics are faster than the older Intel Iris Xe graphics (with the Core Ultra 7), but they still fall short of entry-level discrete graphics. It’s not a gaming laptop.

Geekbench 5
(single / multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
PCMark 10
Complete
Asus Zenbook Duo
(Core Ultra 7 155H)
Bal: 1,743 / 9,340
Perf: 1,730 / 11,230
Bal: 98
Perf: 82
Bal: 1,765 / 8,428
Perf: 1,791 / 12,385
6,354
Asus Zenbook Duo
(Core Ultra 9 185H)
Bal: 1,746 / 9,891
Perf: 1,792 / 11,445
Bal: 106
Perf: 80
Bal: 1,799 / 9,364
Perf: 1,818 / 13,228
5,621
Lenovo Yoga Book 9i
(Core i7-1355U)
Bal: 1,797 / 6,926
Perf: 1,804 / 7,815
Bal: 181
Perf: 118
Bal: 1,681 / 6,303
Perf: 1,758 / 7,576
5,514
HP Spectre Foldable PC
(Core i5-1250U)
Bal: 1,684 / 4,569
Perf: 1,684 / 6025
Bal: 269
Perf: 179
Bal: 1,380 / 3,911
Perf: 1,507 / 4,785
4,556
Asus Zenbook Fold 17
(Core i7-1250)
Bal: 1,584 / 5,821
Perf: N/A
Bal: 219
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,172 / 3,319
Perf: N/A
N/A
Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8
(Core i7-1360P)
Bal: 1,843 / 8,814
Perf: 1,835 / 10,008
Bal: 122
Perf: 101
Bal: 1,846 / 8,779
Perf: 1,906 / 9,849
6,102
Dell XPS 13 9315
(Core i5-1230U)
Bal: 1,393 / 4,459
Perf: 1,477 / 5,350
Bal: 333
Perf: 192
Bal: 1,379 / 3,457
Perf: N/A
4,023
Dell XPS 13 Plus
(Core i7-1280P)
Bal: 1,316 / 8,207
Perf: N/A
Bal: 127
Perf: 94
Bal: 1,311 / 6,308
Perf: 1,650 / 7,530
4,309

Battery life was surprisingly good with the Core Ultra 7, with the 75 watt-hour battery powering one of the FHD+ OLED panels for 8.5 hours in our web-browsing test and 13 hours in our video-looping test. With both displays running, the Zenbook Duo lasted for about a half hour less in each test. The Core Ultra 9 model, on the other hand, managed just 4.75 hours of web browsing and around eight hours looping our test video with just one display active. I didn’t bother running the tests with both displays turned on.

The low-end model achieved average results comparable to single-display laptops even with both displays active, making that Zenbook Duo model a very good performer. There’s no significant battery life penalty from running both displays. While the laptop may not last for a full day’s work, that’s true of most Windows laptops. Only Apple’s highly efficient MacBooks managed a lot more.

The first great dual-screen laptop

The two screens of the Zenbook Duo.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The Zenbook Duo is an extremely well-built dual-screen laptop with some key advantages. It’s a better dual-screen clamshell laptop than the competitors and a great clamshell laptop in general. It’s also the best at stacking its dual displays in a vertical orientation, thanks to a simple, yet effective built-in kickstand. But it’s not as good in desktop mode.

At the same time, the low-end model’s performance is superior to those we’ve tested, with surprisingly good battery life. The high-end configuration, on the other hand, demonstrated inconsistent performance and much worse battery life. So, I can strongly recommend the entry-level model (which is also the best value), with the only caveat being that the OLED displays aren’t quite as sharp. The high-end model, while enjoying higher-resolution displays, doesn’t offer much else to justify its higher price.

Editors’ Recommendations

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The post Asus Zenbook Duo review: a dual-screen laptop worth buying | Digital Trends first appeared on www.digitaltrends.com

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