ASUS has revealed its 2019 flagship range of lifestyle laptops headed by the ZenBook Pro Duo which stand out for the simple fact that it features an enormous touchscreen above the keyboard extending the main display by an extra 50%.
The 15.6-inch ZenBook Pro Duo and the slightly smaller 14-inch ZenBook Duo are designed for multitasking so users can open up to three apps or web pages on the lower display while keeping the main screen distraction free. Or, a webpage can be stretched across both screens to bring more content into view.
The touchscreen is based on the ScreenPad technology found on the last generation ASUS ZenBooks which saw the trackpad double as a smartphone-like touch display offering quick access to apps. This time around the enhanced software goes by ScreenPad Plus. ASUS is describing the ZenBook Pro Duo as the “laptop of tomorrow.” If future technology is defined by the number and size of its screens, then ASUS is well on point.
ASUS demonstrated the potential benefits of multiple screens by using the Pro Duo to make online travel arrangements. The main display was reserved for a travel agent then split across the bottom screen was Google Maps, and a Calendar app, which brought all relevant information into view at the same time.
The idea is users can be more productive and efficient by eliminating the need to swap back and forth between documents, web pages, apps, or whatever else needs doing. Up to three different items can be displayed at once on the lower display, while dozens of others can be left open in the background.
Content transitions from one screen to the other by simply clicking and dragging it to the edge. Alternatively, clicking and holding on the page header brings up a small menu with available display options. Tools and apps can also be saved to the app launcher to boot upon Windows startup.
Another example highlighted the potential benefits for game streamers. The main screen took care of gameplay, while the lower screen displayed the gamer’s Twitch stream and Discord chat. ASUS says the two displays will benefit graphic designers, audio and video producers or anyone watching videos and chatting online at the same time.
ZenBook Pro Duo features a frameless 4K OLED display with High Dynamic Range and ASUS NanoEdge which adds an anti-glare coating. The main screen is also a touchscreen, and the laptop comes packaged with a stylus for drawing and handwriting.
The second display measures 14 inches from corner to corner and also receives the 4K treatment. Over on the right-hand side is where you will find the LED-lit dual-function touchpad/number pad. There’s also Amazon Alexa voice support, with a dedicated light bar at the front of the laptop that illuminates to indicate it’s (she’s?) listening.
The smaller Zenbook Duo is also equipped with a frameless NanoEdge display with the picture presented in full HD. The lower touch display measures in at 12.6-inches. The ZenBook Duo does not currently offer touch functions for the main display, although ASUS is taking feedback on board before it makes a final decision.
Diving into the technical specs, the Pro Duo will be available with top-of-the-line 9th Generation Intel Core processors, combined with up to 32GB RAM. The graphics card is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, and optional data storage can be maxed out via the latest and fastest one terabyte Pcle solid state drive.
The 14-inch ZenBook Duo is powered by the Intel Core i7 processor and a GeForce MX250 GPU graphics card. Both laptops support the latest WiFi 6, and Bluetooth 5 connectivity and Harman Kardon tune the audio.
Both laptops feature a dedicated turbo fan button which can be activated at any time to boost cooling. So if either device is maxing out the hardware with high-end games or other software, performance should remain silky smooth.
Like many modern laptops, the Pro Duo and Duo offer the ergonomic hinges that raise the keyboard to a more user-friendly level. The other less obvious benefit is improved airflow and consequently, better thermal performance.
ASUS revealed both laptops in a new Celestial Blue colourway with a unique version of the brand’s spun-metal finish. They are built with a full aluminium chassis. The larger Pro Duo also comes bundled with an ErgoLift palm rest for additional comfort.
There’s currently little to no information regarding battery life, pricing or a release date. The 3rd quarter of this year was pitched during the press event. It’s unclear if this release window is reserved for Asia or will include other regions. The hardware works well, yet there’s still plenty of unknowns surrounding ASUS’ new flagship products.
What’s clear is that the immediate future will involve an abundance of dual-screen laptops. HP is gearing up to launch its Omen X 2S laptop with a smaller second screen mainly for gaming, and Lenovo recently announced a folding tablet/PC that’s entirely one big screen.
Both have benefits over a traditional single laptop display although ASUS Pro Duo and Duo are the first dual-screen laptops we’ve seen that could improve productivity without compromise and that can only a good thing.
Man of Many travelled to Computex 2019 as a guest of ASUS.