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ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481FL Laptop Review: Do Two Screens Mean Double The Productivity?

Numerous double screen PCs have been divulged over the previous year, including the ASUS ZenBook Pro 15, HP Omen X2s, and Microsoft Surface Duo. Be that as it may, the Taiwanese organization was the first to dispatch a double screen workstation. The ZenBook Pro 15 was propelled a year ago. Its touchscreen-based trackpad could likewise be utilized to show smaller than expected windows or gadgets like an adding machine or media player controls. During Computex 2019, the organization uncovered two additional workstations—ZenBook Duo and ZenBook Pro Duo—with auxiliary showcases. This time, however, auxiliary screens are a lot greater, spreading over edge-to-edge. Optional shows on these workstations are set between the console and the PC's pivot, making them agreeable for progressively adaptable use cases.

The ZenBook Pro Duo (UX581) is valued at Rs 2,09,990, and it has two 4K screens (the principle screen being OLED), DDR4 RAM, ninth Gen. Intel Core processor, and a Thunderbolt 3 port. The ZenBook Duo (UX481), then again, has two Full HD LCD screens, DDR3 RAM, tenth Gen. Intel Core processor, and a 10Gbps USB Type-C port. The ZenBook Duo is valued at Rs 89,990. We got an opportunity to test the ASUS ZenBook Duo (UX481L) over the past couple a long time to check whether two screens on a workstation are superior to one and does this structure factor truly help in improving profitability.

ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481FL Specs

The ZenBook Duo has a 14-inch IPS LCD edge-to-edge screen with Full HD goals and 100% sRGB shading extent inclusion. There's an auxiliary showcase with touchscreen, which the organization calls ScreenPad Plus, and it is 12.6-inch in size. There's an illuminated chiclet-style console and the trackpad utilizes Windows Precision drivers. There are Harman Kardon-tuned stereo speakers, a variety of receivers for Alexa and Cortana voice acknowledgement, and an IR webcam with Windows Hello support. The PC weighs 1.5kg and is simply 19.9mm thick.

The ZenBook Duo runs Windows 10 and comes in two variations, one with an Intel Core i5 10210U CPU and the other with an Intel Core i7 10510U CPU. The workstation unusually utilizes LPDDR3 RAM, either 8GB or 16GB, contingent upon the variation. Just the ZenBook Pro Duo highlights LPDDR4 RAM. There's Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU. As far as capacity, ASUS is offering 256GB (Gen3 x2), 512GB (Gen3 x2), or 1TB (Gen3 x4) of PCIe NVMe SSD for capacity.

The ZenBook Duo has a full-sized HDMI 2.0 port, a 10Gbps USB Type-A port, a 5Gbps USB Type-A port, a 10Gbps USB Type-C port, a 3.5mm earphone/amplifier combo jack, and a microSD card space. The remote network incorporates future-verification Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. The PC is fueled by a 70WHr battery and accompanies a 65W power connector which has a tube-shaped connector.

ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481FL Design & Ergonomics

The ZenBook Duo glances in vogue in its Celestial Blue colourway, with its metallic concentric circle finish. The top still gets a couple of fingerprints and smears. ASUS packs the workstation with great quality, delicate touch leatherette PC spread. One less thing to stress over.

The workstation's manufacture quality is extremely useful at the cost. There is near no flex in the top or on the console. Its cover doesn't open as effectively as the MacBook's, with one finger, yet at any rate, it isn't excessively free, which could wind up being an unwavering quality issue in a few years.

At the point when you open the cover, the base of the workstation is raised somewhat (5.5 degrees) utilizing the 'ErgoLift Hinge.' The raised console makes composing marginally simpler. Be that as it may, the console is a bad dream to type on because of its position, towards the base edge of the workstation's base. Besides, the picture direction of the effectively little trackpad is no assistance either. It is practically difficult to utilize the thin trackpad, particularly when you're originating from huge scene situated trackpads on different PCs. If you need to work easily on the ZenBook Duo, I would recommend you utilize an outside mouse and a wrist rest connection for the console.

The console's keys have an average measure of movement, as profound as flimsy and-light workstations go. They're, as well. A significant issue that I looked with the console, however, was identified with the position and the size of the correct Shift key. It was excessively near bolt keys, and I wound up squeezing an inappropriate key a ton of times. At any rate, the console is illuminated.

The trackpad utilizes Windows Precision drivers, making it good with multi-finger motions, regular looking over, and smooth following. The pointer skips at times. It was definitely not a colossal issue, however, I felt that I should tell you. In contrast to the ZenBook Pro Duo and the ZenBook 13 (Review), the ZenBook Duo's trackpad doesn't change over into a capacitive number cushion with a press of a catch. There are committed physical fastens on the trackpad for left-snap and right-click activities, something that we don't get the opportunity to see on some very good quality present-day PCs. It would have been exceptional if they were incorporated into the glass trackpad.

There is an extremely meagre bezel around the showcase, and ASUS claims a screen-to-body proportion of 90 per cent, regardless of its webcam being at the ordinary situation (over the screen). Aside from the HD webcam, there are IR sensors for Windows Hello-based client verification. The correct side of the workstation has a microSD card opening, a 3.5mm combo sound jack, and a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port. On the left, there is a charging port, an HDMI port, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port, and a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port.

ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481FL Displays & Audio

The essential presentation of the ZenBook Duo utilizes a 14-inch IPS LCD board. It is Pantone approved for improved shading precision. Content on the screen, be it content or pictures, showed up sharp, on account of Full HD goals. While there are PCs with screens that offer more difference proportion and higher brilliance, the ZenBook Duo's essential screen is splendidly usable. The equivalent can't be said about the optional presentation, however. The organization most likely utilized a VA or a TN board for the ScreenPad Plus since its review edges are a lot of more regrettable contrasted with the essential presentation. What's more, when you factor in the intense edge at which you wind up taking a gander at the ScreenPad Plus, it turns out to be significantly harder to unmistakably observe the substance on it. Hues look blurred and the splendour is lower than it ought to be.

I am not saying that an auxiliary presentation is futile, however it ought to have had a vastly improved quality board. I trust the ScreenPad Plus on the ZenBook Pro Duo utilizes a showcase board that has more extensive survey edges and higher brilliance.

The workstation's 'ASUS SonicMaster' stereo speakers are tuned by Harman Kardon and they utilize a savvy intensifier for improved sound quality. The Taiwanese organization asserts that the speakers utilize long-travel voice loops for an improved low-recurrence reaction. Truly, the bass was somewhat superior to anything most contending workstations in its value run however it was certainly not a marvellous improvement. The volume could've been ever more elevated end frequencies could've been all the more sparkly. Sound quality through the 3.5mm earphone jack was more fulfilling. The equalizer in the AudioWizard application can be utilized to modify sound yield.

ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481FL Webcam

The HD webcam on this laptop had decent picture quality but it didn’t work most of the time. First, it started having problems such as turning on late. Later, it stopped working completely.

I attempted the Windows 10's worked in camera application and even the Skype application to check on the off chance that it was the Windows Hello face acknowledgement framework that was surrey or the camera itself. Turns out, it was the camera. Obviously, Windows Hello quit working following a couple of days I began evaluating the PC. I attempted it in the wake of resetting the workstation yet to no utilization.

ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481FL Performance

ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481FL
Thanks to the 10th Gen. Intel Core i7 10510U processor, 16GB DDR3 2133MHz RAM, and 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD, the ZenBook Duo worked plenty fast. The 15W TDP processor has four CPU cores and it supports multithreading. The base frequency is 1.8GHz and Max Turbo frequency can reach as high as 4.9GHz. During my two-week-long review period, the laptop did not feel slow. And it is to be expected with the latest-generation Intel Core i7 processor, even though it’s still an ultra-low voltage CPU.
ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481FL
There’s a dedicated GPU in the form of NVIDIA’s GeForce MX250, which lets you play most e-sports games at over 30fps frame rate with medium settings at Full HD resolution. I played a few CS: GO matches and it consistently offered a frame rate of 60fps or higher.
ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481FL - Counter Strike Global Offensive Frame Rate
If you want to play more graphically intensive games like GTA V, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, or Control at playable frame rates (above 30fps), you’ll have to drop the resolution to 720p and graphics settings at low or medium, depending on the game. However, since it’s not a gaming laptop it can’t be seen as a negative. The MX250 GPU is more for hardware accelerating creative apps from Adobe and other providers. If you’re into creative stuff like Photoshop or Premiere Pro, you can get much better performance compared to laptops with integrated GPUs. Unfortunately, there’s no Thunderbolt 3 port on the laptop, so if you want a higher specced GPU for even better productivity or gaming performance, you can’t attach an eGPU enclosure to the ZenBook Duo.

The M.2 PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe SSD inside the ZenBook Duo is really fast and can reach sequential read speeds of up to 3500Mbps and sequential write speeds of up to 2400Mbps. Random read and write speeds can reach as high as 640Mbps and 310Mbps, respectively. All of this means that you won’t experience any performance bottlenecks due to the SSD.

ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481FL Productivity & Software: How Does The ScreenPad Plus (Secondary Screen) Work?

ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481FL
Coming to the productivity aspect of the ZenBook Duo, does the second screen improve productivity? It does, to an extent, but there needs to be a lot of improvement on the software front to fully utilize the second screen. First, let us walk through the software features that are available on the ZenBook Duo through its ScreenPad Plus.

The ScreenPad Plus software can be used to customize your dual-screen usage. It allows using the dual-screen layout in a few different ways. You can either span a window across two screens for a larger view. Or, you can have multiple windows on the primary screen and on the second screen. You can open things like a calculator, a handwriting widget, a music player, a video player, or your Twitter timeline on the secondary display for enhanced productivity (or entertainment while working). You can switch windows between the two screens with a push of a button or completely turn off the second screen.
Whenever you try to move a window, three options appear: switch the window to a different screen, pin the window, or pan it across both displays. The laptop also allows creating groups of windows so you can switch between two different workflows easily. Up to three windows can be viewed on the secondary display at the same time. You can create multiple groups of apps and save those presets so as soon as you click on the group, you switch to that workflow and all the apps in the group open at once. The App Navigator is an alternate task view that shows all open apps on the secondary display so you can easily scroll through them.

However, things are not perfect and the software needs a lot of polish to gain the full potential of using a dual-screen laptop. The ScreenPad Plus software hung up a few times and once it froze the entire laptop. I had to restart the machine to get it working again. Plus, you can’t have multiple desktops on the primary screen and just one desktop on the second screen. My usual workflow includes multiple apps (web browser, Twitter, Your Phone Companion, Slack, WhatsApp, Email, and Calendar) opened in full-screen mode, all arranged on separate desktops. To enhance my productivity, I wanted three apps—number pad, a calculator, and the Quick Key widget—pinned on the second screen even if I switched between multiple desktops on the primary screen. Sadly, that isn’t possible right now due to Windows 10’s limitations. That doesn’t mean the second screen is completely useless. It just didn’t suit my workflow. However, if you’re someone who uses apps like Photoshop or Corel Painter where you can pin various toolbars on the second screen and have the main work window on the primary screen, there’s a good chance that your productivity will improve without a need for a dual-monitor setup.
ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481FL
An active pen (stylus) comes bundled with the ZenBook Duo. Since only the ScreenPad Plus on this laptop has a touchscreen display, the pen can only be used on the secondary screen. It works fine for handwriting and simple scribbling using the built-in Windows Ink Workspace but you shouldn’t expect any wonders if you are into professional drawing or painting.

ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481FL Battery Life

ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481FL
While the company has put forth a very promising 22-hour battery life figure (with the ScreenPad Plus turned off and main display set to 150cd/m2 brightness), I could only get around 6 to 7 hours of usage on a single charge, and that too with the ScreenPad Plus turned off. I had the primary screen’s brightness set at 70 per cent the whole time.
With the secondary display turned on, the ZenBook Duo lasted around 4 to 5 hours. My day-to-day usage includes multi-tabbed web browsing, three email accounts on sync, Slack, WhatsApp, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi turned on. I can’t say if it was a problem with the laptop’s firmware but I had much higher expectations and the ZenBook Duo completely decimated those expectations. Charging the laptop’s battery from 0-100 per cent takes exactly two hours.

Is ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481FL Worth Its Price?

ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481FL
The ZenBook Duo is very well-built, has a good primary screen, fast performance, and the latest wireless connectivity features. It even offers higher productivity, thanks to its secondary display, but at what cost? Its keyboard and touchpad are cramped, which makes it really hard to type and operate without an external mouse. The secondary display also takes a toll on the laptop’s battery life. The webcam on our review unit failed to work, but I think it won’t be a widespread issue.
Even if you see yourself making use of the secondary screen on the ZenBook Duo, I would suggest waiting for another generation before you spend your money on it, at least till things become more polished on both hardware and software fronts. Frankly, I don’t think a secondary screen is worth the money if it comes at the cost of keyboard and trackpad, which are both more important on a laptop.

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