Asus Zenbook Duo (UX481) review

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The Asus ZenBook Duo UX481 we have is Celestial Blue in colour and runs on Windows 10 Pro. It has an Intel® Core i7-10510U processor with 1.8GHz quad-core with Turbo Boost (up to 4.9GHz) and 8MB cache.

There is also a version of running Intel® Core i5-10210U processor1.6GHz quad-core with Turbo Boost (up to 4.2GHz) and 6MB cache. The laptop’s Graphics card is a NVIDIA® GeForce® MX250. Though it can be used for gaming, its target audience is not a heavy gamer.

Key Specs

Processor: Intel Core i7-10510U

RAM: 16GB

Storage: 1TB PCIe Gen3 x2

Graphics: Nvidia GeForce MX250

Screens: 14-inch display screen, touch; 12.6-inch ScreenPad Plus touch

Ports: USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A,

HDMI,

An audio jack,

A microSD card reader,

Power port

Cameras: 720p IR webcam

Weight: 1.5kg

Size: 12.72 x 8.78 x 0.78 inches

OS: Windows 10 Pro

Price: Ksh 235,000

CPU: Intel Core i7-10510U

GPU: Nvidia GeForce MX250

RAM: 16GB

Storage: 1TB

Display: 14-inch, 1080p  + 12.6-inch

Battery: 9:44 (ScreenPad Plus on); 11:51 (ScreenPad Plus off)

Size: 12.7 x 8.8 x 0.8 inches

Weight: 1.5 kgs

Design and Display

This is our first Zenbook Duo to review and we were really amazed at the design. Like Asus wanted to make something rugged for the heavy gamer, sleek for the home user, and a beast for the PRO user. To get the three in one, Asus had to get more real estate for designers, DJs among others.

At first look, the Duo is like a laptop from the future. More of an unrealistic and unproductive device but trying it out gives the user the maximum display screen and space they need for work and play.

The Asus ZenBook Duo Celestial Blue is a beautiful jewel to handle and on its back, the clear metallic panel has the Asus Logo. Looking at the back from a distance no one can tell the Asus Zenbook Duo’s unique design from other Asus Zenbook’s. However, on close proximity, one will notice the extra ports on the side, underneath, and on the edge that makes it able to host another display screen on its keyboard.

The design of the back cover gives the laptop an extra space for use. It’s like an ergonomic design that allows the second screen to fit perfectly well and give the user a comfortable enough time to use the laptop. Though one can get tired bending using the second screen, which takes the top half of the normal laptop keyboard. It’s lifted ergonomic design comes in hand for body posture.

On the right side of the Duo’s keyboard is a small touchpad which also works as its mouse. The display screen, the Screenpad Plus and the touchpad are designed for both usability and aesthetics.

On the right edge, the ZenBook Duo has a USB 3.1 Type-A port, a microSD card and a headphone jack while on the left side is an HDMI port, another USB 3.1 input, an HDMI port and a USB-C input. 

We watched the Netflix’s Umbrella Academy on the Zenbook Duo and we loved the brightens, the audio quality, and the ZenBook Duo’s screen calmness. There are not many reflections on the panel even during the day.

Asus ZenBook Duo ScreenPad Plus

The fact that the Duo’s 12.6-inch ScreenPad Plus is like a feature from the future, and better than its earlier versions, we struggled to use it, especially at a sitting position.

The ScreenPad Plus is helpful for navigating from the App Launcher from the Quick Key, which is a shortcut to keys such as cut, copy, paste, undo, and into Asus apps for Numbers, handwriting, drawing and taking quick notes among others. You can also move between screen easily by dragging anything from the ScreenPad Plus to the 14-inch display and back to the 12.6-inch ScreenPad Plus. You can use both screens for gaming, writing and editing, watching movies, video and photo editing among others.

Keyboard and touchpad

Asus did their best to play around with the keyboard design from the ordinary for the Duo to accommodate the ScreenPad Plus. However, because it’s so much on the edge, it makes use of keyboard hard. Both on the desk and on laps. Faster typing needs that all the wrists rest on the keyboard which has been squeezed on both ends allowing no rest for arm wrists while typing. It’s also heavy to stay on your laps for long and not good for remote working.

The touchpad, which could be put in the middle of keyboard under or above the space button has been squeezed on right side and given a little working area for professional use especially graphics, photo, and video editing among others. The touchpad is narrow (2.1 x 2.7 inches) and gives not enough room for fingers to work. That could be reason why Asus gave users an option of shortcut buttons on the touchpad.

Asus ZenBook Duo performance

With an Intel Core i7-10510U CPU and 16GB of RAM, the ZenBook Duod is a work mule and perfom just about anything without heating, messing up the audios or its processor lagging. It also has a 1TB SSD inside, and comes with the Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU which gives the ZenBook Duo UX481 a super speedy performance across apps, media or production or gaming. The processing power gives it the needed resources to be a great work beast. The Zenbook Duo’s battery is also good and can last up to 9 hours on heavy media use.

What we think

We can’t blame Asus for trying, giving the ZenBook Duo the two display screens wasn’t a mean feat. Though it’s chunkier and heavier than its counterparts in the same specs and price range, it’s a great work beast.

The Asus’s ZenBook Duo laptop is currently available at Text Book Centre for Ksh. 235,000. Like a laptop from the future, we like its design and performance but we think the secondary 12.6-inch display was not necessary.