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Dual-screen laptops — An Innovation or Distraction

ASUS-Zenbook-Duo-UX482E

ASUS Zenbook Duo Laptop Review

With its tilting secondary display, the ASUS Zenbook Duo UX482E is a head-turner for sure. If you’re thinking that is the secondary screen a gimmick or an innovative productivity enhancement that holds utility value for everyone, then read on to find out…

While at work, you would have used dual monitors to make your work efficient and productive by connecting a secondary display to your laptop or desktop. Be it video calls along with presentations, editing films and images, working on a large spreadsheet, or even when playing an immersive video game, the extra screen space is always helpful. What if you could get a second-screen experience within the laptop form factor? Asus has done exactly the same with its ZenBook Duo range of laptops whose main draw is its signature dual screens. The unique secondary display, dubbed as ScreenPad Plus, is where Asus has innovated the laptop’s design and ergonomics that has made it the main draw of the laptop.

Innovative Dual-Screen Design

By the looks, the Asus ZenBook Duo 14 UX482EA is a well-built premium-looking lightweight device having a magnesium-aluminum alloy body that complements its stunning Celestial Blue brushed metal finish. And, this impression gets further elevated once you lift the lid to reveal the unique dual screens and keyboard-trackpad layout. The main display features a 14-inch full HD screen with thin bezels that result in a 93% screen-to-body ratio. The NanoEdge display is bright and PANTONE validated for professional-grade color accuracy that delivers an unmatched viewing experience comparable to Apple MacBooks. However, the main attraction of the ZenBook Duo is its dual-screen feature.

Asus-ZenBook-Duo-14-UX482EA-ScreenPadScreenPad Plus, the half-sized secondary screen, is a 12.6-inch IPS LCD touchscreen panel that gets automatically tilted up to 7-degrees when the laptop’s lid is raised. Supported by an ‘ErgoLift’ hinge, this tilted display results in comfortable viewing and makes touch interactions easier for the user, as he no more has to stoop forward to see and use the ScreenPad. The included stylus allows the ScreenPad to be used for handwriting purposes too. The ScreenPad aligns perfectly with the main screen, just that it is vertically aligned rather than horizontally. Thus, giving a continuous feel between the two screens. Windows recognizes ScreenPad as a secondary display, which allows you to use it as an extended monitor to shift applications and browser tabs between the screens seamlessly to provide multi-tasking efficiency. Atop of it, the ‘ErgoLift’ hinge mechanism also increases overall cooling airflow by up to 49%. This in turn allows optimum internal temperature maintenance that helps in maximizing the performance.

Adapting to new Ergonomics

Asus-ZenBook-Duo-14 spacebarHowever, to accommodate the ScreenPad, Asus improvised on some ergonomics for ZenBook Duo’s keyboard and trackpad. Both are now placed side by side at the edge of the bottom panel — where usually one used to rest their wrists. With the touchpad being on the right of the keyboard, the new cramped arrangement takes some time to get used to. As there’s no palm rest the typing becomes a bit inconvenient if you’re using the device on your lap and not on a firm surface such as a work desk. Had Asus used a pointing device like the ThinkPad’s TrackPoint, which is located in the middle of the keyboard, it would have allowed instant access rather than having to move the hand from the keyboard to the trackpad every time to move the mouse. This would have been very convenient for users especially the left-handed ones, as the trackpad on ZenBook Duo is on the right side.

Heavyweight Performance

Despite being an ultraslim lightweight laptop, Asus ZenBook Duo 14 UX482EA is packed with specs that deliver heavyweight performance. The review unit we received came equipped with an 11th-gen 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7-1165G7 quad-core processor, 32 GB LPDDR4 memory clocked at 4266 MHz, onboard Intel Iris Xe graphics, and 1 TB NVME PCIe SSD storage. With such premium components, Asus ZenBook Duo is Intel EVO certified that guarantees top-of-the-line performance for ultrabooks. The 70-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery is rated to last up to 17 hours. The device also supports fast charging and with the 65-watt fast-charger, it can be juiced up from zero to 60% in under 49 minutes. There’s also pair of the latest Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 port, an HDMI 1.4, an audio jack, and a microSD card reader. The device also supports dual-band Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. The Thunderbolt 4 ports support Power Delivery and DisplayPort, which can easily output to a projector, monitor, or TV, and connect to external storage devices without any dongles or adapters. The Harman Kardon speakers are positioned just under the ScreenPad and are fairly loud delivering good audio quality. Thanks to the NVME SSD, which is much faster than SATA SSD, the Windows 11 boots up really fast and the apps also load up rapidly. The laptop is productivity-focused and can handle the daily workload of web browsing, content editing, video streaming, and casual gaming without breaking a sweat. However, the laptop’s onboard graphics are not suited for graphics-intensive loads such as gaming at a resolution greater than 1080p or 3D-video editing.

Boosting productivity with Dual-screens

Definitely, the dual-screen experience of Asus ZenBook Duo is not a gimmick. The usage of ScreenPad Plus for routine tasks makes a lot of sense. However, as we all have been conditioned to use a single-screen for so long, adapting to dual-screen usage in laptops will require some convincing.

Asus-ZenBook-Duo-14-UX482EA-Dual-screensAsus’ new UI called ScreenXpert enables a more intuitive interaction between the main display and the ScreenPad Plus. For instance, while using applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Corel, or Lightroom, the ScreenPad opens up a customizable control panel that enables you to change brush size, saturation, adjust layer opacity, and much more. This will boost the productivity of creators who frequently use such apps. It’s a matter of convenience to use the ScreenPad Plus for apps that one keeps referring to all the time, such as mail, YouTube, or Spotify playlist – without having to switch between app windows.

From using it to display the spreadsheet while on the main screen your video call is going on, or to keep a tutorial video pinned while you are working on the software code. The potential use cases are many, but it depends on how you want to leverage the ScreenPad to assist you in boosting productivity.

Verdict

The core premise with Asus ZenBook Duo 14 UX482EA is that two screens are better than one. So, rather than for a novelty purpose, you feel the use of two screens will help you to enhance productivity and you are open to tuning yourself to a cramped keyboard and trackpad, then ZenBook Duo is ideal for you. However, for creative professionals, the ScreenPad is a helpful assistant and this laptop is recommended choice of device for them.

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