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Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15 Review: Dual Screens, If You Need It

Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED review: Dual screens, if you need them

MSRP $3,000.00

“The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED is a fantastic laptop for creators if you can make use of its second screen.”

Pros

  • Useful dual-screen design
  • Excellent build quality
  • Beautiful OLED displays
  • Strong performance in creative apps
  • Keyboard action is comfortable
  • Active pen is precise and responsive

Cons

  • Awkward keyboard and touchpad
  • Battery life is atrocious
  • Expensive

Asus isn’t giving up on dual screens. The company has a few laptops with second screens embedded in the touchpad, but last year it released the more extravagant ZenBook Pro Duo UX581, which positioned a second large display underneath the primary panel. For such a futuristic idea, the laptop was remarkably well-executed.

But Asus hasn’t rested on its laurels, recently releasing the ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED UX582, making several significant changes to this experimental design.

I reviewed a well-stocked configuration of the ZenBook Pro Duo with a 10th-gen Intel Core i9-10980HK CPU, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB solid-state drive (SSD), and two displays, a primary 15.6-inch 4K (3840 x 2160) OLED panel and a second OLED screen at 3840 x 1100.

This is an expensive machine at $3,000, though. Is the dual-display functionality enough to go up against the best laptops for video editing and photo editing?

Design

Asus ZenBook Pro Duo sitting on table.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Close the ZenBook Pro Duo’s lid, and it looks like a chunky 15-inch laptop with a slightly industrial design in a Celestial Blue color scheme and the usual Asus concentric swirl on the lid. The edges are angled for aesthetic and functional purposes, particularly the rear edge that accommodates the new ErgoLift AAS (Active Aerodynamic System) hinge that props the lower chassis up for better airflow and more comfortable typing.

There’s a vague resemblance to gaming laptops due to aggressive venting along each side, but overall, the design is more function than form. Looking at the ZenBook Pro Duo gives a distinct impression that this is a working machine. Compare that to the Dell XPS 15, which is far more streamlined and adds a touch of elegance that makes it a more attractive laptop. Another differently designed laptop that also presents a pure work aesthetic is the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel with its flip-around display design — not surprisingly, that machine is also aimed at creatives.

There’s nothing thin and light about the ZenBook Pro Duo.

Open the ZenBook Pro Duo’s lid and the second display rises at an angle — the previous version remained flat and less comfortable to use. Because both displays are OLED, there’s a ton of bright colors and deep blacks staring back at you, and it looks cool if nothing else. That angle is helpful for more than just east of use; it also provides for additional airflow across the bottom chassis for theoretically improved thermal performance.

The main display hinge is fairly tight, and some pressure is required to lift the second display. You’ll need two hands to open the laptop despite the bottom’s significant weight, but it all feels robust and gives confidence that you won’t have any long-term issues with the second display after many openings and closings.

Asus constructed the ZenBook Pro Duo of a mix of aluminum and magnesium-aluminum alloys, and so the feeling of durability extends to the rest of the laptop. I’d rate it with the best laptops in terms of its rigidity, with absolutely no bending, flexing, or twisting anywhere on the machine. It’s equal to Dell’s XPS and Latitude and Lenovo’s ThinkPad lines, which are among the most robust laptops built today. This quality is a common characteristic of Asus laptops — rarely do we come across one that’s not solid as a rock.

There’s nothing thin and light about the ZenBook Pro Duo, though, but it’s not as large as you might expect given the second screen. It’s .83 inches thick and weighs 5.16 pounds, compared to the XPS 15 at 0.71 inches and 4.5 pounds. The ZenBook’s bezels are larger on the top and bottom, so the chassis is larger overall — not to mention the impact of the second display, but it’s not a huge laptop by any means. The Acer Concept D 7 Ezel is thicker and heavier at 1.13 inches at its thickest point and 5.6 pounds, and that machine feels larger than the ZenBook Pro Duo.

Right side view of closed Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15 showing plug in ports.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The ZenBook Pro Duo comes with a palm rest extension that slides up against the bottom of the chassis. It makes up for the fact that there’s no palm rest built into the machine, and typing without the extension is uncomfortable (more on the keyboard later). Adding the extension pushes the laptop back on your desk, meaning it takes up quite a bit of space when it’s fully configured. The extension has a passthrough for the LED at the bottom that displays the battery status, which is a nice touch.

There’s no doubt, though, that you’ll be reconfiguring your desk to make everything fit, and the extension is another thing to carry with you when you want to comfortably use the ZenBook Pro Duo on the road. I would have recommended adding a magnetic connection to keep the extension in place; as it is, it slides around while you’re working and that can be distracting.

Finally, Asus also bundles an ErgoLift Stand that further props up the rear of the ZenBook Duo Pro. You can achieve a 12-degree angle by using the stand, which can be adhered to the bottom of the chassis to always keep it with you. I found it a bit clunky to use, but then I didn’t go through attaching the stand to the review unit.

Certainly, it provides a more comfortable angle both for viewing the second screen and for typing, in the latter case letting your palms rest more naturally on the desktop. Theoretically, you could use the wrist rest extension as well, but it doesn’t line up correctly with the stand attached and so it seems to be one or the other. It’s also another complication in setting up the laptop as you move from place to place.

ZenBook Pro Duo ErgoLift Stand.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Connectivity is decent for a laptop as thick as the ZenBook Pro Duo. On the left-hand side is a proprietary connector for the 240-watt power supply, a full-size HDMI port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. On the right-hand side are two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 support and a USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 port. Conspicuously missing is an SD card slot, which would have made sense for the ZenBook Pro Duo’s creative market. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 provide wireless connectivity.

Performance

My review unit was configured with a 10th-gen Intel Core i9-10980HK eight-core/16 thread CPU, a fast CPU when thermals allow it to stretch its legs. Asus paid a great deal of attention to thermal performance, with plenty of airflow as mentioned above, two fans with 97 blades, and a whopping six heat pipes, including one dedicated to the power supply module. There’s also a G-sensor that notes when the display is closed at less than an 80-degree angle, at which point the power is reduced to limit consumption and increase battery life.

Image of the ZenBook Pro Duo with a second display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Asus provides a performance tuning utility that switches between standard and performance modes. I found the utility to be inconsistent — it increased the Cinebench R23 multi-core score to 9968, putting it among the fastest laptops we’ve tested, but it didn’t have any impact on our Handbrake test that converts a 420MB video to H.265.

It also increased the Geekbench 5 multi-core result to 7542, placing it higher among our comparison group. In our gaming benchmarks, the utility either had a minimal positive impact or reduced performance; I’ll discuss that more below. The utility didn’t impact the PCMark 10 score, which was particularly strong in the Content Creation portion and among the fastest machines.

Overall, the ZenBook Pro Duo was a speedy laptop but perhaps not quite as fast as one might expect given the Core i9 CPU. I imagine that even with all the efforts Asus put into managing thermals, the CPU still struggled to maintain full speed. Certainly, the fans would spin up, particularly in performance mode, and plenty of heat was blown out the side vents. Generally speaking, it can churn through CPU-intensive tasks and it managed to keep up with or outperform the latest Ryzen 7 CPUs — something we haven’t seen with many Intel-based laptops.

Given the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, the ZenBook Pro Duo does well with apps that can take advantage of the GPU. It scored 647 in the PugetBench Adobe Premiere Pro benchmark, which is the fastest score we’ve seen from a laptop. The next closest is the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro gaming laptop with a Ryzen 7 5800H and an RTX 3070, which managed 622. If you use Adobe’s suite, then you’ll be thrilled with the ZenBook Pro’s performance.

Geekbench
(single/multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinbench R23 (single/multi) PCMark 10
Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED (Core i9-10980HK) 1266/6918 106 1236/8326 5769
Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel
(10875H)
1301/7949 114 N/A N/A
HP Envy x360 15
(Ryzen 7 5700U)
1198/6790 116 1258/8131 5419
Asus ZenBook 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 5800U
1423/6758 124 1171 /7824 6034
Dell XPS 15 (Core i7-10875H) 1314/7549 122 N/A N/A
HP Envy 15 (Core i7-10750H) 1274/5542 139 N/A N/A
MacBook Pro 13 (M1) 1707/7337 N/A 1487 /7547 N/A

Gaming was something of a mixed bag, perhaps due to the Nvidia Studio drivers installed on the ZenBook Pro Duo. Those are meant to ensure consistent and reliable performance in creative apps rather than hardcore gaming, which seems to have impacted gaming performance. Either that or the GPU struggled at times due to thermal issues, as I suspect happened with the CPU.

Furthermore, as I alluded to above, the Asus performance utility increased frame rates by just a few or decreased performance. Civilization VI, for example, saw frame rates drop significantly in performance mode. 3DMark scores did go up, with the ZenBook Pro Duo hitting 8,763 in Time Spy and 17,864 in Fire Strike in performance mode, but that increase didn’t translate to games.

The ZenBook Duo Pro did well at 1080p in Fortnite on Epic graphics, Civilization VI on Ultra graphics, and Assassin’s Creed Vahalla on Ultra High graphics, but it fell behind in Battlefield V on Ultra. Performance decreased disproportionally at 4K, with the ZenBook Pro Duo largely falling behind the pack at this resolution. I couldn’t test at 1440p out of the box, but it’s possible that if you can dig into the Nvidia settings and enable that resolution, you’ll be happy running games there.

The net result is that while the ZenBook Pro Duo doesn’t always live up to its components as a gaming laptop, it’s still quite serviceable for modern titles at 1080p and maybe 1440p. You might get better performance if you strip off the Studio drivers and install the regular Nvidia drivers, but then you’ll lose the advantage of better creative application performance and reliability. That’s likely not something the laptop’s target market will choose to do.

Laptop 3DMark
Time Spy
3DMark
Fire Strike
Assassin’s Creed
Valhalla
(1080p Ultra High)
Battlefield V
(1080p Ultra)
Fortnite
(1080p Epic)
Civilization VI (1080p Ultra)
Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED (RTX 3070) 7998 16932 74 fps 78 fps 102 fps 111 fps
Razer Blade 14 (RTX 3070) 8605 19673 60 fps 96 fps 96 fps 84 fps
Asus ROG Strix G15 (Radeon RX 6800M) 10504 26800 77 fps 109 fps 108 fps 91 fps
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (RTX 3070) 9175 21033 61 fps 73 fps 101 fps 101 fps
MSI GS66 Stealth (RTX 3080) 9097 19175 70 fps 97 fps 140 fps 140 fps

Primary display

Close up image of the Image of the ZenBook Pro Duo's display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The ZenBook Pro Duo’s primary display is a 4K OLED panel with DisplayHDR 500 support that looks simply brilliant. OLED is special in that it typically makes colors pop without being oversaturated and generates blacks that look incredibly deep, and the panel that Asus chose for the ZenBook Pro Duo does both.

My colorimeter agreed with my subjective impression. First, the display was reasonably bright at 369 nits, well above our 300-nit threshold. That’s less than the OLED display on HP’s Spectre x360 15 that registered 426 nits and the Dell XPS 14 4K IPS display that came in at 442 nits but is still bright enough for most indoor environments. The contrast was superb as is typical of OLED displays, at 368,610:1 compared to the Spectre x360 15 OLED at 426,180:1 and the XPS 15 4K at 1480:1 (good for an IPS display).

Colors were wide at 100% of sRGB and 99% of AdobeRGB, where the Spectre x360 15 OLED managed 100% and 98%, respectively, and the XPS 15 4K hit 100% of both color gamuts. Accuracy was good at a DeltaE of 1.25 (less than 1.0 is considered excellent) and close to the Spectre x360 15 OLED’s 1.21 but not as good as the XPS 15 4K’s spectacular 0.65.

Simply put, the ZenBook Pro Duo display was a joy to use. Black text popped on white backgrounds, colors were vibrant and lovely, and binging Netflix was a dream thanks to the 4K resolution and HDR support. This is a display that everyone will love, including the creative pros who demand wide and accurate colors.

The audio is driven by two downward-firing speakers that provide clear sound and barely adequate volume. I’d like things to get a little louder, but it’s good enough for watching the occasional YouTube video. Mids and highs are fine, but there’s zero bass. You’ll want a pair of headphones for Netflix bingeing and music sessions.

Secondary display

ZenBook Pro Duo second display, ScreenPad+.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The ZenBook Pro Duo’s second display, called the ScreenPad+, is also OLED, running at 3840 x 1100. Like the primary display, it’s bright and colorful with deep blacks. I couldn’t quite position my colorimeter to get a formal reading of its quality, but it appears to be the equal of its larger sibling. Speaking of size, the second display is large enough to be useful, although the extreme widescreen format does mean that any maximized apps on it can look a little funky.

This laptop is designed for creators, and it’s those users who will get the most use out of the second display.

Asus packed a ton of functionality into the second display, all of which is accessible via a ScreenXpert Control Center menu that can be pinned to the left, right, or bottom of the display or allowed to float. The menu provides access to brightness, an App Navigator utility that makes it easy to move windows from one display to the other, a button to lock or unlock the keyboard, a button to show the ScreenPad+ desktop, a button to open the MyAsus app, a button to open the Launcher app that provides access to ScreenPad+ apps, and setup.

Useful ScreenPad+ apps include a Quick Key utility that provides quick access to functions like copy and paste, a Handwriting app that converts ink to text, a virtual numeric keypad, a Spotify control center, and a Corel Multicam utility. There are also buttons to open an AppDeals app and the MyASUS app and a button to open the Asus Control Panel app (see below).

There are several ways to use the ScreenPad+. You can turn it into a massive touchpad, which is less useful than it seems given that it’s positioned above the keyboard and so not very comfortable to use. It can host app windows and thus can function as a typical external display. Asus has created a new Control Panel app that supports Adobe Premiere, After Effects, Photoshop, and Lightroom Classic and provides several commonly used functions for each app.

The app is fully customizable and looks to streamline the use of the supported applications. A final way to use the secondary display is to drag control windows out of the way in apps like Premiere and Photoshop, allowing for more room to view and edit a video or photo. Note that the Control Panel app can automatically launch, and it takes away this functionality.

Closeup on ZenBook Pro Duo second display, ScreenPad+.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Overall, I found the ScreenPad+ to be a useful addition, but mainly for specific users who can use the app-specific functionality. That’s fine because this laptop is designed for creators, and it’s those users who will get the most use out of the second display. Personally, I probably wouldn’t use it for much more than dragging windows down that I don’t want cluttering my main display or that I want to see separately, like the Netflix app or a YouTube window. That might make the ScreenPad+ a niche component, but a useful one, nonetheless.

Touchpad and keyboard

Taken by itself, the ZenBook Pro Duo’s 3-step backlit keyboard is a good one. It has plenty of travel and comfortable key spacing, and the switches provide precise action with a nice click. My only complaint is that the bottoming action is a little abrupt and so it has a jarring effect that might be fatiguing over long typing sessions. I’d rate it a step or two behind the great keyboards on the HP Spectre x360 15 and the Dell XPS 15. The keyboard’s biggest problem is that there’s no palm rest.

If you’re using the laptop by itself, then your wrists rest on the desktop and your fingers are at an uncomfortable typing angle. As mentioned above, Asus provides a palm rest extension that solves that problem, but it makes the ZenBook Pro Duo extend farther back on a desktop and it’s another piece to carry around. Also, as mentioned above, you can attach the ErgoLift Stand and that also helps, but again, it’s another piece to mess with.

The touchpad, on the other hand, is just terrible. I hate to be so negative, but it’s tiny, vertically oriented (which is strange to use), and mounted to the right of the keyboard where its use is disruptive. It includes the Asus virtual LED numeric keypad functionality, which is great for those who would use such a thing, but that doesn’t make up for its size and placement. It’s a Microsoft Precision touchpad, and so it works well enough. It’s just terribly uncomfortable.

Both displays are touch-enabled, of course, and both support the included Asus active pen that can attach magnetically to the lid. The pen works well, providing for smooth and precise inking and control on both displays.

Close up on Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15's webcam.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Finally, Windows 10 Hello password-less login support is provided by an infrared camera and facial recognition. It’s fast and accurate, and I had no problems logging in. The webcam is a disappointing 720p, when some vendors are starting to configure 1080p webcams in response to the pandemic-inspired surge in videoconferencing.

Battery life

Asus increased the ZenBook Pro Duo’s battery by 29.5% over the previous generation, up to 92 watt-hours of capacity. That’s a lot of battery, but this is a lot of machine, so I didn’t have extremely high expectations.

I was on the right track. The ZenBook Pro Duo didn’t do well on any of our battery benchmarks. For example, in our web browsing test, it couldn’t quite make it to four hours, a meager score that even gaming laptops tend to exceed. The previous version managed about 5.5 hours, but that was with the second screen turned off. I did my testing with the second screen turned on, assuming that most users would want that functionality on battery life as much as when plugged in. According to Asus, the second screen should reduce battery life by about 1.5 hours, which is what I saw and which indicates that at least in this test, the updated version doesn’t demonstrate better longevity despite the larger battery.

In short, the ZenBook Pro Duo has awful battery life.

Note that the Dell XPS 15 4K went for seven hours and the HP Spectre x360 15 for just over six hours. I realize that I picked a couple of comparison machines that aren’t that much better than the ZenBook Pro Duo. Most recent laptops last for around 10 hours in this test, but of course, most don’t have OLED displays and such high-powered components.

In our video looping test that repeats a Full HD Avengers trailer, the ZenBook Pro Duo hit six hours, compared to the XPS 15 at 20 minutes more and the Spectre x360 15 at 6.5 hours. Again, other modern machines last for much longer, typically exceeding 13 hours or so. I also ran the PCMark 10 Gaming test where the Asus lasted for less than two hours; this isn’t such a bad result, and the test itself probably measures how aggressively a laptop runs under battery life rather than how long its battery lasts.

In the PCMark 10 Applications test, which is the best indication of productivity battery life, the ZenBook Pro Duo hit 5.5 hours, and that’s about half of what most other laptops manage. We didn’t test either the XPS 15 with these benchmarks, but the Spectre x360 15 lasted for three minutes less on the Gaming test and two minutes less on the Applications test.

So, in short, the ZenBook Pro Duo has awful battery life. That’s not unexpected, of course, given the machine’s design. It does mean that if you’re going on the road for a full day of work, then you’ll have to carry the hefty 240-watt power brick along with you. Add that to the palm rest extension and the ErgoLift Stand, and your backpack is going to feel pretty full.

Our take

The ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED UX582 (whew!) is a great laptop for anyone who will truly benefit from having a second display attached to the machine, not to mention a high-powered CPU and GPU that can burn through demanding tasks. That includes creative types who use their laptops with apps like Adobe Premiere Pro and Photoshop, which makes sense because that’s exactly who Asus is aiming at. In that respect, the company has succeeded in making a laptop that can fit particular needs.

For most other users, though, the ZenBook Pro Duo is too heavy, too complicated, and suffers from too-short battery life. It’s also expensive at $3,000, when you can get laptops that are just as powerful and far more portable for the same or less money.

Are there are any alternatives?

The Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel is another differently designed laptop that’s tailor-made for creative types. It, too, is very fast, very heavy, and has a very short battery life. It’s also even more expensive, but if you’re a creator and need its flexibility, the Acer is a good alternative.

The Dell XPS 15 is a more reasonable machine for creators, being fast (although not as fast as the ZenBook Pro Duo), offering its own excellent display, and being far more portable. If you don’t need the second display, then it’s a viable option.

Otherwise, the ZenBook Pro Duo is in a class by itself. You won’t find another machine with the same kind of second screen, and if that’s important to you, then the Asus is your only option.

How long will it last?

The ZenBook Pro Duo is extremely well-built and feels robust enough to last for years of use. Its components will keep up as well, meaning your investment will pay itself back. You’ll be disappointed with the one-year warranty, which is industry-standard but not long enough for such an expensive product.

Should you buy it?

Yes. If you need a second display, then the ZenBook Pro Duo isn’t just your only choice. It’s a great choice, period. If you don’t, then your $3,000 will probably be better spent elsewhere.

Editors’ Choice




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Asus ZenBook Pro Duo Now Includes Second Screen That Tilts

Asus announced the launch of the new ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED, a successor to the previous ZenBook. ZenBook Pro Duo comes with a set of high-end specs and a secondary tilting 14-inch touchscreen that can be used alongside the main 15.6-inch 4K OLED touch display. The laptop is already available from various retailers and can be configured with different components before purchase.

The new notebook is decked out with the latest hardware, but the most eye-catching feature is, of course, the dual touchscreen. Very similar in design to the previous ZenBook, this one picks up where the previous one left off. The main screen is surrounded by thin, unobtrusive bezels and has a 93% screen-to-body ratio. The secondary display lies below it, right above the keyboard. While the laptop itself doesn’t have a palm rest, Asus says that a bundled one comes with the notebook.

With a 15.6-inch 4K OLED HDR NanoEdge main display, the ZenBook Pro Duo is likely going to provide high-quality visuals that will cater to professional creatives. Asus promises great performance both in terms of color reproduction and contrast. This is further confirmed by the Pantone certificate that it received.

Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15.6 laptop

The secondary screen measures 14 inches in width, has improved 400-nit brightness, and can be tilted upwards by 9.5 degrees. This should help with issues such as glare, reflections, and simple ease of use. Asus stated that the secondary display is tilted in such a way so as to make working with a stylus easier. Both the displays are touchscreens and respond to a keyboard and stylus alike. Asus includes a stylus in the bundle — a 4096-pressure-level model that works with both the touchscreens on the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo.

Asus’ new notebook can be customized beyond the first starting price point. You can deck it out with an up to 10th generation Intel Core i9 eight-core processor. You can also add extra RAM, up to a total of 32GB, as well as an up to 1TB PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD. Asus ZenBook Pro Duo comes with a discrete graphics card, the RTX 3070, by default. A discrete GPU in a laptop is always a welcome sight, especially in what looks to be a powerful machine.

The notebook is said to offer improved cooling solutions thanks to Asus’ AAS Plus thermal design. It takes advantage of the space underneath the laptop, as well as the chassis opening, and increases cooling airflow by up to 36%. In addition to that, Asus has stated that inside the laptop, you’ll find a dual-fan setup with six heat pipes included.

Asus ZenBook Pro Duo laptop interface

To finish off the specs, ZenBook Pro Duo comes with two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port, and an HDMI port. The two Thunderbolts can be used both with Power Delivery and DisplayPort sockets, allowing users to connect up to two 4K UHD displays or even a single 8k display.

Only time will tell the true power of the ZenBook, but it certainly makes an interesting option for anyone interested in a dual-touchscreen setup. It’s likely that content creators and professionals will find more interest in this laptop than gamers would. Asus seems to extend the nod to creatives by including Screen Xpert 2 software that comes with a collection of productivity apps. Some of them include Window Flick, Task Group, and an updated Control Panel tailored to help with creative workflows.

The laptop is now for sale at select retailers, including Amazon, Newegg, and BH Photo with an MSRP of $2,399. Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is likely to get snapped up quickly even despite the seemingly steep price point. It certainly fills a gap in the market that even most of the best laptops don’t aim to fill.

Editors’ Choice




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Asus tells other dual-screen laptop makers to hold its beer, revealing the dazzling ZenBook Pro Duo

In the race to make dual screens a must-have laptop feature, Asus just did the equivalent of asking the competition to hold its beer. Because, damn, if you want an impressive dual-screen laptop, how do you beat the ZenBook Pro Duo? This engineering marvel somehow manages to jam a 15.6-inch screen and a 14-inch screen into a 5.5-pound laptop.

Yes, we’ll say that again: The ZenBook Pro Duo features two screens, including one that’s 14 inches diagonal and occupies the entire space above the keyboard. 

zenbook pro 15 ux581Asus

With its 14-inch touch-enabled secondary screen, the Asus ZenBook Pro laughs at laptops with puny 6-inch auxilary screens.

The auxiliary panel’s resolution is 3840×1100 with an aspect ratio of 32:9. The horizontal resolution of the auxiliary panel matches the main panel’s 4K horizontal so you can drag windows between the two screens effortlessly. The main panel itself is a gorgeous 15.6-inch, HDR OLED 4K screen.

Both screens are also touch-enabled for normal Windows operations. The second panel also includes a set of fairly well-polished controls. Asus dubs it the “4K ScreenPad Plus.”

Asus Zenbook Duo ProAdam Patrick Murray/IDG

The laptop is primarily aimed at power users so its insides are top notch. The laptop offers Intel’s 8-core Core i9-9980HK or a 6-core Core i7-9750H. For GPU you get a GeForce RTX 2060, and up to 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. Asus said it will come standard with Intel’s newest WiFi-6/802.11ax controller.

The battery in the ZenBook Pro Duo is decently sized at 70 watt hours, so battery life will at least be decent for the amount of hardware it has inside.

As the third production dual-screen laptop we’ve seen in the last year, we’ll say that it’s probably most impressive of the bunch. We recently played with HP’s impressive Omen X 2S, which claimed the mantle of first gaming dual-screen laptop.

The HP includes some unique software touches for the second panel, but the ZenBook Pro Duo is simply a head turner. With the 11-inch ScreenPad Plus, it should be far more usable for its intended audience: content creators. 

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New Asus ZenBook Duo shrinks the dual-screen PC without giving up what makes it special

The dual-screen Asus ZenBook Duo takes over where the gorgeous Asus ZenBook Pro Duo left off: Yes, with another pair of screens, but in a more compact and presumably less expensive design.

While the ZenBook Pro Duo was a 15-inch device, the new Asus ZenBook Duo launched at CES shrinks that down to a 14-inch form factor. That refers to the top screen, of course; the secondary ScreenPad Plus is a 12.6-inch full width auxiliary touchscreen that you can use as a secondary display. We don’t know the exact dimensions of either screen, but the Pro Duo’s secondary screen offered a screen ratio of 32:9—we presume that’s been left in place.

Other specs have changed somewhat significantly, too. Since the Pro Duo’s launch last year, Intel has moved on to its 10th-generation parts, and the ZenBook Duo sports a 10th-gen Core i7 processor. The most pronounced change, however, is with the GPU: Asus included a GeForce RTX 2060 with the original Pro Duo, but its successor features a much cheaper, less powerful, but cooler Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU. It also includes up to 16GB of RAM and up to a terabyte of SSD storage.

Asus hasn’t released full specifications for the Asus ZenBook Duo; for whatever reason, the device didn’t even appear on its website at press time. (Microsoft blogged about the new Asus device, revealing its specs to the world.) We don’t know what Asus will charge for the ZenBook Duo, or when it will ship, either.

The fact that Asus is shipping a second generation of the dual-screen ZenBook is a good sign, though. We’ve seen other impressive dual-screen devices like the Omen X 2S, but couldn’t help wondering whether they would be the PC industry’s equivalent of 3D TVs: a flash-in-the-pan gimmick. This suggests they won’t be.

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Asus ZenBook 14 (2018) vs. Apple MacBook Air

2020 was a big year for the MacBook Air. In March, Apple ripped out the lackluster keyboard and replaced it with the Magic Keyboard featuring scissor switches, a significant upgrade to Apple’s previous butterfly design. Then, in November, Apple kicked Intel to the curb and installed its own in-house processor, the M1, in a second refresh.

One of its biggest contenders is the Asus ZenBook 14. Taking cues from Apple, it’s thin and light and has tiny bezels to fit a 14-inch display in a chassis usually reserved for 13-inch panels. Does it beat out the industry’s trendsetter?

Note: This comparison is based on the latest MacBook Air (November 2020) and the Asus ZenBook 14 UX433 (2018).

Design

Mark Coppock/Digtial Trends

The first thing you’ll notice when opening the ZenBook 14 UX433 is the expanse of display framed by so little bezel. The MacBook Air has smaller bezels than its predecessors, but those bezels simply can’t compete with the Zenbook. Despite being a 13.3-inch laptop, the Air’s overall frame is almost half an inch wider than the 14-inch Zenbook — that’s all thanks to its chunkier bezels. Neither notebook has a touch display.

The ZenBook 14 UX433 is almost as solidly built as the MacBook Air, which benefits from the usual Apple-quality construction. Asus subjected it to the full range of MIL-STD-810G military standard testing, and the lid and chassis are just as rigid as the excellent MacBook Air’s. But the ZenBook’s keyboard deck is more flexible. In that regard, the Asus is a step behind.

Aesthetically, the ZenBook 14 UX433 comes in Royal Blue and Icicle Silver with gold trim, including a gold bar above the keyboard that looks a lot like a soundbar but is actually just ornamental. The MacBook Air retains its wedge shape, though it’s smaller than the original. Overall, it still looks a lot like a Mac — and that’s a good thing. You can get it in three very luscious colors: gold, silver, and Space Gray.

On the keyboard front, the MacBook Air has one of the best laptop keyboards to date, leaving the ZenBook in the dust. Moreover, the MacBook Air sports the usual large — and excellent — Apple touchpad with Force Touch support. Meanwhile, the ZenBook 14’s more traditionally-sized Microsoft Precision touchpad works well and offers the innovative NumberPad LED numeric keypad for number crunchers.

Finally, the ZenBook 14 focuses on strong legacy support by including two USB-A ports, one USB-C port without Thunderbolt 3, a full-size HDMI connection, and a microSD card reader. The MacBook Air is all-in on the future, with just two USB-C ports with 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 support. Both have an audio jack.

Overall, the ZenBook 14 deserves some kudos for squeezing a large display into a chassis that’s similar in size to the MacBook Air’s, and its NumberPad is a nice feature for people who work with numbers. But you can’t beat Apple’s build quality, especially given the ZenBook’s spongy keyboard deck.

Performance

Asus ZenBook 14 UX433FN
Mark Coppock/Digtial Trends

This is where we compare apples to oranges.

Asus equipped the ZenBook 14 UX433 with eighth- and 10th-generation Intel Core CPUs, quad-core processors that are both faster and more efficient than the previous generation. Our review unit used the Core i7-8565U, but the ZenBook has multiple configurations spanning seven processors up to the  Core i7-10610U vPro. As a mainstream comparison, we threw in the Core i7-10510U instead, which has slightly better performance than the eighth-gen chip.

For this generation of MacBook Air, Apple ditched Intel for its own in-house, ARM-based chip, the Apple M1. In benchmarks, it outperformed both Intel chips in the ZenBook by a large margin, hitting roughly a score of 1,737 in the single-core Geekbench test and a 7,685 in the multi-core test. The 10th-gen Intel chip managed around 1,250 and 3,991, respectively.

Meanwhile, the MacBook Air uses a much faster PCIe solid-state drive (SSD) than the ZenBook 14. That makes it better at opening and saving files and booting the operating system.

Display quality is another important performance factor. Here, the MacBook Air’s 13.3-inch display is much sharper at 2560 x 1600 compared to the full HD (1920 x 1080) 14-inch display on the ZenBook 14. Apple’s panel has a wider and more accurate color gamut, too. But in our testing, the Asus display was brighter and had better contrast and a more accurate gamma (so video will be neither too light nor too dark) than the comparable MacBook Air at the time.

Ultimately, neither offer the best display you can get, but between the two, we would choose the MacBook Air’s panel for its better colors and considerably higher sharpness.

The bottom line here is that the new M1-based MacBook Pro provides better baseline performance than the now-outdated ZenBook 13 UX433. But here’s the kicker: Desktop software developed for Intel-based Macs must now run through an emulator built into MacOS Big Sur, aka Rosetta 2. This may impact performance in those programs until developers release a version that natively supports Apple’s M1 chip.

That said, despite the older hardware, the ZenBook 14 UX433 may handle Intel-based programs better than the MacBook Air.

Portability

Apple MacBook Air 2018
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The ZenBook 14 is 0.63 inches thick and weighs 2.62 pounds. The MacBook Air measures 0.63 inches at its thickest point and weighs slightly more at 2.8 pounds. These two notebooks are thin, light, and small enough to slip into a backpack and use on the go.

There are other important probability factors, such as battery life. The battery capacity for both is 50 watts, but the MacBook Air has the upper hand due to the new ARM-based M1 chip. This is why smartphones and tablets don’t use Intel CPUs: ARM’s design is better at targeting high performance while sipping power from the battery.

That holds true in this scenario. For example, the MacBook Air lasted 15.5 hours in our browser benchmark and 18.5 hours in our video test. The Asus notebook saw less than eight hours in the browser test and 10.5 hours in our video test.

If your priority is mobility, the MacBook Air has you covered, and then some.

MacBook Air just offers more

Macbook Air (2018) Review
Riley Young/Digital Trends

The ZenBook 14 UX433 is a budget-flexible notebook for users. It’s hard to buy new unless you’re willing to pay an insane price. On Amazon, a version similar to the review unit sells for at least $999 used — new units start at $2,000. That said, if you already have this notebook and are thinking about an upgrade, the MacBook Air should definitely be on your radar.

When comparing the two at these price points, the $999 MacBook Air features an Apple M1 chip, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. If you’d prefer a higher-quality MacBook Air with an M1 chip, 16GB of RAM, and a 2TB SSD, expect to spend a solid $2,050.

The ZenBook 14 UX433 is arguably still a fantastic product, even with its outdated hardware. However, the MacBook Air often outperforms in performance power, visual displays, and battery life. The only potential downside we can note for the Air is that desktop software performance is slightly questionable. The newer Air uses an emulator to run Intel-based programs, which could potentially cause issues. 

On top of that, we still have the classic Windows 10 versus MacOS debate, too. The Asus device runs on Windows 10, while the Air has MacOS. Each of these operating systems has its unique user interface and features. If you exclusively prefer one operating system over the other, look for a modern Windows 10 PC or the MacBook Air, depending on your preferences.

Editors’ Choice




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HP Envy 13 vs. Asus ZenBook 13 UX333

The HP Envy 13 and Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 want to do the same thing: Deliver excellent performance, build quality, and battery life for around $1,000. They hit a sweet spot between price and performance, packing the specs of an ultrabook like Dell’s XPS 13 for a slightly lower price. Between them, though, which should you choose?

Asus has moved on from the ZenBook 13 UX333, focusing on newer models like the 14-inch UX425. HP, on the other hand, is sticking with the Envy 13, updating the range for 2021 with Intel’s latest mobile processors. The Envy 13 is a better option based solely on performance, but more than specs separate these two machines.

Design

Dan Baker/Digital Trends

When considering their aesthetics, both laptops are far more striking than the usual budget options.

The ZenBook 13 has the high-end Royal Blue color scheme with stunning gold trim and iconic ZenBook swirl on the lid that adorns its more expensive cousins. The Envy 13 is also a looker, with a choice of Natural Silver and Pale Gold colors to customize its modern chassis that’s angled in all the right places, though color upgrades are available if desired.

Design-wise, the biggest difference between these two is their relative bezel sizes. The ZenBook 13’s bezels are much smaller, falling into the “tiny bezel” category and making it thinner than the Envy 13.

The ZenBook 13 dimensions come in at 11.89 x 7.44 x 0.67 inches, while the Envy 13 is 12.07 x 7.66 x 0.67 inches. The Envy 13 isn’t exactly huge, but the ZenBook 13’s chassis is notably smaller. Both are almost equally heavy at 2.88 pounds (Envy) versus 2.62 pounds (ZenBook).

The ZenBook 13 also benefits from Asus’s commitment to build quality. Tested to MIL-STD-810g military standards for robustness, it exhibits no bending or flexing in the lid, keyboard deck, or chassis bottom. The Envy 13 has a bit more give in the lid and keyboard deck, meaning that while you won’t worry about it falling apart, it doesn’t exude quite the same confidence as the Asus model.

Input options are similar between these two laptops. Both have keyboards with good travel and snappy, precise keys, and both have Microsoft Precision touchpad drivers for flawless Windows 10 multitouch gesture support. Interestingly, both also have hinges that prop up the keyboards at an angle for increased comfort and airflow.

Where the laptops differ is in the ZenBook 13’s LED inlay that provides a useful virtual numeric keypad. If you enter a lot of numbers, then you’ll find the inlay to be a helpful feature.

Finally, both laptops have a better legacy than future peripheral support. The ZenBook 13 has a USB-A 2.0 port, two USB-A 3.2 ports, a USB-C 3.2 port, and a full-size HDMI port. The Envy 13 has one Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) port and two USB-A ports. Both have MicroSD card readers, a microphone/headphone combo jack, Wireless AC (Wi-Fi 6), and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity.

Performance

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The ZenBook 13 comes with up to an i7-10510U processor, an eight-core part that can turbo up to 4.9GHz. Although a solid processor for a 13-inch laptop, the Envy 13 features one of Intel’s newer Tiger Lake processors — in particular, the i7-1165G7. Beyond the CPU, you can configure both laptops with up to 16GB of RAM and up to a 1TB PCIe SSD. HP offers the Envy 13 with up to 32GB of Intel Optane memory, too.

The machines split when it comes to graphics. For the ZenBook 13, you have the choice between Intel’s onboard UHD 620 graphics or Nvidia’s MX250 mobile GPU. You can configure the Envy 13 slightly higher with a Nvidia MX450, but you shouldn’t need to. The 1165G7 comes with Intel’s new Iris Xe integrated graphics. A dedicated GPU is better, but Iris Xe still provides solid performance for light gaming.

Next, the ZenBook 13 has a surprisingly good 13.3-inch IPS Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) panel with exceptional contrast at 1,360:1, higher-than-average AdobeRGB colors at 77%, and excellent color accuracy at 1.68. You don’t typically find such a good display on a budget-priced laptop.

The Envy 13 has a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) micro-edge, WLED-backlit, multi-touch option that we found to be bright and of average (but still respectable) colors and contrast. There’s also a Full HD option available for better battery life — you can’t go wrong with the displays on either of these laptops.

There’s a clear winner outside of the display, though. Almost by default, the Envy 13 is a better option. You can configure it with a slightly better GPU and it features one of Intel’s latest mobile processors.

Portability

asus zenbook 13 ux333fa
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

While the ZenBook 13 is smaller than the Envy 13, it’s slightly thicker. However, neither are difficult to carry or fit into tight spaces.

The ZenBook 13 is an outstanding performer in battery thanks to its efficient CPU and Full HD display. Comparing it to the Envy 13 is difficult, however, given we tested HP’s laptop packing a power-hungry 4K display. The Envy 13 has a 51 watt-hour battery compared to the ZenBook 13’s 50 watt-hour version, and so we suspect that they’d perform similarly with the same Core i5 and Full HD panel.

The HP Envy 13 ekes out a win

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Envy 13 starts at $800 with an i5-1135G7, a 256GB SSD, and 16GB of RAM (oddly, some more expensive configurations only come with 8GB). The ZenBook 13 UX333 is, well, unavailable as of early 2021.

That doesn’t make too much of a difference because the Envy 13 is a better option simply because it has newer hardware, and it’s still fairly inexpensive. Asus’ ZenBook 13 UX325 — a similar, more readily available variant of the ZenBook 13 — runs $900 for an i7-1065G7, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. Configured similarly, the Envy 13 is only $80 more.

If you like the specs of the Envy 13 and the look of the ZenBook 13, you may want to consider the slightly larger ZenBook 14 UX435. It comes with a Tiger Lake processor and a dedicated GPU option, though it’s slightly more expensive than the Envy 13.

Editors’ Choice




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Acer Swift 3 13 vs. Asus ZenBook 13 UX333

The sweet spot for a 13-inch laptop is between $500 and $1,000. In that price range, you’re getting a notebook with the latest hardware, far more capable than low-spec Windows machines and Chromebooks, but not quite on the level of high-end options like the MacBook Pro. There are two laptops that stand out for this price bracket: The Acer Swift 3 and Asus ZenBook 13 UX333.

We’ve compared the two spec for spec, covering design, pricing, performance, and more. Asus has a newer ZenBook 13 available, too, which we’ll bring in for reference at a few points.

Pricing and availability

Acer offers two versions of its Swift 3 laptop, one with a 16:9 screen and another with a 3:2 screen. The hardware inside is identical, sporting Intel 11th-gen processors. The 16:9 version starts at $699.99, while the 3:2 version starts at $799.99.

The ZenBook 13 UX333 is just over two years old at this point, released in 2019. Originally, it came with an eighth-gen Intel processor, but now has a 10th-gen one. Availability is limited given the laptop’s age, but if you can find one in stock, it’ll run you about $1,000.

However, Asus offers a newer, similar laptop: The ZenBook 13 UX325. It comes with one of Intel’s latest 11th-gen processors and starts at $750.

Design

asus zenbook 13 ux333fa
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Asus’s latest member of its ZenBook 13 300-series inherits a high-end royal Blue color scheme with striking gold trim and iconic ZenBook swirl on the lid from its more expensive siblings.

Good looks isn’t all that the ZenBook 13 inherited. It’s also tested to MIL-STD-810g military standards for robustness, and it feels like it too, with no bending or flexing in the lid, keyboard deck, or bottom of the chassis.

It comes with some unique design features. First, it has an ErgoLift vent that props up a snappy and precise keyboard (with some funky key layout issues that you’ll have to get used to), and a Microsoft Precision touchpad that’s augmented by an LED inlay that provides a useful virtual numeric keypad. The Swift 3 doesn’t have any nifty technology in its equally snappy and precise keyboard and excellent touchpad, and so the Asus scores points for its extra design touches.

The Swift 3 still puts up a fight, though. The base model is just another silver, aluminum laptop, but Acer offers blue and orange variants, too, at least in some regions. We found the blue variant available in Ireland and available but out of stock in the U.K. The vast majority of models available are silver, which looks nice, but not as nice as the ZenBook 13.

The Swift 3 wins when it comes to weight, at least by a little. Both the 16:9 and 3:2 variants of the Swift 3 — more on that next — clock in at 2.65 pounds, while the ZenBook 13 is 2.8 pounds. You won’t feel that difference, but the Swift 3 is technically lighter. It’s slightly thinner, too: 0.7 inches thick compared to 0.63.

Connectivity is another area where the machines differ. The ZenBook 13 comes with a USB-A 2.0 port, USB-C 3.2 port, and a USB-A 3.2 port, along with an HDMI connection and a microSD card slot. The Swift 3 mirrors the connectivity minus a microSD card slot on the 16:9 model. The 3:2 model ditches the USB-A 2.0 port in favor of a second USB-A 3.2 port.

Both machines are built well and look nice, but it’s clear the ZenBook 13 is the winner here. The Swift 3 is negligibly thinner and lighter, but that’s not enough to close the gap between the two in terms of design. Plus, the overlay keypad is legitimately useful on the ZenBook 13.

Performance

Acer Swift 3 13
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Swift 3 is a clear winner in this round, simply because it packs newer, better hardware than the ZenBook 13. Between both versions of the screen, the Swift 3 comes stocked with an 11th-gen Intel i7-1165G7, featuring Intel’s integrated Iris Xe graphics. Intel’s 11th-gen mobile chips are excellent, and the bundled Iris Xe graphics can even handle some light gaming. Acer pairs the processor with 8GB of LPDDR4X memory, and either a 256GB or 512GB SSD.

Unfortunately, the ZenBook 13 UX333 tops out with 10th-gen Intel processors, in particular the quad-core i7-10510U. The processor comes with Intel UHD 620 graphics, but there are also models with up to an Nvidia MX250. For storage and memory, Asus reaches slightly higher, offering up to 16GB of RAM and a 1TB NVMe SSD.

The UX333 is being replaced by the UX325, which is still a ZenBook 13 laptop. This model matches the latest Swift 3 with a 1165G7 processor, complete with Iris Xe graphics. It’s slightly lighter, too (around 2.4 pounds). We’re covering the UX333 in this comparison, but the UX325 is better in almost every way.

Overall, the specs are what we’d expect for a 13-inch notebook in this price range. A solid quad-core processor, decent onboard graphics, and a limited amount of ultra-fast storage is the name of the game, and both the ZenBook 3 and Swift 3 hit the mark. The Swift 3 has better hardware, but there are 13-inch ZenBook options that match Acer’s latest offering.

The two machines differ when it comes to the screen. Both laptops come with a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) screen with IPS-like viewing angles. However, Acer offers a version of the Swift 3 with a 3:2 aspect ratio like the Surface Laptop 3, with a larger overall resolution (2,256 x 1,504). Although 16:9 is the standard, 3:2 laptops work surprisingly well for work, as do 16:10 ones like Dell’s latest XPS 15.

Portability

asus zenbook 13 ux333fa
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Neither of these laptops is a burden to carry around, despite some minor differences in size and weight. If you tried the two machines and couldn’t directly compare them, it would be very difficult to tell the difference.

Battery life is where the difference lies. The ZenBook 13 lasted significantly longer in all of our battery tests, including almost two hours longer on our aggressive Basemark web benchmark, almost five hours longer when browsing the web, and two hours longer when playing our test video. The ZenBook 13 will definitely get you through a full working day, whereas the Swift 3 probably won’t — and that’s a big difference.

The ZenBook 13 lasts a lot longer on a charge, letting you leave your power adapter behind.

Two ultrabooks, but only one winner

asus zenbook 13 ux333fa
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

There’s really no contest between the Swift 3 and ZenBook 13 UX333 in 2021. The Swift 3 has newer hardware, two different display options, and a slightly smaller and lighter overall build. The ZenBook 13 is the better-looking machine, but it doesn’t come with the latest hardware.

That’s against the UX333, however. Against a newer ZenBook 13 like the UX325, the Swift 3 lags slightly behind. In terms of performance, the UX325 and Swift 3 should perform almost identically. Asus’ design wins, though. Between the lifted hinge, virtual number pad, and beautiful color scheme, the UX325 puts the parts inside to better use.

Editors’ Choice




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Asus unveils ZenBook and Expertbook laptops with OLED, Intel’s latest CPUs and more

Asus unrolled nine ZenBook and Expertbook laptops Wednesday, as part of Intel’s shock-and-awe wave of products with Intel’s 11th-gen Tiger Lake CPUs. The laptops also feature cutting-edge display technology including OLEDS, secondary screens, and a welcome return to 3:2 aspect ratios. No prices were announced, but here’s what we know about each model’s specs and availability.

zenbook flip s ux371 ultraslim and 360 convertible design Asus

The ZennBook Flip S will feature a 4K OLED panel, Thunderbolt 4, 11th-gen Tiger Lake CPU, and a feathery 2.2-pound weight.

ASUS ZenBook Flip S (UX371)

The ZenBook Flip S will measure 13.9mm thin and weigh about 2.6 pounds, yet it will include a 4K UHD OLED screen with 100 percent DCI-P3 and DisplayHDR 500 support.

The convertible laptop will also include support pen input with 4,096 pressure levels. The laptop, of course, is powered by Intel’s Tiger Lake 11th-gen Core i7 with Xe graphics. It tops out at 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. For ports, the ZenBook Flip S will give you two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 10Gbps USB-A, and HDMI. Battery life is rated at 15 hours, which the company measured playing back a video at 150 nits.

ASUS ZenBook Flip 13 (UX363EA, OLED version)

The Flip 13 has a lot in common with the Flip S, starting with its 11th-gen Tiger Lake chip and Xe graphics, of course. It’s a little heavier than the Flip S at 3 pounds, and it’s expected to give you about 14 hours of battery life on its 67Wh battery. The convertible laptop features pen support for 4,096 pressure levels, too.The main difference might be the screen: While still an OLED, the resolution notches back to a standard FHD (1920×1080) panel. 

asus zenbook s ux393 ergolift Asus

The Asus ZenBook S is a premium laptop with a 14-inch panel, 3:2 screen aspect ratio, and 11th-gen Intel CPU.

ASUS ZenBook S (UX393)

For those who have tired of the wide and narrow FHD displays with 16:9 aspect ratios, which have dominated laptop designs for a while now, you have a new option in the Asus ZenBook S. With a 13.9-inch (just call it 14-inch) screen, the new laptop’s panel sports a taller 3:2 aspect ratio and a high resolution of 3300×2200. The laptop weighs just under 3 pounds and has a decent port selection: two Thunderbolt 4, 5Gbps USB-A, and full-size HDMI. The ZenBook S also features a built-in infrared camera that supports Window’s Hello biometric feature. Battery life on its 67Wh tank is expected to be about 12 hours, Asus said. 

expertbook b9450cea pr photo 04 Asus

Asus’ business-focused B9 gets Intel’s newest 11thgen CPU, with Xe graphics too.

ASUS ExpertBook B9 (B9450CEA)

The business-oriented ExpertBook B9 weighs an impressive 1005 grams (just over 2.2 pounds), yet it’s sturdy enough to meet US MIL-STD 810H durability requirements. Asus achieved this by using a magnesium lithium shell, which is lighter than aluminum or magnesium alloys traditionally used in laptops. Certain models of the laptop will offer RAID 0 or RAID 1 storage as well.

Asus said the ExpertBook B9 features enterprise-grade security, though it’s not clear where that is. Because Asus is offering Intel’s 11th-gen Tiger Lake with Xe graphics in a business laptop, however, the security feature suggests that Intel’s new chip has vPro support, as well as the other manageability features common in true enterprise-grade laptops. Most corporate laptops are still using Intel’s 8th-gen Whiskey Lake CPUs, due to the lack of fleet management features in the 10th-gen Ice Lake chip.

zenbook 14 ux435ea eg lilac mist asus screenpad Asus

The Asus ZenBook 14 features Intel 11th-gen CPUs with Xe graphics and a second screen built into the trackpad.

ASUS ZenBook 14 (UX435)

The Asus ZenBook 14 gives you everything: an Intel 11th-gen Tiger Lake CPU with Xe graphics, Nvidia’s new GeForce MX450, and the Asus ScreenPad feature. The ScreenPad is a 5.6-inch screen located where the trackpad would normally be. Don’t worry, the trackpad is still there, but the ScreenPad integrates the Asus ScreenXpert 2.0, which lets you access utilities and apps quickly. And yes, you should be able to display your favorite YouTube channel on the ScreenPad while you work on an Excel spreadsheet in the main screen.

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Asus ZenBook Flip 13 review: A beautiful OLED laptop with one thing missing

The Asus ZenBook Flip 13 is a beautiful laptop that offers decent battery life, very good graphics, and a lot of pep for most of what you’d do on a small 13-inch convertible laptop.

Unfortunately, you probably won’t remember it for its impressive 11th-gen Intel Tiger Lake Core i7-1165G7 chip, nor its drop-dead-gorgeous OLED screen. Nope, instead you’ll fixate on something it doesn’t have: a 3.5mm analog audio jack.

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best laptops. Go there for informaiton on competing products and how we tested them.

Courage or cost-cutting?

Yes, the same move that Apple claimed as “courageous” on the iPhone 7, Asus has now done to a laptop. And just as other smartphones followed Apple’s lead, we expect other PC vendors are watching closely to see how users react to this eviction. 

We have no idea why Asus did this. While Apple did it to save a nickel in production costs on a $1,000 phone and said it was to “save space,” Asus has plenty of space on the ZenBook Flip 13. In fact, alongside the pair of USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports the ZenBook Flip 13 has, Asus fits in a full-size HDMI port as well as a square USB-A port. Maybe if we had to choose we’d prioritize those over an analog jack, but why make us choose at all, Asus?

asus courage 1 Gordon Mah Ung

Mark this day in your calendar folks: Asus’ ZenBook Flip 13 is the first laptop we’ve seen that drops the headset jack.

To make up for it, Asus does include a 3.5mm analog to USB-C dongle that uses a 24-bit ESS DAC. It should yield cleaner audio than an analog circuit in a laptop, which is open to picking up interference. It’s a pure digital dongle, so it’ll work on your Android phone as well.

Asus ZenBook Flip 13 features and specs

With that bile cleared, we can now talk about just how impressive the ZenBook Flip 13 is. Featuring beveled edges with gold accents, the ZenBook Flip 13 feels and looks like a premium laptop that can run with the best of them. Here are the primary specs: 

CPU: Intel 11th-gen quad-core Core i7-1165G7

GPU: Integrated Intel Iris Xe

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