Laptops are hardly the most thrilling of new gadgets – it usually goes something like “ooh that’s pretty”, opens it up, start working… – which is probably why we don’t get our hands on too many of them, but every once in a while, something comes along that does pique our interest more than others. The ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo is that laptop, thanks almost entirely to the addition of second screen which sits snugly above the keyboard.
Most laptops are content with just one screen, so what does the second add to the party? Well anyone who has worked with two monitors knows the benefits of separating the spreadsheets you’re working on from your Twitter feed, so having that flexibility on a laptop if you’re working away from your desk is a neat addition. In practice, it works really well, with the screen stretching all the way across the length of the laptop making it the same width as the 14” screen above it. That means you can comfortably squeeze on two or three windows (albeit at an ridiculously wide 32:9 aspect ratio).
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Both are touch screen, so you can either drag windows from one to another with your finger or the supplied stylus, or push a handy shortcut above the trackpad to swap what’s on the screen around. There are also a few nifty shortcuts on the screen itself to quickly launch programs or groupings of windows, so you could set it to open your Netflix on the left and browser on the right.
Other than that, it’s very much a second monitor, so it does pretty much all the things you would expect one to do. It does take a little getting used to given the second screen sits at an unorthodox angle, so I found it most useful for having my Spotify playlist on show and my Twitter streaming away, but I was still able to fire up FarCry 5 for a little surreptitious fragging at work. The positioning also means the actual keyboard sits very low on the laptop, making the supplied wrist support essential if you’re planning on doing some serious typing.
Second screen aside, the laptop itself has a hefty amount of grunt to it, packing the latest i9 Intel processor and 32GB of RAM, and is a sleek, if not a little weighty unit. There are a few other perks, like Amazon Alexa and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU graphics card, making it a good allrounder, but really, the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo will appeal to anyone who can’t live without a second screen.
- The local coffee shop takes none too kindly to you setting up a second monitor next to your flat white.
- Portability is a priority