Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 review: a gaming computer that doesn’t want two screens
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Many of the time, in the event you’re studying a review of a twin-camouflage computer, you doubtlessly most attention-grabbing care about one feature: the 2 screens. Asus’ outdated Duo fashions, the ZenBook Duo and the ZenBook Pro Duo, had been first charge devices, nonetheless the extra camouflage became the fundamental attraction and the fundamental justification for his or her top class imprint.
Asus’ ROG Zephyrus Duo 15, though, is various. It’s the first gaming computer Asus has tried with the twin-camouflage setup. The machine is in the waste at a level where the second camouflage is legitimately purposeful. However the Duo is additionally a workstation featuring high-of-the-line chips that can possibly compete with the excellent portable gaming laptops in the marketplace. Display camouflage depend aside, it’s a in point of fact good computer.
Nonetheless it’s additionally rather costly for a 15-trudge gaming computer — you’re positively paying extra for the twin screens. And whereas the ScreenPad absolutely has its uses, Asus hasn’t rather figured out how to free up its elephantine most likely yet. I’d help off on procuring this till they blueprint.
The Duo I examined goes for — brace yourself — $Three,699. It comes with Intel’s Core i9-10980HK, 32GB of RAM (DDR4), and 2TB of storage. The wide title of the whine is Nvidia’s RTX 2080 Tremendous Max-Q, its high-cease RTX GPU for thin gaming laptops.
The Zephyrus is determined up similarly to various Duo fashions. My unit has a 15.6-trudge 4K UHD most fundamental characterize. It is most likely you’ll possibly possibly additionally catch a 300Hz FHD panel, which would possibly possibly possibly be the upper design shut in the event you’re procuring this primarily to play video games. Beneath that camouflage is the ScreenPad, a 14.1-trudge wide, 3840 x 1100 touchscreen panel constructed into the abet half of of the keyboard deck, which lifts a exiguous off the chassis and tilts toward you at a thirteen-degree angle. Crammed into the entrance half of of the chassis is an RGB keyboard with a miniature touchpad to its appropriate.
The ScreenPad is simply too miniature to undoubtedly blueprint any work on (though the tilt manner you don’t must crane your neck to read it the kind you blueprint on the ZenBooks). But in a productivity setting, it’s a tool you doubtlessly can consume the kind you might possibly possibly consume a miniature exterior characterize.
Swapping a window from one camouflage to the assorted is as straightforward as clicking and dragging it. Whereas you blueprint so, a miniature menu pops up with alternate choices to ship the window to the opposite characterize, pin it to the Launcher, or lengthen it to design shut both screens.
It is most likely you’ll possibly possibly load the ScreenPad up along with your distractions — Slack, Twitter, Facebook, Spotify, and quite a bit others. — to help them accessible, nonetheless out of the kind. It is most likely you’ll possibly possibly care for reference paperwork on the bottom whereas you’re employed up high. It is most likely you’ll possibly possibly interact notes downstairs whereas streaming a lecture upstairs. (The Zephyrus has stylus improve, nonetheless doesn’t ship with a stylus.)
Asus has about a handy capabilities to make it more uncomplicated to manage the entirety. In the Launcher menu, a secondary dock that lives on the left aspect of the ScreenPad, you doubtlessly can instant catch entry to a series of apps, including Number Key (a digital numpad), Handwriting (where you doubtlessly can scribble on the ScreenPad, and the text will whine up wherever your cursor is), and Rapidly Key (where you doubtlessly can tap various instructions esteem decrease, replica, and paste). It is most likely you’ll possibly possibly add no matter packages you prefer. There’s additionally a button that straight away swaps the 2 screens’ tabs and routinely resizes them to ascertain, and a toggle that locks and unlocks the keyboard. And likewise you doubtlessly can originate “assignment groups” of apps or tabs, which you doubtlessly can then launch up later with a single click.
Asus has if truth be told worked out ScreenPad’s kinks since the days of the ZenBook Pro Duo, its first shot at a twin-camouflage OLED desktop substitute. Every little thing worked as advertised. Home windows resized precisely and kept the widths they had been assigned. Issues closed and opened when I fundamental them to. All advised, as we noticed with the ZenBook Duo, the ScreenPad works lawful just for day after day consume.
But whether it’s successfully-capable to gaming is one other ask of.
Off the bat: here is a staunch gaming computer. It ran Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 1080p at a median of 87fps. That became at the ideal settings, with ray tracing on Extremely. That’s no longer the excellent result you’ll gaze, nonetheless it’s most attention-grabbing a exiguous worse than the Razer Blade Pro 17, which averaged 95fps. On Civilization VI, a sport where I’m in a position to gaze the twin-camouflage setup being rather purposeful, the Zephyrus averaged 145fps at the ideal settings. Undoubtedly, this model is locked to exhibiting 60fps, so you obtained’t be in a put to survey these frame rates. I’d recommend that serious gamers shuffle for the 300Hz configuration (significantly since you’ll gaze a wide frame charge fall in the event you are attempting to max out these titles in 4K — that’s a gigantic query even of in sort desktops).
It’s straightforward to survey how a second camouflage is on the total a just addition to a gaming rig. Whereas you play, you might possibly possibly care for Discord chats and scurry controls on deck, note along with a YouTube tutorial, swap between Spotify playlists, alter settings on the soar in Asus’ Armoury Crate app, or care for an see on clocks in MSI Afterburner. I’m certain you dangle tips of your admire. All these methods blueprint work, nonetheless some are soundless more bother than they’re worth. It is a ways dependent on the sport.
As an illustration, in the event you bustle Tomb Raider in elephantine-camouflage mode and interact a survey at to click on a Discord chat downstairs, it minimizes the sport. It is most likely you’ll possibly possibly repair this direct by the utilization of windowed mode, nonetheless tinkering with the ScreenPad soundless tabs you out. Civ VI became friendlier to the ScreenPad; the sport stayed launch and kept going whereas I hopped between shows, nonetheless typing in my downstairs Discord chat soundless decrease the audio, so I wouldn’t dangle wanted to blueprint it normally. For both video games, I ended up largely the utilization of the ScreenPad to help an see on Afterburner whereas I played and catch the occasional adjustment in Armoury Crate.
So, one more time, the Duo’s fabricate direct does dangle its uses for gaming — significantly with flip-based mostly mostly titles esteem Civ where you doubtlessly can lawful esteem a immediate atomize on occasion. But you doubtlessly can soundless manage your expectations because it’s no longer noble for the total consume cases you might possibly possibly bear. (And if I’m procuring a computer for gaming, I’d if truth be told design shut no longer to must bustle the rest in windowed mode.)
Asus says it’s working with sport developers to consist of the second camouflage into some upcoming titles. In Loss of life Gentle 2, as an instance, it says you’ll be in a put to help your co-op chats, stock, and mission shuffle online the second camouflage. It would absolutely be a gigantic help in a sport esteem Civ VI in the event you might possibly possibly relegate some stats and overlays to the ScreenPad and reserve the major characterize for gameplay. Those capabilities aren’t here yet, though, and that mitigates the good thing about the twin-camouflage setup.
In utterly different locations, it might possibly possibly dangle to soundless shuffle without pronouncing that the Core i9 and 32GB of RAM can tackle a heavy load of office work (Twitch, Discord, Slack, Spotify, record editing, Zoom calls, and a heap of Chrome tabs) lawful just. Undoubtedly, that’s the case with most top class gaming laptops. You don’t want the rest shut to those specs to catch that efficiency. It did totally with creative work, winding up an export of a 5-minute, 33-second 4K video in two minutes and Fifty six seconds. That’s faster than the Dell XPS 17, the Alienware m15 r3, and the MSI GS66 Stealth took to total the same assignment. The Blade Pro 17 became most attention-grabbing rather faster, taking two minutes and forty two seconds.
The one direct to characterize is that you doubtlessly can soundless search recordsdata from the Zephyrus Duo to are living on a desk — and that’s no longer lawful because it weighs 5.29 kilos (2.39kg). I averaged spherical an hour and 48 minutes of battery existence (The check fervent fully working in both screens, hopping between a dozen Chrome tabs, Slack, and Spotify, on the Battery Saver profile, with the major camouflage at 200 nits of brightness and the secondary camouflage at 50 percent.) That’s no longer necessarily unexpected for a 4K gaming computer running two screens and an RGB keyboard, nonetheless it’s soundless no longer a gargantuan result — the Blade Pro 17 bought two and a half of hours of the same workload.
Moreover, catch prepared for some heat. The Duo uses Asus’ AAS Plus cooling, which contains a 28.5mm vent in the abet of the ScreenPad, five heatpipes, four heatsinks, a enlighten thermal paste called Liquid Metal, and an anti-dust channel that’s alleged to dispel particles from the chassis to forestall it from amassing on the fan fins. (Don’t anguish, it doesn’t spray dust or the rest.) The machine kept the processor from throttling, nonetheless the bottom of the chassis bought so sizzling that the computer wasn’t most likely to make consume of on my lap, even when I wasn’t running video games.
And in the waste, you doubtlessly can omit the utilization of this touchpad, which is a miniature 2.Three x 2.9 affair with discrete clickers (though it would turn out to be a touchscreen NumPad, which is nifty). Since there isn’t any longer any wrist relaxation, the keyboard, whereas radiant, isn’t tremendous soft to make consume of because there’s nowhere to place your hands. (The Zephyrus ships with a rubber wrist relaxation which is candy, nonetheless doesn’t help all that great.) I feel about any individual that buys that is also plugging a mouse in straight away. Again, none of here is unexpected for a 15-trudge workstation, nonetheless in the event you’re attempting to compile one thing that you might possibly possibly on occasion kick back on the couch with, depend the Zephyrus out.
The ideal recordsdata is that in the event you design shut out to sprint in peripherals, you’ve bought a abundant port preference. There’s an impression port, a microphone jack, and a headphone jack on the left aspect; two USB-A ports and a USB-C with DisplayPort, Thunderbolt Three, and Energy Delivery Three.zero on the excellent aspect; and one other USB-A, an Ethernet, and an HDMI on the abet.
Overall, the Zephyrus Duo 15 is a good gaming computer. However the 60Hz camouflage on this configuration limits the capabilities of its chips. (And let’s be factual: whereas Asus would be searching to market this computer to enlighten creators, it’s a Zephyrus, and most folk will most likely be procuring it for video games.)
On condition that you can dangle to dangle interplay fashions esteem the Blade Pro 17 that carry similar frame rates for several hundred greenbacks more inexpensive, what you’re paying the gigantic bucks for is an extra bit of storage and the second camouflage.
The ScreenPad does add to the gaming ride. Nonetheless it hasn’t revolutionized it (no decrease than, no longer yet). Till titles attain out which would possibly possibly possibly be if truth be told optimized for this setup, I’m in a position to’t gaze myself the utilization of it tremendous normally. The Zephyrus Duo is half of technology. It might possibly be worth $Three,699 in due course — nonetheless it’s no longer there rather yet.
Photography by Monica Chin / The Verge