Thursday, April 2, 2020

Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 is a dual-screen gaming laptop that actually looks pretty decent

Asus has revealed the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15, the world’s first gaming laptop with two screens, and packed with some of the latest gaming tech to boot.

As well as the main 15.6-inch screen, which can either be a touchscreen 4K IPS panel, or a 300MHz 1080p display, a secondary 14.09-inch touchscreen, known as the ScreenPad Plus, sits above the keyboard, kind of like a super-powered Touch Bar, which you find on modern MacBooks.

With a 3,840 x 1,100 resolution and stylus support, the ScreenPad Plus is designed to expand the desktop space of the laptop. As Asus told us, it could be used to display secondary apps when gaming, such as Twitch chats for streamers, allowing people to seamlessly interact with their audience (or use other apps) while gaming.

We were also told by Asus that it is working with games developers to add exclusive modes to their games for the ScreenPad Plus – so you could use the secondary screen to display maps, inventory and other options. While Asus hasn’t revealed what games will offer ScreenPad Plus-centric features, it could offer a decent strategic edge for players if enough titles take it up.

This isn’t the first Asus laptop to feature a secondary touchscreen, with the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 offering the same feature. We weren’t entirely convinced by it in the productivity laptop, but on a gaming laptop it makes quite a bit more sense.

Talking specs

While the second ScreenPad Plus display is the main talking point with the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15, Asus has also packed it with some cutting edge components – something we’ve come to expect from its Zephyrus lineup of gaming laptops.

So, there’s a model with an Intel 10th generation Comet Lake i7-1087H processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super GPU, up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and two 2TB M.2 SSDs with RAID 0 support.

There’s also a higher-specced version with an Intel Core i9-10980HK processor and Nvidia GeFroce RTX 2080 Super GPU.

Both versions come with a large 90Wh battery which should allow the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 to run without being unplugged for a little while, at least.

We had a quick go on the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15, and while we can see the potential of the second screen for gamers and creators, the ScreenPad Plus brings some compromises that we want to investigate further in our full review.

First, the dimensions and weight of the laptop are 36 x 26.8 x 2.1cm and 2.4kg, making this a bulkier and heavier laptop than we’re used to with the Zephyrus range of laptops, which are usually impressively thin and light affairs.

The other issue is price: this is an incredibly expensive laptop, which launches in July 2020 at £2,999.99 (around $3,000, AU$5,000) for the lower-end configuration, and £3,999 (around $4,000, AU$8,000) for the high-end version.

That’s an eye-wateringly high asking price, so the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 will be under a lot of pressure to justify it. We should hopefully find out if it manages to do just that when we get our hands on a review sample soon.

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