The Good The second screen adds a breathing room to your work area, and its OLED display offers a wide color gamut. Equipped with an octa-core Core i9 processor, it also delivers high performance.
The Bad No Ethernet, the keyboard is uncomfortable without the wrist, the mediocre battery life, and it’s heavy.
The Bottom Line With its main OLED display and optional monitor and powerful components, Asus ZenBook Pro is a strong competitor as a photo editing champion.
We would not say that there are many advanced dual screens and OLED laptops , but their numbers are slowly increasing. The 15-inch Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is the first to pair them on a single laptop, making it a potential electric photo-editing and workhorse in tight places – unless you mind the weight and don’t need a good battery life.
You can get the ZenBook in several configurations that seem to vary regionally. The entry-level model in the US runs for $ 2500 for a six-core Core i7-9750H, 16GB of RAM and 1TB SSD; in the UK you can go down 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM (which I would not suggest), but the average configuration of 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM costs £ 2500. We do not have a price for Australia – it is not yet available but is available on Asus – and the options seem to fit in with the UK. Our top configuration was maximized, with a Core i9-9980HK , 32GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD, nice, about $ 3,000. It is probably worth £ 3000 also in the UK.
Asus ZenBook Pro Duo (UX581GV)
|Price as reviewed||$2,999.99|
|Display size/resolution||15.6-inch 3,840 x 2,160 OLED touchscreen 60Hz|
|PC CPU||Intel Core i9-9800HK|
|PC Memory||32GB 2,666Hz DDR4|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060|
|Ports||1 x USB-C/Thunderbolt 3, 2 x USB-A 3.1, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x audio|
|Networking||WiFi 6 Gig Plus, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows Pro (64-bit)|
|Weight||5.5 lbs./2.5 kg|
Having multiple monitors makes the work and game much more enjoyable. It’s like moving from a tiny apartment to a house. You do not constantly juggle windows, and you can set boring meetings aside while continuing to work on more interesting things. These small screens are like half height on ZenBook and tiny on HP Omen X 2S not as good as having a large second screen – except when you don’t have room for a full-size monitor.
As with HP, Asus’ Screen Pad Plus works the same as a separate second display, and both displays have touch screens, which is nice. The secondary display supports a basic pressure sensitivity of 1024 and is supplied with a controlled stylus. It’s not so much for artistry, it’s for annotation and note, but I still find it a little inconvenient for that. On the other hand, it’s nice for casual digital signatures.
It has a horizontal resolution of 3840 pixels, as does the main screen, which makes dragging windows around less whimsical, though if they have different magnifications, it becomes a bit glucose. And it is unfortunate that when the system is dormant, Windows thinks that the second screen has been “turned off”, so when it wakes up, all open programs returned to the home screen. I also noticed on both dual-screen laptops that it’s difficult to grab things at the bottom of the top screen and the top of the bottom screen: The cursor jumps. Then again I work with everything in rather small sizes.
Unfortunately, many major programs are not designed to take advantage of how I want to use the second screen: the palette and tools. Lightroom is too confusing for me to even try.
Asus includes some home-based tools for organizing windows on the second screen, but I don’t really find them very useful. There is also a popup that lets you attach an app to a specific location, expand it to fill both screens, or swap screens; there are also dedicated keys for changing screens and keypad lock (so you don’t accidentally type text while using the stylus). The switch moves everything from one screen to another, but there is no way to move only the current window between screens, as HP can do, which in my opinion is critical.
To the right of the keyboard is a touchpad that acts as a virtual digital panel. You can even use it as a touchpad when it’s in this mode, but you can get random numbers in odd places.
OLED screen is Pantone Validated – it comes with two undocumented software profiles – and uses the same Samsung panel as all current models. It is a bit dimmer than the others with peak full-screen brightness of about 356 bolts, but offers the same full P3 gamut coverage – only 93% of Adobe RGB. (Indicated as DisplayHDR 500 True Black compatible, so I’m not entirely sure about my peak brightness of 416 bolts for the 10% window. Keep in mind my results are unfinished.) I think it uses the same touch pad as the HP Specter x360 because it has the same grainy appearance and how this system supports Windows HDR for everything. The recommended brightness of Asus when working with the battery is 40%, which is certainly too dim.
The design has some disadvantages. While many ZenBooks Asus are light and thin, this one has more to do with Republic of Gamers gaming laptops. It is 15 inches and weighs 5.5 pounds. Not the anchor, but not the thin and light devices that many people want. Considering how thick it is, it is also disappointing that it lacks a wired Ethernet jack. It also has a shining down light for transportation Alexa a status that gives it an added edge.
Another problem is the keyboard. It’s just not comfortable for lap work. The impressive Ergolift hinge, designed to provide airflow at the bottom, tilts the second screen well so you don’t have to loom over it like you do with the Omen. But because the laptop is so heavy, the hinge digs into your feet. And as with HP, since the keyboard is completely forward, you really need to use a wrist pad to enter text comfortably. This is especially bad since there is a bezel on the edge that makes irritation with the keys on the bottom row. Asus binds a separate wrist rest – and the aforementioned light shines through a window in it – which really, really helps. But you can’t use it on your lap.
I think one of the reasons we saw only the powerful dual-screen models is that you don’t expect a lot of battery life. Basically, the ZenBook lasts about four hours, with both screens working better than gaming laptops, but much worse than some of the more common models, such as MacBook Pro (even Core i9 verson).
It works as a gaming laptop, but I find it best for photo editing with Lightroom Classic CC. Since the application is much more processor intensive than the GPU, the octa-core processor is very helpful and the lower RTX 2060 does not hold back much. If you want something to track the rays, you’ll get a lot more speed if you get something with the RTX 2080 instead.
|Acer Predator Triton 500 (2018)||Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q Design; (2) 512GB SSD RAID 0|
|Alienware m15 R2||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q Design; 1TB SSD RAID 0|
|Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018)||Apple MacOS Sierra 10.13.6; 2.9GHz Intel Core i9-8950HK; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 4GB Radeon Pro 560X / 1,536MB Intel HD Graphics 630; 2TB SSD|
|Asus ZenBook Pro Duo (UX581GV)||Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.7Hz Intel Core i7-8559U; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060; 1TB SSD|
|Origin PC Evo 16-S||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q Design; 512GB SSD + 2TB HDD|