Asus Zenbook Professional 14 Duo OLED evaluate: Doing double obligation

Asus Zenbook Professional 14 Duo OLED

MSRP $2,000.00

“The Asus Zenbook Professional 14 Duo OLED is probably the most polished model of its dual-screen idea but.”

Execs

  • Fairly highly effective
  • Feels sturdy
  • Bigger ScreenPad Plus is superior
  • OLED appears incredible
  • Strong audio system

Cons

  • Poor battery life
  • OLED display could be very reflective

You wouldn’t suppose a product just like the Asus Zenbook Professional 14 Duo may final greater than a era. It’s a enjoyable dual-screen experiment, positive. However a profitable laptop computer that might spawn years of iteration? That it is strictly that ought to let you know that is excess of only a gimmick.

The brand new mannequin makes some refinements – all for the higher. This sleeker, extra immersive, and extra highly effective iteration of the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo continues to double-down on the concept of a dual-screen laptop computer. And ya know what? It’s nonetheless not good, however I’m lastly beginning to come back round to the concept myself.

Design

The front of the Zenbook Pro 14 Pro Duo.

The Zenbook Professional 14 Duo is one distinctive laptop computer. Closed, it appears like all different laptop computer. The redesigned Asus brand graces the lid, but it surely’d laborious to choose it out from a lineup of different black Asus laptops.

However pull the lid open, and also you’re instantly greeted by some extraordinary components – most notably, a secondary display, constructed proper into the keyboard deck. The ScreenPad Plus, because it’s known as, tilts up at an angle, and forces the touchpad and keyboard down under.

None of that is latest to the road, in fact, however there are quite a lot of enhancements that Asus has delivered to the desk this 12 months. Notably, Asus has made the ScreenPad Plus is a bit bigger by eradicating a number of the bezel across the display. The 32:10 secondary display now measures 12.7 inches throughout, with a decision of 2880 x 864. It additionally tilts larger, as much as 12 levels, providing you with a greater view of the display and extra seamlessly connecting it to the primary display above. This leads to a extra spectacular and, in the end, extra helpful secondary display.

The Zenbook Professional 14 Duo is an exceptionally well-built machine.

In fact, whether or not you really purchase into the concept of the necessity for a second display in your laptop computer is as much as you. There’s the cool issue of all of it, sure, however you’d higher have some concepts of your personal for a way you envision your self utilizing a characteristic like this. I say that as a result of Asus doesn’t present many concepts itself. The one inventory ScreenPad functions are a straightforward calculator, a handwriting app, and a few fundamental navigation. That’s just about it.

Earlier variations of the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo additionally included an ErgoLift hinge, which propped up the underside of the laptop computer. That is now gone, which I’m completely satisfied about. The ErgoLift was imagined to present a pure incline for comfy typing and enhance airflow, however between it and the lean of the ScreenPad Plus hinge, it was slightly ugly. Greater than that, it felt like a number of transferring components that might be simply broken. It’s all been changed with an easier and extra structurally sound design that sits flat on the desk like most laptops do.

The closed lid of the Zenbook Pro 14 Duo.

The Zenbook Professional 14 Duo is an exceptionally well-built machine. You’ll be hard-pressed to seek out a weak spot within the design. That’s spectacular given the quantity of complexity that’s launched by the ScreenPad Plus.

Even nonetheless, Asus managed to maintain the chassis pretty trim. It’s 0.70 inches thick – which sits proper in between the thicker Floor Laptop computer Studio and the thinner MacBook Professional 14-inch. When it comes to weight, it’s an analogous story, sliding into the center of the pack at 3.74 kilos. Sure, it’s barely chunkier than the usual Zenbook 14 Duo – but it surely additionally manages to be considerably extra transportable than the Zenbook Professional Duo 15.

Ports

I really like what Asus did with the ports on the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo. With the ErgoLift hinge out of the best way, this design places just a few necessary ports on the rear of the machine – taking a cue from fashionable gaming laptop computer design. However not like these, the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo doesn’t characteristic a big, protruding cap behind the show, like what you’ll discover on the Alienware X14 or the Lenovo Legion gaming laptops.

And but, the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo manages to incorporate HDMI 2.1, the barrel energy connector, and a Micro SD card slot. Having the HDMI and energy accessible from the again is much more handy and clear than on the facet. There’s no questioning which facet which port is on or reaching the ability cable throughout the desk.

The back ports of the Zenbook Pro 14 Duo.

The ports on the right side of the Zenbook Pro 14 Duo.

The left facet of the machine is the place you’ll discover the three.5mm headphone jack. The proper facet contains all of your USB, which incorporates two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports and one USB-A port. The Thunderbolt port might be used for charging, although the proprietary charger related to the included 180-watt brick will ship one of the best efficiency.

This may be the right setup, if solely Asus had swapped the microSD card slot for a full-sized one. The Zenbook Professional 14 Duo is a laptop computer meant for creatives, and having the ability go immediately from digital camera to laptop computer, like on the MacBook Professional, XPS 15 or Razer Blade 15, would have been excellent.

For wi-fi connectivity, the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo helps the most recent Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.

Shows

The ScreenPad Plus of the Zenbook Pro 14 Duo.

Asus has been on a tear with help for OLED screens, and the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo is not any completely different. It encompasses a 14.5-inch OLED panel with a facet ratio of 16:10 and a decision of 2880 x 1800. That’s not fairly as pixel-dense because the MacBook Professional, but it surely’s an enormous improve over the 1080p choices. It’s additionally a lovely various to springing for the 4K fashions Asus sells, that are overly costly and power-hungry. And in addition to, that is a lot sharp for this dimension of display.

One in every of the largest latest options of this show is its quick 120Hz refresh fee. When it was introduced, the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo was imagined to be the primary OLED laptop computer display with a refresh fee of over 60Hz — however Razer has already introduced a Blade 15 with a 240Hz OLED display. However this isn’t a gaming laptop computer — and let’s be actual: 120Hz is the right refresh fee for a laptop computer of this sort. Animations in your day-to-day are silky clean, and in lighter video games, and also you’ll even expertise these clean animations in-game. It’s a incredible addition to see on non-gaming laptops, following laptops just like the Floor Laptop computer Studio and MacBook Professional. Even Lenovo’s Yoga 9i 14 encompasses a 90Hz OLED panel.

This display can also be killer by way of picture high quality. We’re speaking as good coloration saturation as you’ll discover on a laptop computer display (100% sRGB and 100% AdobeRGB). Shade accuracy isn’t far behind with a Delta-E of 1.18. That’s correct sufficient for skilled coloration grading and picture enhancing — and you may even regulate the tint to your liking within the MyAsus app.

Greater than that, you get the true blacks and excessive distinction that solely OLED can produce.

Like many OLED laptop computer panels, although, the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo suffers from being overly reflective. If you will have some home windows behind your workplace, don’t be stunned once they make components of the display laborious to see.

The ScreenPad Plus has a matte floor, whereas the first display is shiny.

The ScreenPad Plus has additionally benefited from some upgrades this time round. It additionally has a 120Hz refresh fee, which is significant for inking. A quicker refresh fee means even much less lag between the motion of your stylus and the response of the display. You may really feel the distinction, and the proven fact that Asus managed to incorporate two 120Hz screens on this laptop computer is actually praiseworthy.

There’s actually just one main downside with the ScreenPad Plus: It doesn’t match the first display. Essentially the most notable distinction is that the ScreenPad Plus has a matte floor, whereas the first display is shiny. The rationale is apparent, in fact – to mitigate reflections from overhead lights, which it is extremely efficient at. One other problem is with scaling. Home windows doesn’t enable the ScreenPad Plus to scale past 150% – and for no matter purpose, the display scales down all of the UI components. The cursor is itty-bitty down there and poking across the smaller navigation together with your finger feels clumsy.

Each of those inconsistencies between the panels reduce the continuity of transferring home windows between screens or extending one window throughout each.

There’s additionally a distinct visible high quality to the colours on the ScreenPad Plus, particularly on account of the viewing angle created by placement of the display. It’s for that purpose, I assume, that Asus made the ScreenPad Plus a lot brighter than the first display at 547 nits versus 345. Regardless of being brighter, the ScreenPad Plus seems to match the first display in brightness — once more, because of the viewing angles.

All in all, it’s simply the character of the beast. A display that’s not flat is at all times going to have issues by way of viewing angles, no matter all the great issues Asus has achieved to try and soar that hurdle.

Efficiency

The back lid of the Zenbook Pro 14 Duo.

The “Professional” within the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo largely has to do with efficiency. Like many 14-inch laptops, there’s sufficient room right here to incorporate each a strong processor and a discrete graphics card. Examples embrace gaming laptops just like the Razer Blade 14 and ROG Zephyrus G14, but additionally skilled shopper units just like the 14-inch MacBook Professional, Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Professional, or Floor Laptop computer Studio. Heck, Asus has even managed to squeeze discrete graphics into 13-inch laptops just like the ROG Circulation X13.

All that’s to say that the Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti included within the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo makes it a strong little laptop computer. And that’s necessary for a laptop computer with two screens, which many individuals could think about themselves utilizing with functions just like the Adobe Artistic Suite. This Professional mannequin makes that extra attainable, particularly while you throw within the Core i7-12700H, a 14-core processor that’s confirmed to be a superb performer in all these workloads.

I examined that myself, in fact, in just a few completely different benchmarks, together with Handbrake and PugetBench. I favored what I noticed in the outcomes. It’s not a giant hop over any of these rivals, however the RTX 3050 Ti and Twelfth-gen Intel processor make for a powerful one-two punch in a laptop computer of this dimension.

Let’s begin with the graphics, since the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo outdoes many different laptops with the identical RTX 3050 Ti. Chalk it as much as the higher airflow and thermals, however the system can push the GPU a bit more durable than different programs. In actual fact, when adjusted to Efficiency mode within the MyAsus app, the system can push as much as 85 watts of energy to the GPU. However even within the default Commonplace mode, the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo outperforms different RTX 3050 Ti laptops we’ve examined, together with the Floor Laptop computer Studio and Acer Swift X. Typically that margin is by as a lot as 19%.

Geekbench (single/multi)Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23 (single/multi)PugetBench for Premiere ProfessionalPCMark 10 Full3DMark
Asus Zenbook Professional 14 Duo
(Core i7-12700H, RTX 3050 Ti)
941793/12046n/a62425254
Acer Swift X (Ryzen 7 5800U, RTX 3050 Ti)991437/10135n/a62474073
Floor Laptop computer Studio (Core i7-1370H, RTX 3050 Ti)1791304/545041750914266
MSI Summit E16 Flip (Core i7-1185G7, RTX 3050)1781589/5344n/a56814138
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 16 Professional (Ryzen 7 5800H, RTX 3050)1021514/554448262904223
Razer Blade 14
(Ryzen 9 5900HX, RTX 3070)
1011434 / 11226N/A66126,612

Because of these graphics, the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo is even a good entry-level gaming machine when it must be. You may play Fortnite at 1080p at Excessive settings and nonetheless get a median of 63 frames per second (fps). In fact, you may play lighter video games and different esports titles on the native decision too, however the decrease decision will likely be a a lot smoother expertise.

Not all video games are going to play nicely although. In a heavier, AAA title like Crimson Useless Redemption 2, which doesn’t scale down decision at fullscreen, I struggled to get larger body charges. It’s attainable, but it surely required flattening texture high quality  and turning on the very best stage of DLSS to common 45 fps.

On the other hand, the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo is designed primarily as a piece machine — one thing that may deal with each multitasking nicely utilizing each screens and deal with artistic functions with a point of success.

Handbrake is CPU-limited, so the Core i7-12700H is driving the ship there. The Zenbook Professional 14 Duo accomplished the 4K video encode in 94 seconds, which beats laptops with final 12 months’s Ryzen chips. It’s 6% behind bigger laptops just like the MSI Creator Z17 that use the identical chip. Switching to Efficiency mode setting sped up the encode by 13%, although.

All through the testing, the system dealt with cooling fairly nicely.

The 3D modeling benchmark, Cinebench R23, is one other good measure of CPU efficiency — and once more, the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo impresses. Intel’s Twelfth-gen Alder Lake-H chips are nonetheless laborious to acquire, however the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo reveals simply how briskly they are surely.

For a extra complete view of the laptop computer’s efficiency, I examined the machine within the bigger PCMark 10 suite of benchmarks. No surprises right here, however the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo is well-suited for many workflows, together with picture enhancing, internet shopping, phrase processing, video enhancing, videoconferencing, and extra. Don’t count on it to really feel measurably completely different in these lighter duties, nevertheless, the place final 12 months’s chips already delay simply advantageous.

All through the testing, the system dealt with cooling fairly nicely. Temperatures spiked within the low 90s and throttle often, however these instances have been few and much between. Common temperatures stayed round 75 levels Celsius, even in the midst of an all-core heavy elevate just like the multi-core Cinebench R23 benchmark. The system does an ideal job of balancing fan noise and temperatures, and since the keyboard is moved additional away from the most well liked parts of the system, the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo by no means will get uncomfortably heat to make use of.

Webcam and audio system

The Zenbook Professional 14 Duo has a really commonplace 720p webcam. Premium laptops in 2022 have begun the transfer to 1080p, so I used to be disillusioned to see Asus stick to 720p on this regard. It’ll get the job achieved for the occasional video assembly, however in case your workday is filled with Zoom calls, it’s possible you’ll need to seek out one thing with at the least a 1080p decision.

The audio system have been a official shock on the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo. I anticipated the identical uninteresting and tinny audio that many laptops of this kind have. However not right here. For what they’re, these audio system have a daring and full sound profile. The audio system are tuned by Harman Kardon, which didn’t excite me an excessive amount of. However the soundstage feels huge, and there’s even a good quantity of bass in the combination. I truly discovered myself having fun with listening to music and in-game audio by these audio system, which may’t be mentioned for the vast majority of laptops.

There are higher audio system on the market, comparable to within the MacBook Professional. However these are a giant enchancment over different Zenbooks I’ve heard, and definitely over the common Home windows Ultrabook.

Keyboard and touchpad

The keyboard and touchpad of the Zenbook Pro 14 Duo.

I’ll by no means love the keyboard and touchpad of any of Asus’ “Duo” laptops. The dearth of palm rests means typing won’t ever really feel fairly comfy. It additionally means you’ll be sitting additional again from the display than regular. That’s most likely good for the well being of your eyes, but it surely was an adjustment for me.

The keyboard itself is similar to previous Duo laptops. Thankfully, it manages to stuff every thing you wish into the compact format with out truncating something important. The keypresses embrace a quick mechanism and stiff keycaps. They really feel good and sound eerily just like Apple’s previous butterfly keyboard. However don’t fear – with 1.4mm, there’s loads of journey to go round.

The touchpad is shoved over to the suitable right into a horizontal orientation. That may by no means not be bizarre to me. There’s barely enough room to squeeze a three-finger gesture, however my index finger was continuously operating into the keys whereas navigating the cursor. Thankfully, the touchpad itself has a clean glass floor and tracks thoroughly. I do want Asus would make the complete floor clickable although, as has turn into frequent on virtually each laptop computer offered in 2022. The left and proper click on buttons under are advantageous, however a totally clickable floor would go a great distance towards making this really feel much less off-putting.

When it comes to different inputs, each of the screens on the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo are touch-enabled and help the Asus Pen 2.0, which incorporates 4,096 ranges of stress sensitivity. It’s a good stylus and ample for illustrating, sketching, and writing immediately on the ScreenPad Plus.

Battery life

Battery life is the Achilles’ heel of the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo. It’s simply not good. The system is powering a discrete GPU and two high-resolution screens — each with excessive refresh charges — so what do you count on? I used to be solely in a position to pull three hours and 10 minutes away from the wall, with each screens set to 100 lux. That is the worst battery life we’ve seen from any of Asus’ Duo laptops, which has been a pattern in current Intel Alder Lake laptops.

Essentially the most you’ll get out of the laptop computer is round 5 hours, however that’s on a really gentle load. I used to be in a position to get 5 hours and 18 minutes in a neighborhood video playback take a look at, which is the lightest benchmark we have now. Even some hefty gaming laptops last more in these identical battery checks, regardless of having larger refresh charges and extra highly effective GPUs.

In idea, the 76 watt-hour battery inside must have been a lot massive for a laptop computer of this dimension. The Razer Blade and MacBook Professional 14-inch each have smaller batteries. Nonetheless, the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo simply doesn’t squeeze out an appropriate quantity of battery life, and that’s a bitter tablet to swallow on this in any other case incredible laptop computer.

Our take

The Zenbook Professional 14 Duo is likely to be the top of the dual-screen laptop computer pattern we’ve seen to date. From the display to the efficiency, it’s higher in each approach than earlier variations of this laptop computer. I nonetheless want it prompted me on methods to truly use the ScreenPad Plus, and the battery remains to be an engineering downside that two screens will at all times wrestle to resolve.

Are there any alternate options?

Lots of the rivals to this laptop computer are additionally made by Asus. The Zenbook 14 Duo has the identical secondary display idea, however lacks the efficiency of the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo. In the meantime, the ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 interprets that idea to the world of PC gaming with higher graphics and an ROG keyboard.

How lengthy will it final?

The battery is the largest concern concerning the longevity of the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo. Battery life degrades over time, so your couple of hours of utilization could also be lowered even additional just a few years down the road. Past that, the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo is well-built, futureproofed by way of ports, and makes use of the very newest parts. It ought to final at the least 4 or 5 years — as long as you’re plugged into an outlet.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure. If the concept of a dual-screen laptops has at all times involved in you, the Zenbook Professional 14 Duo now not appears like an experiment. It’s a strong laptop computer that’s each bit as premium as different laptops on this value vary — with the additional bonus of a second display.

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