REVIEW – ASUS ZENBOOK PRO DUO UX581

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Test condition: Asus sent us the Zenbook Pro duo for a limited time. So for 3 weeks, we replaced our current equipment with this one in order to offer you the most complete test possible in real conditions and not in a classic test bench.  The Zenbook is a brand that Asus no longer presents as its popularity is well anchored in the mind as a cutting-edge product that does little everything you ask of it. But why choose the pro duo then? Well for its dual screen that will be useful to all professionals in the creative world. From the graphic designer to the musician to the streamer in you. You will see that the Zenbook Pro duo is not just another gadget on an already expensive PC.

WORLD PREMIER OF DUAL SCREENS. 

Asus offers us here the first laptop in the world to have the particularity of a dual screen functioning as a second display placed between your screen and the keyboard. Where it may seem like a beautiful gadget. You should know that all graphic designers and other streamers are often in dual screen for reasons of ease and especially to have a maximum of information on the screen without having to switch from one program to another and waste time. Imagine a streamer continually doing ALT TAB in full range to see what the cat tells him… You're going to tell me that to run all this, Asus had to make power compromises. And not well. So we certainly find two panels in 4K with behind two possible configurations. you will have the choice of an I7 or a 9th generation I9 with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060. And by the way one model has 16 gb of RAM and the other has 32 gb of RAM. Suffice to say two configs adapting globally to all situations. To see if you are only ready to invest the 3000th that the most other configuration requires.

A DESIGN THAT IT IS THIN AND BEAUTIFUL. 

From the outside, the Zenbook Pro Duo looks like all other Zenbooks. We are on a fine and neat design and totally sober. We find a brushed metal chassis of a gray blue that gives it a totally professional look without doing too much. If you are on a laptop a little thicker than the Zenbook range, it does not bother at all. If you are used to the PC of the gamer type, you will find this one much thinner. We are still on a thickness of 2.5 cm for 15 inches. The only defect of the chassis, the brushed metal keeps fingerprints… This will often require you to pass a cloth over it in order to avoid presenting a laptop covered with traces of fat and others. The other design and useful aspect of the Zenbook Pro duo also comes from its screen. Once it is opened, the keyboard tilts to offer more typing comfort. But that's not the only use of raising the keyboard. it also allows a better dissipation of heat than a conventional laptop that is glued to your desk. Suffice to say that the suction is totally optimal on the Zenbook Pro duo avoiding the purchase of various portable fans blocking a USB port.

A RATHER SMART INVESTMENT BUT NOT THE MOST CONVENIENT. 

To resume on the keyboard. This is placed at the edge of the PC in order to offer over the place for the second screen. so your wrists won't be supported for long-lasting strikes. But here too Asus has thought of everything. The PC comes with a wrist rest that will correct this defect in part. Because the defect of it comes on the one hand from the fact that it is made of rigid plastic and that it will not be the most convenient for your travels. On the other hand, it is equipped with only two flus preventing it from slipping. What would have been smarter would have been to find a foldable solution under the PC or provide a magnetic wrist rest. Because very often you will have to replace it or find a surface or you can place it in addition to your PC. This takes the laptop even further away from your already tired little eyes. For the rest of the keyboard, we find overall a good quality for typing requiring a little learning about its placement before being totally comfortable with it. (On our side, we are used to using Belgian Azerty keyboards. And not a Qwerty. But fortunately, our memory of the keys allowed us to use the Qwerty keyboard like a classic Azerty. So be careful before buying to take a keyboard model corresponding to you. A mistake quickly arrived) On the investment side. We find the Trackpad to the right of the keyboard and not below it. Logically, you have to succeed in placing everything without losing space. During our first tests, its use was a chaotic hair and a headache. But by force, its use becomes more and more fluid. To the point of having the reflex to find it in this safe location of other laptops… The other usefulness of the Trackpad is that it is also your num-pad. with a simple press of two keys on the Trackpad, you will either launch the shortcut to the calculator or you will transform the Trackpad into a Numpad. The strength of this is that it allows you to use both functions at once. The pavement fully recognizes a fine pressure of a finger swipe. In addition, under the Trackpad is also the left and right click. Well, honestly, it will take a lot of adaptation time to use these functions because you will often click rather dice to press a number which will push you to go through the keyboard instead. On our side this was the case almost 80% of the time.

EVEN MORE ON-SCREEN CONTENT!

Well we have already talked about it a little, but it is important to take stock of this second screen called: ScreenPad plus. If both screens are totally touch-enabled, the ScreenPad could be comparable to what Apple does. But think again! We are not here on a screen with shortcuts. We are here on a second screen totally usable for your secondary applications. The ScreenPad Plus has an overlay specific to Asus allowing to have a shutter on it with the parameters specific to it. But also the ability to save quick application shortcuts. By this you mean that you just have to place your applications in specific places and save them in the shortcuts. Once you tap on the shortcut in question, Everything will start and get back to where you put it. A must for people who want a precise work desk without having to replace the elements each time. But on top of all that, the second screen is useful for creatives and gamers. You will be able to totally launch a game on the first screen and have a view on Discord, twitter, … on the other. For streamers, you can for example have Streamlabs on the second screen while your game runs on the first. On Photoshop have your project in full screen and place your tools on the second. Suffice to say infinity of possibilities according to your needs. Not to mention that the must of the must. The Zenbook Pro duo comes with its stylus. This one reacts to the pressure in Photoshop and others. Which makes graphics tablets a bit useless. The downside will come from the tilt of the screen preventing you from fully enjoying this function without peter your wrist.

USELESS AND THEREFORE ESSENTIAL GADGETS! 

On the touch side, Asus supports handwriting and transcribes it directly. If at the beginning it takes a time of adaptation, it quickly becomes very fluid and will allow you to write quickly by hand. Even if typing is still faster. Not to mention that you will often put your hand on the keyboard making the writing chaotic. So, a good idea but poorly exploited. On the other side, we find Alexa fully integrated into Windows allowing you to use all these functions from the PC. Certainly can of no one will have the usefulness of this. But compared to Cortana, Alexa responds much better to commands. For the rest, the Zenbook Pro duo also has an infrared camera to unlock the PC via the face. Well, don't expect cutting-edge technology. Often the lighting or a big beard will undermine the recognition. Prompting the user to type in their password.

AND I PLUG IT IN OR MY HEADSET WITH MY WEBCAM AND CONTROLLER. 

The Zenbook Pro duo also has the default all laptops. Too limited connectivity. There is certainly a USB-C Thunderbolt 3 and two other USB 3.1. But this is totally not enough for most of the possible uses of it. For the rest, we find the classic HDMI to put a third screen and a jack port similar to the smartphone. (2in1) What is a pity is that we would have liked to have had an SD card reader on it at least in addition. Because for a creative PC, this is a shame. Not to mention that it is also amputated from the RJ45 port. So certainly, the place is limited. But Asus could have provided a USB adapter in order to fill in the major flaws of the Zenbook Pro duo.

SCREEN AND GAMING? 

for the rest, we tested different classic benchmarks and push the PC into rather heavy After effect files. And we had no worries. The PC hardly heats up and level bruii this one is much quieter than a gaming PC with the same config. In stream, same topo. Launching streamlabs and a 4K game didn't have any negative impact on all the titles we tried. For the rest, forget the webcam which is of a rather bad quality. On the microphone side, we are on the passable. So the PC makes the coffee but not on all points. Finally, the Zenbook Pro duo is a laptop must for creatives. It allows you to have everything at hand and is very fluid. However, we would have liked to have something extra like an SD and Ethernet port. But hey, we know that Asus has made the choice to remove them to keep the finesse related to the brand. Now it's up to you to know if you want to put almost 3000 € in a laptop with as many options knowing that there is also its equivalent in a ROG model. On our side, we couldn't do without it. Portable, powerful and convenient. Except for the USB ports forcing us to buy something to use more….

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