The ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481F is an ultraportable version of if its big brother, The Zenbook Pro Duo. Both the ZenBook Pro Duo and ZenBook Duo were launched together late 2019 and both are solid attempts proving how useful secondary screens can be in a notebook
With two display screens, great specifications and a compact design that could potentially make it the ideal choice for those who want to get serious work done on the move, The Asus ZenBook Duo is an unusual laptop compared to what is normally available in Dubai. In this review, we find out why.
|CPU||10th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Processor 10510U @1.80GHz (Turbo Boost upto 4.90 GHz)|
|RAM||16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3|
|GPU||NVIDIA® GeForce® MX250|
Video memory: 2GB GDDR5 VRAM
|Storage||1TB PCIe® Gen3 x4|
14” LED-backlit Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 slim-bezel NanoEdge display
Four-sided frameless NanoEdge design with 90% screen-to-body ratio
IPS-level wide-view technology
12.6” touch display
IPS-level wide-view technology
|Ports||1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C (up to 10Gbps)|
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A (up to 10Gbps)
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A (up to 5Gbps)
1 x HDMI
1 x Audio combo jack
1 x MicroSD card reader
1 x DC-in
|Connectivity||Intel Wi-Fi 6 with Gig+ performance (802.11ax)|
|Camera||IR webcam with Windows Hello support|
|Audio||ASUS SonicMaster stereo audio system with surround-sound|
Array microphone with Cortana and Alexa voice-recognition support
3.5mm headphone jack
Certified by Harman Kardon
|Battery||70Wh 4-cell lithium-polymer battery|
65W power adapter
The model we received for this review is the ASUS Zenbook Duo UX481F-BM021TS.
The ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481F arrives in a nice black box with a plastic carrying handle. Inside the box, there’s the ZenBook Duo UX481 itself, 65W power adapter and manuals.
Design & Build Quality
The notebook is aesthetically pleasing overall and retains the iconic ZenBook concentric circle design on the lid and comes in a shade of what Asus calls ‘Celestial Blue’.
When opening the lid, the signature ErgoLift hinges lifts the laptop above the surface resulting in a 5.5-degree tilt. This helps with heat dissipation, a more comfortable typing experience as the keyboard is tilted and improves the audio performance.
The ZenBook Duo UX481F has excellent build quality with most of the body and chassis in aluminium. The lid itself is very sturdy and has no wobbling even while typing at full tilt.
Weighing at about 1.5kg, this is somewhat a thick laptop at 1.99cm (0.78 inches). But considering the amount of tech inside, it’s understandable.
There are no connections on the back side, all ports are on the right and left sides of the notebook. ZenBook Duo UX481F comes with quite a good number of ports.
On the left side you can find a connector to connect power adaptor, video output HDMI and two USB 3.1 Gen2 (Type-C and Type-A).
On the right is the power led and battery indicator, a slot for MicroSD card, headphones jack and USB 3.1 Gen1.
At either side are a series of tiny holes for the side-firing Harman Kardon tuned stereo speakers
The display lid is equipped with the infrared camera with a resolution of 720p and biometric face recognition supported by Windows Hello.
The main 14-inch 1080p IPS matte display looks fantastic; with bright, beautiful colors and plenty of brightness for working outside. The display also has really thin 3.5mm bezels, a 90% screen-to-body ratio and wide 178° viewing angles.
Below the the main display, there’s the ScreenPad Plus, measuring in at 12.6-inches diagonally and 3-inches tall.
ScreenPad Plus Display
As an extension to the main display, on the top half of the lower deck you will find The ScreenPad Plus, a secondary display to interact with content or applications.
The ScreenPad Plus is a 12″ IPS panel with a resolution of 1920 × 515 pixel and offers the same 178° viewing angles as the main display. The ScreenPad Plus also looks equally good as the main display.
You can also split ScreenPad Plus into halves – so you can have one app window on the left half and the other on the right. The ScreenPad Plus is useful for a number of scenarios, and it worked great during the short period of time we had to review it, such as:
- YouTubing while working on the main screen
- Using messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Messenger etc.
- Notes or other information for reference
- Moving apps from one screen to the other for later
Once you discover the features, functions and the shortcuts apps the ScreenPad Plus panel has to offer, it becomes a lot easier with multi-tasking – you can make it into shortcut bay for apps or even secondary toolbox holder for your photo and editing apps.
Keyboard & Trackpad
As the ScreenPad Plus panel makes up most of the upper section of the notebook’s base, there’s barely any space left for palm rests. ASUS has crammed the keyboard into the base of the notebook with the touchpad and two physical buttons designed into the right corner. This setup can take some time getting used to.
While it feels good to type and has great solid feedback, I often missed hitting the right keys while typing. The keyboard is backlit and the keys are membrane-sized 15x15mm, with the first row of keys smaller in size. There are also various function keys, keys to activate & deactivate ScreenPad Plus and a key to move a window to the smaller screen.
Using the trackpad also takes some getting used to due to its unusual placement, however the accuracy is great.
We hope in the future versions, ZenBook Duo UX481F introduces a full sized keyboard and includes an external mouse for maximum productivity.
The Asus ZenBook Duo UX481F we tested has a 10th gen Intel Core i7-10510U processor paired with an NVIDIA GeForce MX250, 16GB 2133Mhz DDR3 RAM and a 1TB PCIe solid state drive. The notebook ran quiet even when using demanding apps, keeping temperatures well under control.
While the MX250 can handle demanding tasks, apps, photo and video-editing (Lightroom, Photoshop, Adobe Premiere); it’s a mid-range notebook card and therefore can only play games on low or medium graphics settings. We found Fortnite to be playable in Full HD resolution on low settings with an average FPS of 30-40.
The ZenBook Duo UX481F comes with a beefy 70Wh 4-cell lithium-polymer battery. On paper, it’s rated for 22 hours of battery life with the ScreenPad Plus off and about 15 hours if you’re using both.
During the short time we had to review it, ZenBook Duo UX481F lasted for about 10 hours of usage on battery, which included watching videos, some photo-editing, typing, web browsing, all with the ScreenPad Plus turned on.
With an exceptional battery life, The ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481F is one of the first dual-screen notebooks to be launched in the Middle East. The ZenBook Duo perfectly handled all the tasks I threw at it without any issues and the 16GB of RAM definitely helped running dozens of apps and browser tabs while having also apps on the secondary ScreenPad Plus Display.
The UX481F is definitely ahead of its time. Even though there are a few imperfections, we need to consider that this is a first-gen product and will get better in its future iterations.